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North Carolina Catholic School Fires Gay Teacher: VIDEO

Lonnie Billard

In yet another case of anti-gay discrimination in Catholic schools, Charlotte Roman Catholic diocese, North Carolina fired teacher Lonnie Billard (above left, with his partner Rich) after he announced his engagement on Facebook, reports the Advocate.

Before his dismissal, retired Billard had continued to work as a regular substitute teacher in Charlotte Catholic High School.

Although the diocese has claimed that the school made the decision, Billard has challenged this version of events:

“This was not a decision by Charlotte Catholic High School. I had talked with one of the administration officials. He knew [about the engagement announcement]. He didn’t care. He said he knew me to be a good teacher and a good person.

“Apparently there were a couple teachers there who are super-conservative Catholic. They are not friends of mine on Facebook, but they found out about it and escalated it so it got to the diocese.

I knew the Catholic Church is behind the times when it comes to understanding and acceptance of gay people, but I thought with the current pope saying, ‘Who am I to judge?’ that maybe things would be better, but apparently that’s not the case.”

According to diocese spokesman David Hains, Billard was not fired for being gay but for violating an employment contract that prohibited him from opposing church teaching.

However, responding to objections from the diocese on the facts as presented by Qnotes, the Charlotte-based LGBT community newspaper stated:

“The violation of Billard’s contract was his statement on his intention to marry. Without this statement, Billard wouldn’t have been fired. Therefore, it is factual and accurate to report that Billard was fired because he is a gay man who announced his intention to marry his same-gender partner — an act the church calls ‘disobedience,’ but which is also a fundamental human and civil right guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, as recently upheld by North Carolina’s U.S. District Courts and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.”

In March of last year, an assistant theology professor at Charlotte Catholic caused a furore - and a backlash from parents and students - when she claimed in a speech that homosexuality occurs mainly as a result of pornography and parents' shortcomings.

Watch a report on the case, AFTER THE JUMP... 

 

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Anti-Gay Cardinal Raymond Burke Blames Catholic Church's Woes On Womankind: VIDEO

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Grumpy Cardinal Raymond Burke, one of the most outspoken anti-gay Catholic activists, has blamed women for the problems the church is facing today, reports the Irish Times.

6a00d8341c730253ef01b8d07fe14f970c-150wiIn an interview with The New Emangelization -  a website that aims to address the “man crisis” in the church - Burke suggests that Catholicism has become too feminized and argues that the use of altar girls and the women’s rights movement may be the crux of the problem:

“Apart from the priest, the sanctuary has become full of women...the activities in the parish and even the liturgy have been influenced by women and become so feminine in many places that men do not want to get involved. Men are often reluctant to become active in the church. The feminised environment and the lack of the church’s effort to engage men has led many men to simply opt out.”

Burke was in Rome last week to meet Pope Francis following the pontiff’s decision to demote the cardinal from his role in the powerful Apostolic Signatura to a largely ceremonial one with the Knights of Malta.

The cardinal was one of the most vociferous opponents of an attempt last October to introduce language aiming to be more inclusive of gay people and conciliatory on the issue of same-sex marriage.

Speaking at a conference on "the Catholic family" in Ireland last November, Burke said he would refuse holy communion to any politician who has been supportive of same-sex marriage. 

Watch Burke explain why it's "perfectly good and just" to discriminate against gay people, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Their Husbands Aren't 'Gay,' So Let's Stop Acting Like They Are

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The Interplay is a special biweekly series exploring the intersections of sex, pop culture, and current events.

BY CHARLES PULLIAM-MOORE

Last Sunday TLC invited us into the homes and lives of married Mormon men who, despite being in committed relationships with women, still felt sexual desires for other men. Taken at face value “My Husband’s Not Gay” is exactly the kind of contemporary sideshow attraction that TLC specializes in. As casual viewers we’re meant to poke fun at the documentary’s subjects and to decry TLC’s morally questionable exploitation of them. Having watched the show, however, there’s a much more interesting story being told about the complexities of modern relationships and broader cultural difference.

The joke built into the special is eye-rollingly simple, if a bit heartbreaking: here’s a group of men living in denial about who they really are; ain’t that funny? If we accept the show’s central premise as being true, then sure, there’s potential for some dark humor at the couples’ expense. When you really stop and think about it, though, there’s a degree of truth to the show’s title. These men aren’t gay, at least not socially.

Not a day goes by that someone somewhere makes the valid, though cliched, point that there is no real “X-community.” The idea is that queer people come from too diverse a set of backgrounds to simply lump together. In terms of political correctness, that’s all true.

But in our day-to-day interactions we all participate in various activities that compose a larger LGBTQ or queer culture. You there, sir or madam who’s reading this post? Congratulations; you’re creating queer culture. Everything from the music that we listen to to the legal happenings we follow is a part of of a group subculture that we, as non-straight people, are a part of.

It’s important to point out, though, that the LGBTQ community is about more than not being heteronormatively straight. Similarly, the gay community, culture, and identity cannot be reduced to gay men not wanting to have sex with women. Gays and lesbians who choose to remain celibate in accordance with Catholic beliefs, for example, shouldn’t be denied right to their identities simply because they choose not to have sex with others of the same sex. The husbands of “My Husband’s Not Gay” are up front about their urges, but they’re also fundamentally removed from the gay culture and community in a way that’s worth thinking about.

