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Faith leaders respond to Carl Paladino’s divisive remarks

October 11, 2010

The National Religious Leadership Roundtable, convened by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, responded to the divisive comments about homosexuality by the New York Republican candidate for governor, Carl Paladino. He told a gathering in Brooklyn on Sunday that children should not be “brainwashed” into thinking that homosexuality was acceptable. According to media reports, Paladino’s campaign manager said that the candidate “is simply expressing the views that he holds in his heart as a Catholic.”

The Rev. Rebecca Voelkel, faith work director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, responded:

In a time when anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender violence has risen in New York City, Carl Paladino’s comments are especially hurtful and dangerous. They incite violence against people for being who they are. That they clothe themselves in religious language is even more disturbing. Preaching hate from our pulpits, in our politics, or to our pupils is simply unacceptable. It literally endangers lives. And the life and ministry of Jesus always calls us to stand against that which hates, hurts or destroys.

Watch the Rev. Voelkel talk about the need for people of faith and others to speak out against anti-LGBT violence:

Also, Mary E. Hunt, Ph.D., co-director of Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual (WATER), said:

The last thing the governor’s race in New York State needs is homophobic comments from anyone. While the Roman Catholic hierarchy will not step up to the plate on this one, let it be known that many Catholics consider homosexuality “an equally valid and successful option” for loving, committed, and generative relationships. Suggestions to the contrary reveal either ignorance of contemporary theological work, homo hatred, or both. Ample resources from Catholic social justice teachings prove that disrespect for human persons and their choices has no place in Catholic circles. The work of groups like Dignity, New Ways Ministry, Fortunate Families, Call to Action, and Women-Church Convergence is testimony to the fact that Catholicism can and should be inclusive, welcoming, and supportive of the variety of ways people choose to love, partner and generate families.

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