If everything went as planned, there was going to be a event tonight at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in New York City put on by the International Human Rights Art Festival. It included actress Kathleen Turner, an improvised show called Thank You for Coming Out about revealing one’s gay identity, and a performance by transgender artist Maybe Burke.
It’s those last two things that posed a problem for Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, who felt the inclusion of a trans performer and a play about coming out as gay contradicted the bigotry espoused by the Catholic Church. (The arts group sponsoring the show had a contract to perform in the church space, which is why they were there at all.)
The pressure was on. The show’s producer, Tom Block, picked up on the hint that those two performances had to be taken out… or else there would be problems. He wasn’t going to do that.
Instead, he decided to pull the plug on the entire production. There was no guarantee of finding new space in such little time, but another church came through for them.
Late Friday, organizers found a new venue: St. Ann & the Holy Trinity, an Episcopal church in Brooklyn Heights.
Joseph Zwilling, the spokesman for the archdiocese, emphasized that the bishops had not directly requested that the performances be removed, but said that the move was right in principle.
“Whenever parish property is used by an outside group of any sort, whether for a performance, speech, discussion, or other use, the expectation is that nothing would occur that would violate Catholic sensibilities and teaching,” he said.
Kudos to the Episcopal church for stepping in at the last moment; you can still buy tickets to the show right here.
But it’s telling that a transgender person simply singing and a play about coming out as gay were seen as violating “Catholic sensibilities and teaching.” This is the same Church that claims to love the sinner, yet this is how those “sinners” are treated. It’s despicable. And it’s par for the course for Catholics these days. Anyone who remains in the Church is defending this kind of behavior.
Jesuit priest Rev. James Martin, who has written favorably about LGBTQ rights, was right on the nose when he told the New York Times, “Hosting a play about coming out is not an endorsement, any more than hosting a Greek tragedy is an endorsement of murder and suicide.”
Someone should relay that message to Dolan whenever he takes the fingers out of his ears.
(Thanks to Alisha for the link)