Hey Francis, Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Pope FrancisHow would you feel if I told you an organization that hates gays, treats women as second-class citizens and is known for molesting children was finally saying “acceptable” things about you? Would you drop to your knees in genuflection, or flagellate yourself till the cows came home?

Pope Francis of the Roman Catholic Church recently went on record saying some “nice” things about gay people and I have to be honest…in the words of Rhett Butler, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a shit.”

When the religion you’re peddling is known for the persecution and death of thousands of LGBT people throughout time, for supporting a doctrine that continues to cause many adolescent children to commit suicide, for the horrific handling of the AIDS epidemic when it was thought to only be a “gay disease,” for turning a blind eye when Father Tickle McPickle was raping countless boys and for pouring millions of dollars into campaigns to stop the legalization of gay marriage, I tend to be a little skeptical when you suddenly act so cordial by saying the church shouldn’t be so “obsessed” with gays. Obsessed like whom exactly, Jeffrey Dahmer or John Wayne Gacy?

So Pope, why the new tune? Are your congregation’s numbers really so bad that you are actually turning to the gays to fill the pews? Is this new “gay’s are sort of/kind of/maybe ok” ideology the equivalent to a “you can finally eat fish on Friday” kind of thing?

You’ll have to excuse me for waiting for the other Prada shoe to drop, but we’ve been down this road before — a kind word, an inviting smile, then the church politely opens the door, tips its hat and pushes us into the ovens.

No thanks, I’ll pass.

Another thing that gets my panties in a bunch are LGBT people who are applauding a few decent words from an archaic organization. We, as LGBT people, have come a long way. We no longer need to fit in with the bullies on the playground anymore. At this point I’m left wondering why we even care what man-made, organized religion thinks of us and why we need someone to manipulate ancient text to tell us if we are good, bad or indifferent.

By backing off from its usual hate speech, the church is basically dangling the proverbial carrot of inclusion. They beat the crap out of us for centuries, and then tell us we are not that bad so we keep running towards them for acceptance. Well, the power of acceptance is not theirs to give if we do not seek it.

JohnCarrollBeing ostracized by the church was one of the greatest things to ever happen to me. It allowed me to build my own strong relationship with God rather than having some priest in an elaborate frock and jaunty hat dictate it for me. It forced me to see God in everything around me and to realize that everywhere has the potential to be a place of divine worship. I don’t need anyone to tell me I belong anymore, because in the eyes of God, I always have.

So, say this actually is the change so many have been praying for, what’s to become of all those religious bigots now that “God’s mouthpiece on earth” is no longer giving them the green light to discriminate against us? I’ll be interested to see what they’ll do when they no longer have God to thank for their vile hatred.

Religious fanatics will have a lot of free time on their hands now that LGBT people are no longer held responsible for every natural disaster or terrorist attack. They will need to find some other place to put all that frenzied energy. May I suggest a knitting circle, Canasta group, or Oprah’s book club?

You know, my mother always told me, when someone says something nice to you, say “thank you.” So Pope Francis, thanks for the kind words, but sell crazy someplace else, we’re all stocked up here.


John Carroll is a Broadway performer, writer and activist. For more information on him, go to

Photo of Carroll: Kevin McDermott

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  • 2eo

    Hand over all the files for the 250,000 child [email protected] in your organisation to Interpol and let them be jailed and executed.

    Then we can talk.

  • vonlmo

    Francis is using the Hopey-Changey meme that worked so well for Obama.Similarly. don’t be suprised to find out you are disappointed.

  • Sparkyu1

    Agreed to the hilt. Francis’s PR speech is just that – an empty PR speech while he maintains the same bigoted policies that have made the Catholic church such a source of evil. He hasn’t done one thing to reduce the bigotry of the church or stop it’s campaigns against our rights (which, given his influence, would have been nice during Italy’s recent vote).

    This is a PR move – because many Catholics, especially younger Catholics, are moving away from the church that has done so much evil and showed so little regret and so little signs of change. The Catholic church is becoming known as the anti-abortion and anti-gay church because they’re so obsessed – so Francis has come in and asked everyone to look the other way. The bigotry will continue but can we all… pretend it isn’t? He isn’t even penalising or demanding his bishops stop their incessant hatred

  • niles

    You are being a bit harsh. He is trying to move the church in the right direction. It can’t be done overnight.

  • jwrappaport

    Great piece. It astonishes me how many times I’ve had to explain this to people, but they still don’t seem to get it. The Pope’s words weren’t trivial, but neither were they a substantive change in the doctrine.

  • Kieran

    Hatred, petty bigotry and close-mindedness get us nowhere. Pope Francis seems to understand that. Too bad you apparently don’t.

  • senoda

    @Kieran: I agree with you on this. Change isn’t going to be made overnight. Rather than writing more hatred into the world, Mr.Carroll (whoever you are), why don’t you celebrate the fact that we finally have one of the biggest religious figures moving in the right direction?
    Where is the acknowledgement of that?

