Dateline - July 2010

And as we close out another Pride month, therein lies our particular conundrum. As the gap between official teaching and popular belief widens in our Church, in large part through the truth-living of so many LGBT Catholics over the years, we must continue to rally our allies to repel the hierarchy’s ongoing attacks on us.

Marianne Duddy-Burke
Executive Directory, DignityUSA
Pride and Prejudice

Dateline File: 

Pride and Prejudice

By Marianne Duddy-Burke, Executive Director, DignityUSA

Just as LGBTQ Pride activities were ramping up in Boston during June 2010, our archdiocesan newspaper, The Boston Pilot, printed one of the most egregious articles I’ve seen in many a year. Written by one of the paper’s regular columnists, the piece began by stating the author’s belief that same-sex couples could not actually be “real” parents; they may have children in their custody, but the lack of biological connection with at least one parent was seen as an insurmountable obstacle to parenthood. The author then offered three reasons that children of same-sex parents posed a danger to Catholic schools. First, having children observe teachers and other school officials being polite and respectful to a lesbian or gay couple would give “scandal.” Second, the writer questioned the gay/lesbian parents’ motivation for involvement in classroom and extracurricular activities. Finally, it was stated that children living with gay couples would likely bring obscene or pornographic material to class.

Fortunately, this horrific opinion piece prompted outrage and vocal protests from across the Boston area and far beyond. At least two mainstream parishes wrote about the insult posed by this piece on their list serves. Letters of objection have been sent to the Pilot by gay people, parents, religious educators, and dozens of ordinary Catholics. Local newspapers, radio shows, and television newscasts have challenged the Cardinal and the paper’s editor to explain why they allowed the article to run. It is clear that nearly everyone understands that this kind of specious attack, filled with untruth and innuendo, has no place in a reputable Catholic paper.

Everyone except our Church officials that is. And as we close out another Pride month, therein lies our particular conundrum. As the gap between official teaching and popular belief widens in our Church, in large part through the truth-living of so many LGBT Catholics over the years, we must continue to rally our allies to repel the hierarchy’s ongoing attacks on us. At the same time, we have the opportunity to model building the new Church, a Church where all are one, a Church in which we can all have pride.

DignityUSA National Board Elections Close July 6th

DignityUSA member electronic ballots, as well as chapter and member alternative paper ballots, must be returned by the July 6, 2010, deadline.

Colored paper ballots were mailed to each chapter. If you have not already returned them, please check chapter office or home residence mail boxes or trays.

Over two-thirds of DignityUSA members received the e-mail link to vote electronically. The remaining members received a paper ballot. For couples having but one e-mail address attached to their membership record, the national office e-mailed one ballot and sent one paper ballot.

Any members encountering problems or having issues associated with voting, please contact Lewis Tanner (secretary@dignityusa.org) or Peggy Burns, Operations Manager, (info@dignityusa.org). Or you may call Peggy at 800-877-8797.

We’ve Got the Solution!!!

What to do with all that great art work you have but no place to display it? Or that crystal bowl Aunt Sarah gave you that doesn’t match any of your modern decor? Or how about that timeshare you bought ten years ago and you just don’t want to schlep there anymore?

We have the solution to these and many other items you no longer use. Donate them to DignityUSA’s summer online auction. You will share those treasures with someone else, get a tax deduction, and help DignityUSA raise some cash. What a great way to do re-gifting!

The effort on your part is minimal. Just let Jack Frielingsdorf know what the item is (a picture would be great), the value, and a short description. Contact Jack at Frielys@gmail.com. If and when the item sells, he will contact you with the winner’s name and give you instructions on how and where to send it. It won’t cost you anything to ship as the buyer will cover those costs.

The auction will be held mid-summer. Therefore, we need to hear from you soon in order that your treasures can be included.

DignityUSA Young Adult Caucus Flyers for Pride

The DignityUSA Young Adult Caucus is asking for your help this year at Pride. We have created a simple flyer to tell people about DYAC and we are asking all chapters that will be representing DignityUSA at local Pride events to please print out a few copies of the flyer to distribute to any young adults who come by your booth or information table at the event, or for your Pride celebration and liturgy. . We are hoping that it will draw more people into our national online community, and act as a conversation starter for chapters looking to attract younger members. We thank you in advance for your help and hope you have a fabulous time at Pride this year! You can download a copy of the flyer in either Powerpoint format or Adobe pdf below.

