Contact: Catherine J. Kelly
Publicist for Dr. Robert Minor
(816) 769-4139 or email@example.com
Catholic Priest Sexuality Crisis
Reveals Real Issues in Accepting Gay People
Author of Scared Straight
to Lead September Workshop in Columbus, Ohio on Understanding
the Crisis in the Catholic Church
(Kansas City, MO, August 25, 2002) "The response
of the Roman Catholic Church in its current crisis regarding
its priests' sexual activity illustrates how religion,
like science, has been used to oppress and to liberate
people. It supported slavery in the past and now continues
to support cultural prejudices against lesbians, gay
men, and bisexual and transgender people. Though religion
is meaningful to many people, it is frankly not the
real issue but a smokescreen which keeps us from examining
the deeper issues related to prejudice."
So says and writes Robert N. Minor, Professor of Religious
Studies at the University of Kansas and author of
Scared Straight: Why It's So Hard to Accept Gay People
and Why It's So Hard to Be Human (HumanityWorks!,
2001). Minor has been conducting workshops for communities
of faith and others on "Understanding Homophobia"
for ten years.
He is coming to Columbus in September to lead the
workshop "When Religion Compounds the Oppression:
A Look at the Catholic Church Crisis" at the PFLAG:
Family Voices For Equality Conference in Columbus, Ohio,
September 27-29. In the workshop, Minor strategizes
how individuals can personally move beyond arguing religion
and the Bible to get down to the deeper issues that
need to be dealt with so that real change will take
"The fact is, all of the religious arguments against
full acceptance of LGBT people have been made over and
over again. And they have been answered again and again.
And for over a quarter of a century all of the mainstream
psychological organizations have rejected the idea that
homosexuality is an abnormality to be 'cured.'
They all actually said that trying to change a person's
sexual orientation is psychologically harmful. Yet those
groups sanctify prejudices that our cultural hangs on
to because something deeper is at stake."
Minor has discussed this "something deeper"
in his book Scared Straight which in 2002 was
named a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award and an
Independent Publishers Book Award, as well as "Book
of the Week" in July 2001 by Menstuff.org, the
nation's premier website on men's issues.
"Issues of religious power, hierarchical authority,
and institutional protection coupled with fear of loss
and change are threatened when religious institutions
are forced to rethink this issue. To protect the current
status of the institution and prevent change, the institution
responds in fear with doctrinal grandstanding, and diversionary
tactics which at times may look like partial concessions."
"The reaction of the Roman Catholic Church is
hardly different from the Protestant right-wing. Even
the 1997 American Catholic Bishop's letter, 'Always
Our Children' called for compassion. Many, looking
for hope, saw this
as a step forward. But the Bishops still saw their adult
child's homosexuality as a problem the child has which
the parent is supposed to see as objectionable. It repeats
the condemnations of the past and defines
homosexual people as an 'objectively disordered.'"
"Using homosexuality as the scapegoat for the
Church's problem with priests who make sexual advances
to their flock and its inadequate teachings about sexuality
in general was to be expected as the hierarchy tried
to cover the
crisis posed by priests' sexuality. The Church did not
react differently from the so-called Christian Right
even in the Bishops statement."
"It's going to be hard for any religious group
to give up a prejudice this entrenched. Imagine what
they will have to do. They'll actually have to repent
by taking personal responsibility for all the historical
and present-day hurt, violence, and destruction their
rhetoric has fed and their actions have caused toward
human beings who are gay. They'll have to give up their
anti-gay interpretations of the Bible and Church tradition
for those of other Bible and Church scholars whom they
now criticize for disagreeing with them."
"They'll have to accept their own sexual orientations
as God-given. They'll have to stop scapegoating gay
people and gay priests and take personal responsibility
for their own part in the problems that plague straight
families, marriages, children, and society. And they'll
have to forgo all the attention and the lucrative funds
raised through the scare tactics of the anti-gay industry
for their leaders, counselors, ministers, causes, and
"That's a lot to face and feel. And it requires
major institutional change and personal repentance,"
Dr. Minor adds. "But it will happen some day. Sadly,
until it does, many more LGBT people will suffer hurt
and abuse. "
For more information, an interview with Dr. Minor,
a copy of the book to review, contact The Fairness Project
or visit his website at www.drminor.com.