(RNS) When Pope Francis last year effectively demoted U.S. Cardinal Raymond Burke by moving him out of a senior post in the Vatican to a largely ceremonial role as head of a Rome-based Catholic charity, it was viewed as a way to sideline one of the pontiff’s most outspoken critics on the right.
But the move seems to have left Burke free to air his conservative — and pointed — views on efforts to change church practices, not that he was ever terribly hesitant about speaking his mind.
Now the American churchman has spoken out again, telling an interviewer that gay couples and divorced and remarried Catholics who are trying to live good and faithful lives are still like “the person who murders someone and yet is kind to other people.”
“If you are living publicly in a state of mortal sin there isn’t any good act that you can perform that justifies that situation: the person remains in grave sin,” Burke said in an interview with LifeSiteNews, a U.S.-based web service focused on battling abortion and promoting other conservative causes.
“And to give the impression that somehow there’s something good about living in a state of grave sin is simply contrary to what the (Catholic) Church has always and everywhere taught,” said Burke, who spoke to LifeSiteNews in Rome.
Asked if being “kind” and “generous” and “dedicated” is enough, Burke replied: “Of course it’s not. It’s like the person who murders someone and yet is kind to other people.”
The lengthy interview was published on Tuesday (March 24).
On the surface, Burke’s comments break little theological ground; the church has always taught that sin is sin, and some sins are especially serious. For example, cohabitation, homosexual relations and adultery (which is how the Catholic Church views the relations of a couple who are divorced and remarried without annulling the first marriage) are viewed as mortal sins, as is murder.
But comparing those situations in any context is unusual, and certainly out of step with the pastoral tone that Francis has set in his papacy. Moreover, reformers argue that a murderer — or almost any other sinner — can go to confession, receive absolution, and take Communion in a state of grace. But there is no such option for a gay person or those who are divorced and remarried, except permanent celibacy.
The cardinal’s comments take on added weight in the context of the increasingly heated debate that Francis opened over how the church should respond to rapid changes in family life in the modern world.
The issues were heatedly debated at a global summit of bishops and cardinals at the Vatican last October, and the debates have continued as both sides jockey for position ahead of a follow-up synod this October. Those who back reforms in church practices and attitudes — especially toward gay couples and those who are divorced or cohabiting — are opposed by those who see any changes as tantamount to undermining doctrine.
During last fall’s synod, several high-ranking churchmen spoke about the lives of unmarried or remarried couples as having value that the church should recognize.
Austrian Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, for example, repeatedly stressed that the church should “look at the person and not the sexual orientation.” He cited the case of a gay couple he knew in which one partner cared for the other through a long-term illness in a way that was “exemplary. Full stop.”
Similarly, Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich, a senior adviser to Francis, said that “one simply cannot say that a faithful homosexual relationship that has held for decades is nothing.”
“We just mustn’t lump things together and measure everything with the same yardstick, but must differentiate and take a closer look, which doesn’t mean that I endorse homosexuality as a whole,” he said.
But such language sounded alarm bells for traditionalists like Burke, who after the synod was named to the largely ceremonial post of patron of the Order of the Knights of Malta. In his earlier post in the Roman Curia, Burke was automatically included in the synod discussions; he will probably not take part in this fall’s meeting.
In this latest interview, he repeated his earlier claims that reformers were manipulating the synod discussions and waging a media campaign “to justify extra-marital sexual relations and sexual acts between persons of the same sex” that would undermine church teaching.
Burke, 66, has raised eyebrows, and made headlines, with previous comments. Earlier this year, he argued that the church has become too “feminized” and he blamed the introduction of altar girls more than 20 years ago for the decline in vocations to the church’s all-male priesthood.
The cardinal also blamed gay clergy for the church’s sexual abuse crisis, saying priests “who were feminized and confused about their own sexual identity” were the ones who molested children.