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All Are Welcome to Witness the Board in Action

DignityUSA’s Board of Directors will meet Friday through Sunday, July 9–11, 2010, at the Embassy Suites Columbus-Airport Hotel, 2886 Airport Drive, Columbus, OH 43219. (614-536- 0500).

The Board meets Friday evening for about 3 hours; Saturday 9:00 a.m. until about 6:00 p.m.; Sunday, beginning with a liturgy, the Board wraps up its work in a 3-hour session ending at 12:00 noon.

DignityUSA members desiring to see a copy of the agenda please contact Lewis Tanner (secretary@dignityusa.org).

Since 2007, the Board has met in Boston, Denver, Chicago, San Francisco, Minneapolis, and Philadelphia. In 2011, the Board will meet twice in Washington, DC, the host city for DignityUSA Convention 2011.

The Board moves its meetings in order to meet as many DignityUSA members as possible. It also provides a mix of cost and time for each Board member. Board members pay for their own travel costs, room, and any other costs for their weekend while transacting business for the national organization.

If your chapter would like the Board of Directors to come to your city, please contact Lewis Tanner at his e-mail address above.

Dignity/Honolulu Celebrates Anniversary & LGBT Pride

On Sunday, May 23, 2010, Dignity/Honolulu celebrated its 34th Anniversary with a special Mass and potluck supper at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Honolulu, their weekly liturgy site. The theme “Victory” was proclaimed by Tim Earhart, Chapter President, congratulating the chapter for achieving 34 years of ministry to the Catholic LGBT community in Hawaii, and also for the passage of the civil unions bill by the Hawaii State Legislature. The community is awaiting the Governor’s action on the bill. Editor’s note: Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle has until July 6, 2010, to decide how to respond to the bill.

On Saturday, June 5th, Dignity/Honolulu participated in the 20th Honolulu LGBT Pride Parade with a marching unit and vehicle (Tim Earhart’s electric car). After the completion of the parade through Waikiki, there was a festival in Kapiolani Park where Dignity/Honolulu had an information table. Chapter members fielded questions, distributed Chapter and DignityUSA literature, and sold T-shirts.

DignityUSA Magdala Campaign

July 22nd is the Feast of St. Mary of Magdala. It is a day set forth by various religious organizations and faith communities to commemorate Mary Magdalene as the “Apostle to the Apostles,” and to celebrate the charism of women and their contributions to the Church. Mindful of the latter, and in keeping with DignityUSA’s mission statement, the National Board of Directors will launch a Magdala Campaign in July 2010. Ramon Rodriguez, Director and Marketing Committee Chair, and members of the Committee provided much energy and assistance to the Board in the development of the campaign. The project is part of DignityUSA’s ongoing advocacy and support of women in the Church and society.

Magdala Campaign objectives:

  • “Enlarge the tent” by inviting more women to DignityUSA
  • Strengthen our advocacy by addressing sexism as a driver and enabler of homophobia
  • Inspire local chapters to embrace the full inclusion of women in their chapter ministry

Magdala Campaign implementation:

  • Create a DignityUSA’s Women’s Leadership Fund — a special fund to support both professional development and leadership initiatives for women of all vocations. (Details coming soon.)
  • Advertise in various publication and make contact with various organizations to solicit funds to support the DignityUSA Women’s Leadership Fund. The fundraising campaign will commence in July 2010 and continue into 2011.
  • Announce, celebrate, and showcase Magdala celebrations by DignityUSA local chapters.
  • Promote the work of key women leaders in important LGBT and progressive Catholic publications.
  • Continue education efforts to raise consciousness on how misogyny, kyriarchy, and discriminatory tradition impede progress.
  • Promote a gender-inclusive model of Church leadership.

If you have any questions, or would like to get involved in this program, please contact Ramon Rodriguez by e-mail dignitycincinnati@gmail.com. Please include the words “Magdala Campaign” in the subject header.

