Today, Archbishop John Myers (image, right,) unleashed a long-planned, 16-page attack against the LGBT community, comparing same-sex marriage with incest, demanding gay people abstain from accepting communion, and citing a debunked, fraudulent anti-gay parenting study.
Several LGBT organizations have responded. Below, the full text of each. We’ll update this post with any others as they become available.
Truth Wins Out Slams New Jersey Catholic Archbishop for Anti-Gay Pastoral Statement
Newark Abp. John Myers’ Declaration that Pro-Equality Catholics Should Not Receive Communion is Reprehensible, Says TWO
BURLINGTON, Vt – Truth Wins Out slammed Newark, New Jersey Catholic Archbishop John Myers today after he said in a pastoral statement that Catholics who support marriage equality are unfit to partake in the Eucharist and should “refrain from receiving Holy Communion.” Notices informing parishioners of Myers’ statement, in which he also compares marriage equality to incest, will be distributed this weekend in every Catholic parish in the Newark Archdiocese.
Myers’ anti-gay remarks come just one day after Salvatore Cordileone, archbishop-elect of San Francisco, told the Los Angeles Times that gay and lesbian Catholics who are sexually active should not present themselves for the Sacrament of Holy Communion.
“The actions of Archbishops Myers and Cordileone make it abundantly clear that homophobic bigotry is the official institutional policy of the Roman Catholic Church,” said TWO Executive Director Wayne Besen. “The American Catholic bishops have gone off the deep end with their anti-gay extremism and get crazier every day.”
“Archbishop Myers’ use of the Eucharist – the central act of Catholic worship and the cornerstone of Catholic identity – as a weapon with which to divide his flock and silence pro-equality Catholics is religion-based bigotry in its most reprehensible form,” added John Becker, Director of Communications & Development for Truth Wins Out. “Catholics believe Holy Communion to be the body and blood of Christ, and I can’t think of a greater distortion of Jesus’s message than excluding those who believe that all people, regardless of whom they love, should be equally welcome at Christ’s table.”
In Myers’ statement, he also explicitly endorses the practice of gay people marrying non-gay spouses, saying that such couples were capable of living “good, faithful, and even joyous married lives. It is a lie to say that they are living, or have lived, a lie.”
Dr. Amity Buxton, founder of the Straight Spouse Network and co-author of Unseen-Unheard: Journey of Straight Spouses, strongly disagrees with Myers’ claim:
“While some gay/straight marriages work and some may even be happy, hiding a part of oneself from one’s mate is not only dishonest but also harmful to one’s own integrity or wholeness. In the many cases where gay or lesbian spouses eventually come out, after struggling to be straight for years, the revelation makes straight spouses realize they have been unknowingly living someone else’s lie,” she told TWO. “Their own identity, integrity, and belief system are shattered. It takes three to six years for them to to reconfigure self-confidence and trust. Since most couples divorce after disclosure, their children have to grow up in a broken family.”
In an interview with the Record, a northern New Jersey newspaper, Myers blamed the media, divorce, and contraception for the surge in social acceptance for same-sex marriage. He also indicated that he didn’t believe polls showing that a majority of Catholics support marriage equality.
“Despite what Abp. Myers may wish to believe, polls consistently show that Catholics support LGBT rights, including full civil marriage equality, at a higher rate than the general public,” said Becker. “When he says that Catholics who don’t subscribe to that church’s Stone-Age sexual mores are unworthy of full participation in the Church, he’s not marginalizing a small sliver of the Catholic population, but nearly three-fourths of all Catholics in America. With prelates like Myers promulgating these appallingly divisive and discriminatory views, it’s no wonder that membership in the Catholic Church is falling fast and priestly vocations have cratered.”
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Garden State Equality response to today’s statement of the Most Reverend John J. Myers,
Archbishop of the Catholic Diocese of Newark, comparing marriage equality to incest
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Statement of Garden State Equality Chair Steven Goldstein:
“First, though we at Garden State Equality profoundly disagree with Archbishop Myers’ views on a number of public policy issues, including marriage equality, we express our appreciation to the Catholic Church for its leadership in helping the poor, the homeless and the hungry. Polarization in politics must not blind us from complementing our opponents where they stand up for certain values we have in common.
“Secondly, Archbishop Myers is entitled to speak out as he wishes on public policy issues, as he has done here. Though he comes close to having his church endorse candidates in violation of the law, the real test will be how his statement is used at the local level, especially considering that we are now in the heart of the campaign season.
“Thirdly, we must address Archbishop Myers’ remarks, which compare being gay to incest. When those with whom you differ make remarks that millions will find hurtful, and millions more will find alienating, it’s best to let those astonishing remarks speak for themselves.
“That said, we’re not sure why Archbishop Myers would want to widen the gap between his own views and the majority of Catholics who favor marriage equality. As The Bergen Record reported today, according to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center, 53 percent of American Catholics favor marriage equality, and the number rises to 72 percent among Catholics between the ages of 18 and 34.
“We at Garden State Equality are deeply proud that so many of our members are practicing Catholics, both straight and LGBT Catholics alike.”
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