Thursday, August 22, 2013

Mexican Catholic Bishop: Homophobia is a Mental Illness

I can hear heads exploding at the Vatican and bishopric around the globe (they probably had to call 911 for blowhard Bill Donohue of the Catholic League) over remarks by Mexican Bishop, Raúl Vera (pictured above), who believes that homophobes are actually the depraved ones, not gays.  While Bishop Vera doesn't get all of the theories of what causes some of us to be gay, he does get right the theory a prominent researcher explained to me some years ago that hormones play a role in determining sexual orientation in vitro.  In short, unlike most of the Catholic Church hierarchy he comes close to accepting modern scientific knowledge rather than the ignorant writings of wandering nomads from 2500 years ago. Blabbeando has details.  Here are excerpts:

A lot has been said about Pope Francis' recent of the cuff comments on gays ("Who am I to judge?") and hundreds of religious leaders world wide have been asked to share their thoughts but I was still surprised to see this interview with Saltillo Bishop Raúl Vera posted by Terra Mexico yesterday ("Homophobia is a mental illness: Saltillo bishop").

The Bishop has some funky theories on what determines whether someone is born gay (he chalks it up to hormonal differences) but speaks forcefully against religious based homophobia and calls homophobes the perverse ones. 

Here is Bishop Vera on a mother who worried her son was hanging out with a bunch of "degenerate gays':

One mother came to me and said that she was being watchful of her son because he was hanging out with "those degenerate gays" and I said "so blame yourself for it because that's the way your son developed in your womb and he didn't develop into a degenerate or a perverse person. He was born with a certain constitution you are trying to ignore. Calm down, you are the mother of that child and he began to be who he now is inside your womb. So the first one I'd kick out would be you because you are the perverse one who is first in line." That's what I said.
And on homophobes:
Why would I immediately think a gay or lesbian person is perverse or depraved the moment they approach me? That's how people who are homophobic react. It's a mental illness in which you see gays as depraved and promiscuous.  You have to be sick in the head for that.
He also tells the reporter people have to stop bashing gays with the words of the Bible and that they should read the passages they use to condemn gays within a historical context to realize the Bible does not condemn homosexuality.
Yesterday's interview is not the first time Bishop has supported LGBT issues. The AP says that he backed a same-sex civil unions law in the region and was called to the Vatican two years ago to explain an outreach program he organized for gay youth.

He has also received death threats for his outspokenness.

Kudos to Bishop Vera.  Would that the self-loathing queens in Rone (and in Richmond and Arlington, Virginia) were so enlightened.  One humorous aside on the blog post is this:

Over at Reddit, there has been some back and forth on whether Bishop Vera was insensitive in calling homophobia a "mental illness" from people who feel it unfairly groups people diagnosed with mental illness with people who hate gays.
For those who don't follow Blabbeando regularly, it has excellent coverage of LGBT issues in Central and South America.  Interestingly enough, some years back both this blog and Blabbeando were listed in the top 100 LGBT blogs by the UK's Lesbian and Gay Foundation.  It was the editor of Blabbeando, Andrés Duque, who let me know this blog had been so honored.


Tempest Nightingale LeTrope said...

Good on him! Glad to see some basic common decency from a member of the Catholic church. Hopefully he will inspire others to speak out in favor of tolerance.

Andrés Duque said...

Aw, thanks Michael!