by Rusty Pugh, Jody Brown, and Chad Groening
(AgapePress) – A Michigan pro-family group's efforts to stop a city from enacting a pro-homosexual ordinance is receiving support from the Catholic Church.
Rev. John Harvey, a priest who is founder of the ex-homosexual ministry called “Courage,” has joined the American Family Association of Michigan in opposing the upcoming Royal Oak ballot measure. If passed, it would grant special protected status to those who choose to engage in same-sex behavior.
Harvey says his appearance in Royal Oak has the blessing of the Vatican. He says his visit is significant because both the Catholic Church, as well as large Protestant denominations, have not opposed such measures and in some cases, have even supported them.
“I think it's unfortunate that any Catholic diocese approves gay-rights legislation because it … sends a message out that the Catholic Church is not in favor of opposing this sort of thing,” Harvey says.
Harvey says he is concerned that Catholics and Protestant denominations are not more vocal in opposing homosexual rights.
“What I'm concerned about, in very clear language, is that this is an issue where we should not be silent,” he says. “We should speak out against this legislation because it's only the first step toward other measures which always follow.”
The Daily Tribune in Royal Oak quotes Harvey as saying, “No civilized culture has ever put marriage and family on the same level as homosexuality. The gay movement in this country is trying to lower the esteem our country has for marriage.”
Statements such as that have gained Harvey criticism from local supporters of the proposed ordinance, one of which is the Royal Oak Association for Rights. A spokesman for ROAR, Rick Wallace, told The Tribune that Harvey is out of touch with his own fellow believers.
“He doesn't speak for all Catholics,” Wallace told the newspaper. “Half of our [ROAR's] steering committed are Catholic.”
Wallace also said the ordinance is not a religious issue but a human rights issue, and that Harvey is trying to trick people. “It has nothing to do with Catholicism,” he says. “These are just people who have a prejudice against gay people and want to be able to discriminate.”
According to The Tribune, Harvey divides discrimination into “just” and “unjust” categories. He says it would be “just” discrimination if, for example, a Catholic homeowner refused to rent a room to a homosexual couple. “This would lead to a conflict in free exercise of religion,” Harvey says. He added that if the homeowners rented the room, they would be acting in accordance with the proposed ordinance but “seriously violating the laws of God.”
In addition to local ordinances, homosexual activists have been busy across the country trying to enact “hate crimes” legislation at the state level. But the new governor of Texas successor to George W. Bush has put the brakes on a bill that would give preferential treatment to homosexuals.
When Bush was Texas' governor, he indicated he opposed hate crimes legislation. In January, his successor, Rick Perry, told The Houston Chronicle that he would oppose any hate crimes bill that offered specific protections to homosexuals. Now Perry has apparently followed through by thwarting a vote to allow debate in the Texas Senate.
The Democratic senate sponsor was unable to get a two-thirds majority to begin that debate, and the Texas House also postponed a scheduled debate on a similar hate crimes measure. Supporters hope they can eventually get a bill passed.
When asked if he would veto a bill if it ever reached his desk, Perry said he would deal with such legislation at the time. But in his January interview, Perry said he would prefer to focus on a bill that would enhance punishment, rather than get caught up in a creation of classes that could cause more division among Texas citizens.
(This update courtesy of Agape Press.)
Homosexual Movement Targeting 'Ex-Gay' Ministries
by Bill Fancher and Jody Brown
(AgapePress) – The homosexual movement has begun a new strategy in promoting its agenda: the testimonies of “ex-ex-gays” to prove same-sex tendencies are not a “choice.”
“Ex-gay” ministries are under assault by homosexuals who left the lifestyle, joined an ex-homosexual ministry, and then returned to the lifestyle. Pete LaBarbera of the Americans for Truth Project of Kerusso Ministries is not surprised by the strategy.
“This is nothing new. They are constantly trying to discredit the ex-homosexual movement,” LaBarbera says. “The fact is, people can go into homosexual behavior or they can go out of it. It's like any other any other sexual sin.”
LaBarbera, who was recently named senior policy analyst for the Culture and Family Institute at Concerned Women for America, is a well-known expert critic on cultural topics, especially the homosexual issue. He maintains the contention that homosexuality as a permanent, uncontrollable condition is ridiculous and not substantiated by any scientific research or studies.
“There are permanent, rigid homosexuals [who claim that 'ex-gays' are] just trying to fool themselves by living a normal lifestyle,” he says. “That is ridiculous. We know, as Christians, that people can go into sin and they can leave it.”
LaBarbera says such attacks are to be expected in this moral battle with homosexuality.
Meanwhile, homosexual activists can claim another victory in Chicago, where more than $2 million from local taxpayers will be used to help fund the construction of the city's first community center dedicated solely to the needs of homosexuals. The Chicago Sun-Times reports the new 50,000-square-foot center will be complete with a performing arts theater, a 17,000-square-foot gymnasium, a technology center, and a parking garage. Horizons Community Service plans to build the $22-million facility to promote homosexuality in the North Halsted neighborhood.
This is not the first time Chicago Mayor Richard Daley has caved into demands of the city's homosexual community. He has already approved a domestic partners ordinance, and pushed through a multimillion-dollar beautification plan for North Halsted to promote a “gay pride” theme. It is estimated that up to 600,000 homosexuals live in the City of Chicago.