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Queer Nation: Why is HRC Blasting Vatican While Pushing for ENDA with Terrible Religious Exemption?

Earlier this week we reported that the Human Rights Campaign had sent a letter to the Vatican requesting an audience with the Pope on behalf of nine teachers who have lost their jobs at Catholic schools for being LGBT or supporting an LGBT person.

Pope_griffinThe activist group Queer Nation sent out a press release yesterday calling HRC out for hypocrisy on the issue of religious discrimination because it is pushing for passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) which contains a terrible religious exemption.

Here's the full release from Queer Nation:

At the same time it is criticizing Roman Catholic schools for their anti-LGBT discrimination, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is lobbying in Congress for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) that has a religious exemption that would allow that discrimination under federal law.

"All discrimination is immoral and HRC is right to object to what these schools are doing," said Ken Kidd, a member of Queer Nation. "So why is HRC spending millions in Congress to promote ENDA when that legislation has a religious exemption that will let Roman Catholic schools and other religiously-affiliated institutions fire LGBT people and perhaps even pro-LGBT people?"

In a May 27 press release announcing it had delivered a letter to the Vatican on behalf of nine Roman Catholic school teachers who were fired from their jobs for being LGBT or pro-LGBT, HRC called such discrimination "draconian laws" that are "designed to force LGBT people back into the closet and silence straight allies."

HRC noted that the firings were part of "a frightening trend" at Roman Catholic schools across America of including teacher contract clauses that bar LGBT people and pro-LGBT activities by teachers at these schools. In April, HRC collected over 30,000 signatures in a petition asking the Archdiocese of Cincinnati to remove the clause from its teacher contract, the press release noted.

"HRC can't have it both ways," Kidd said. "It can't criticize Roman Catholic schools for discriminating against LGBT Americans and then seek to make that discrimination legal under federal law. ENDA is a lousy bill and it should be scrapped. What the LGBT community needs is comprehensive federal civil rights legislation."

Queer Nation has been campaigning for a comprehensive federal civil rights law that bans discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, education, and federally-funded programs. The direct action group is using the hashtags #deadenda and #endaisnotequal.

ENDA's religious exemption is expansive and goes beyond the more limited exemption in the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Five leading LGBT legal groups are not supporting the current version of ENDA, which only bans employment discrimination, because of its religious exemption. Lorri Jean, the head of the LA Gay & Lesbian Center, recently said that the exemption must be removed.

Matt Foreman, the former head of the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, and Cathy Marino-Thomas, the former board chair of Marriage Equality USA, have opposed ENDA and called for comprehensive federal civil rights legislation.


Pope Compares Sex Abuse by Priests to a 'Satanic Mass', Says There Will be Zero Tolerance: VIDEO

Pope

Pope Francis told reporters on a plane trip back from the Middle East on Monday that he would meet with sex abuse victims at the Vatican next month and liked sex abuse by priests to a "satanic Mass," Reuters reports:

Asked about whether he would move against bishops who were accused of sexual abuse, he said "there will be no daddy's boys" and no privileges, adding that three bishops were currently under investigation.

"Sexual abuse is such an ugly crime ... because a priest who does this betrays the body of the Lord. It is like a satanic Mass," he said in some of the toughest language he has used on a crisis which has rocked the Church for more than a decade.

"We must go ahead with zero tolerance" he said.

Watch Francis make the remarks, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Pope Compares Sex Abuse by Priests to a 'Satanic Mass', Says There Will be Zero Tolerance: VIDEO" »


Obama Meets Pope Francis at the Vatican: VIDEO

Pope_obama

President Obama and Pope Francis met for the first time today at the Vatican, in a meeting that lasted 52 minutes. The NYT reports:

In a three-paragraph communiqué released on Thursday afternoon, the Vatican described as “cordial” the meetings between Mr. Obama and Francis, as well as a later meeting among the president, his aides and other top Vatican officials. The discussions touched on “current international themes,” according to the statement, as the Vatican also expressed hope for respect for humanitarian and international law in “areas of conflict.” Immigration reform was discussed, while both sides shared a “common commitment” to fighting human trafficking.

As expected, the Vatican communiqué also alluded to the ongoing dispute between American bishops and the Obama administration over provisions of the Affordable Care Act, including the mandate that for-profit corporations must provide contraception coverage in health care plans. American bishops argue that the mandate is a violation of religious freedom. On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in a case challenging the constitutionality of the mandate.

In the communiqué, the Vatican noted that discussions were held on questions of particular relevance for the Church, including “the exercise of the rights to religious freedom, life and conscientious objection.”

Watch scenes from their meeting, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Obama Meets Pope Francis at the Vatican: VIDEO" »


German Customs Intercepts Box Of Cocaine-Filled Condoms Addressed To The Vatican

Condoms

German customs officials intercepted a package at the international airport of Leipzig last January to find that it contained 340 grams of liquid cocaine, stored in condoms, and bound for the Vatican. The $55,000-worth of the narcotics were being shipped in from somewhere in South America and addressed to the main postal center in the Vatican.

Authorities initially handed the package over to Vatican police in hopes of trapping the buyer, but the box went unclaimed leaving police to believe that whomever intended to claim the drugs had been tipped off about the interception. The Vatican office of Interpol is now working on the investigation with the Leizpig prosecutor's office.


Peace Doves Released From Pope Francis’s Window Immediately Attacked By Other Birds: VIDEO

Pope francis

The AP reports on a bad omen out of Vatican City, where two white doves that were released by children standing alongside Pope Francis as a peace gesture were quickly attacked by other birds.

Bird attack_1As tens of thousands of people watched in St. Peter's Square on Sunday, a seagull and a large black crow swept down on the doves right after they were set free from an open window of the Apostolic Palace.

One dove lost some feathers as it broke free from the gull. But the crow pecked repeatedly at the other dove.

It was not clear what happened to the doves as they flew off.

New York quips, "Hopefully, they recovered and intend to continue to their avian fight for good. But, if something terrible happens somewhere in the world today, no one can say that there weren't any signs."

Any thoughts on what doom scenario the seagull and crow might symbolize? Bonus points for creativity.

Check out some more shots and footage of the attack, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Peace Doves Released From Pope Francis’s Window Immediately Attacked By Other Birds: VIDEO" »


Vatican Calls On Former Swiss Guard To Expose ‘Gay Lobby’

Swiss

Earlier this month we reported on an allegation made by a former member of the Swiss Guard, the military unit charged with protecting the Pope with their lives, that he had been solicited for sex at least 20 times by members of the clergy during his tenure with the guard. The AP now reports that a top official at the Vatican has called on the former guard to name names:

Elmar Maeder, who headed the Swiss Guards from 2002-2008, told the Swiss newspaper Schweiz am Sonntag that he didn't doubt that predatory gays worked at the Vatican. He was quoted as saying that in his experience, "many homosexuals tend to be more loyal toward each other than toward other people or institutions." He said he wouldn't promote gay guards out of fear they might be disloyal.

In an interview with La Repubblica, Archbishop Angelo Becciu, No. 2 in the Vatican's secretariat of state, urged Maeder to provide names to back his accusations. His office confirmed his quotes Friday.

(Photo via Instagram)


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