Rainbow Sash Movement Executive Director Joe Murray Responds to Rev. Larry Snyder President of Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) Christmas Message Concerning Poverty in the Gay/Lesbian Community.

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During this Holy Season of Advent we are continually reminded of our Human frailties, and how much our faith calls us to witness the many faces of Christ in our diverse nation. This should not be a season to proclaim good works that act as a bandage over the very real needs of the poor. In order to serve the poor we must first be able to recognize them as persons.

Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender (GLBT) people have become just another hidden face of poverty in this country. The distinctions between poverty and bigotry have become blurred. When homeless gay families and GLBT youth find themselves faced with the life altering condition of poverty, or in the case of gay/lesbian youth are kicked out of their homes and find themselves on the streets the major concern of these individuals is with putting food on the table, and maintaining a roof over their head.

Gay/Lesbian Families showing up at Catholic Charities facilities for assistance may be met with the choice of denying who they are in order that their children can be fed, or even worst yet demanding that they remain closeted as condition for help, in certain situations couples had to break up in order to get assistance. Added on to this is the open hostility of the Catholic Bishops in the United States to the LGBT Community which further poisons the environment and allows bigotry to become part of the tool kit of charity.

Recently Cardinal Francis George of Chicago compared the Gay Community to the KKK such open hostility only further compounds the needs of poor GLBT families and gay youth. Chicago has one of the largest Catholic Charities operations in the country. Certainly our Church can and should do better than this.

Certain Catholic Charities facilities across the nation have closed down adoption/foster care services because they were not allowed to discriminate against GLBT people.

I call on Rev. Snyder to not only recognize gospel poverty which is freely chosen by our various religious orders, but to also to recognize the full dimension of poverty in our midst and be of service to all regardless of sexual orientation. Only by doing this will we understand the simple message of Christmas, Love.

Bob Anderson
Rainbow Sash Movement

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