Divorce – The Huffington Post
California Attorney General Kamala Harris is asking for permission to toss out the now-notorious Sodomite Suppression Act, an outrageous ballot proposition that calls for the execution of gays with “bullets to the head” as well as 10 years in prison and permanent expulsion from California for anyone who advocates gay rights to minors.
In a statement released Wednesday, she wrote:
As Attorney General of California, it is my sworn duty to uphold the California and United States Constitutions and to protect the rights of all Californians. This proposal not only threatens public safety, it is patently unconstitutional, utterly reprehensible, and has no place in a civil society. Today, I am filing an action for declaratory relief with the Court seeking judicial authorization for relief from the duty to prepare and issue the title and summary for the “Sodomite Suppression Act.” If the Court does not grant this relief, my office will be forced to issue a title and summary for a proposal that seeks to legalize discrimination and vigilantism.
Because the bill’s backer, attorney Matt McLaughlin, paid the $ 200 filing fee by the February deadline, Harris is bound by law to prepare a title and summary of the order so that he can begin circulating it to obtain the 365,000 valid signatures needed for it to appear on next year’s ballot.
Some say the incident has exposed a serious flaw in the legal system. Joe Mathews, a fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University, argued on California politics website Fox&Hounds that such instances attack the integrity of the ballot initiative process and that the attorney general should be allowed to invoke a “human rights exception.”
On Monday, activist Charlotte Laws shed more light on the absurdity that McLaughlin’s initiative would be circulated when she submitted the Intolerant Jackass Act to the state attorney general’s office, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. Her initiative, which she says she does not intend to circulate, would label the author of any ballot measures like McLaughlin’s an “intolerant jackass,” require them to attend at least three hours a month of sensitivity training for a year and demand they contribute $ 5,000 to an organization that supports gay rights.
Gay Voices – The Huffington Post
It doesn’t matter that a California lawyer’s outrageous Sodomite Suppression Act ballot initiative proposes executing gays with “bullets to the head,” or that it’s unconstitutional and could never become law. California Attorney General Kamala Harris is forced to allow the measure to circulate for signatures, legal experts said.
The initiative, which mandates 10 years in prison and permanent expulsion from California for anyone who advocates gay rights to minors, stands no chance of collecting 365,000 valid signatures it needs to appear on next year’s ballot. But because its backer, Matt McLaughlin, paid the $ 200 filing fee by the February deadline, Harris is bound by law to prepare a title and summary of the initiative by May so that its sponsor can begin collecting signatures, legal experts told the San Francisco Chronicle.
Joe Mathews, a fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University, argued on California politics website Fox&Hounds that forcing the attorney general to allow the circulation of such an absurd proposal attacks the integrity of the initiative process. He said a “human rights exception” should be adopted for these instances.
“When you are taking away fundamental human rights -– as in the right to live -– it is appropriate to give our public officials a formal exception that they can invoke to block an initiative that violates fundamental human rights,” Mathews wrote.
An innovative response to McLaughlin’s initiative comes from activist Charlotte Laws, who told Slate she is filing the Intolerant Jackass Act on Monday. The bill reads:
“Any person, herein known as an ‘Intolerant Jackass,’ who brings forth a ballot measure that suggests the killing of gays and/or lesbians, whether this measure is called the Sodomite Suppression Act or is known by some other name, shall be required to attend sensitivity training for at least three (3) hours per month for twelve (12) consecutive months. In addition, the offender or “Intolerant Jackass” must donate $ 5000 to a pro-gay or pro-lesbian organization.”
McLaughlin may face other repercussions for advocating murder. According to the Sacramento Bee, state Sen. Ricardo Lara (D) has askled the State Bar of California to investigate McLaughlin, and more than 3,800 people have signed a petition asking State Bar President Craig Holden to revoke McLaughlin’s law license.
Gay Voices – The Huffington Post
Bob Jones III, the controversial evangelical preacher and chancellor of Bob Jones University, has apologized for saying that gays should be stoned to death during comments made at the White House 35 years ago.
