Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Need to Disseminate the Truth

Via VerveEarth I found a blog by jaisonmpaul, a young Roman Catholic Carmelite priest from India currently going to university in Australia, which contained a post about the decline of the Roman Catholic Church in the West and the need for renewal and evangelism. Not surprisingly, I felt compelled to comment - I know, what a surprise - upon some of his statements that recited the same old Kool-Aid put out by the Vatican (in my view, one of the most corrupt organizations on the planet) and other anti-gay religious groups. Jaison published my comments on his blog and posted a reply. I believe that Jaison has the best of intentions. However, the information he parroted shows the magnitude of the task we have of educating individuals to look beyond the misinformation deliberately fed to them by both the Roman Catholic Church and other Christianist denominations. The following is my further reply to Jaison that I posted on his blog:
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Jaison, I have several thoughts on your reply to my e-mail. Here they are:
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1. The Roman Catholic Church's official line is that the existence of "a few bad priests" doesn't mean the entire church is corrupt. Fortunately, some in the news media in the USA finally - after decades of deference which enabled the problem to fester - looked behind the official smoke screen. What they found was not pretty.
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Besides the work done by the Boston Globe which blew the lid off of the priest sex abuse scandal in the Boston archdiocese, the Dallas Morning News did an investigation which found that TWO-THIRDS of the bishops in the USA were involved in coverups, etc. To date, the Vatican has done NOTHING to discipline or remove these individuals. That scandal is in many ways worse than the actions of the sexual predator priests.
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These are the links to information that was turned up and published:*
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Until the Vatican addresses this travesty, in my opinion the Catholic Church as an institution has no moral authority to preach to anyone.
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2. I was greatly distressed to see that you posted a link to NARTH which is largely funded by Christian Right organizations for two purposes: (1) to maintain the myth that homosexuality is a "choice" which is critical element in the efforts of these organizations to block anti-discrimination (in employment, housing and other areas) and hate crimes legislation that would afford gays protection, and (2) the ex-gay ministires bring in a great deal of money.
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No LEGITIMATE mental health or medical association in the USA supports or agrees with NARTH's practises and claims. NARTH has NO - that's right ZERO - peer reviewed studies that support its claims of cures/change. The reality is that one might just as well engage the services of a witch doctor to find a cure as to enroll in a NARTH supported "ex-gay" ministry. In addition, but for hiding behind the veil of religious ministries, most of these programs would be closed down by state medical and mental health licensing regulators.*

Here's link to a story about one national profile "ex-gay" that shows the fraud being perpetrated on the unwary (BTW, the American Family Association continues to sell literature involving this guy, and yes, I am the attorney quoted in the story):
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I would further add that I know at least a dozen gays who went through these programs and none were "cured." All, however, suffered emotional and psychological scars from the experience and two individuals I know committed suicide because they could not "change." I myself tried to change for 37 years, got married, fathered children, attend mass every day for over 7 years, etc., and it simply does NOT work. I eventual came to accept that for whatever reason, God made me gay for some unknowable purpose and I now feel called to work for justice for LGBT citizens who are made outcasts by religious denominations like the Catholic Church.
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While a definitive cause of homosexuality has not been found, most of the LEGITIMATE studies tend to support the position that it is something biological/physiological and not due to the bogus reasons cited by NARTH - e.g., poor father/son relationships (I personally know many gays who had/have wonderful relationships with their fathers, which shows the falsehood of that claim).
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3. The Gospels contain a message of love and the proper treatment of others. They also contain a harsh message for Pharisees and those who apply a legalistic approach to religion that denigrates and harms others. Despite this clear Gospel message, the Roman Catholic Church's postion on gays leads to their persecution and drives countless thousands from God. I truly believe that Jesus would condemn Benedict XVI and those like him who have become the modern day counter parts the high priests in the Gospels.
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Michael, a/k/a Michael-n-Norfolk

2 comments:

jaison said...

I Michael, Thanks for the reply. However, I don't want to go on for ever in an unending cycle of message-reply. Just putting my last cents.

First of all, as a human person, I have got ultimate respect for you and your views as Chirst would have. As you have mentioned earlier, we may have to agree to disagree on certain issues. That's it. Hope that wont hinder our friendship (it's an online one, I know. But that's how 'friendships' are defined these days!).

As you have agreed "..a definitive cause of homosexuality has not been found..", I think, it's premature to comment on the issues more than what I have said.

The tail piece: Who is this USA? You said "No LEGITIMATE mental health or medical association in the USA supports or agrees with NARTH's practises and claims." I didn't ask the opinion of any "medical association in the USA"? We are not in a mood to accept anything because it comes from USA. There are many associations and cultures who also reflect/research on these issues. Hope you will try to listen to them too.

Peace

Michael in Norfolk said...

Unfortunately, Jaison's comment is all too typical of the Catholic Church's mindset toward gays. Fine, ignore the mental health and medical associations in the USA - those in Canada and most of western Europe (and Australia where Jaison is studying) would concur with the US associations.

For an institution with such a terrible record of being on the wrong side of scientific knowledge and refusing to accept advances in knowledge sometimes for decades if not centuries, one would think the Catholic Church leadership would wake up. Sadly, under the Nazi Pope, Benedict XVI, if anything, the Church is regressing backwards. That is why the Church is withering except for areas with uneducated populations like Africa.