Archive for the ‘Clero-Fascism’ Category

Brussels says churches must lift ban on employing homosexuals
EU decides British government was wrong to allow exemptions under equality law

The government is being forced by the European commission to rip up controversial exemptions that allow church bodies to refuse to employ homosexual staff.

It has emerged that the commission wrote to the government last week raising concerns that the UK had incorrectly implemented an EU directive prohibiting discrimination on the grounds of a person’s sexual orientation.

The ruling follows a complaint from the National Secular Society, which argued that the opt-outs went further than was permitted under the directive and had created “illegal discrimination against homosexuals”.

The commission agreed. A “reasoned opinion” by its lawyers informs the government that its “exceptions to the principle of non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation for religious employers are broader than that permitted by the directive”.

The highly unusual move means that the government now has no choice but to redraft anti-discrimination laws, which is likely to prompt a furore among church groups.

In anticipation of a possible backlash from the commission, the government has already inserted new clauses into its equality bill. But even if the bill is jettisoned, future governments will be bound by the commission’s ruling.

Under the new proposals being drafted by the government, religious organisations will be able to refuse to employ homosexuals only if their job involves actively promoting or practising a religion. A blanket refusal to employ any homosexuals would no longer be possible.

“This ruling is a significant victory for gay equality and a serious setback for religious employers who have been granted exemptions from anti-discrimination law,” said human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell. “It is a big embarrassment for the British government, which has consistently sought to appease religious homophobes by granting them opt-outs from key equality laws. The European commission has ruled these opt-outs are excessive.”

The employment directive outlawing discrimination in the workplace was finalised by the European commission in 2000 and became law in the UK in early 2003, following a public consultation exercise. At the time there were accusations that the government had “caved in” to religious groups that mounted a fierce lobbying campaign to be exempted from the new laws.

Under the terms of the exemption, religious groups were allowed to refuse a position to a homosexual employee “so as to avoid conflicting with the strongly held religious convictions of a significant number of the religion’s followers”.

“In other words, if a significant number of followers of an organised religion didn’t like it, there was no protection for a gay employee,” said Keith Porteous-Wood, executive director of the National Secular Society. “Now the government must demonstrate its commitment to equality, rather than continuing to jump to the church’s tune.”

The EU’s equal opportunities commissioner, Vladimir Špidla, said: “We call on the UK government to make the necessary changes to its anti-discrimination legislation as soon as possible so as to fully comply with the EU rules.”

But religious groups expressed alarm at the move. The Christian charity, Care, said: “If evangelical churches cannot be sure that they can employ practising evangelicals with respect to sexual ethics, how will they be able to continue?”

www.petertatchell.net

You can follow Peter on Twitter at http://twitter.com/PeterTatchell or join the Peter Tatchell Human Rights Campaign Facebook group at http://tinyurl.com/cj9y6s

Peter Tatchell is the Green Party parliamentary candidate for Oxford East
www.greenoxford.com/peter

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No Vat

NEWS RELEASE
23 September 2009

GAY HUMANISTS CALL FOR STRONG PROTEST WHEN POPE VISITS UK

The gay Humanist charity the Pink Triangle Trust (PTT) has called for a strong protest to be made when Pope Benedict XVI visits the UK early next year.

The PTT’s secretary George Broadhead said: “This pope has shown himself to be paranoid about homosexuality. His opposition to LGBT rights knows no bounds. In his Christmas message last year he declared that saving humanity from homosexual behaviour was as important as saving the rainforest from destruction. This must be the most outrageous and bizarre claim yet made by someone who has already got a well-deserved reputation as one of the most viciously homophobic world leaders on a par with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran and Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe. The Vatican reinforced its anti-gay reputation by strongly opposing a UN declaration calling for an end to discrimination against gays and the Pope’s Christmas messsage provided clear evidence of an obsession about homosexuality which is tantamount to paranoia.

“It is imperative that the strongest possible protest be made when he visits the UK next year”, continued Mr Broadhead. “This is not without precedent. During the last papal visit to the UK by John Paul I in 1982, a protest
called POPE (People Opposing Papal Edicts) was instigated by the Gay Humanist Group of which I was a founder member. It had the support of other gay and secular organisations including the Campaign for Homosexuality and the National Secular Society. On the occasion of the next papal vist we must pull out all the stops to demonstrate our opposition.”

