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LETTERS: Church and LGBT youths; Chick-fil-A

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Church and LGBT youths

To the Editor:

Salvatore Cordileone will be installed as the new leader of Archdiocese of San Francisco Oct. 4. The Vatican's appointment is perhaps the most symbolic act to date of its increasing isolation by its Episcopal leadership concerning the question of homosexuality.

Cordileone's appointment represents the attitudes of increasingly homophobic voices in both the Vatican and U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. While still a minority of the radical political right in the Church, they have bullied the moderate majority into silence.

Clearly, the Vatican is losing the argument on the question of homosexuality in the public square. However, the effect of the Vatican's teaching on the gay person is leaving some young people battling internal conflicts over the issue. The high level of bullying in our Catholic schools has only led to numbers of young LGBT individuals being at high risk for suicide.

Exposing young minds to the Church's teaching on the gay person is problematic and hazardous to their mental health.

Hearing words like "disorder" or "evil" used in relation to same-sex practice, teenagers are faced with an appalling internal encounter.

Hearing such hateful public pronouncements from the Episcopal leadership—which promotes attitudes from parents, uncles aunts or even friends—only drives these young people to depression and suicide.

The Rainbow Sash Movement believes with more debate and better research, the Roman Catholic Church is going to become increasingly isolated because of its attitude to homosexuality as well as LGBT and human rights.

Joe Murray, executive director of the Rainbow Sash Movement, said "only by challenging the 'omerta,' the code of silence on the issue, more and more young people will take their lives. Much like the clergy sexual abuse scandal silence only enables violence directed at innocent children in the name of God."

He went on to say, "We are joining with other LGBT organizations in San Francisco and calling for a public response to the installation of Archbishop Cordileone on Oct. 4. ... If Archbishop Cordileone cannot be a respectful neighbor than he should be treated as such."

Bill O'Connor

Rainbow Sash Movement

Sounding off on Chick-fil-A

To the Editor:

Perhaps in his haste to end a free-speech controversy he started and distance himself from the Chick-fil-A issue, Ald. Proco "Joe" Moreno and the Civil Rights Agenda (TCRA) declared victory, despite their failure to obtain a clear and unambiguous pro-gay commitment from the top management at Chick-fil-A. Nevertheless, what they were told reassured them sufficiently to give the green light to the chicken sandwich vendor to open a second Chicago outlet on Elston Avenue.

Now they're not so sure.

They apparently thought they had corporate change when Chick-fil-A claimed it pursues no "political agendas," but The Advocate reported that on the very day that Moreno and TCRA were declaring victory, Chick-fil-A COO Dan Cathy attended a charity event of his firm, saying the event's donations would be going to the "Marriage and Family Foundation," which happens to be located at the same Atlanta address as his company's corporate headquarters and is clearly a front for the firm's attack on same-sex marriage.

This was followed by both Chick-fil-A and right-wing talk-show host Mike Huckabee, who had called for support of Chick-fil-A in the face of nationwide protests this summer against its anti-gay policies, issuing statements saying that, despite Moreno's and TCRA's claims to the contrary, essentially nothing had changed. The corporation still stood for "marriage," which, of course, means only heterosexual marriage.

Last summer, Gay Liberation Network (along with the Loyola Law School's National Lawyers Guild chapter) picketed the lone Chicago Chick-fil-A and called for a boycott of the Atlanta-based company. We demanded of Chick-fil-A an explicit policy of non-discrimination against women (including lesbians) as well as gays, bisexuals and transgender people, both in hiring and promotions, and that it publicly commit to stopping contributions to groups that oppose our equal civil rights and to coercive outfits like Exodus International that say it can "pray away the gay."

Shock of all shocks: A firm lies about LGBT people, then lies about changing its ways and then reassures bigots it's still on their side. Meanwhile, politicians and others acting on behalf of our community prematurely rush to declare victories before facts warrant them.

Our community is ill-served by this kind of thing.

So the boycott of Chick-fil-A continues. If the Elston Avenue store opens, we will be picketing there on opening day.

We hope Moreno and TCRA will join us.

Bob Schwartz

Gay Liberation Network

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