I disagree with these homophobic, Christians 100% but I also support their right to religious freedom 100%.
Hundreds march against S.F. archbishop’s 'morality clauses’
By Victoria Colliver
Updated 10:30 pm, Monday, March 30, 2015
Carrying signs reading “Who Am I to Judge?” and “Love One Another,” hundreds of students, teachers and supporters marched Monday evening from the Mission Dolores Basilica to the Cathedral of St. Mary in San Francisco, where they delivered petitions opposing the archbishop’s “morality clauses” at four Catholic high schools.
San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone has come under fire for calling on teachers and staff members at high schools within the archdiocese — Sacred Heart Cathedral, Archbishop Riordan, Serra and Marin Catholic — to accept contract and handbook language against homosexuality, same-sex marriage, abortion, contraceptives and artificial insemination.
Many of the demonstrators at Monday’s peaceful procession and vigil, which came at the beginning of a religious period known as Holy Week, said the archbishop’s proposals go against the spirit and teaching of Jesus.
“At the core of the religion is love, acceptance, respect and dignity,” said Gino Gresh, 18, a senior at Sacred Heart. “Whatever the archbishop is doing is completely contrary to that.”
Earlier this month, more than 80 percent of teachers and staff members at the four schools issued a statement rejecting the archbishop’s proposed language for the faculty handbook, calling it “harmful to our community.” The executive board of the teachers union sent letters to the schools’ principals expressing concern that educators are considering other career options for the upcoming school year.
Monday’s vigil and march was organized by a group calling themselves Parents and Students: Teach Acceptance. “We want to keep building this momentum,” said Jim McGarry, a retired Catholic high school teacher of 32 years and one of the group’s organizers.
The petition, left at St. Mary’s, the principal church of the Archdiocese of San Francisco, read in part: “We cannot in good conscience support language that sows fear, division and discrimination.”
Many Catholics in the group had no trouble reconciling their opposition to the archbishop’s position with the teaching of the Catholic Church, which does not support homosexuality or same-sex marriage.
“I can be a Catholic and a follower of Jesus without accepting what the hierarchy says but accepting what I think Jesus would have said,” said Sue Fandel, a parishioner of Most Holy Redeemer Church in the Castro who married her longtime female partner this month.
“The world already has enough hate,” said Mary Petrini, the mother of a freshman at Sacred Heart. “We don’t need any more.”
Father Donal Godfrey, campus minister at University of San Francisco, referenced Pope Francis’ calling on Catholic priests to go out among their flocks and know the people they serve like “shepherds living with the smell of the sheep.”
“In San Francisco, if you’re going to smell like sheep, you’re going to welcome and accept the LGBT community,” he said as he walked with the marchers to the cathedral.
Victoria Colliver is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @vcolliver