Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 7 / 15 February 2018

Letters to the Editor


Castro Catholics could start own nonprofit

Unfortunately, the good Catholic members of Most Holy Redeemer continue their obedient financial support of a religious empire that actively conspires with other groups to undermine our community ["MHR clarifies no-drag policy," August 16].

Here's a very simple solution for our friends who support MHR: set up an MHR escrow account under an alternate 501(c)3 entity to benefit Catholics in the Castro, and encourage all who pledge regular gifts to MHR to divert these amounts into the MHR escrow account. With a little publicity, others who would never give to MHR's current establishment will join you. And the archbishop will take notice when MHR's operating funds dry up as he's making up his mind.

The predictable "compromise" for the hierarchy will be to once again give a temporary inch by turning a blind eye toward MHR. It is too much to expect the archbishop to make an outright gift of the property assets of MHR to an alternative independent Catholic entity that is prepared to fully respect and serve our community and is not controlled by the Vatican. And too much to expect that good Catholics will create one. So, let's take one step at a time.


Reverend Wayne Jones, MFT

San Francisco




It's a mystery

It has always been a mystery to me why LGBT people want to be a part of a church that is fundamentally homophobic, discriminatory and bigoted, whether it's in the Castro or not. Maybe some parishioners of Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church can explain this to me. The current pope, Benedict XVI, Joseph Ratzinger, is a right-wing cleric, as are the majority of Catholic bishops in the U.S. I presuppose the new archbishop of San Francisco, Salvatore Cordileone, will be in lock-step with the reactionary Ratzinger as well as former Archbishop Niederauer. When will thinking LGBT Catholics and other Castro residents take a stand against this corrupt institutional hierarchy? I would urge LGBT groups like the Castro Country Club to boycott Most Holy Redeemer. Stop supporting those who intentionally harm our community. I can think of many better uses for the land on which this church sits.


Daishin Sunseri

San Francisco




MHR now irrelevant

A friend encouraged me to check out MHR by attending the Renew meetings they were offering. Renew was an attempt to woo fallen Catholics back by interpreting the Bible as relevant for the 20th century. I think it was around 1987 and I did attend a few of the Renew meetings. I felt MHR might be relevant enough and I decided to join the church choir as part of my own ministry.

The choir was a fun experience and I felt proud to be a part of the church. The old MHR was very progressive and I was able to ignore, or deny, many of the contradictions between my church and the Vatican. Over the years I donated much money and gifts to MHR, and I even paid for a new pew for the remodeling. Several friends I had made at MHR died of AIDS in the 1980s and 1990s, and MHR represented their memories, not to be forgotten until now.

At a midnight mass one Christmas Eve the whole congregation was abuzz with the anticipated arrival of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Before the mass began, three of the Sisters walked slowly up the aisle, single file, in drag that would have made Marie Antoinette proud. They politely took their seats in the front pew and waited quietly for the service to begin. Father Zackary even made a joke during the service that Jesus received the three kings, not the three queens. The whole church howled. It was wonderful.

The Vatican has made a brilliant move to appoint this anthropocentric homophobe as the new archbishop of San Francisco. He is bound to fill the pews with hyper-breeders from the increasingly homogeneous SF. The new MHR will certainly avoid Earth's massive resource overdraft and the evil acceleration of extinctions for all living things due to extreme human overpopulation. I guess MHR has officially become irrelevant for me. If I ever decide to join another spiritual group to fill my own delusional needs it will certainly not be Catholic.


David Grounds, MS

San Francisco




Archbishop-elect had a hand in MHR

The issue is really not about drag queens, but rather how we define ourselves as a church. There is no doubt in my mind that Father Brian Costello, the pastor of Most Holy Redeemer, is a good man, and his primary concern is with the day-to-day operation of his parish, its facilities and their proper use.

The Archdiocese of San Francisco is now under new leadership; the October 4 installation ceremony is just a reflection of that fact. There should be no doubt in anybody's mind that Archbishop-elect Cordileone is calling the shots at Most Holy Redeemer parish and Costello understands that very important fact.

It is Cordileone who has chosen to put the spotlight on this parish, the drag issue was just pretext to publicly whip the parish into submission on issues of inclusivity, much like the Vatican trying to whip the Leadership Council of Women Religious into public submission over their ministries. If the parish is to remain a Roman Catholic parish under this raw use of authority it will have no other recourse than to submit in the wind or break. While this is a painful observation for me to make that homophobia, not love, will guide this parish's destiny, it is a public reminder to LGBT Catholics and our allies of how much work needs to be done in building up the kingdom.

