Conn. Catholic Hierarchy’s Advice to LGBTs: Total Abstinence
Earlier this week, the Hartford, Conn., Roman Catholic archdiocese announced that it was creating a local chapter of a national ministry called Courage that will help the LGBT community practice abstinence, reported the Hartford Courant in a Jan. 3 article.
The new organization will "support men and women who struggle with homosexual tendencies and motivate them to live chaste and fruitful lives in accordance with Catholic Church teachings."
In a press release, the archdiocese said that Robert Pallotti, the office of diaconate director, has been working on creating the group for nearly four years. Courage will be headed by Rev. Paul Check of the Bridgeport Diocese. The statement also says that there are more than 100 chapters of Courage around the nation.
Courage totes the "love the sinner, hate the sin" tagline and claims that being gay is not a sin rather that the sin is when one sexually acts upon those feelings.
"Through support and spiritual intervention, we can help people with same-sex attraction lead moral and fulfilling lives," Pallotti said. "These people are hurting and so are their families. Doing nothing would be a lack of compassion."
LGBT rights groups, however, find the "helpful" Christian organization to be offensive.
The executive director of the Hartford Gay & Lesbian Health Collective, Linda Estabrook, said that Courage is telling gays and lesbians that they "are not moral and are not leading fulfilling lives, and that is not true."
Robin MCHaelen, executive director of the LGBT organization True Colors, also criticized Courage and said that the Catholic Church is "trying to have it both ways -- keeping the same hostile interpretation of a small number of biblical passages while pretending they are not homophobic."
"I can’t tell you how many kids I work with who have been spiritually wounded by this and similar religious perspectives," McHaelen said.
"In my opinion, that’s the abomination," she added.
The Human Rights Campaign’s director of the religion and faith program, Sharon Groves, also took issue with Courage and said the group was "calling on people to be inauthentic. God did not ask us to have to lie about who we are."
Connecticut is one of the most progressive states in the country when it comes to LGBT issues, however, it is one of the few that allows same-sex couples to get married. The state also has anti-discrimination laws that protect individuals based on sexual orientation in public places, public and private employment, governmental services and more. In addition, there are laws that protect the LGBT community against hate crimes.
When it comes to adoption, Connecticut allows single individuals and same-sex couples, married or not to adopt children.