Boy Scouts' discriminatory policy finds no support in Catholic teaching

By Casey and Mary Ellen Lopata
Because the U.S. Catholic hierarchy strongly opposes legislation that would grant lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people fuller equality, Catholics can be forgiven for assuming that church teaching always supports one particular "side" in our country's culture wars.
The Boy Scouts of America, for instance, have recently reaffirmed their policy of excluding gay boys and gay leaders from that organization. At first blush, the scouts' position might seem consistent with our bishops' increasingly hard line on LGBT issues, but we believe a closer reading of the church's teaching should lead Catholics to resist this wrongheaded and wrong-hearted policy.
As early as 1976, in To Live in Christ Jesus: A Pastoral Reflection on the Moral Life, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (then known as the National Conference of Catholic Bishops) wrote that, rather than being ostracized, gays and lesbians "should have an active role in the Christian community."
The church's hierarchy is in no way more progressive now than it was then, yet the bishops returned to this theme in their 1998 pastoral message Always Our Children:

The teachings of the Church make it clear that the fundamental human rights of homosexual persons must be defended and that all of us must strive to eliminate any forms of injustice, oppression, or violence against them (cf. The Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons, 1986, no. 10). It is not sufficient only to avoid unjust discrimination. Homosexual persons "must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2358).

National Catholic Reporter, July 27, 2012


Will there be any opportunity at the conference for participation by similar university-based groups? The Out There conferences are an example of another attempt to bring Catholic colleges together around LGBT issues. The organizers have included Gary Cestaro (DePaul), Tom O'Brien (California State at Long Beach) and Shirley McGuire (U. San Francisco). The Chicago Chapter of Dignity presented at the Jesuit Universities coefrnence on LGBT issues held at Loyola of Chicago a few years ago. I was director of leadership and advocacy (social justice efforts) for Dignity/Chicago at the time, and spent a good deal of time organizing. The history of loyal opposition from groups such as Dignity, Fortunate Families, New Ways Ministries, Call to Action and so on, could be a significant topic for your conference, and I'm hoping it will have a place in your discussions.... I'm wishing you every success.

Hi Evangelina!
hanks so much for your comment, Evangelina! It sounds like you wanted this note to go to the Equally Blessed coalition groups rather than comment on the story so I'm happy to pass along your full note to the coalition directors. Blessings on your continued ministry and advocacy for LGBT justice in the church!
In peace,
Amelia (Coordinator, Equally Blessed) 

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