END

Issued by:

The Pink Triangle Trust, 34 Spring Lane, Kenilworth, Warwickshire CV8 2HB
44 (0)1926 858450
http://www.pinktriangle.org.uk/
weblog: http://ptt-blog.blogspot.com/
Gay & Lesbian Humanist magazine:
http://www.gayandlesbianhumanist.org

Note for Editors

The Pink Triangle Trust is the only gay humanist charity and the only organisation worldwide publishing an online magazine (Gay & Lesbian Humanist) for lesbian and gay atheists, freethinkers and Humanists. The trust is named after the pink triangle that lesbians and gay men had to wear in the Nazi concentration camps. This registered charity (number 1015629) was set up in 1992 to advance the education of the public and particularly of lesbians and gay men, in the principles and practice of Humanism and to advance the education of the public, and particularly of Humanists, about all aspects of homosexuality.

See Also No Vat : http://www.facciamobreccia.org/

christiansantigayafrica

US Christians Accused of Exporting Anti-Gay Message to Africa

By Staff Writer, PinkNews.co.uk

A conference in Uganda which begins today has been condemned by human rights groups.

The 3-day seminar in Kampala, which opens today, features several American speakers known for their efforts to dehumanise LGBT people and for their belief that homosexuality can be “cured.”

The speakers include Scott Lively, Don Schmierer, and Caleb Lee Brundidge—leading voices in the crusade by religious extremists to roll back basic human rights for LGBT people in the United States.

IGLHRC said that Brundidge is affiliated with Extreme Prophetic Ministry in Phoenix, Arizona. Schmierer is on the board of the so-called “ex-gay” organization Exodus International. Lively is well known for his belief that the Nazi Holocaust never happened.

“The American religious right is finally showing its hand and revealing the depth of its support for homophobia in Africa,” said IGLHRC‘s Executive Director Cary Alan Johnson.

manifesto_1

Protests this weekend will call for an end to the Vatican’s privileges and its undermining of human rights

guardian.co.uk, Friday 13 February 2009 19.30 GMT

The Vatican should stop meddling in politics and misusing its power to oppose human rights. Just as importantly, it is time the Italian government ceased kow-towing to the pope’s theocratic agenda. All of Europe should be secular, where people are free to practise their faith but where no religion has privileged legal status and unique access to political power and influence.

These are the demands of protesters, backed by the British Humanist Association, who will assemble in London this Saturday afternoon in support of a simultaneous protest taking place in Rome against the Vatican’s manipulation of Italian, European and worldwide politics.

In celebration of Charles Darwin’s debunking of the Biblical idea that the world was made by God in six days, the protesters will meet at the Natural History Museum. It is hosting the biggest-ever Charles Darwin exhibition to commemorate the 200th anniversary of his birth and the 150th anniversary of his book, On the Origin of Species. His theory of evolution was long rejected and denounced by successive popes.

Undeterred by church hostility, Darwin made his view of religion very clear: “Man in his arrogance thinks himself a great work, worthy the interposition of a deity … it is more humble and I believe truer to consider him created from animals.”

From the Natural History Museum, the marchers will go to the Italian Embassy to demand that the Italian government curb its favouritism and appeasement of the Vatican. The Italian parliament too often allows itself to be bullied by the Vatican, resulting in it dumping legislation for same-sex civil unions and sex education in schools.

The Catholic church in Italy is a huge corporate business empire. It owns hotels, restaurants, shops and private schools but it does not pay tax. On the contrary, it is subsidised by the Italian taxpayer, with about four billion euros in public money being given to the Vatican every year.

Saturday’s protest organisers, Marco Tranchino and Serena Bassi, describe the Vatican as a “tiny statelet inhabited almost entirely by priests, with a disproportionate and malign influence on Italian and global politics”.

Officially part of the United Nations, the Vatican’s observer state status means it intervenes in UN debates on a variety of issues, including old-time favourites, such as birth control, abortion and homosexuality. No other faith has this privileged status, access and influence at the UN.

The Vatican maintains diplomatic relationships with nearly every nation in the world. In most EU countries it benefits from the support of Catholic politicians and in many cases its policies are advocated by political parties like the Christian Democrats and their successors and allies. The Vatican does not shrink from using threats and intimidation to enforce its will. To keep Catholic MPs in line with papal policy opposing gay equality, for example, the Vatican has threatened to excommunicate any Catholic legislator who votes for same-sex civil unions.

Of the 27 countries in the European Union, 14 are bound to the Vatican by at least one treaty. No other religion has such state-level power and connections, either in Europe or the wider world.