Faithful Prophets: God Alive in Every Generation

Call To Action 2010 National Conference
November 5-7, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Three keynote speakers include:

  • Shane Claiborne - a founding partner of The Simple Way, a faith community in inner city Philadelphia that has helped to birth and connect radical faith communities around the world, will present Resurrecting Church inviting attendees to re-imagine what it means to be the Body of Christ alive in the world, and to move beyond complaining about the Church we see and start becoming the Church we dream about. Ÿ
  • Asra Nomani - a former reporter for the Wall Street Journal for 15 years, is the author of “Standing Alone: An American Woman’s Struggle for the Soul of Islam,” a manifesto for women’s rights in Islam, will present, “Bad Girls of Faith: The Daughters of Sarah and Hajar Standing Together to Reclaim the Feminist Tradition.”
  • Joan Chittister - founder and executive director of Benetvision in Erie, PA, also serves as co-chair of the Global Peace Initiative, a United Nations partnership organization of women faith leaders working for peace. Joan will present, “Prophets of a Future Not Our Own.”

On Friday, November 5th, there will be six concurrent allday pre-conference seminars, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., one of which is “All the Colors of the Rainbow: The Lives of LGBTQ People Across the Age Spectrum.” The four panelists include:

  • Marianne Duddy-Burke, Executive Director, DignityUSA Ÿ
  • Frank DeBernardo, Executive Director, New Ways Ministry Ÿ
  • Megan Heeney, member, Call To Action Next Gen Group Ÿ
  • Jon Schum, member, Dignity/Boston.

Full conference details and registration form will be found at www.cta-usa.org/conference or call 815-299-7158.

Lowest rate early registrations must be postmarked or date stamped no later than July 15, 2010.

DignityUSA members may take advantage of CTA Group Registration Discounted Rate of $145, payable to Call To Action, by sending completed registration form to Peggy Burns, Operations Manager, DignityUSA, PO Box 376, Medford, MA 02155-0004 by July 12, 2010. Please add additional $60 fee if registering for any pre-conference seminar. Please include your e-mail address so Peggy can notify you of receipt. A minimum of five DignityUSA registrants is required.

Fortunate Families Gathering - Joining Hands... Reaching Out!

Fortunate Families, Inc. is sponsoring Joining Hands …Reaching Out! — a weekend gathering for Catholic Parents of LGBT Daughters and Sons — Friday to Sunday, October 22-24, 2010, at Techny Towers Conference Center, 2001 Waukegan Road, Techny, IL 60082.

The conference center is located on Chicago’s North Shore, 30 minutes from the city or from O’Hare airport.

Four panelists will present a session “You Are Not Alone,” as well as a “no-holds-barred” discussion “Burning Questions: How Do We Respond to ‘Hot Button’ Issues?” Panelists include:

  • Frank DeBernardo, Executive Director of New Ways Ministry
  • Marianne Duddy-Burke, Executive Director of Dignity- USA
  • Mary Ellen Lopata, Co-founder of Fortunate Families
  • Sheila Nelson, President of the Catholic Association for Lesbian and Gay Ministry.

Rev. Vicki Wunsch, who develops and leads workshops such as “Building an Inclusive Church” across denominations, will lead a workshop “Using Our Stories to Build a More Welcoming Church Community.”

A PDF brochure is available at www.fortunatefamilies.com/docs/138899W00906FFJoiningbrochure.pdf .

Registration form is available at http://www.fortunatefamilies.com/docs/Microsoft%20Word%20-%20JHRORegistr... .

Details about the Techny Towers Conference & Retreat Center are at www.technytowers.org.

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Critique of USCCB Letter to U.S. Congresspersons Regarding Employment Non-Discrimination Act Bills

On May 19, 2010, a letter from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops was sent to the public on the topic of the Employment Non-Discriminiation Act.  Fortunate Families has published an open letter to U.S. Senators and Congressmen along with a copy of the original letter annotated with their analysis.  

Dateline readers, their loved one, families, and friends can contact their senators and House representatives. Roman Catholics can identify themselves as such and say that the bishops of the USCCB do not speak for them, and encourage their congresspersons to favorably pass the ENDA bills (H.R. 3017 and Senate S.1584).

Contact information for your elected members in Congress may be obtained by typing in your zip code at http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml.