Monday, October 15, 2012

Purple on Friday, October 19

Millions of people will wear purple on Spirit Day as a sign of support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth and to speak out against bullying. Spirit Day started in 2010 as a response to the young people who had taken their own lives. Every year schools, sports leagues, organizations, churches, companies and stars stand up to bullying and "go purple."

Here are a few paragraphs from a longer post on Spirit Day from James Martin, SJ over at America's blog In All Things:
Friday marks (a) commemoration which many Catholics might not know about.  It’s called “Spirit Day,” an invitation to stand against bullying and violence targeting gay and lesbian students in American schools.  This should be a no-brainer for Catholics, who are called by Christ to support those who suffer or struggle in any way, particularly those on the margins.  According to the Trevor Project, which helps LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) youths, gay and lesbian teens are four times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers.  And youth coming from "highly rejecting families" are up to eight times as likely to attempted suicide as their gay and lesbian peers who report no or low levels family rejection.  Bullying is also on the rise, according to U.S. Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez.  "The bullying of kids who are LBGT is probably the largest growth area in our docket," he said in Sept. 2011.

This is an especially relevant issue for Catholics who support traditional families, particularly during this period in our nation's, and our church's, history.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us that gays and lesbians should be treated with "respect, compassion and sensitivity," and that "every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided."  (That's under the section in the Catechism entitled "You Shall Love Your Neighbor as Yourself.")  For supporters of traditional marriage, here is a simple way to show people that even those who do not support same-sex marriage deplore the bullying of, and violence against, gays and lesbian youth. For Catholics overall it is an opportunity to demonstrate their "respect, compassion and sensitivity"  for their gay and lesbian brothers and sisters, and thus heed the call of the Catechism.  (There's even a site for Catholics supporting the initiative.)  And when we're talking about suicide, we're talking about a "life issue."

Some may object to some of the organizations who are sponsoring the day, which may take positions at odds with official Catholic teaching.  (There are a lot of groups supporting the venture, and I'm sure that there are some with whose positions I disagree--even strongly.)  But that doesn't mean that Spirit Day, or standing up against bullying and discrimination, is any less worthwhile.  If you wait to work for a cause until you're working with people who agree with you on everything, you'll wait forever, and the injustice will continue.
(Read the whole article here)


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naturgesetz said...

It's a good article. I may not have anything purple to wear, but I'm glad you posted it. Many Catholics seem to need to learn that God loves homosexuals, and so should they (and I don't mean the kind of "love" that insists on proclaiming loudly, repeatedly, and in their face that homosexual activity is objectively sinful).

Chris said...

You can make an argument against bullying without buying into a political agenda. You can base your case on scripture and Catholic moral teaching. "Spirit Day" is some made-up event. Your parish should not be doing this!

Austin Fleming said...

Perhaps Chris didn't take the time to read Fr. Martin's post which goes to some length to base the case for participation precisely in scripture and Catholic moral teaching. If Fr. Martin was not convincing, I doubt that anything I might add would change Chris' mind on this matter.