Bishop André-Mutien Léonard of Namur has been accused of the crime of "homophobia" for allegedly calling homosexuals "abnormal."
During an April 3 interview with the weekly magazine Télé Moustique, Leonard said that his position on homosexuality agreed with Freud's theory of blocked psychological development. Reported in the Belgium news agency Le Soir, the bishop referred to homosexuality, saying, "It is an imperfectly developed stage of human sexuality which contradicts its interior logic."
According to the interviewer, he continued, "Homosexuals have encountered a block in their normal psychological development, which makes them abnormal."
Le Soir reports that the bishop admitted he does not think his point of view to be retrograde. Rather, he considered the culture to be backwards. He stated, "The promotion of homosexuality through gay prides signifies the return to Gréco-Roman antiquity. To glorify homosexuality is a recession of twenty centuries."
When asked about homosexual marriage, news agency 7Sur7 reports, Bishop Léonard stated that "Marriage is, by definition, the stable union between a man and a woman." He recommended that when describing homosexual unions, another name be used: "anything you want but not marriage," he exclaimed.
Religious Formation Agency CathBel published the Bishop's clarification on the Télé Moustique interview. In this statement, the bishop said that he did not think that he used the term abnormal (which he avoids systematically) and asked the interviewer to provide him confirmation that he did use that term. The interviewer refused to do so. The bishop confirmed his opinion, however, that a "marriage" between two men or two women is not truly a marriage and that it is contrary to the family cell.
The accusation against the bishop was used this April in a European Parliament motion for a final resolution regarding "homophobia." Calling for the "worldwide decriminalization of homosexuality," the motion specifically referred to the bishop's words, saying, "homosexuals are routinely targeted by religious leaders with discriminating language, such as that of the Bishop of Namur who on 4 April this year described homosexuality as ‘abnormal' and stated that ‘homosexuality is an imperfectly developed stage of human sexuality'." The motion called for an end to discrimination against homosexuals.
According to the Belgian Anti-Discrimination Act of 2003, criminal "discrimination" can refer to, "gender, so-called race, color, descent or national or ethnic origin, sexual preference, marital status, birth, wealth, age, religion or philosophy, present or future state of health, handicap or physical characteristic." In addition, the complainant does not have to prove the act of discrimination, but rather, it is the responsibility of the accused to prove his innocence.
Similar accusations were made in 2004 against Swedish Pastor Ake Green. During one of his sermons, Green said, "What these people need, who live under the slavery of sexual immorality, is an abundant grace. It exists. Therefore we will encourage those who live in this manner to look at the grace of Jesus Christ. We cannot condemn these people. Jesus never belittled anyone. He offered them grace." He was sentenced to one month in jail, but acquitted of the charges the following year.