A few weeks ago, Carl Siciliano, Executive Director of the Ali Forney Center, wrote an open letter in the Huffington Post to Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York (see my previous post). In the letter, Siciliano wrote about the tragedy of LGBT youth who are rejected by their families for being LGBT. This rejection can come from the belief that LGBT are evil, damaged, not to be accepted, undeserving of equality because of who they are. A belief that is often rooted in religion and perpetuated by those, like Cardinal Dolan, who would fight against equality.
Siciliano goes on to invite Cardinal Dolan to visit the Ali Forney Center and hear the stories of rejection from LGBT youth first-hand and to witness the damage that fighting against LGBT rights can cause. Yesterday, Cardinal Dolan responded to Mr. Siciliano’s invitation, and the response is not in “kind.”
For you to make the allegations and insinuations you do in your letter based on my adherence to the clear teachings of the Church is not only unfair and unjust, but inflammatory. Neither I nor anyone in the Church would ever tolerate hatred of or prejudice towards any of the Lord’s children. In the future you ought to be more careful about personally attacking the character of those who espouse beliefs different than your own.
Dolan didn’t even address or respond to any of the actual issues that Siciliano raised in his letter. Dolan just fired off a letter of indignation that someone dare to point out that his words and actions are leading to more harm than good. Is this really the type of person who should be a TIME 100; one of the “icons and heroes you think are the most influential people in the world”? A person who would ignore the plight of those who are outcast due to the very “adherence” of their teachings hardly seems heroic to me. Instead, Mr. Siciliano seems to be the real hero here, even in his response to Cardinal Dolan’s letter of indignation.
I repeat my invitation for you to come to the Ali Forney Center and meet our homeless and outcast kids. Even if you refuse my invitation, I hope that you will reflect on their plight. I hope you might ask yourself why hundreds of thousands of LGBT youths are suffering homelessness on the streets of our nation. I hope you might ask yourself why religious parents are more likely to reject their LGBT children. I hope that you might reflect on how your fight against the acceptance of LGBT people bears fruit in parents who cannot accept their LGBT children.