ANTI-GAY CHURCH OFFICIALS PROMOTE EVIL
By Shelley Ettinger
The rise in violence against gays, lesbians and transgendered
people is continuing. According to the New York City Gay and
Lesbian Anti-Violence Project, there has been a 10-percent
increase in anti-gay attacks here in the last year.
Activists say the religious right, including the Catholic Church
hierarchy, is partly to blame.
Brendan Fay, a well-known Irish gay activist, was stabbed in the
back as he walked home in Brooklyn, N.Y., Aug. 23. His attacker
yelled an anti-gay slur as he stabbed Fay.
Fay suffered a punctured lung. He was hospitalized in serious
The incident came less than two weeks after Pope John Paul II's
visit to the United States. President Clinton met with the pope and
praised him as a messenger of peace.
John Paul has repeatedly condemned the lesbian and gay community.
He has said gays bring anti-gay violence upon themselves. And he
has blamed AIDS on "sinners."
Fay's stabbing also coincided with the release of a new "pastoral
letter" on homosexuality issued by Bishop Thomas Daily.
In the letter, Daily tells the 1.6 million Catholics of Brooklyn
and Queens that same-sex "desires and acts" are "gravely evil and
immoral." And he brands legislation barring anti-gay discrimination
as "itself immoral and an injustice to the natural rights of all
men and women."
Daily's letter also criticizes anti-gay violence. But Fay and
representatives of the Anti-Violence Project say that's just for
In reality, they say, Daily, the pope and New York's John Cardinal
O'Connor all encourage gay bashing.
Anti-Violence Project Executive Director Matt Foreman called
Daily's letter "a hypocrisy that fuels violence and discrimination
against lesbians and gay men. "
So his group staged a protest inside St. James Cathedral, Daily's
church in Brooklyn, Aug. 29. Gay and lesbian protesters outnumbered
parishioners in the mostly empty cathedral.
As the bishop read his Sunday homily, they stood up in the pews,
turned their backs on him and displayed signs and t-shirts with
One gay man's t-shirt read, "Calling me evil promotes violence
against me." Another's read, "Brendan Fay has a knife in his back."
Fay has played a prominent role in the Irish Lesbian and Gay
Organization's struggle to march in the St. Patrick's Day Parade.
The Brooklyn archdiocese fired him from his teaching job at a
Catholic girls' school two years ago after his picture appeared in
a newspaper article about the parade.
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