Bishops Blasted for Denouncing Gay Pride Month

News: US News
by Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th.  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  June 3, 2019   

Bp. Joseph Strickland backs Bp. Thomas Tobin

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (ChuchMilitant.com) - Pro-LGBT activists are attacking Rhode Island's Bp. Thomas Tobin for warning Catholics about upcoming gay pride events and Bp. Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas for backing him.

Tobin's comments set off a firestorm on Twitter with Strickland being the only bishop to defend him. Gay activists were demonstrating Sunday night outside of Tobin's cathedral in Providence in protest of Tobin's tweet on Saturday that Catholics should avoid supporting or attending gay pride events, one of which was scheduled for Tobin's Rhode Island diocese on June 15.

Tobin issued a statement on Sunday saying he regretted the controversy but affirmed that God requires him to always teach the Faith with clarity.

"As a Catholic Bishop, however, my obligation before God is to lead the faithful entrusted to my care and to teach the faith, clearly and compassionately, even on very difficult and sensitive issues. That is what I have always tried to do — on a variety of issues — and I will continue doing so as contemporary issues arise," stated Tobin.

With a "Rhode Island PrideFest" scheduled within his diocese on June 15, Tobin tweeted on Saturday that Catholics should avoid such events.

"A reminder that Catholics should not support or attend LGBTQ "Pride Month" events held in June. They promote a culture and encourage activities that are contrary to Catholic faith and morals. They are especially harmful for children," tweeted Tobin.

A reminder that Catholics should not support or attend LGBTQ “Pride Month” events held in June. They promote a culture and encourage activities that are contrary to Catholic faith and morals. They are especially harmful for children.

— Bishop Thomas Tobin (@ThomasJTobin1) June 1, 2019

An avalanche of tweets followed with many activists labeling the bishop as hateful and homophobic. Strickland, however, continued to defend Tobin's right to teach the Faith about creation and human sexuality.

I think it's bad for children to see half-naked men running around, whether it's at a pride rally or whether it's in my neighborhood.

On Sunday, Strickland tweeted, "Bishop Tobin is simply speaking for one truth of the deposit of faith. God made humans male & female. Certainly those who are confused about their identity need Christ's love & compassion, let's remember Christ’s love is expressed when dies on the cross for the truth."

Joe Lazzerini, president of Rhode Island Pride, on Saturday said Tobin's comments were filled with hate.

"He is like the Donald Trump of the Catholic Church, he goes on Twitter and spews out hate," said Lazzerini.

Strickland also took exception to the label of homophobic, tweeting on Sunday, "Please stop labeling bishops who speak the truth of the Gospel as homophobic. God gave us sexual intimacy for the procreation of children and the deeper union of a man & woman in marriage. Stating this truth is not homophobia, it is simply reality."

Lazzerini was particularly offended by Tobin's assertion that the LGBTQ community is harmful to children "especially considering the Catholic Church's history of covering up clergy sexual abuse of children." Many others made similar tweets that the Catholic Church should not speak owing to the scandal of sex abuse and its cover-up.

But many Catholics in Tobin's diocese, like Tyler Rowley, defended the bishop saying he was just doing his job while also noting the scandalous behavior that accompanies gay pride events often held during the month of June.

"I think it's bad for children to see half-naked men running around, whether it's at a pride rally or whether it's in my neighborhood," said Rowley. "I don't want children seeing that."

Watch the panel discuss the legal and spiritual battles behind the gay agenda in The Download—LGBT Encroachment.

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