Moral Low Ground

Civil Liberties

Florida Catholic Bishop Robert Lynch: ‘Religion Breeds Contempt for Gays’

St. Petersburg Bishop Robert Lynch candidly acknowledged in the wake of the Orlando massacre that "religion breeds contempt for gays." (Photo: OnePeter5)

St. Petersburg Bishop Robert Lynch candidly acknowledged in the wake of the Orlando massacre that “religion breeds contempt for gays.” (Photo: OnePeter5)

Responding to the horrific massacre of 50 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando on Sunday, St. Petersburg, Florida Bishop Robert Lynch candidly acknowledged that religion—including his own Catholic faith—often “breeds contempt” for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

“Sadly it is religion, including our own, which targets, mostly verbally, and also often breeds contempt for gays, lesbians and transgender people,” Lynch wrote on his blog Monday. “Attacks today on LGBT men and women often plant the seed of contempt, then hatred, which can ultimately lead to violence.”

“Those women and men who were mowed down early yesterday morning were all made in the image and likeness of God,” Lynch added. “We teach that. We should believe that. We must stand for that.”

The National Catholic Reporter notes this isn’t the first time Lynch has spoken out against Church-sanctioned homophobia.

“I do not wish to lend our voice to notions which might suggest that same-sex couples are a threat incapable of sharing relationships marked by love and holiness and, thus, incapable of contributing to the edification of both the church and the wider society,” he wrote in a January 2015 op-ed following Florida’s legalization of same-sex marriage.

Lynch also called for a ban on “assault-style” rifles like the AR-15 used in numerous mass shootings in recent years.

“If one is truly pro-life, then embrace this issue also and work for the elimination of sales to those who would turn them on innocents,” he said.

The bishop additionally said that calls to ban Muslims from immigrating or traveling to the United States, as advocated by presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, are “un-American, even in these most challenging of times and situations.”

“Singling out people for victimization because of their religion, their sexual orientation, their nationality must be offensive to God’s ears. It has to stop also,” he said.

While many religious leaders around the world have strongly condemned Sunday’s slaughter, which was carried out by a self-described Islamic State supporter, some Christian pastors and other leaders have joined radical Islamists, including IS, in praising the attack.

“Every sodomite is a pedophile,” Sacramento, California Baptist pastor Roger Jimenez said during his Sunday sermon. “Are you sad that 50 pedophiles were killed today? Um no, I think that’s great! I think that helps society. I think Orlando, Florida is a little safer tonight. The tragedy is that more of them didn’t die. I’m upset that [Mateen] didn’t finish the job!”

“I wish the government would round them all up, put them up against a wall, put a firing squad in front of them and blow their brains out,” Jimenez added.

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