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HAMILTON, Ontario (ChurchMilitant.com) - A Canadian Catholic school board is pushing off a vote on displaying LGBT flags in their educational institutions.
Tuesday night, after nearly three hours of questions, presentation and debate, it appears trustees have no answers on the issue of Halton Catholic schools falsely promoting homosexual pride under the guise of inclusivity.
Conversations about flying the rainbow banner began April 6, after 12th-grade student Nicole Hotchkiss, of Oakville's St. Ignatius of Loyola Secondary School, presented the idea to the board.
Though the board seemed supportive, the strongest defenses of Church teaching came from Fr. Janusz Roginski and a speaker identified in the chat as S. Mandić — specifically criticizing the pride flag as representing anti-Catholic sexual practices.
Father Roginski suggested schools fly the flag of the Sacred Heart of Christ to express inclusivity in the month of June instead because Our Blessed Lord accepts all souls who truly wish to find Him.
He continued, saying the rainbow flag doesn't stand for inclusivity.
"Unfortunately, the flag stands also for attitudes and behaviors and ideology that is contrary to the Catholic teaching, like promotion of homosexual marriages, adoption of children by homosexual people, also homosexual active behavior. We cannot support something that represents that," Fr. Roginski said.
The next argument, presented by S. Mandić, provided context regarding the history of the flag, noting the symbol has no place in Catholic schools:
What is the rainbow flag? It first flew in San Francisco on June 25, 1978. It had eight colors (2 more than today's version) and was designed by Gilbert Baker. The original eight-striped flag designed by Baker had hot pink to represent [homosexual] sex — which was subsequently removed because it was difficult to source fabric of that color.
Their presentation was followed by verbal spars, notably, between Board Trustee Brenda Agnew, who led the push to fly the flag, and Mr. Mandić. Agnew objected to Mandić's requests for scientific data to back up claims of anti-LGBT bullying in Catholic schools.
Agnew argued the requests for data amounted to a rejection of personal stories from bullied members of the group. She alleged, "It feels to me that you're dismissing the stories and experiences that have been shared, and you can't put data on that."
He responded by appealing to his Croatian descent, "I'm not saying the stories didn't happen, but it's like me telling a story of what happened to me. Is that representative of what happens to every Croat on earth? No, it happened to me, and I can tell you that story, right?"
The resolution to allow the rainbow flag is still expected to pass with the support of the school board's diocese. The diocese of Hamilton, headed by Bp. Douglas Crosby, released a statement earlier in the week arguing in favor of flying the pride flag, claiming the flag represents "diverse people who come together to form something beautiful (the rainbow)."
Despite the support, the debate appears to be raging on. By the end of the three-hour meeting, it appeared nothing was resolved at the 10 p.m. deadline, leaving Halton's Catholic students, parents and teachers wondering if the issue will be resolved in the next meeting.