A gay lobbying group is pushing its preferred script for media coverage of Pope Francis’ visit to the United States.
GLAAD’s guide, titled “The Papal Visit: A journalist’s guide to reporting on Pope Francis and the LGBT community,” sets its preferred terms for covering homosexuality. It also suggests a series of story lines and plots to portray the lives of gays, lesbians and transsexuals as happy and positive, except when they’re supposedly victimized by the Catholic church.
The “talking points” suggest reporters tell the “stories of people being fired for being LGBT,” to highlight statements from the hierarchy that are “out of step with Catholics” and to explore the relationship between homosexuality and “other important Roman Catholic issues.”
GLAAD says some expressions commonly used by the Church hierarchy should be junked. For example, GLAAD wants to prevent such statements as “people with same-sex attraction” or “same-sex attraction disorder.”
Other terms on the no-no list are “homosexual,” “gay lifestyle” and “special rights,” which fall under the category of “outdated or pejorative terminology,” says GLAAD. The group also says terms such as “deviant,” “disordered,” “dysfunctional,” “diseased” or “destructive” are actually “defamatory language.”
The media are further instructed to avoid the terms “sinful” and “immoral” when speaking of gays, and to refrain from pointing out any relation between homosexuality and the abuse of minors or other sexual crimes.
The media are encouraged to put Church representatives on the spot by asking questions such as “What gifts do LGBT people bring to the Roman Catholic Church?” and “What do you think the Roman Catholic Church has learned from LGBT people?”
They should also produce stories showing the church playing a negative role in LGBT-related or religious liberty bills, says GLAAD.
GLAAD says it will distribute its guide prior to the Pope’s visit, and will engage “with reporters in Philadelphia, providing them with resources and connecting them to LGBT organizations and individuals who will also be present.”
The guide tries to sideline Catholic doctrine on homosexuality by asserting that the Catholic hierarchy is “greatly out of step” with what most Catholics believe, and therefore not to be taken seriously.
The Pope’s forthcoming visit, the brochure states, “presents a unique opportunity to shine a light on the experiences of LGBT Catholics, whose lives and challenges are often misrepresented by the media and Church hierarchy.”
The White House evidently read an early copy of the memo, and preemptively invited a series of LGBT representatives to greet the Pope when he comes to visit President Obama. Among the invitees to the White House are a pro-abortion religious sister, a transgender woman and the first openly gay Episcopal bishop, along with at least two Catholic gay activists.
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter @tdwilliamsrome