Jones, who was the university’s president at the time, was delivering a petition to then-President Jimmy Carter against extending Civil Rights Act protections to gays.
“I’m sure this will be greatly misquoted,” he said in 1980, according to the Associated Press. “But it would not be a bad idea to bring the swift justice today that was brought in Israel’s day against murder and rape and homosexuality. I guarantee it would solve the problem post-haste if homosexuals were stoned, if murderers were immediately killed as the Bible commands.”
On Saturday, Jones issued a statement taking back those words.
“I take personal ownership of this inflammatory rhetoric. This reckless statement was made in the heat of a political controversy 35 years ago. It is antithetical to my theology and my 50 years of preaching a redeeming Christ Who came into the world not to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. Upon now reading these long-forgotten words, they seem to me as words belonging to a total stranger — were my name not attached.
I cannot erase them, but wish I could, because they do not represent the belief of my heart or the content of my preaching. Neither before, nor since, that event in 1980 have I ever advocated the stoning of sinners.”
The statement comes after a three-year-old petition calling on Jones to apologize for his comments began getting more attention in recent weeks. The petition was launched on Change.org by BJUnity, an organization dedicated to helping LGBT students from Bob Jones University.
The group accepted the apology.
“It is never too late to say you’re sorry,” Jeffrey Hoffman, BJUnity’s executive director, told WSPA. “Most people are just shocked. We never expected to see an apology.”
The organization also released a statement online saying it was grateful that Jones had taken back “words that have caused deep harm for many more people than any of us knows. This means a lot to us because it represents the beginning of a change in the rhetoric and conversation.”
BJUnity also invited both Jones and BJU President Steve Pettit to attend a presentation in Greenville on Monday night by Matthew Vines, author of “God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships.”
Bob Jones University was founded in 1927 by Jones’ grandfather. It was once a frequent stop among Republican presidential hopefuls, hosting Ronald Reagan, Pat Buchanan, Bob Dole and George W. Bush, among others, as they sought the GOP nomination.
Gay Voices – The Huffington Post
If you’re going to make a movie about queer people, you’re likely going to get a divisive response. Does it reinforce negative stereotypes? Does it provide an accurate cross-section of the diverse LGBT community? How many think pieces will it incite? In this regular column, we’ll look at depictions of queers in cinema and ask, Was It Good For The Gays? Today we look at Nicholas Hytner‘s 1998 romantic comedy, “The Object of My Affection.”
Muscled gays show off their tanned pecks and help each other get off by rubbing their sticks. Check out for more high-res photos of this gallery!
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There’s a seat reserved for Madonna next to Patricia Arquette.
Madge may be the high priestess of pop and an arbiter of pop culture, but the songstress proved no expert in intersectional feminism in an interview with Out Magazine about her new album, Rebel Heart.
In the story published on Tuesday, Madge opined on the state of women’s rights and other social movements. “Gay rights are way more advanced than women’s rights. People are a lot more open-minded to the gay community than they are to women, period,” she told Christopher Glazek. “It’s moved along for the gay community, for the African-American community, but women are still just trading on their ass. To me, the last great frontier is women,” she added.
The last great frontier could be women — our rights over our bodies, safety and income are under assault around the world and across the United States. Except that LGBTQ people, people of color and women aren’t three disparate groups.
Madonna’s comments are practically lock-step with Arquette’s backstage Oscars call-to-action, where she asked “gay people, and all the people of color that we’ve all fought for to fight for us now.” Arquette’s speech was a paradigm of the failings of mainstream feminism boiled down into a single sentence: White woman feminist takes credit for entire movement, erases other identities and entitles herself to the support of the LGBTQ community and people of color.
