When the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB) met in Washington, D.C. for three days in November, they were greeted with a protest launched by Soulforce, a radical Christian group that seeks to change Christianity’s teachings on homosexuality. They disrupted Mass, disrupted a meeting of the bishops and blocked entrance to the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
The group said that its goal was to wage a “Stop Spiritual Violence” campaign against the bishops. It was led by Rev. Mel White, a one-time ghostwriter for Rev. Jerry Falwell who previously subjected himself to exorcism and electroshock therapy hoping to rid himself of his homosexuality. He was joined by Rev. Jimmy Creech, a defrocked minister of the United Methodist Church. They were supported by Dignity, a group of homosexuals who reject the Catholic Church’s teachings on homosexuality and are not recognized by the Church.
The Catholic League released two statements to the press on this event. In our first statement, we took issue with the Soulforce contention that “the official teachings of the Roman Catholic Church about sexual minorities lead to suffering and death for our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender sisters and brothers.”
To make our point, we drew attention to Leather Fest 2000, a gay festivity that was just concluding. Held at the Lesbian and Gay Community Services Center in New York City, its purpose was to celebrate “20 years of pain and pleasure” by holding workshops on “rope bondage, mummification, fisting, flogging, and others.” We then offered a reality check: “In short, this is what kills gays, not talks on abstinence.” We also noted that “on October 20, HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo gave the Center a check for $75,000.” Our conclusion was that “if Soulforce were rational, they would be protesting the Center and Secretary Cuomo, not the bishops.”
Our second statement addressed the disruptions at Mass and at the bishops’ meeting. Extremists from “Rainbow Sash” sought to receive the Eucharist as a sign of protest but were turned away with a simple priest blessing. At the start of Mass, protesters were told that Holy Communion would not be made available to those who came to turn the church into a forum of political protest.
“To disrupt religious services in a house of worship,” we said, “is the kind of thing that Nazis made famous. The only difference this time is that the extremists are too old to pose a threat. Time is passing them by and they know it.”
We then showed them to be hypocrites: “The militants talk about tolerance and practice intolerance. They talk about diversity and work to impose uniformity. They talk about democracy and represent no one but the alienated few. And they talk about peace and invite violence. They need our prayers, but they also need to spend some time in jail.”
The person who disrupted the NCCB meeting was Janice Sevre-Duszynska. Janice wants to be a priest and is mad at the Church. So she sat on the floor for an hour and a half and then seized the microphone. She then got what she wanted and was tossed by the cops. A recidivist, Janice was arrested two years ago in Lexington, Kentucky for disrupting the ordination of a priest.
When the bishops proceeded to the National Shrine on November 14, 200 demonstrators showed up. About half of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered persons were arrested. They were taken away in plastic handcuffs, not to be heard from again.