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My church opposes gay marriage, I'm ashamed and disgraced

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I would never have classed myself as a deeply spiritual or dedicated Catholic, however in my early teens I attended mass around once a week. I believed (and still do) in God and I even used to read prayers at mass once a month.

However, one Saturday evening in 2013 at the weekly vigil I suddenly felt separated from the religion that I had been brought up to believe in and respect. It was during the priest’s sermon when he pointed to the back of the room and urged the congregation to sign the petition that he had placed there.

At the age of 16, like many young people I had become very sceptical about a number of issues and to question many things.

So, when my parish priest urged me and a further 100 or so members of the congregation to formally oppose gay marriage I was stunned.

As a white straight guy I’ve of course never encountered homophobia and have never been the victim of bullying for my race, background or appearance, so this was the first time that I had ever thought about how influential people, especially in religion and politics, have come to demonise and essentially bully particular groups of people.

That Saturday evening my that priest could have turned his own and more importantly his audience’s attentions to the plight of the victims of the unfolding celebrity sexual assault charges, the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Syria, the communities that had been left devastated by austerity, or any number of devastating events that has caused pain and suffering in mid 2013.

Instead, he decided to draw our attention to the proposed legislation allowing same-sex couples to marry. Not only did he draw our attention to this issue but he urged us to oppose it wherever possible. That evening I had never felt so unattached and embarrassed of something that I once held so dear.

An ancient institution that once preached tolerance, forgiveness and reconciliation had abandoned all of its core values and began a campaign of hate and oppression to drive the LGBT community underground.

The Catholic church’s official stance on homosexuality is that they accept people may have homosexual feelings but it would be a sin to act on it. How can a society like ours even tolerate this abhorrent form of prejudice?

For too long have minority groups of all kinds been oppressed by the powerful, whether it was European Jews in the 1940s, African-Americans in the 1960s, or even women since basically the beginning of time.

Yet, in the 21st-century Britain we do not learn from the mistakes of history and choose to alienate and persecute a minority that has the same rights as any man or woman.

From that day I stopped going to church and I have recently begun to see the cracks in the supposedly pure image of religion whether it be sexism, homophobia, racism or one of the many other unlimited forms of prejudice, no single religion is excluded.

Now I am not for one minute saying dedicated Catholics or religious people are wrong or prejudiced. However, in my opinion the Jesus that I know would have been ashamed by what happened that night and I doubt he would be alone in feeling that.




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