The pope has made sure that the proposed EU Constitution – and now the Lisbon Treaty (article 16c) – commits the European Union to “an open, transparent and regular dialogue with churches and religious organisations”. No other non-governmental organisation is afforded such dialogue – not trade unions, not human rights groups and not bodies representing the rights and welfare of women, black or disabled people.

Within Britain, the Catholic church has lobbied hard to restrict women’s reproductive rights, in particular access to contraception, abortion and fertility treatment. It has led the opposition to medical advance by means of embryo and stem cell research. With increasing numbers of state-funded faith schools (1 in 3 of all schools in the UK are either Catholic or Church of England), the Vatican continues to exercise a strong and biased influence on hundreds of thousands of young people.

The pope encourages us to view women as inferior to men by barring them from the priesthood and by consistently stating that the two genders are naturally different and that women are biologically inclined for a more mothering and domestic role in life. In many Catholic countries, women who have had a divorce or abortion, and women who are living as single parents, suffer religious-inspired stigma and discrimination. In some Catholic countries, like Ireland and Poland, abortion is illegal. In others, like Italy, abortion rights are under constant threat from the Vatican’s pressure on the government.

To the delight of homophobes everywhere, the pope propagandises that being gay is an “objective disorder”, “grave depravity” and a “tendency towards an intrinsic moral evil”. In 1992, the Vatican officially rejected the concept of lesbian and gay “human rights”, asserting that there is “no right” to homosexuality. It added that the civil liberties of homosexuals can be “legitimately limited”. While condemning “unjust” discrimination, the Catholic leadership declared that some forms of anti-gay discrimination are “not unjust” and may even be “obligatory”.

In around 80 countries male homosexuality is still illegal, with penalties ranging up to life imprisonment and even death by execution. Last December, a proposal to decriminalise homosexuality and protect gay people against discrimination was opposed by the Vatican in the UN and by fellow religious bigots in the Organisation of Islamic States.

In contrast, if Catholics suffer discrimination I will be the first to defend them. Equally, when the pope supports discrimination against women and gay people I will be the first to oppose him. That is the difference between me and the pope. I reject all discrimination, including against Catholics. He supports sexist and homophobic discrimination whenever it suits his intolerant interpretation of the Christian faith. That is why the Vatican must be opposed and why I will be joining Saturday’s march in London.

No to Vatican. Protest Saturday 14 February 2009. Assemble at 2pm outside the Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD (near the corner with Exhibition Road).

koplogo2I was asked by the Dutch Foundation of Friends of the Gay Krant (SVGK) to distribute their appeal for an international campaign against the Pope. See their statement below – Peter Tatchell

Gay’s furious at Pope

BEST, NL – JANUARY 4th – The Foundation of Friends of the Gay Krant (SVGK) starts a global action against the gay discriminatory statements of Pope Benedict XVI. 90% of the readers of the Gay Krant wants the Dutch government to protest officially and call for the nuncius in The Hague.

Never before in such a short time there were so many angry phone calls, emails and letters on the desks of the editorial staff of Gay Krant. “On this first working day of the year we really were overwhelmed with responses, reports editor Henk Krol, worldwide initiator of opening up civil marriage.

Henk Krol: “The results of a survey under readers the last few days have been unlikely clear. 90% believe that the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Maxime Verhagen should protest against the pope.

Together with France, the Netherlands launched a declaration at the United Nations against criminalization of homosexuality. The statement was signed by 66 countries.

In recent weeks the Vatican pushed a anti-gay ruling at the UN. The reason is obvious: the opening of the civil marriage as advocated by the SVGK. The Dutch initiative gets worldwide more and more following. Even on the website of the Roman Catholic church can be read: “The Pope fears that marriage between persons of the same sex can become a human right. That would mean that the church does not oppose the impunity of an open civil marriage. We have the freedom not to sin”, reports the website.

Especially the statement of the Netherlands and France to ban homosexuality as an criminal act, is way to far for the Vatican. That would not acknowledge any sexual orientation “and that would be ‘legal uncertainty’ cause, said the Pope’s UN envoy, Archbishop Celestino Migliore, last weekend against Radio Vaticana.

The church will never recognize ‘gay marriage’ warns Martino in the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano. Because the natural marriage between man and woman “is very different from the union of two persons of the same gender.

“From God we have received the precious gift of freedom. The freedom to choose whether or not to sin “, the President of the Papal Council Justitia et Pax said.

