In the April 22, 2018, Sunday bulletin at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, in the Diocese of San Diego, there appeared an advertisement for a “Q Christian Parents Retreat.” The current “Pastoral Administrator” at St. John’s is Kevin Casey, S.J. The parish also has its own “LGBT Outreach.” In 2017, the parish, located in the center of the San Diego LGBT neighborhood of Hillcrest, hosted a special “gay mass” celebrated by Auxiliary Bishop John Dolan which commemorated the 20th anniversary of the USCCB document “Always Our Children.” Upon its release in 1996, then Bishop of Lincoln Fabian W. Bruskewitz wrote the following:
“Calamity and frightening disaster” are terms which are not too excessive to describe this document. It is my view that this document carries no weight or authority for Catholics, whom I would advise to ignore or oppose it.
According to the Bulletin at St. John the Evangelist:
The Q Christian Parents’ Retreat is a safe retreat for parents who want to understand their LGBTQIA children’s experience, build a strong community, and feel empowered to connect to their children.
As a Christian parent, when your child comes out as LGBTQIA, you face unique challenges. Where do you find support if your church won’t talk about it, your faith community rejects your child, and your beliefs are now in question?
This event focusing on meeting those needs. Parents will have an opportunity to connect with other parents, to listen and be heard, to choose from breakouts providing education and resources, and to join in worship with other parents of LGBTQIA children.
No matter what questions you have or where you are on this journey, you will be welcomed here! This event is open to all parents and parental figures of LGBTQIA children.
The Q Christian Retreat is organized by the “Q Christian Fellowship” which is a consortium of radical Protestant ministers, theologians and laymen who are advocating for full inclusion of active homosexuals within their various sects; according to their website:
By gathering together, embracing our differences, and celebrating our shared trust in God’s love in Christ, we seek to point toward the full inclusivity to which God is calling us. Just as Jesus led by example in his life on earth, we are dedicated to living out a transformative example of fellowship in the world.
While Paul may have been condemning same-sex behavior in this passage, it is important to distinguish this from condemnation of a same-sex orientation—a modern concept that would have been foreign to Paul and his contemporaries. Paul’s conception of gender, including sexual behavior, was informed by a deeply misogynistic society with rigidly entrenched gender roles. Some of these remain familiar to modern readers, and others—such as the emphasis on penetration as an expression of masculinity or femininity—are no longer relevant to today’s society. Just as modern Christians may ignore Paul’s belief that women should keep their hair covered, we may also believe that his judgments on sex between people of the same gender were a product of his society, rather than an integral part of a Christian system of belief.
Jesuit James Martin proposed the same radical reinterpretation of the Bible to fit a pro-gay narrative; concerning the passages in Scripture which have traditionally been understood as condemning homosexual activity, Martin said:
All these Bible passages that people throw at you; I think really need to be understood in their historical context. I mean Leviticus and Deuteronomy and even the stuff from the New Testament where Paul talks about it once or twice, has to be understood in their historical context…certainly in Old Testament times, they didn’t understand the phenomena of homosexuality and bisexuality as we do today.
The presenter list at the Q Retreat is composed of Protestant LGBT activists who are even controversial within their own sects.
Danny Cortez – A former Baptist Minister who was removed in 2014 from his position by the Southern Baptist Convention because of his radical teachings on homosexuality. In 2014, after his own son came out as “gay,” Cortez posted a YouTube video titled “Why I Changed My Mind on Homosexuality.” He went on to found “a new kind of church” in Whittier, California. Cortez argued that the Bible does not condemn the modern concept of homosexual activity, but must be understood within a historical context; he said:
I think part of the problem here in reading Romans 1—in regard to the homosexual passages—is that it’s very natural for us to read it with western eyes, from our own cultural context. We have to understand that Romans was written in the context of their own particular history.
