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US Catholic school fights back against anti-gay lecture

Edmund Broch April 4, 2012
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A group of senior students at Minnesota’s Catholic DeLaSalle forced a mandatory lecture to end abruptly due to their virulently anti-gay rhetoric, with homosexuality compared to bestiality.

There had been some suspicion that Twin Cities Archbishop John Nienstedt was sending out a team of ‘a priest and a married (heterosexual) couple’ to all the Catholic schools in the area, specifically targetting seniors, in order to drum up support for the forthcoming vote to restrict marriage to heterosexuals through a constitutional amendment.

Now, according to Jon Tevlin at the (Minneapolis) Star Tribune, these fears were not without foundation.

Mr Tevlin spoke to one student, Matt Bliss, who said: “The first three-quarters of the presentation were really good. They talked about what is marriage and how marriage helps us as a society. Then it started going downhill when they started talking about single parents and adopted kids. They didn’t directly say it, but they implied that kids who are adopted or live with single parents are less than kids with two parents of the opposite sex. They implied that a ‘normal’ family is the best family.”

“When they finally got to gay marriage, [students] were really upset,” Mr Bliss added. “You could look around the room and feel the anger. My friend who is a lesbian started crying, and people were crying in the bathroom.” Subsequently, Matt, along with other students, began to argue with the said representatives.

According to Mike O’Keefe, a spokesperson for the school, not all students took against the Archdiocese. Some thought those who opposed the anti-gay messages in the lecture were “rude” and “disrespectful.” But, according to several other students, this was not the case, and that it was only when the issue of the proposed amendment was brought up that students really got angry, which forced the representatives to back off.

When someone asked a question about two men being able to have a quality, committed relationship, the couple compared their love to bestiality, Mr Bliss said. In addition, in a class where there were openly gay and adopted students, the priest had suggested that single and adoptive parenting, and children raised by same-sex couples, were not and cannot be equal to that under “normal” families.

Jim Accurso, spokesman for the archdiocese, said that while most of the presentation went fine, during the question-and-answer session, one presenter used “an unfortunate example” to answer the question, and that this made the students upset. “I can see where in a situation like this, students can feel dismayed,” said Mr Accurso, adding that no troubles have been reported at other schools.

“It was a really awful ending,” Mr Bliss told the Star Tribune. “It was anger, anger, anger, and then we were done and they left. This is really a bad idea.”

More: Americas, Catholic Church, Minneapolis, US

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