The UN declaration last month was called for by Minister Maxime Verhagen. He and his French colleague were supported by 66 of the 192 UN member states. 58 countries voted for a counter-declaration which was submitted by Egypt and Syria. They want the freedom to see homosexuality as a criminal act. The French-Dutch proposal was ready for vote in the General Assembly of the UN.

The Vatican is pleased that there is no majority for the statement.

The Holy See has said in many Member States have given support for its position.

A group of MEPs in the Euro parliament was already asked the pope to express in a more modest way.

The Dutch human rights activists Boris Dittrich of SVGK, who also works for Human Rights Watch in New York, and Henk Krol, the motor behind same sex marriage, are starting a worldwide campaign to increase the political role of the Vatican. They have seen with their own eyes how the Vatican lobbied for a UN declaration against gay rights. The text was dictated to Egypt by representatives of the pope. “Recognition of rights of homosexuals would inevitably lead to the legalization of pedophilia, incest and bestiality.”

The Foundation Friends of the Gay Krant, as initiators of opening up civil marriage, has contacted several gay organizations around the world.

Together they will discuss their further steps. They asl for a stop of the right of speech for the Vatican during the sessions of the UN. The Roman Catholic church is now the only religion with the right to speak in de UN-meeting. Neither the other Christian movements, nor Judaism, Islam or Buddhism, for example, have a right to speak. Only the pope has his direct influence in this forum in world politics.

Both Krol as Dittrich believe that statements such as: “Homosexuality is a serious threat to the survival of the human race, just as climate change” are not compatible.

According to SVGK now is the time that the world wakes up and diminish the role of the Vatican at the United Nations forum. “Stop the right to speak for representatives of the pope. Instead, an international inquiry into the complicity of the Vatican to discrimination against gay, women with complicated pregnancies and AIDS patients should be in place.”

All the best,

Henk Krol

Peter Tatchell is the Green Party parliamentary candidate for Oxford East
www.greenoxford.com/peter and www.petertatchell.net

gaypope2

Vatican refusal to back UN gay rights declaration is true to form by Therion

The Vatican refusal to sign the declaration before the UN that seeks to decriminalize homosexuality worldwide is true to form. In a recent ‘clarification’ the Vatican claims that while it has declined to sign-on, it condemns ‘unjust’ discrimination against homosexuals – without saying what exactly might constitute just discrimination.

By exempting itself from the list of states calling for decriminalization, the Vatican is in effect handing moral authority to those nations that are determined to keep homosexuals on the periphery of society, under fear of being persecuted for the ‘crime’ of gay orientation.

The two-faced position adopted by the Vatican is nothing new.

In a recent Guardian article, Peter Tatchell covers part of the Vatican’s abysmal track record on gay rights.

Unsurprisingly, the Vatican and the Organisation of Islamic States are leading the fight against the UN declaration. The opposition of the Pope is truly sickening, depraved and shameless.Of course, the Vatican has form. In 2004, it teamed up with Islamist dictatorships in the UN Commission on Human Rights to thwart a resolution sponsored by Brazil that opposed homophobic violence and discrimination. The Holy See is so viciously homophobic that it opposed the UN condemnation of the murder of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Recently a sit-in was staged near St Peter’s Square to protest the Vatican’s position on the declaration. Protesters sat under the banners of Arcigay and Arcilesbica – the two main gay and lesbian advocacy groups in Italy.

pope-22The main thrust of the Vatican position hinges on UN envoy Migliore’s convoluted contention that signing the document might “pillory” countries where homosexuality is illegal and force them to create “new categories (gay people) protected from discrimination.” And this is a bad thing?

Of course the main concern is that ‘normalizing’ homosexuality might lead to same-sex unions. But this makes little sense. The social sanctions and taboos against same-sex marriage in countries where homosexuality is outlawed makes the Vatican’s stated concerns about same-sex marriage little more than a red herring. It is an excuse to avoid stepping up to the plate on this issue… a posture consistent with the Vatican’s homophobic agenda.

Full article

Jack Straw blocks Cardinal Newman information

Collusion with Catholic Church

Media plan to deflect criticism

Catholic Minister approved Vatican request

London – 31 October 2008 – By Peter Tatchell

The Catholic Church put the government under sustained pressure to grant it a licence to exhume and rebury Cardinal Newman in Birmingham Oratory Church, according to documents released under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) to gay human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.

This revelation comes on the eve of Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor conducting a special service for Newman at Birmingham Oratory – a ceremonial first step on the road to making Newman a saint. This service will take place tomorrow, Saturday 1 November.

Newman’s casket will contain no exhumed bodily remains, as none was found when his grave was dug up last month.

