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US bishop breaks with bishops’ conference by supporting anti-Christian Equality Act

The bishop known for defying Church teaching on homosexuality is backing a law that would punish American Christians for following their conscience.
Fri Mar 26, 2021 - 1:44 pm EST
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Bishop John Stowe of Lexington, Kentucky, in a video message for 2020 'Pride Month' YouTube

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LEXINGTON, Kentucky, March 26, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — Pro-homosexual Bishop John Stowe is breaking with his fellow U.S. bishops by publicly supporting the Equality Act. The bill would effectively criminalize Christianity by overriding conscience objections to practices such as performing abortions and transgender surgeries, and denying placement of foster children with same-sex couples.

“As a Catholic bishop, I hate to see any form of harmful discrimination protected by law and it is consistent with our teaching to ensure that LGBTQ people have the protection they need,” the bishop of Lexington, Kentucky, wrote in a March 19 letter to Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA), America reported.

Stowe, who has been criticized for publicly opposing Catholic teaching on homosexuality, continued, “It is deplorable that, while LGBTQ persons contribute to our society in many ways, they can be denied basic protections in housing, employment, and in many other areas of life.”

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), by contrast, has strongly opposed the Equality Act on the grounds that it would “discriminate against people of faith” and “inflict numerous legal and social harms on Americans of any faith or none.”

In a February letter issued in opposition to the Equality Act, the USCCB wrote that if the legislation was passed, it would “punish faith-based charities such as shelters and foster care agencies, and in turn their thousands of beneficiaries, simply because of their beliefs on marriage and sexuality.”

Homeless shelters, for example, would be forced to have women share facilities with men claiming to be women. Foster care agencies would be punished for insisting that children are placed with a foster mother and father couple, as opposed to same-sex couples.

The bill doesn’t stop there. As the U.S. bishops also point out, the legislation would “risk mandating taxpayers to pay for abortions, and health care workers with conscience objections to perform them, ultimately ending more human lives.”

The bill forbids discrimination based on “sex,” which as the U.S. bishops note, is defined by the Equality Act to include “pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition.”

When EWTN White House correspondent Owen Jensen asked White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki what Biden thinks about concerns that the Equality Act “would force doctors to perform abortions even if it violates their conscience,” “Psaki simply responded that Biden is a ‘long supporter of Roe v. Wade,’” Catholic Vote reported.

Stowe told America that “it’s a difficult thing to take a stance against what the U.S.C.C.B. published,” and he “cannot condone any expansion in abortion access or threats to the sanctity of life.” He nevertheless insisted, “I do not believe that the Equality Act would compromise our beliefs on this matter.”

“I wish we could influence the writing of the law in ways that would better protect everybody’s interest,” he said. “In this circumstance, I do believe that the provision of equal justice under law is more important,” Stowe continued.

Even though Stowe seems to value “equal justice under law” higher than preventing the killing of countless unborn human beings every year, the Catechism of the Catholic Church is clear: “Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law.”

Before the 2020 election, Stowe had said both abortion and the environment are “critical issues.” He then went on to say, “I think an argument could be made that … creation is the preeminent issue, because without the environment to sustain human life, you can’t have human life.”

The Catechism, on the other hand, states, “The inalienable right to life of every innocent human individual is a constitutive element of a civil society and its legislation.”

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In July of last year, Bishop Stowe had discredited President Trump as not really being pro-life.

“For this President to call himself pro-life, and for anybody to back him because of claims of being pro-life, is almost willful ignorance,” he said. “He is so much anti-life because he is only concerned about himself, and he gives us every, every, every indication of that.”

“Yes, we have to be concerned for the unborn children,” the bishop said at the time. “It’s foundational for us, but it’s all connected,” and “our understanding of pro-life has to be the vision that was described as the seamless garment vision.”

The term “seamless garment” refers to a theory first spelled out by the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin. According to that theory, intrinsic evils like abortion are essentially morally equivalent to societal ills like poverty.

Stowe also has a history of supporting the homosexual lifestyle, in defiance of Church teaching. In 2017, he spoke at a homosexual activist conference put on by New Ways Ministry, which has been condemned by the Vatican. The “Catholic” group describes itself as a “gay-positive ministry of advocacy and justice for lesbian and gay Catholics,” and advocates for same-sex "marriage” and the acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle.

Stowe also filmed an LGBT “Pride Month” video in 2020, and is one of five bishops who endorsed pro-gay Fr. James Martin, S.J.’s book, “Building a Bridge.”


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