So, here’s a quick lesson for Madonna, Patricia and others struggling to understand how these identities interact with each other:
1. Gay people are women, too. We often call ourselves “lesbians” or “bisexuals” or just “LGBTQ.”
2. Women are also people of color. Sometimes referred to as WOC for short.
3. Now, let me really blow your mind: There are LGBTQ WOC.
Madonna has long been an ardent supporter of the queer community, at times, a cultural appropriator. Her work has made sex-positivity and feminism accessible to a mainstream audience. She is a trailblazer. But, in the wake of events in Ferguson and Staten Island that have brought national attention to the systematic policing and government sanctioned violence against people of color, bills in state legislatures that are seeking to legalize LGBTQ discrimination on the basis of religious beliefs and the climbing number of murdered transgender women in 2015, comparing how things have “moved along” for one identity over another is willfully ignorant. For those of us who count membership to multiple groups, these challenges to our freedom and equality are amplified and complicated by our intersectional identities.
Gay Voices – The Huffington Post
If you’re going to make a movie about queer people, you’re likely going to get a divisive response. Does it reinforce negative stereotypes? Does it provide an accurate cross-section of the diverse LGBT community? How many think pieces will it incite? In this regular column, we’ll look at depictions of queers in cinema and ask, Was It Good For The Gays? Today we look at Jamie Babbit’s 1999 satire, But I’m a Cheerleader.
Gay Voices – The Huffington Post
Put on your thinking cap.
Queer YouTube sensation Arielle Scarcella is back with another vlog that brilliantly treads the line between humor and education. In “Guess The Sex Toy,” Scarcella brought together a number of gay and lesbian couples to guess whether zoomed-in photos of different objects are, indeed, sex toys or not.
Among the objects the couples make guesses about? The first ever gender-neutral sex toy and an ancient dildo from 28,000 B.C.!
Check out the video above to see if you can guess correctly yourself. But as one highly astute participant notes during the video: “Everything is a sex toy if you try hard enough.”
We couldn’t agree more.
Gays admiring dicks with their lips and humping them on top to cram it deep into their rears. Check out for more high-res photos of this gallery!
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For anyone under 30, it may be difficult to imagine a time when the gay-rights movement wasn’t operating at a milestone-a-minute pace. From Michael Sam’s “kiss seen ’round the world” to states like Oregon, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin tripping over themselves to let same-sex couples walk down the aisle, change is occurring at such a remarkable pace that it is difficult to contextualize how far we’ve come. Just 45 years ago gays had little choice but to quietly rise above the separate-but-inherently-unequal pre-Stonewall era. And it was only a generation ago that HIV demonstrated just how M.I.A. government and society could be — as long as the plague was knocking on someone else’s door. People who lived during these times were warriors on the front lines of history, but today the pace of change threatens to wash away the past in the eyes of a new generation. Fortunately a wave of artistic and media projects has emerged to remind us of these heroes, to refocus us on the type of activism that helped elevate the LGBT movement and to inspire us to make that final push.
How to Survive a Plague is the best documentary you’ve never seen. David France’s 2013 Oscar-nominated film uses archival video footage to tell the tale of the early days of the HIV struggle, where everyday-Joes-turned-activists Peter Staley, Bob Rafsky and Mark Harrington refused to play victims, taught themselves how to read medical journals and brazenly led the national conversation on treatment and prevention. Plague demonstrates how perseverance and the sheer desire to live can mobilize even the most intractable members of society, save Ed Koch and Ronald Reagan.
Next, Ryan Murphy’s much-ballyhooed adaptation of Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart provides a polished and effective complement to Plague‘s grainy documentary. That the story was even green-lit at all (it famously sat on Barbra Streisand’s desk untouched for 20 years) was due to Mr. Murphy’s sense of urgency and the foresight and finances of HBO, a company whose pioneering project development has done as much to expose the nation to the plight of the LGBT community as any non-for-profit or government entity. The Normal Heart, Kramer’s mostly autobiographical but fictionalized account of the early days of AIDS, conjures the ghosts of Fire Island past so that their struggles remain relevant and instructive.
