A controversial decision by the Catholic Church in Colorado is making headlines — and sparking protests:
A crowd holding signs protesting the treatment of a student with lesbian parents exchanged smiles and waves with parishioners walking into a Boulder church for Sunday Mass.
Before Mass started, church members citing their Catholic hospitality crossed the street to offer donuts and fresh coffee to the group of about 30 protesters.
Despite the friendly gestures, protest signs underscored why demonstrators were there.
“Teach acceptance. Celebrate all of God’s children,” read one banner.
Last week, a standing policy of the Archdiocese of Denver denied a child from enrolling in the Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic School for kindergarten next year because the student’s parents are lesbians.
Currently the student is in the school’s preschool program and will be allowed to finish the year, according to Jeanette DeMelo, a spokeswoman for the archdiocese.
“It’s clear if they only accept students with perfect parents, they would have almost nobody,” said Beth Osnes, an organizer for the protest. “I know they have the right to, but why would they want to? ”
Inside the church, the Rev. Bill Breslin addressed the issue in his sermon. He also posted his comments on his blog.
“If a child of gay parents comes to our school, and we teach that gay marriage is against the will of God, then the child will think that we are saying their parents are bad,” Breslin said on his blog. “We don’t want to put any child in that tough position.”
DeMelo said the schools do not ask questions about sexual orientation during enrollment, but once they found out, they had to address it according to their policy.
“We’re not trying to weed out people,” DeMelo said. “But when they can’t agree with our Catholic philosophy, it really makes it difficult to be a strong part of the school community; it’s a difficult situation.”
For the protesters outside who heard about the sermon, the justification was not enough.
“It’s not the teachings of Jesus. We are all created equal,” said Joellen Raderstorf, a Boulder resident.
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