American Jesuits: Church Must Denounce Criminalization of Homosexuality

By Michael O'Loughlin

Originally published on Advocate.com March 03 2014 5:41 PM ET

The Jesuit magazine America published an editorial today in which it calls on Catholic leaders to explore how they "contribute, perhaps even inadvertently, to a culture of fear and shame" that leads some LGBT to feel wounded and even to take their own lives.

In a piece called "When the Law is a Crime," the editors of the New York-based magazine lamented that Catholic bishops in Nigeria and Uganda supported recently adopted laws that punish those convicted of being homosexual with long prison sentences, acknowledging that as a result, "many are driven to despair, even suicide."

The editorial said it is "especially disturbing that such legislation is immensely popular in predominately Christian countries" and said that opposing same-sex marriage "cannot justify these excessive and punitive measures."

They called laws like the one in Uganda "unjustifiable assaults on the human rights and inherent dignity of gay and lesbian people" and said Catholics have "a special obligation to loudly denounce any unjust discrimination against homosexuals."

The editorial concluded, "The church must oppose violence against gay persons and should strongly advocate for the decriminalization of homosexuality. No one should be subject to a criminal penalty simply for being gay."

A Catholic group supporting LGBT rights recently launched a campaign asking Pope Francis to speak out against laws that criminalize homosexuality.

Read the full editorial here.

Contributor: 
Michael O'Loughlin