To the parishioners at Most Holy Redeemer I would say you have created something very beautiful and meaningful, you have welcomed all who knocked on your door. You have ministered to the many faces of Christ in the San Francisco community. You have nothing to be ashamed of; if anything it is the new archbishop-elect who should be ashamed of his abuse of authority in this matter.

The Rainbow Sash Movement will stand with the parishioners of MHR whatever the outcome and be assured you are in our prayers. Your ministries reflect your faith in this matter, not Archbishop-elect Cordileone's actions.


Joe Murray, Executive Director

Rainbow Sash Movement

Chicago, Illinois




Best reason to read the B.A.R.'s arts section

Am I the only one out there who thinks Tavo Amador's film essays are just about the best reason to read the B.A.R. (Arts section)? Film criticism is all over the place, but a good film historian really puts things in a different perspective. His recent piece on Joan Crawford was classic ["Pre-Code Joan Crawford," August 9].

The details of her life are fairly well known and pretty much available everywhere. By analyzing one of her early movies, Possessed , in terms of the Hays Code, it told me a lot more about Hollywood's self-censorship obsession, and how such a film could not have been made after 1934, and the changes the script would have had to undergo if it had been. It makes me that much more curious about seeing that and other films of the period.

Give that man more work to do – and a raise, please!


Frank Brooks

San Francisco




Gay Rodeo promotes cruelty, not community

This is in response to Bruce I. Roby's letter [Mailstrom, August 9]. He claims that "every International Gay Rodeo Association member loves and protects domestic pets and stock farm animals." If you "love and protect" an animal, you don't twist his head around violently to force him to slam to the ground. You don't tie ropes tightly around his abdomen, jump on his back and dig spurs into his flesh to force him to buck in pain and aggravation. You don't roughly yank his legs up in the air to force underwear onto him as quickly as possible, laugh at him with your friends like a playground bully, then violently pull his rope making him crash to the ground when he playfully runs after you (see position 3:00 at this video of the 2011 Bay Area Gay Rodeo: You don't chase terrified baby animals and rope them by the neck. You don't expose them to real dangers of injury and death for "fun" and money.

In fact, IGRA's own 2010 convention minutes confirm that there are problems with injuries and deaths among its members:

When I've asked Bay Area Gay Rodeo personnel if they treat their pets like this, they simply give examples where they have done so for "self-defense" or "training purposes." One representative even volunteered to us on video that it's "fun" and "totally okay" to hurt animals:

Gay Rodeo presents itself as "beneficial" to the LGBT community, and makes it appear that fundraising for charity is a major goal. In fact, according to its 2006-2011 IRS returns, less than 7 percent of its revenue was donated to charities. There are ways to more efficiently raise money for charity, without harming others in the process. Furthermore, we feel that Gay Rodeo's cruelty for money and entertainment damages the community's public image and reinforces negative stereotypes.

Mr. Roby's letter suggests that different standards of compassion should apply to domestic pets and stock farm animals. All animals have the same capacity for fear, pain, and suffering, and the same needs and desires for safety, security, family, and affection. For LGBTs to decide that certain animals deserve less compassion based on their species or how they can serve us is no different than the "justifications" humans use to oppress and abuse other, less powerful, groups of humans – including LGBTs. The oppressed become the oppressors.

Thankfully, organizations formerly supporting Gay Rodeo have been changing their minds after considering the cruelty. Recently, Most Holy Redeemer Church canceled an event planned with the Bay Area Gay Rodeo, a fundraiser at the Edge bar was "postponed," and Paws and Hearts Pet-Assisted Therapy refused a donation from the Palm Springs Gay Rodeo. In 2011, Winery-SF withdrew as a sponsor/supporter.

Instead of abusing and bullying others for "fun" and money, let's use our creativity to re-define Gay Rodeo as a fun and compassionate country-western themed event without animals. If we want to enjoy live farm animals, it's easy to do so at nearby animal rescues/sanctuaries Farm Sanctuary, Animal Place, and Harvest Home.


Andrew Zollman

LGBT Compassion

San Francisco

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