Our Church Must End Its LBGT Prejudice

Letter to the Editor published in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette on September 19, 2014:

We strongly agree with Joyce Rothermel’s letter of September 2, and would like to add our voice to the effort to encourage the passage of Pennsylvania Senate and House Bill 300, now in committee. The Association of Pittsburgh Priests (APP) sees this bill as essential to bringing to an end prejudice against people who are gay, lesbian bisexual, or transgender (LGBT).

For as long as we can remember, people of the LGBT community have been engaged in an historic struggle for equality. We have been privileged, in our time of history, to see some victories in this struggle; privileged to see that, because of the work of so many, full equality is beginning to have its long-awaited due in military service, housing, marriage, education, employment, etc.

We write to support Bill 300, to be sure, but we write also to challenge our Church. We humbly submit that we are keenly aware of our own church’s prejudice against the LGBT community. This prejudice has for years infected our parishes, our schools, our universities, and our seminaries, and it surfaces in many of the Church’s public statements. The contention that “they” are, “in the eyes of God, “ basically disordered has been a scandalous attempt to deny basic rights to many people. This denial has often been disguised under the heading, “Religious Freedom.”

But this is a new day. There is no longer any room for this “old order” – for these old prejudiced ways, for we are all, in our own unique ways, trying to be proud of who we are and to live in peace with each other on this tiny planet.

Sent in the name of The Association of Pittsburgh Priests by the APP Steering Committee.

Sr. Barbara Finch, David Aleva, Marcia Snowden, Fr. Bernard Survil and Fr. Regis Ryan