Dr. Dawg

Christmas spirit and the Catholic Church

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A California archbishop shuts down a Christmas service because gay-friendly ministers had been invited to speak.

“Inappropriate for the season of Advent,” sniffed George Niederauer, the Archbishop of San Francisco.

One of the ministers reacted against the implicit assumption that his ministry was confined to a narrow activism:

What…bothered [Rev. Roland] Stringfellow was the assumption that because he works with Berkeley’s Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry, he would give a rousing gay rights sermon that ignored the religious themes of the season of Advent.

Stringfellow, who was a grand marshal for the 2011 San Francisco Pride Parade, said he intended to speak on the theme of Christian love and how Christmas can be “incredibly hard” for gays and lesbians estranged from family and friends.

“Most congregations invite speakers who can speak well to their community’s concerns,” he said. “We are all clergy within our own rites and denominations, and we were very disrespected by the idea that we can only give a talk that’s about gay rights.”

Niederauer was heavily involved in the passage of Proposition 8, a voter initiative in California that nixed same-sex marriages in that state. He forged strong alliances with the Mormons to do so. Too bad his outreach doesn’t seem to extend to members of his own Church.

One wonders what the mythical Jesus would make of this act of exclusion carried out in His name. After all, it attacks the very core of the Christmas message. We might comfort ourselves, perhaps, with a little unChristian Schadenfreude: Hell for the likes of Niederauer must surely be a posting to San Francisco.

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This page contains a single entry by Dr. Dawg published on December 24, 2011 9:24 AM.

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