Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Sydney Morning Herald: Gays to protest at Pope's arrival

July 8, 2008

Gay and lesbian Christians will protest the Pope's condemnation of homosexuality ahead of World Youth Day, labelling his beliefs as right-wing propaganda.

The protest, calling for equality for gay and lesbian followers, will take place at the Pitt Street Uniting Church this Sunday, coinciding with Pope Benedict XVI's arrival in Sydney.

Catholic writer and educator Michael Kelly said gay and lesbian people had been marginalised and condemned by mainstream churches, particularly the Catholic Church.

He labelled the "version of Christianity that is coming to Sydney" as propaganda.

"We call on gay and lesbian Christians ... to join us in standing up for the goodness of being gay, and not allow right-wing religious propaganda to silence our faith, hope and love," he said.

Reverend Dorothy McRae-McMahon said churches were happy to benefit from the hard work of gay followers, but demonised them in public.

"We need to claim our place and give witness to the grace of God in our lives as lesbian and gay people," she said.

"The churches are happy to use our gifts and our hard work - it's time we celebrated all the richness and wisdom that we have offered the Christian community, and show that the negative messages about us are based on fear and ignorance."

Pope Benedict is due to land at Richmond air base on Sunday before being whisked off to the Kenthurst Study Centre for some relaxation ahead of his first official engagement for the Catholic World Youth Day event.

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