Pope compares politicians who use anti-LGBTQ hate speech to Hitler


Pope Francis (Photo by Zebra48bo via Wikimedia Commons)

Pope Francis on Friday compared politicians who use hate speech against LGBTQ people and other minority groups to Adolf Hitler.

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“It
is not coincidental that at times there is a
resurgence of symbols typical of Nazism,” said Francis during an international
law conference, according
to Reuters.
“And I must confess to you that when I hear a speech (by)
someone responsible for order or for a government, I think of speeches by
Hitler in 1934, 1936,”

“With the persecution of Jews, Gypsies and people with homosexual tendencies, today these actions are typical (and) represent ‘par excellence’ a culture of waste and hate,” added Francis. “That is what was done in those days and today it is happening again.”

Francis
made his comments against the backdrop of continued government-sponsored
persecution, violence and hate speech based on sexual orientation and/or gender
identity in Uganda
and dozens of other countries around the world. The Vatican’s tone towards
homosexuality and other LGBTQ-specific issues has moderated since Francis
assumed the papacy in 2013, but activists have pointed out to the Washington
Blade that church teachings on them have not changed.

“It
is very important that Pope Francis is speaking out against the resurgence of hate speech that is occurring
in many countries, and recognizes that this speech endangers the lives of minorities,
including LGBTQ people,” Marianne Duddy-Burke, executive director of
DignityUSA, a group of LGBTQ Catholics, told the Blade on Friday in a
statement. “I hope that leaders and individuals around the world
understand why the Pope is speaking out against this trend, and take stock of
their role in creating climates that can lead to violence.”

Duddy-Burke added she hopes
“his words are also understood to be applicable within the Church, and
that Catholic leaders who say hateful, disparaging and dehumanizing things or
act to limit the human rights of LGBTQ people and others immediately change
their ways.”

“Ultimately, this kind of statement must
lead to a rejection of church teachings that demonize and dehumanize LGBTQ
people,” Duddy-Burke told the Blade. “Using words like ‘evil’ or
‘disordered’ when speaking about us must end.”

Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, a Maryland-based group that ministers to LGBTQ Catholics, in a statement described Francis’ statement as a “long time coming.”

“This simple message will save lives, protect people from harm, help keep families together and work towards eradicating hateful attitudes,” said DeBernardo. “When the Pope speaks, people listen — regardless of faith or political leanings.”

“It is especially important to hear these words from the Pope Francis’ mouth because much of the persecution against LGBTQ people occurs in nations with a strong Catholic population, often with the approval of local Catholic bishops,” added DeBernardo.

The post Pope compares politicians who use anti-LGBTQ hate speech to Hitler appeared first on Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights.

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