Mitt Romney Offers Praise for Anti-Gay “Chick-Fil-A” Founder During Commencement Speech
LYNCHBURG, VIRGINIA – During a May 12 commencement speech at Liberty University— the largest Evangelical Christian institution of higher learning in the world—Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney offered praise for the school’s late benefactor, Rev. Jerry Falwell, along with the founder of fast food chain Chick-Fil-A, a company that LGBT rights advocates say has donated millions of dollars to anti-gay organizations, and other reactionary groups.
“The calling Jerry answered was not an easy one,” Romney said of the late minister and founder of the Moral Majority, who died in 2007. “Today, we remember him as a courageous and big-hearted minister of the Gospel who never feared an argument, and never hated an adversary. Jerry deserves the tribute he would have treasured most, as a cheerful, confident champion for Christ.”
Along with founding Liberty University, Falwell was an outspoken opponent of gay rights. During the 1970s, Falwell joined former Miss America runner-up and singer Anita Bryant in her efforts to fight a Miami-Dade County ordinance that prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Falwell went to Miami and told supporters that “so-called gay folks would just as soon kill you as look at you,” and referred to gays as “brute beasts,” and “part of a vile and satanic system.”
Romney also took time to mention Truett Cathy, the founder of the Chick-Fil-A fast food chain, who was present to receive an honor during the Liberty University commencement. Since last year, gay rights groups have boycotted Chick-Fil-A for its financial support of groups that oppose marriage quality and LGBT rights.XXX The presumptive GOP nominee praised the restaurant chain. “The Romney campaign comes to a sudden stop when we spot a Chick- Fil-A,” Romney said to Cathy. “Your chicken sandwiches were our comfort food through the primary season, and there were days that we needed a lot of comforting. So, Truett, thank you, and congratulations on your well-deserved honor today.”
LGBT advocates report that in 2009 alone, the WinShape Foundation—the charitable arm of Chick-Fil-A—donated over $1.7 million to groups that oppose gay rights. The beneficiary groups include Focus on the Family, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the Eagle Forum, the Family Research Council, and Exodus International, one of the world’s largest promoters of “ex-gay,” conversion therapy.
Vatican Denounces Nun’s Book that Justifies Same Sex Relationships
VATICAN CITY, ITALY – The Vatican’s top doctrinal watchdog has denounced a book written by an American nun who taught Christian ethics at Yale Divinity School, in which she presents a theological justification for same sex relationships, as well as masturbation, and remarriage following divorce. According to Vatican officials, “Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics,” by Sister Margaret A. Farley, is “not consistent with authentic Catholic theology,” and should be avoided by faithful Roman Catholics.
The book by Farley, who is a past president of the Catholic Theological Society of America, includes an endorsement of marriage equality, which she writes “can also be important in transforming the hatred, rejection, and stigmatization of gays and lesbians,” adding that “same-sex relationships and activities can be justified according to the same sexual ethic as heterosexual relationships and activities.”
“This opinion is not acceptable,” the Vatican said. According to Roman Catholic dogma, homosexual acts are “acts of grave depravity,” “intrinsically disordered” and “contrary to the natural law.”
In addition to gay relationships, Farley’s book praises the practice of female masturbation, which she says “usually does not raise any moral questions at all.” The nun, a member of the Sisters of Mercy of America, which operates Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale, writes that “many women” find “great good in selfpleasuring— perhaps especially in the discovery of their own possibilities for pleasure— something many had not experienced or even known about in their ordinary sexual relations with husbands or lovers.” The Vatican condemned Farley’s suggestion, saying that “the deliberate use of the sexual faculty, for whatever reason, outside of marriage is essentially contrary to its purpose.”
Farley’s book was published in 2006, but the Vatican first notified the nun’s superiors of its concerns in 2010, saying that “Just Love” was “a cause of confusion among the faithful.”
According to Cardinal William J. Levada, an American prelate who heads the Vatican office that deals with matters of doctrinal purity—and which has historical roots in the Church’s medieval Inquisition—Farley’s book “cannot be used as a valid expression of Catholic teaching, either in counseling and formation, or in ecumenical and interreligious dialogue.”
Levada’s statement was approved by Pope Benedict XVI who, on Sunday, ended a threeday meeting in Milan, that had been organized to promote family values.
Farley, an award-winning scholar, responded to the Vatican’s censure. “I can only clarify that the book was not intended to be an expression of current official Catholic teaching, nor was it aimed specifically against this teaching. It is of a different genre altogether,” said Farley. She added that “Just Love” provides “contemporary interpretations” of its subject matter, and seeks to replace antiquated and “taboo morality” with ideas based upon “present-day scientific, philosophical, theological, and biblical resources.”