For Immediate Release

Contact: Catherine J. Kelly
Publicist for Dr. Robert Minor
(816) 769-4139 or

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 place.

"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 religious
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, 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 'ministries.'"

"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