Bishop laments religion role in contempt for LGBT people

In the wake of the Orlando killings, a Florida bishop has lamented the role religion has played in breeding contempt for the LBGT community.

Bishop Robert Lynch of St Petersburg wrote on his blog in reaction to the killings of at least 49 people and injuring of 53 more by gunman Omar Marteen in an Orlando gay nightclub on Sunday.

“Sadly it is religion, including our own, which targets, mostly verbally, and also often breeds contempt for gays, lesbians and transgender people,” Bishop Lynch wrote on Monday.

“Attacks today on LGBT men and women often plant the seed of contempt, then hatred, which can ultimately lead to violence.”

“Those women and men who were mowed down early yesterday morning were all made in the image and likeness of God,” Bishop Lynch added.

The bishop called for a ban on the sale of all assault weapons.

He also labelled attempts to bar Muslim people from entering the US as “un-American, even in these most challenging of times and situations”.

“Singling out people for victimisation because of their religion, their sexual orientation, their nationality must be offensive to God’s ears. It has to stop also,” he said.

New Ways Ministry, a US Catholic LGBT outreach ministry, criticised Church leaders who omitted references to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in their conciliatory statements after the killings.

“The Orlando murders should move all Catholic leaders to reflect on how their silence about homophobic and transphobic attitudes and violence contributes to behaviours which treat LGBT people as less than human and deserving of punishment,” said New Ways Ministry executive director Frank DeBernardo.

“This sad moment in our history should become a time when Catholic leaders speak loudly and clearly, with one voice, that attacks on LGBT people must stop,” he said.


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