Bishop’s anti-LGBTQ tweet draws hundreds to protest

A bishop’s anti-LGBTQ tweet decrying Pride Month has drawn a large amount of negative backlash.

On Saturday, Rhode Island Bishop Thomas J. Tobin’s tweet urged Catholics not to support or attend LGBTQ events planned for this month.

“A reminder that Catholics should not support or attend LGBTQ ‘Pride Month’ events held in June,” he tweeted.

“They promote a culture and encourage activities that are contrary to Catholic faith and morals. They are especially harmful for children.”

Protest followed.

Rhode Island Pride President Joe Lazzerini led the rainbow-bedecked crowd to answer “Love!”.

One of the protesters offended by Tobin’s urging Catholics to keep children away from pride events said it felt as if he had accused her and everyone at the rally of being harmful to children. She said children benefit from learning about diversity.

Another said Tobin should be concerned “with brethren moving around assaultive priests”.

In a statement issued before Sunday’s rally, Tobin said he understood why “a good number of individuals have taken offence.”

He said he appreciated “the widespread support I have received on this matter.”

“The Catholic Church has respect and love for members of the gay community, as do I. Individuals with same-sex attraction are beloved children of God and our brothers and sisters.”

He said his “obligation before God is to lead the faithful entrusted to my care and to teach the faith, clearly and compassionately, even on very difficult and sensitive issues”.

He added that he would pray during the event “for a rebirth of mutual understanding and respect in our very diverse community.”

Following the negative backlash his tweet received, Tobin released a statement standing by his tweet but saying he regrets the offence his comments might have caused.

“That certainly was not my intention, but I understand why a good number of individuals have taken offence.”




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