Religious service discusses role of Church in survival of homophobia in Ireland

Last Sunday, a special service to mark Pride 2022 was broadcasted by RTÉ 1 and led by the Christian LGBTQ+ group Amach le Dia.

A man in a church. A special Pride service discussed the role of the church in the survival of homophobia in Ireland.
Image: Via Unsplash - Karl Fredrickson

To mark Pride 2022, a special religious service was broadcast on RTÉ on Sunday, June 12. Members of the Christian group Amach le Dia were invited to lead worship and they spoke about how churches have been a source of pain and suffering for the LGBTQ+ community.

Amach le Dia is a group for LGBTQ+ Christians that aims toward providing a safe space for queer folks and their friends who wish to come together in their faith. Last Sunday, the group was invited by RTÉ 1 to lead a special Pride service broadcast on television and RTÉ Radio 1 Extra.

During the sermon, Teagan MacAodhagáin of Amach le Dia spoke of how Christian churches have not been welcoming places for LGBTQ+ folks. “Like slavery, like the treatment of women, the Christian church finds itself yet again on the wrong side of history in its approach and treatment of the LGBTQI+ community,” he said.

Although there are those within churches that have been accepting of LGBTQ+ people, the track record and overriding feeling is one of “abject rejection” from the mainstream church. MacAodhagáin denounced how when churches declare certain individuals as undeserving of acceptance and love “they are providing permission, for others to treat those in the LGBTQI+ community differently”.

“The decision that those in a loving relationship are not eligible for full church membership, nor are their children entitled to Baptism, is but one small step from physical violence against the LGBTQI+ community,” he continued.

In his speech, he referenced the recent episodes of violence that the LGBTQ+ community experienced this year: “In April there was horror when Sligo, a quiet unassuming town in the west of Ireland was cast into the headlines as the scene of not one but two gruesome murders, and our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of both Aidan Moffitt and Michael Snee. The outrage was quietly felt up and down the country with vigils being in various places. But who was not leading those vigils? Whose voices were largely silent in the wake of such abhorrent taking of life? The Church.”

“It is time to say, ‘No more.’ It is time to say, ‘Not another murder, not another assault, not another suicide, not another hateful, hurtful Church motion, not another witch hunt, not another comment that tears down the humanity in another,’” he declared.

MacAodhagáin recalled how church leaders in history have urged those who were fighting for their civil rights to be patient and to obey the law instead of persevering in their struggle to be recognised as equals. These leaders were not affected by unjust laws and their desire to preserve their privilege prevented them from speaking out for what was right.

“Those men urged caution, urged maintaining the status quo, because the status quo was comfortable for them. But we are not comfortable,” MacAodhagáin said. “We are not designed to be in ghettos. I want to be a fully accepted, fully involved member of my church. I am tired to the core of my being, of my presence, being a problem, my life being an issue to solve, my faith being an obstacle to overcome.”

He concluded his sermon for the Pride service by calling on the mainstream churches to stop being a “source of much pain and suffering” for LGBTQ+ people, saying that they too often had been guilty of talking about instead of with the community.

“It is time for the churches of Ireland to make history and extend the hand of Christian fellowship to its gay, lesbian, transgender, non-binary, bisexual and queer siblings. I challenge you to look around your church, be the person to extend that hand, be the person to challenge the hatred, be the person to seek change,” he concluded.

© 2022 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

Support GCN

GCN has been a vital, free-of-charge information service for Ireland’s LGBTQ+ community since 1988.

During this global COVID pandemic, we like many other organisations have been impacted greatly in the way we can do business and produce. This means a temporary pause to our print publication and live events and so now more than ever we need your help to continue providing this community resource digitally.

GCN is a registered charity with a not-for-profit business model and we need your support. If you value having an independent LGBTQ+ media in Ireland, you can help from as little as €1.99 per month. Support Ireland’s free, independent LGBTQ+ media.

0 comments. Please sign in to comment.