On the Front Lines of the Culture Wars

U.S. Embassy officials in Warsaw, Poland, under the Obama administration complained that Catholic Church doctrine is a major source of “homophobia” in the heavily Catholic country, according to diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks.

The messages from the American embassy in Poland’s capital, marked “sensitive but unclassified,” were part of a dump of over 250,000 official government documents by the anti-secrecy website.

An August 2009  cable from the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw dated criticized the Catholic Church as being central in promoting “homophobia” in the former Soviet-controlled country.

“The Catholic Church plays a significant role in the formation and propagation of anti-gay attitudes in Polish society, especially in rural areas,” states the communiqué entitled “Gay rights in Poland: long road ahead.”

Not explained is why the American embassy is involved in a matter of such sensitivity within a friendly nation.

Officials did note that “the Polish Episcopate has condemned violence and discrimination against gays and lesbians,” but said that message is ignored by local priests teaching that sexual attraction to the same gender is “a deviant condition.”

“Moreover, the Church continues to label homosexual acts as sins and calls on homosexuals to practice abstinence. Most Polish opponents of gay rights cite ‘Catholic values’ and ‘natural law’ to support their views,” the cable continues.

Within the United States, the same position is taken by the Catholic church and most evangelical denominations. Only a small minority of “liberal” mainstream churches have stopped calling homosexual practice sinful, will perform homosexual marriages or ordain homosexual clergy.

The leaked cables noted that some Polish lawmakers are readying defenses against acceptance of homosexuality in schools by drafting legislation similar to a law in Lithuania that bans favorable depictions of homosexuality.

Despite cultural and political hurdles, the American embassy appeared optimistic that the gay rights movement would eventually take hold in Poland.

The National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., has scheduled “A Call to Compassion” interfaith prayer vigil on Sept. 11 — however not a single protestant or evangelical has been invited to participate.

Who was invited? A Roman Catholic bishop, a Jewish rabbi, Buddhist nun, a Hindu priest, the president of the Islamic Society of North America and a Muslim musician.

Notably excluded are 16.6 million Southern Baptists, America’s largest protestant denomination. Completely left off the program was anybody represented by the National Association of Evangelicals: No Prebyterians, Methodists, Lutherans, Congregationalists, Wesleyans or Mennonites. Nobody from the Church of Christ or the Assemblies of God.

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Writing on USA Today‘s editorial page, attorney Jay Sekulow says “New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s decision not to invite clergy of any faith to commemorate the anniversary Sunday at Ground Zero is a mistake.”

The move is deeply offensive to the many Americans who find solace and healing in prayer, notes Sekulow:

For many, 9/11 is not a distant memory. It’s still very real. Many face day-to-day struggles to cope with the loss of loved ones.

In the days following 9/11, prayer was an integral part of the grieving process. Thousands attended the “Prayer for America” event at Yankee Stadium, where representatives of many faiths offered prayers. It was an event that united, not divided, Americans.

The nation has a long and cherished history of prayer, from the first prayer in Congress in 1774 to the National Day of Prayer celebrated each year. Even the Supreme Court acknowledges our religious heritage. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor put it this way: “It is unsurprising that a nation founded by religious refugees and dedicated to religious freedom should find references to divinity in its symbols, songs, mottoes, and oaths.”

There’s a growing chorus of Americans — religious and non-religious alike — calling on Mayor Bloomberg to reconsider his decision. And in the past week, we have heard from thousands of Americans who have signed our letter urging Mayor Bloomberg to change his mind. He still has time to act. He should clear the way for clergy and religious leaders to participate — to pray for our nation, and to pray for those who are still suffering from the pain and loss of Sept. 11, 2001.

Two books, one containing an explicit depiction of statutory lesbian rape, and the other a homosexual orgy, have been removed from local schools’ required reading lists by outraged New Jersey parents.

“The texts, Norwegian Wood and Tweak: Growing up on Methamphetamines, originally appeared on the summer reading list for both middle school and high school students at Monroe Township schools this year,” reports Kathleen Gilbert for LifeSiteNews.

Norwegian Wood, a novel by Haruki Murakami, includes a graphic depiction of a 31-year-old woman raping a 13-year-old girl, while Tweak, a story about addiction, describes a homosexual orgy scene as well as the details of drug use.

The books, school officials say, were included on the list by a group of teachers, librarians, and administrators, and approved by the board of education, writes Gilbert: 

Chuck Earling, superintendent of Monroe Township Schools in Williamstown, N.J., says the committee “didn’t feel it was inappropriate based on the language that’s used, common language used on the street.”

However, after outrage from local parents, the district yanked the books, and Earling apologized. “We were not trying to create controversy. We were just trying to get students to read,” he said.

The Family Research Council’s Peter Sprigg noted:

“Exposing children to graphic sexual content – that is not as evil as censorship in the minds of some left-wing activists.”

Books exploring the homosexual lifestyle have been making their way into public schools across America in recent years, particularly in states where same-sex “marriage” has been legalized, noted Gilbert:

In 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a Massachusetts father’s plea to opt-out his kindergartener from listening to homosexual children’s books, or at least to be notified of the objectionable material.

A California law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in June mandates that textbooks in pubic schools statewide teach children about “the role and contributions of” homosexual American historical figures, and forbids materials that “contain any matter reflecting adversely” upon gays on the basis of sexual identification.. The law is automatically on hold after conservatives leaders launched a referendum effort to put the textbook question before California voters.

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