Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin cautioned Catholics against homophobia in a series of interviews this week, warning that such behavior is an insult to God. “God never created anybody that he doesn’t love,” Martin said.
“Anybody who doesn’t show love towards gay and lesbian people is insulting God. They are not just homophobic if they do that — they are actually Godophobic because God loves every one of those people,” he said.
In a radio interview about Ireland’s upcoming referendum on same-sex marriage, the archbishop said that the country’s gay community “has suffered enormously” due to the culture of homophobia.
“Anyone who grew up in Ireland would have told jokes that were pointed at the gay community… it is part of the culture we grew up in, but we have to grow out of it.” The country’s anti-LGBT culture has been in the news over the past few weeks after a prominent activist delivered a damning speech about homophobia and an openly gay member of the Irish Parliament revealed he had been harassed, spit at, and even beaten because of his sexuality.
Martin responded thoughtfully when asked if the Catholic Church was a homophobic institution. “People in the Catholic Church may be homophobic. Certainly the teachings of the Catholic Church could be used by some people in a homophobic way, and we have to be very careful that that isn’t done.” He added that it was equally important not to demonize the church, which opposes the legalization same-sex marriage in Ireland. “Just because a person isn’t in favor of gay marriage doesn’t mean that one is homophobic — let’s be very clear on that.”
His words came as Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed a new law Monday that imposes tough penalties for homosexual acts, a move that drew condemnation from around the world and which could jeopardize Uganda’s relationship with the Obama administration and Western donors.
Homosexuality is already illegal in Uganda, but the new legislation threatens to usher in a new era of harsh justice for offenders and could lead to widespread oppression against gays and lesbians, human rights activists say. The legislation imposes a 14-year prison sentence for first-time offenders and life sentences for repeat offenders found guilty of “aggravated homosexuality.”
It is now against the law in Uganda to not report gay people to the authorities