The readers of Romans 1, who were very well aware of this evil Roman ruler, would read this passage and think, “We know who you’re talking about.” We know that this is about the excesses. It’s not just homosexual behavior, but it’s the violence of the homoerotic behavior that is occurring in that evil Roman ruler and everyone around him.”…That’s why I think it’s so important for us to not make the mistake of reading Romans 1 and then saying, “Isn’t it clear? Isn’t it clear that God says this?” When, in actuality, the context of the history says so much more.
He concluded with:
Homosexual behavior is not what it was in biblical days, when it was filled with violence and abuse and rape and slavery and temple prostitution. When I go into that world and have to put down the book, and I meet with a lesbian couple who are friends of mine at Starbucks, I think, “What I just came from in my book doesn’t feel like this at all. Because here’s a lesbian Christian couple meeting me for coffee, and they’re praying for me. They’re sharing the words of Christ to me. They’re loving on me.” And I’m like, “This is not what I’m reading about. This is different. This is different.”
Kim Dent – A Protestant author and blogger, Dent is associated with the pro-gay group “Evangelicals for Social Action” and their “Oriented to Love” dialogue series. After the 2017 “Nashville Statement,” authored by the Southern Baptist Convention, Dent openly criticized the document which sought to affirm traditional Christian teachings regarding prohibitions against homosexual activity. She wrote:
I am saddened that this rigid stance leaves no room for Jesus’ beloved LGBTQ+ people to feel welcome to come to him “just as they are.” I am frustrated that churches that were beginning to find some balance may be knocked off of that hard-won peace. I am gravely concerned that the bridge-builders who actively listen for God’s still, small voice might somehow be bullied away from fruitful dialogue right at the moment that the Lord is working out a breakthrough!
Susan Cottrell – A “Featured Speaker” at the Q retreat. She is the author of the books “Mom, I’m Gay”—Loving Your LGBTQ Child and Strengthening Your Faith,” “True Colors – Celebrating the Truth and Beauty of the Real You” and “Radically Included – The Biblical Case for Radical Love and Inclusion.” She is the founder of the Protestant LGBT advocacy group FreedHearts which has been endorsed by the pro-gay marriage Human Right Campaign. In 2013, regarding the issue of same-sex marriage, Cottrell wrote:
Marriage equality is coming. With some 85% of under-thirties in support of gay rights, it seems clear that it’s only a matter of time. So what are Christians doing in the meantime? They are becoming increasingly irrelevant. They are in effect dragging Jesus down with them.
In her book, “Mom, I’m Gay,” Cottrell wrote:
Do not throw your Bible at your child in a blind panic. Instead, take those verses that trouble you, along with what you’ve internalized from church, and ask God about it. Let God reveal God’s heart on this. As I walked through this issue, God addressed my doubts specifically and lovingly, showing me that none of the biblical writers had any concept of a loving same-sex relationship – the Bible addresses only sex with slave boys, rape, and temple idol practices. Remember that the Spirit will lead us in all truth (John 16:13). As you hear truth, you will find yourself filled with love and peace for your child, and for the LGBTQ community as a whole. That is when you know you are hearing the very heart of God.
Isaac Archuleta – The other Featured Speaker is an openly bisexual man and psychotherapist who specializes in counseling LGBT individuals who were raised in conservative religious families. Following the horrific 2016 Orlando shooting at a gay nightclub, Archuleta used this as an opportunity to criticize Christian churches which uphold traditional teachings on homosexuality:
When the messages of your churches and the sermons you clap for; when the messages you deliver as our parents, leaders, and well-intentioned friends negatively shift the way we, people of the LGBT+ community, feel about our version of love, our relational offering, or our position in this world [as God’s beloved children], the system of homophobia is working through you.
The problem has been in our conservative churches for decades. It’s in our conservative sanctuaries and its metastasizing violence beyond our walls. The problem is a silent machine producing the willingness to hate our neighbors and our own personhood.
I feel the small seed of hatred at work when you ask me to block you from seeing my kisses. Or when I am welcome in your conservative churches, yet kept from sacraments like communion and marriage. Conservative Christian sentiments sounds like love, but look like hatred shrouded in conditional acceptance.
Please contact the Diocese of San Diego.