“The documents show that the Ministry of Justice worked in close cooperation with the Catholic Church to deflect criticism of the reburial plans, which violated Cardinal Newman’s expressed wish to remain buried with the man he loved for over 30 years, Father Ambrose St John,” said Mr Tatchell.

“They reveal high level collusion between the government and the Catholic Church, including devising a ‘Media Plan’ to rebut criticisms.

“It is now apparent that the Ministry of Justice was initially slow and hesitant about granting the licence and delayed a decision until July this year. It took repeated emails from Peter Jennings of the Catholic Church, and reference to the concerns of the Vatican, to get ministerial authorisation.

“The licence application was approved by Catholic Justice Minister, Bridget Prentice MP, which raises conflict of interest issues. Did she show unwarranted favouritism towards the Vatican-backed request for the reburial of Newman?

“Most of the FOI documents are heavily censored, with whole pages blacked out. This suggests the Ministry of Justice has something hide.

“Nevertheless, we can see that the Catholic Church subjected the government to constant and strenuous lobbying to get its way.

“Fifty-five documents concerning legal advice have been withheld. Other documents have been suppressed by the Justice Minister under section 36 of the FOI, which concerns ‘Prejudice to effective conduct
of public affairs’. The government has declined to state the content of the suppressed documents.

“Answers to my FOI application to the Ministry of Justice took much longer than the 20-day rule. I had to make repeated reminders to get them released.

Regarding Newman’s sexuality and relationship with Ambrose St John, Mr Tatchell said:

“All the evidence from the letters and diaries suggests that Newman and St John had a passionate long-term same-sex relationship. No one can know for certain whether their relationship included sexual intimacy and affection; possibly not.

“They were mentally and spiritually in love; sharing a deep bond and intense relationship. They were inseparable; living together for over 30 years, like a married husband and wife. At Newman’s explicit request, he was buried in the same grave as St John.

“The Christian historian Alan Bray has done major research on the relationship between Newman and St John, sifting through the Cardinal’s diary, letters and notes. His findings are published in his book, The Friend (2003):

Follow this link

They include the following admission that Newman wrote in his diary about Ambrose’s love for him: “From the first he loved me with an intensity of love, which was unaccountable.” He later added: “As far as this world was concerned, I was his first and last….he was my earthly light.'”

Newman stated that St John was “fair and Saxon-looking, my Angel Guardian,” who, he said, had come to him as Ruth came to Naomi and as the angel Raphael came to Tobias.

Reflecting on St John’s death in 1875, Newman compared their love to that of a married couple: “I have always thought no bereavement was equal to that of a husband’s or a wife’s, but I feel it difficult to believe that anyone’s sorrow can be greater than mine….This is the greatest affliction I have had in my life.”

“There were allegations during his lifetime about his circle of young homosexual friends. Close relations with women did not feature at all in his life,” said Mr Tatchell.

Background information:

Was Cardinal Newman gay?
http://www.petertatchell.net/religion/wascardinalnewmangay.htm

Violating Cardinal Newman’s wishes
http://www.petertatchell.net/religion/cardinalnewmanslove.htm

Peter Tatchell

See also:

“Queer Beograd: LGBT festival in Serbia kicks off in Belgrade this week” By Therion

Serbia is one of the least gay-friendly countries in Europe. Discrimination is widespread and impacts not only members of the LGBT community, but also persons with disabilities and the Roma community.

All of which makes it remarkable that the festival, Queer Beograd, is taking pride to the streets of Belgrade:

Pink News reports: “Cabaret, street performance and film will all be on show at next week’s Queer Beograd X5 in Belgrade.
The festival begins on Thursday 18th with cabaret Direcktno featuring activists turned performers from London, Amsterdam and Berlin, and runs until Sunday.”

The Eurovision Song Contest was held in Belgrade earlier in the year. Far right groups issued warnings that gays would be targeted. One of these groups, Obraz, is classified as an ‘Orthodox clero-fascist’ organization and is well known for its virulent anti-gay views – also for assaults on gay people.

An organizer of Queer Beograd offered his assessment of some of the challenges:

“Serbia has seen some changes in the last year, a referendum, the ‘passing’ of the so called constitution, the fall of government, the independence of Kosovo, yet another election. All the time the political climate moves increasingly to the far right neo fascist identity.”

“It is from this position that we place the agenda for our festival as direct action and antifascism – because we always want to take the most concrete steps to build bridges to smash borders, to see our liberation linked with everyones.”

Read the full report here.