LGBTQI Catholics: Archbishop Thompson’s Attacks on Gay Teachers part of “Sinister, Coordinated Campaign of Violence”

Boston, MA. June 25, 2019. Leaders of DignityUSA, the world’s oldest organization of Catholics supporting equality and full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) Catholics in the church and society deplore the continuing and systematic discrimination against LGBTQI people in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

On Sunday, Cathedral High School announced its decision to fire a teacher in a civil same-sex marriage. This marks the fourth attempt by the Archdiocese in the past year to discriminate against an LGBTQI employee of a Catholic school.

“We are deeply disturbed by the recent decisions of Archbishop Charles Thompson,” said Marianne Duddy-Burke, Executive Director of DignityUSA. “We stand with LGBTQI educators who work in our Catholic schools. They should be honored for dedicating their careers to the service of students—not fired for choosing to form a family.”

Duddy-Burke continued, “DignityUSA has a long experience of working with LGBTQI employees facing discrimination within Catholic institutions, dating to the 1970s. In many of the recent cases we have seen, LGBTQI teachers’ marriages are intentionally exposed by unnamed individuals who make it their business to comb through social media accounts and public records. This represents a sinister, coordinated campaign of violence against people for exercising their civil rights. This lack of human decency and respect for the privacy of individuals is a failure of Christian charity and amounts to unjust discrimination, which our church’s teaching condemns. Catholics in very large numbers reject such harmful action and support the full equality of LGBTQI people in the church and society. Archbishop Thompson’s actions do not represent the faith of most Catholics, and they offend the moral sensibilities of all who believe that love of God and neighbor is the supreme value.”

Meli Barber, a DignityUSA Board member from Indianapolis and former Director of Religious Education and Youth Ministry at a local parish in Indianapolis said, “The board of Cathedral High School has been presented with a difficult choice. We urge them to join with their colleagues at Brebeuf Jesuit in resisting calls to discriminate. Cathedral continues to have viable options that would permit just such a course of action.”

Barber continued, “We call on Catholics of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis to make their voices heard to Archbishop Thompson and urge him to cease his attacks on God’s LGBTQI people who serve in our Catholic schools. In 2015 the people of Indiana effected the repeal of RFRA, a harmful law that permitted discrimination against LGBTQI people by religious institutions; once again, we call on the Hoosiers to reject unjust discrimination in all forms.”

Duddy-Burke said, “Recent events in Indianapolis reflect a battle for the soul of the Catholic church. It is happening here in Indiana as well as in Rome. Do we follow the path of accompaniment and respect for all God’s people, or do we prioritize human-made doctrine? For us, and for most Catholics, the choice is clear.”

DignityUSA has been working for justice, equality and full inclusion of LGBTQI Catholics in the church and society since 1969. It is a founding member of the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics and the Equally Blessed Coalition