Love Thy Neighbor? For Archdiocese of San Francisco, Not So Much

Washington - In response to the use of water sprinklers by the Archdiocese of San Francisco to deter homeless people from seeking refuge in entrance portals of St. Mary’s Cathedral, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, issued the following statement from Lisbeth Melendez Rivera, Director of Latino/a and Catholic Initiatives for HRC Foundation’s Religion and Faith Program:

“It is difficult to comprehend just how far the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in San Francisco has strayed from the basis of our faith. Compassion, working tirelessly for economic justice, and serving the marginalized are traditions that are at risk under San Francisco's Catholic leadership.

The latest example of the archdiocese’s disregard for human dignity? It installed a timed sprinkler system at four entrances to St. Mary’s Cathedral to drench homeless people taking refuge there. In a statement issued by the archdiocese following news reports critical of the sprinklers, church officials said the system was intended to, quite literally, flush out debris.

One can draw a line between these shameful actions toward homeless people looking for a peaceful place to rest, and efforts by the archdiocese to flush out from its midst teachers, administrators and students who do not pass the “Catholicity” litmus test being imposed at archdiocesan high schools. Are LGBT people, single mothers, divorced individuals, and those desperately seeking parenthood also debris in the eyes of the archdiocese?

It doesn't matter how many times Archbishop Cordileone feeds the hungry if, with his aggressive tactics, he physically, psychologically and spiritually starves those seeking both physical shelter and spiritual affirmation from the church.”

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. HRC envisions a world where LGBT people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

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