Thursday, August 18, 2005

Pointy New Orleans

In a case of pointy heads filling pointy hats, the RC Archdiocese in New Orleans, Louisiana, tossed a pinko church from its AIDS hospice because the church believes in same-sex marriage. Our laws protect such discrimination for religious and private organizations. But shame on them.

Last week, church officials suddenly terminated the lease of the Metropolitan Community Church of Greater New Orleans to space in the Project Lazaras complex. The lease had the standard wording of either party could terminate after 90 days. So the Archdiocese has subsequently picked nits to say that it didn't really evict the MCC.

Apparently someone made the RC hierarchy aware that the MCC has a large percentage of gay clergy (hmm, what other church might that apply to?). MCC clergy bless homosexual unions where it has no legal standing, and perform same-sex marriages and civil unions where those are legal. That's well known. So likely someone called on the local bishops to throw the queers out.

The next day, the usual suspects -- Unitarian, Jewish and UCC clerics -- said they would find space for the MCC. I think that is called love in action. It used to be part of Christianity.

A report on the ejection and offers appears in the newspaper with the best name in the nation, the Times-Picayune. One of its articles quotes Archdiocesan spokesman, Rev. William Maestri as confirming that the issue leading to the ejection was same-sex marriage.

The MCC moderator (president), Rev. Dr. Troy D. Perry sees this as "the continuation of a pattern of hostility against gays and lesbians by the Archdiocese. In 1973, in the aftermath of the Upstairs Fire in which 12 members of Metropolitan Community Churches died, the Archdiocese refused to open the doors of any Roman Catholic Church for us to hold memorial services."

He also said, "I am saddened that the Archdiocese is expelling the rent-paying, lease-holding congregation, not from a church building, but from an AIDS hospice. They are sending a clear message to people with HIV that the Roman Catholic Church welcomes you as a sick or dying person, but not as a living, loving person."

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