Yes, it’s me, ExGayWatch’s lone UK correspondent, amazingly still breathing. 😉

Despite my infrequent articles, I intend to remain a contributor to the blog, and I urge any UK readers with tips or ideas for UK-related issues or stories to get in touch.

I did want to share two US-related items, however. The first is from Marc Adams of HeartStrong, a charity that reaches out to GLBT kids in religious schools. Recently HeartStrong was booked to appear at outreach events at two US churches, one a Roman Catholic church, the other a Unitarian Universalist church that happens to rent a building from the local Catholic Diocese.

After a spate of publicity about HeartStrong in the local press, the Catholic priest pulled out. The Unitarians did not. Marc continues:

[The UU church] received a letter from the lawyers from the Catholic Diocese of their state. The letter simply stated that their lease was being dissolved. This was a direct attempt to intimidate the church.

Aside from the destruction of a lease, we feel that we must come forward publicly about what has happened. The Catholic Diocese of this state has made verbal attacks against myself and HeartStrong. Their attempt to silence us by attempting to force the church into submission is not acceptable at any level.

We are currently working with the leaders of the UU church to make a joint public statement, hold a public rally and make sure there isn’t anyone who doesn’t know about what happened.

We will not be silenced in our work. We will not be intimidated by anyone and we certainly will not tolerate the Catholic Diocese of this particular state bullying anyone or do anything illegal.

About 1/3 of the people who come to HeartStrong for assistance are from Catholic schools.

I thought it was important attention was drawn to this, and Marc agreed. I’m not sure how exactly you sign up to the HeartStrong mailing list, but all contact details are here.

The second US story I wanted to comment on was Richard John Neuhaus’s recent column in First Things, related to the Ted Haggard scandal. I really just wanted to register my disappointment and frustration with this kind of neocon rubbish, which positively drips with disdain for gays. Here’s a short quote to give you the idea:

In tones of adolescent rage and petulance, which is the characteristic gay voice, commentator after commentator has accused Haggard of hypocrisy … What most Americans know about being gay is distinctively unattractive and, in their view, morally repugnant. Gay advocates deceive themselves in thinking that the more people know about homosexuality the more they will approve of it.

The “characterist gay voice”! And therein lies the problem: To Neuhaus, “gay” is not you and me, real flesh-and-blood human beings in our own right. We’re just a “them”, all one of a kind. Until conservatives learn to look past the “them”, and at you and me, I’m afraid Neuhaus and those who think like him will never get it.

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