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FERNDALE, Mich. (ChurchMilitant.com) - Catholics in Ferndale, Michigan, are speaking up for their religious heritage and against the religious discrimination they are experiencing.
The Catholic residents of the town of almost 20,000 — just north of Detroit city limits — have been petitioning for approval to raise a Sacred Heart flag on city flagpoles during the month of June, traditionally the month of the Sacred Heart. On Monday, a number of them, along with their allies, took their case to an LGBT-controlled city council meeting.
One speaker who identified herself as Cydney explained why Catholics wanted to fly the Sacred Heart flag in their city.
"We want to raise the Sacred Heart flag because Jesus embodies true, sacrificial and committed love — accepts all who accept Him and His teachings and shows mercy to all," she said.
She also pushed back on the "hateful" label hurled at Catholics for their religious beliefs on same-sex relations, citing the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.
"Does that sound hateful to you?" she asked.
Cydney went on to explain that the inclusivity of the Catholic Church applies to "all people" because "[Catholics] see all people as made in the image and likeness of God."
She further argued, "The teaching of the Catholic Church is most loving" as "[Catholics] want all souls to go to Heaven, which means we will oppose anything, including acting on disordered attractions, that would stand in the way of that eternal end."
A number of other Catholic speakers took to the lectern, appealing to the city council to recognize the double standard at play in the refusal to fly the Sacred Heart flag while the pride flag, the Juneteenth flag and the Pan-African flag have all flown over the city hall.
One resident, who identified herself as Deb, reported being refused service at a local restaurant, Otus Supply (now closed), after she and other Catholics peacefully prayed the Rosary outside city hall for the annual hoisting of the pride flag in June 2022.
The restaurant owner shouted repeatedly, "Get out of here or I will call the police and have you removed."
Deb asked the city council members on Monday, including Ferndale's mayor, Melanie Piana, if they would comment on this behavior toward "your Catholic citizens." Piana replied, "This is our time to listen and not react or have a debate."
Jeff, another Catholic attendee, implored the members to comment on the hate and discrimination coming from the "LGBT community against Catholics, Christians and conservatives" both inside and outside Ferndale.
He also cited the goings-on surrounding the March 11 drag queen story hour in neighboring Royal Oak. There, according to Jeff, a man wearing a thong gyrated his behind in front of very small children, and LGBT supporters shouted, "The Blessed Mother is a whore," "Hail Satan" and "I hope you go to hell" to story-hour protestors.
Jeff enumerated several instances occurring nationwide within just the last month, including:
The last speaker, Nick, reminded Mayor Piana that she had publicly declared "everyone has the right to stand up for the right to live in one's community without being attacked or discriminated against," yet the Catholic citizens' request to fly the flag of the Sacred Heart has been denied three times.
Responses to the Catholics' petition were off point.
One meeting attendee calling himself Jay dismissed the petitions of the Catholic speakers by saying citizen Catholics had no right to "sit and judge others" until the Catholic Church handles its own internal problems, including "pedophilia, sexual abuse, and the list goes on."
Council Member Greg Pawlica screamed from the council table, "If you don't find Ferndale a welcoming community, it's probably [because] you are not a welcoming religion," he said. "Don't ever approach me here to insult me and then ask me to support you."
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