Together these two films do more than share the story of AIDS with those who were either too young to understand or not yet born: They serve as a de facto master class in Activism 101. The AIDS epidemic rallied the gay community, bringing gay people out of the shadows with a vision, a voice and an in-your-face crusade that redefined the struggle for equality.
Of course, AIDS activists would never have had the tools to organize without following the playbook of those who had committed to the struggle before them. It is with this fact in mind that StoryCorps, the nation’s leading oral history project, created OutLoud, an LGBTQ project that aims to capture the stories of those who lived during the pre-Stonewall era. “What we are trying to do,” said Dave Issay, the founder and president of StoryCorps, “is to introduce the entire country to the lives, stories, struggles and victories of the LGBT community.” If exposure elicits change, then OutLoud is poised to become as much a vehicle for progress as it is a collection of stories. “The personal stories are the best way to move hearts and minds, much more so than statistics, and certainly hand-in-hand with the important litigation and advocacy work; it’s the human stories that in part have driven things forward.”
Fortunately StoryCorps will not be standing alone at the Stonewall tea dance. Openly gay German director Roland Emmerich, best known for popcorn blockbusters like Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow, is also set to put his imprimatur on LGBT liberation by tackling 1969’s “little protest that could” in the upcoming film Stonewall. Emmerich was 14 years old at the time of the Stonewall riots, an event that no doubt left an indelible impression on the filmmaker. With the understanding that our window into the Stonewall generation is closing fast, Emmerich is taking a break from blowing up the world to blow up some minds instead. His timing couldn’t be better.
Not every entry in the modern canon of LGBT media is transcendent. For all the hype surrounding Dallas Buyers Club, it was, at its core, the story of a straight bigot who only turns to the gay community out of desperation — and for profit. And if you base your knowledge of the history of marriage equality on Jo Becker’s Forcing the Spring, you might naively draw the conclusion that the movement started itself a few years ago. While victors indeed get to write history, social movements are not won by spiking the football at the 50-yard line.
People can still get fired in 29 states for their sexual orientation (and in 32 states for their gender identity), and same-sex couples cannot get married anywhere south of the Mason-Dixon line and, depending on their zip code, may have great difficulty raising a family. ENDA passed the U.S. Senate last November but — spoiler alert! — has hit a “dead ENDA” in the House of Representatives. Forty percent of all homeless youth in the United States are LGBTQ, and 400,000 children remain in foster care while many states make it difficult for gay couples to adopt. The last time I witnessed a victory this incomplete, President Bush was standing under a “Mission Accomplished” banner.
It is critical for young people today to understand how gay men and women of the 20th century were able to overcome the mightiest of obstacles, and these projects have made these experiences wonderfully accessible. Listen to the OutLoud interviews. Rent How to Survive a Plague. Unpeel the layers of The Normal Heart. The gays of future past have given us the rules of engagement, and now it’s up to us to see the mission through. So skip that next dinner out and volunteer with the Hetrick-Martin Institute, host of the Harvey Milk School. Volunteer for the Trevor Project and slow the tide of suicide in LGBTQ youth. Come to Provincetown for Family Equality Council‘s Family Week and watch how loving and inspirational gay families are. Get involved with Freedom to Marry, because Evan Wolfson is the godfather of marriage equality, and 19 states isn’t the end zone. Support the Treatment Action Group, and donate your old furniture to Housing Works, because there is still no cure for AIDS. Non-engagement is not an option, and President Obama can’t do it all for us.
In an age of ubiquitous techo-activism, some messages are just too important to deliver in 140 characters or less. With a dose of old-school engagement — and perhaps a few more HBO projects — someday soon the pride parade will take a page from St. Patrick and become an exercise in fabulous redundancy, transgender people will walk down the street without causing whiplash, and my children will be able to introduce their two daddies at school without the requisite reading of And Tango Makes Three. Until then, let’s keep the champagne on ice.
Entertainment – The Huffington Post
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