Bishop Thomas J. Tobin
via Boston Globe

Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas J. Tobin has issued a statement on the Diocese of Providence website. Apparently, he was reacting to the backlash created by his offensive June 1 tweet to adherents that they should not attend any Pride events which, according to him, are especially harmful to children. If Tobin was seeking to clean up his act, he failed to do so.

I regret that my comments yesterday about Pride Month have turned out to be so controversial in our community, and offensive to some, especially the gay community. That certainly was not my intention, but I understand why a good number of individuals have taken offense. I also acknowledge and appreciate the widespread support I have received on this matter.

Tobin’s intentions are entirely irrelevant. That basically says that the controversy is our fault because of how we received his invective. Tobin claimed that LGBT people pose a threat to children. That odious statement constitutes abject bigotry and ignorance. Tobin appreciates the widespread support that he has received which means that he has been successful in promoting bigotry. He rejoices in that success.

The Catholic Church has respect and love for members of the gay community, as do I. Individuals with same-sex attraction are beloved children of God and our brothers and sisters.

Bullshit. The Vatican does not respect gay people and neither does Bishop Tobin. Without respect there can be no love. The quality of relationships is based on the presence of good faith. Tobin is not arguing in good faith. The Church claims that gay people are disordered which conflicts with irrebuttable science. I understand that Tobin, as a bishop, has an obligation to conform to Catholic doctrine. However:

  • He had no obligation to issue that offensive tweet.
  • As a leader he could take the initiative to ensure that there is no discrimination in Catholic schools. Kids raised by gay couples should not be excluded and gay employees should not be terminated for marrying. It is odd because that same gay employee was usually tolerated when he or she was “shacking up.” Discrimination is more evil and immoral than anything at a Pride event.
  • He could ensure that Catholic adoption and foster services are not discriminating against gay couples. These agencies are happy to inhale taxpayer dollars to do the work of the state. If that “render unto Caesar …” virtue means anything then the obligation to the state takes precedence over dogma. Accepting state funds creates that obligation.

In other words, if Tobin acted in some way to improve the lives of LGBT people he might honestly claim respect and love. Tobin has done nothing to enable the LGBT community to trust and respect him.

Yes, but:

As a CEO I did everything in my power to prevent employees from ever saying “yes, but” to a customer or potential customer. The correct construct, by the way, is “yes … [pause].” Tobin displays the absence of good faith:

As a Catholic Bishop, however, my obligation before God is to lead the faithful entrusted to my care and to teach the faith, clearly and compassionately, even on very difficult and sensitive issues. That is what I have always tried to do – on a variety of issues – and I will continue doing so as contemporary issues arise.

In other words that “respect and love” is invalid. God does not require Tobin to spread the idea that the presence of LGBT people is harmful to children. Nor is it acceptable to promote the idea that sexuality is either contagious or subject to influence. If there is a god then he or she is probably very pissed off at the way some of these pampered prelates treat other people — in word and deed.

The praise that Tobin has received comes from a petition organized by LifeSiteNews. Bishop Tobin should take a look at the extreme bigotry that the outlet spreads every single day. It’s authors claim to denigrate and disparage LGBT people on behalf of the Church. They are not conforming to that so-called respect and love. Indeed, the text accompanying the petition includes: “[T]he degrading moral ‘culture’ of so-called ‘pride’ and the LGBT agenda.” That is not respectful.

Tobin is just one more example of a religious extremist. Most Catholics do not share his views. Most Catholic clergy have the good common sense to simply shut up. Pride month would not exist in the absence of bigotry directed at LGBT people. A fair amount of that hateful rhetoric comes from people like Bishop Thomas J. Tobin.

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.