Pope Francis criticized laws criminalizing homosexuality and urged bishops to welcome LGBTQ people. God loves all children and does not discriminate.
Pope Francis, the spiritual leader of the Catholic Church, has criticized anti-gay laws and said he would welcome such people into the church. He urged churches to come forward to end anti-gay laws.
He said that God loves all of His children as they are, so “they will oppose any discriminatory legislation against homosexuals.”
Pope Francis acknowledged that Catholic bishops in some parts of the world support laws that criminalize homosexuality or discriminate against the LGBTQ community, calling the behavior “sinful.” Although in some people this tendency develops due to social background.
In an interview given to the American news agency Associated Press (AP), Pope Francis said that being gay is not a crime and the laws that criminalize it are unjust. He urged the bishops to show the same spirit of kindness and mercy to homosexuals “as God does to each one of us.”
Homosexuality is illegal in dozens of countries
According to the Human Dignity Trust, an organization that works to abolish laws against homosexuality, homosexual activity is considered a crime despite consent in about 67 countries around the world. In 11 of these countries, the perpetrators can be sentenced to death.
Experts say that even in countries where such laws are not in force, LGBTQ people are harassed and defamed and they are subjected to violence. More than a dozen states in the US have anti-gay laws on the statute books, even though the US Supreme Court struck them down as unconstitutional in 2003.
The United Nations has also repeatedly called for the abolition of laws that criminalize homosexuality, saying that these laws are against privacy rights and freedom from discrimination. They also run counter to countries’ obligations under international law to protect the human rights of all people, including those with different sexual orientation and gender identity.
The need to distinguish between crime and sin
Pope Francis said the churches should work to end these discriminatory laws. “They have to do this, they have to do this.” Such laws are common in Africa and the Middle East and date back to British colonial times or are influenced by Islamic law.
Pope Francis said there is a need to distinguish between a crime and a sin regarding homosexuality. He said that being gay is not a crime. “This is not a crime. Yes, of course it is a sin. But first we have to distinguish between a sin and a crime.” He added that “not treating each other well is also a sin.”
Catholicism teaches that “homosexuality is an internal disorder” and homosexuals should be treated with respect. Pope Francis also supports this and has made it part of his papacy to reach out to the LGBTQ community. In 2013, when asked about gay priests, he famously declared, “Who am I to judge?”
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