  • enfilmigult

    @senoda: I think he has a point. This isn’t anybody moving anywhere, it’s words, from one speech. If words about not condemning gay people were all we needed, the words of Jesus himself would have done the job a while ago. The church will have to start actually DOING something different for me to start acknowledging that they’re doing something different, don’t know about you.

  • senoda

    @enfilmigult: Never said it was all we needed, I’m saying it is refreshing to hear.
    Actions come after the words – just give it time.

  • Jake357

    Um… What’s with the author’s picture? What’s with the author’s picture being nearly as large as the illustrative image and why is it in the body of the text? Cuz nothing says “take my words seriously” like a self-aggrandizing, look at my hotness model pose that has nothing to do with the article.

  • Daniel

    I suppose it is a testament to how far the Church of Rome has strayed from the mission of its founder that a few nice words by the current Pope are enough to make people celebrate a new reformation.

    While I’m irritated by the unwarranted exuberance these recent developments have unleashed, the haters like the author are missing the point.

    Yes, these are all just “words,” but the Roman Church is an ideological organization. Ideas – conveyed by words – are its business. Francis appears to be attempting to shift the emphasis of those ideas. That is significant.

    If the Roman Church were not a worldwide billion-member institution, then its words and ideas – positive or negative – could be ignored. That’s not the case. The proper response, rather than the author’s dismissiveness, should be “Thanks for the kind words. Keep it up, but make sure to practice what you preach.”

  • Elloreigh

    As someone who holds no religious beliefs, the only reason I have to care about what happens in the Roman Catholic church is a matter of its influence over our culture, politics, and laws.

    Is it just PR or a genuine shift in focus? Be skeptical or celebrate?

    I choose the former. A shift in focus isn’t the same thing as a change in doctrine; the Church is far too entrenched for the latter, and that entrenchment encourages me to be skeptical of its ability to shift focus as well.

    Moreover, putting lipstick on a pig doesn’t make the pig stop being a pig.

    So I have to agree with the sentiment that words are nice, but actions mean more. I will not be celebrating until the Church decides to shift its focus away from trying to control everyone else, Catholic or not, through its political influence. In other words, probably not in this lifetime.

  • jimmy10

    This change in tone seems sincere. It is part of a sea change for this new leader: a used Ford to drive himself around, refusing to live in the sheltered papal apartments, emphasis on feeding the poor, etc. After a very bad history, we can all understand the cynicism. But the change is a welcome fresh breeze.

  • DarkZephyr

    This Pope is different, and I will continue to think that until he does something to change my mind, no matter what some snarky brunette dude in a wife beater says.

  • senoda

    @Jake357: Had some pretty major LOLs at your comment.

    “I might hate the Pope, but my biceps and triceps are hot while I do so.”

  • AEH

    Bitter, much?

    Gosh. Some people sure can hold a grudge.

  • tookietookie

    Ex-Catholic who buys into gym culture, nothing new or insightful in this piece.

  • Jerry12

    Pope Frances is the first Jedjuit (sp?)to become Pope. Generally speaking, the jedjuit order is made up of the sons of wealthy families and are noted for their scholarship. The younger members are required to do missionary work as a part of their education. According to one of the principle American investigators that worked on discovering the cause and origin of the AIDS epidemic, it was Jesuit missionaries to South Africa that brought it back, and spread it in France, and, while on vacation, to guests and the”help” at “Club Med” resorts – mainly to the one in Haytie (sp?). The “Help” then spread it to Florida when they vacationed, or visited friends. The rest is history.

  • KimberlyYan

    My Uncle Carter just got a stunning blue Ford Taurus by working part-time from a home pc… more information,,,

  • beading_man

    Get over your self!!! It is just a beginning for the cat church. but at least it IS a beginning. More than a few churches welcome LGBT people nowadays. But at one time it was so bad that Troy Perry founded the Metropolitan Community Church. This is a church founded by us and for us. I am proud to say that i have been a member since 1973. People who are looking to find place of worship in our community need/should go to the nearest MCC.
    Check out some of the services on Youtube.

  • Niall

    I really, really don’t want to sound like I’m hating or jealous or whatever accusations people will level at me, but what’s with the writer constantly attaching his pic to the articles? Yeah you’re hot, but I don’t get it lol

  • JayHobeSound

    @Niall: John’s photo healed my eyes after looking upon the photo of The Pope.

  • Scott Rose

    @niles: When the poop was in the U.S., he let it be known, through the Vatican, that he was displeased about Obama inviting LGBTers to the White House at the same time that he, the poop, was going to be there. Yet, he met with Dim Kavis the gay-bashing Kentucky clerk, and made comments in support of her crimes against our community. Ergo, you are a fool, shut up, stop insulting gay people for sticking up for themselves against the leader of the world’s single-largest anti-LGBT hate group, the Catholic Church of Rome. This poop has likened transgender people to “nuclear bombs.” He is an asshole bigot.

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