HUDSON, N.C. - Faith In America - an organization working to end the harm to LGBT youth and families from religion-based bigotry – today expressed its deepest hope that the next pope will end the "immense harm" the Roman Catholic Church has caused to innocent LGBT people, especially vulnerable teens.
While Pope Benedict XVI’s tenure has been marred by his erroneous treatment of the victims of pedophilia within the Church, history will note his other great failing in continuing the religion-based bigotry against the LGBT community worldwide.
“It is critical for all to understand the devastating effects to a young person when their church leadership teaches that homosexuality is a sin and that they are not God’s best,” said Brent Childers, executive director of Faith in America and an evangelical Christian who once aligned himself with anti-gay religious teachings.
“I have come to learn the unintended consequences of those that believe they are teaching what it is to be a good Catholic or Christian in fact are the very reason why LGBT teens suffer an unusually high rate of depression, attempted suicides, and worse, suicide.”
Childers said a large majority of Americans, from Catholics to Pentecostals, no longer hold the traditional religious perspective on homosexuality.
According to a poll in January commissioned by a Southern Baptist-affiliated research group, only 37% of Americans consider homosexuality a sin. The poll reflected an 8% drop in that number since the same research group asked the question in 2011.
In addition, a recent poll from New York Times/CBS News found that more than six in 10 American Catholics support equal marriage.
"Catholic voices are crying out for their church to acknowledge the immense harm caused when certain outdated and misapplied religious teachings are misused to justify and promote hostility toward gay, lesbian bisexual and transgender individuals, especially youth and their families. The Catholic community needs leadership that can right its wrongs and represent the new majority voice on this issue," Childers said.
"It is the coming moral voice of the universal church and it can no longer be stifled by the powerful and perverse agent of religion-based bigotry. It is our hope that Pope Benedict XVI's successor will embrace such a voice and the good it represents for not only the Catholic faith but all faith traditions – indeed the spirituality of a global humanity."
About Faith in America
Faith in America is a nonprofit organization that nationally educates the public about the harm caused to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people when certain church teaching is used to promote and justify stigma and hostility toward that minority population. Brent Childers, an evangelical Christian who once aligned himself with the anti-gay religious industry, serves as executive director. For more information, click HERE.