These families’ lives are built around the teachings of the Mormon Church that require certain behaviors that the typical gay man would find untenable. Unlike many popular examples of cultures that forbid homosexuality, the families here deal with the elephant in the room in an open way that comes across as both endearing and, for lack of a better term, weird.

These men are able to openly discuss their thoughts and desires with their wives and each other. If we think about these men as self-identified homosexuals, rather than gay men, who have chosen to abstain for religious reasons, then there’s a novelty to seeing them discuss their thoughts frankly.  As off putting as the the documentary’s premise may be to you or I, it isn’t fair to write off their entire way of living simply because we can’t imagine ourselves in their situations.

To be clear, there are many things about “My Husband’s Not Gay” that are problematic and made all the worse by TLC’s decision not to contextualize some of its content. Though none of the Mormon characters explicitly endorsed reparative therapy during the course of the first episode, three have been directly linked to the practice in their personal lives. Other plot elements such as the sliding danger scale and the implicit pathologization of same-sex attraction also deserve a more appropriate counterbalance that TLC could have easily provided.

That all being said, “My Husband’s Not Gay” profiles a group of families united in their faith that have somehow managed to carve out a curious, but valid cultural niche for themselves. Though we may not agree with their beliefs, the documentary is an opportunity for us to learn across our differences and perhaps come to understand that certain similarities don’t always equal sameness.


Bigot Larry Tomczak Recommends 'I Love Lucy' To Deflect Anderson Cooper's Nasty Child-Focused Gay-Rays: VIDEO

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File this one under batshit crazy: “Christian” author Larry Tomczak has warned parents against a television “tsunami” aimed at promoting homosexuality to the American public.

Last year, Larry claimed that God punishes gay people by making gay men more effeminate and lesbians more "mannish."

06d2d06d9dbafd844ef9604d469c74c7According to Gay Star News, in a column on the Christian Post Tomczak argued that shows like Glee and Modern Family “promote” homosexuality (Ellen DeGeneres and Anderson Cooper are also to blame) and LGBT rights groups “have multimillion-dollar budgets and work aggressively to convince Americans that homosexuality is a beautiful way of life – maybe for your child or grandchild?”

Not mentioned is the multimillion dollar anti-gay industry spearheaded by the likes of Scott Lively and Matt Barber.

However, parents worried that Anderson Cooper might send magic gay waves through the plasma screen needn’t worry because Tomczak has a solution - kids should only be allowed to watch shows from a bygone era before positive depictions of gay people:

“Purchasing wholesome DVD series and streaming selected programs are great alternatives.

The Fugitive, Gunsmoke, Little House on the Prairie, I Love Lucy and other award-winning shows are all available and cheap. My son has two adopted young boys who are growing up with Wally, Larry Mondello, Eddie Haskell and the Beaver and can't wait till the next episode!”

What are the boys watching when dad’s not around, Larry? 

Watch Larry's hilarious dystopian "Is Gay OK? 10 Things Everyone Needs to Know," AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Bigot Larry Tomczak Recommends 'I Love Lucy' To Deflect Anderson Cooper's Nasty Child-Focused Gay-Rays: VIDEO" »


Former Danish President Reflects On Protecting The Press' Right To Free Speech: WATCH

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Days before the religiously-motivated attacks on the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, former Danish President Anders Fogh Rasmussen sat down with Big Thing to reflect on his own struggles dealing with civil unrest sparked by controversial cartoons. In 2005 protests swept through the country after Jyllands-Posten, a Danish newspaper, published a number of cartoons that depicted the prophet Mohammed. Despite calls for the Danish government to step in and mitigate tensions within the country, Rasmussen and his cabinet elected not to become directly involved.

Though Rasmussen describes that time as “Denmark's worst international relations incident since the Second World War,” he still stands by his decision not to bend to the public’s will. In remaining uninvolved, he said, he was defending the Danish press’s right to free speech.

Similar sentiment has echoed through the French press as Charlie Hebdo prepares to release its largest print run in the publication’s history. Soon after the shooting, an outpouring of financial support to the newspaper came from across the globe, enabling the surviving editorial staff to publish some 1 million copies of this week’s forthcoming issue. Since announcing its intentions, Charlie Hebdo has upped its projected publication numbers to 3 million copies to be printed in 16 languages, including Arabic, and distributed throughout 18 countries.

"There is a future. But we don't know yet what it will resemble. There will be a newspaper," said Hebdo’s sitting editor-in-chief Gerard Briard. "For the time being we can't tell you anymore because we don't know ourselves."

Listen to former Danish President Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s reflections on dealing defending the press AFTER THE JUMP...

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Illinois Governor-Elect Bruce Rauner Appoints Anti-Gay Pastor James Meeks To State Education Board

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Anti-gay Illinois Republican Governor-elect Bruce Rauner has appointed religious leader and homophobic former Democratic senator James Meeks (right) to head of the state Board of Education, reports the Chicago Tribune.

MeeksMeeks, pastor of Salem Baptist Church in Chicago, endorsed Rauner for governor and backs the increased use of charter schools and vouchers as alternatives to traditional public education.

While Rauner has claimed that he had no social agenda, Meeks has been an active opponent of same-sex marriage in Illinois.

Last year, Equality Illinois, along with associated community members and elected officials, unveiled a giant banner Rauner, showcasing a 2013 statement that he would have vetoed the state’s new marriage equality bill had it come to his desk as governor.

In 2008, it was revealed that Barack Obama often sought out Meeks for "spiritual counsel."


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