While the US Supreme Court was hearing oral arguments on the discriminatory 'Defense of Marriage Act' and California's Proposition 8, millions of people turned social media red in support of marriage equality. Two leaders in the Roman Catholic Church took to the internet to make harmful attacks on LGBT people and their supporters.
Joe.My.God reported that San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone posted his own parody of the ubiquitous red equal sign that was appearing on social media during the hearings. Instead of an equal sign, he posted a division sign, with "Luke 12:51" below it. Luke 12:51 reads "Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division!"
In a matter of minutes, hundreds of comments flooded in, condemning the cruel graphic, so much so that the image was taken down.
The verse is a misappropriation of Jesus' longer narrative, in which he calls out religious leaders who use their authority to hurt and condemn others…much like the situation we see today. It is especially disheartening to see this symbol and verse being used at a time when LGBT youth homeless is so high. As Carl Siciliano of the Ali Forney Center has noted, many homeless LGBT youth have been kicked out of their homes because religious leaders have told parents that is the only thing to do.
And across the country, Monseigneur Charles Pope of the Archdiocese of Washington posted a blog that attacked LGBT people, but attempted to mitigate by it by also attaching straight couples who do not follow the hierarchy's policy on birth control, which Joe.My.God also brought to light. Msgr. Pope states 'faithful Catholics' should be dismayed and angry about the Supreme Court hearings. Apparently, for Msgr. Pope, those faithful Catholics are few in number, as nearly three-quarters of Catholics in the US support legal recognition for loving and committed gay and lesbian couples.
Msgr. Pope seems to be lashing out at all of American society, claiming that acceptance of LGBT people is punishment from God. I'm willing to guess that he also supports the "division" that Archbishop Cordileone posted (and removed), creating that division within families, and harming real LGBT people.
Indeed, such division has already been created in many Roman Catholic communities. Barbara Johnson was denied communion at her mother's funeral. Dominic Sheahan-Stahl was uninvited to speak at his brother's graduation (at his own alma mater). Lennon Cihak was barred from confirmation for posting a photo urging people to vote "no" on the discriminatory Minnesota anti-marriage amendment. Countless people have been fired from their work. Catholic Bishops opposed the Violence Against Women Act because it included protections for LGBT women. The antagonism from the Roman Catholic hierarchy to its own flock has harmed its own credibility.
GLAAD continues to stand with the Catholics who love and support their LGBT friends and family. We will continue to speak out about such radical claims against LGBT people, no matter what the source.