Malta already plays a pretty cool international role when it comes to LGBT rights, but a group of Maltese gay Catholics has just raised the bar and is now literally flying the flag and firing up a storm.
The gay Catholic group, Drachma, which campaigns for better understanding between the Church and LGBTs, held a vigil on May 17th to mark the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) as it does every year.
“It was only natural for us, this year, to place the rainbow flag around the altar, along with the statue of Our Lady, as we prayed especially for our brothers and sisters in Chechnya who are undergoing brutal persecution just for being gay,” the group said.
But American Christian conservatives freaked out about the “sacrilegious” act of wrapping the altar with a rainbow flag.
When a photo of the event was first uploaded to Facebook it seemed to have gone unnoticed. But two days ago it was picked up by LifeSite News, a website which is funded by donors who want to “end abortion, defend marriage and preserve religious freedom”.
This morning the story made it to Times of Malta with a plug on the front page.
But Drachma, which enjoys a great relationship with the Maltese Curia and is proud of its work int he community, had the perfect response to the outrage:
“The rainbow colours of the flag symbolise the diversity that exists among God’s children and replace the colour pink as this is reminiscent of the six-pointed pink star that gay persons had to wear at Nazi concentration camps,” Drachma said.
“Unfortunately, discrimination and homophobia are still rampant in all countries, including Malta, as exemplified by the fact that a small number of persons seem to have taken objection to the use of the rainbow flag in the chapel during this said vigil. It is, indeed, ironic and sad that the persecution, electrocution, arrest, public flogging and killing of gay persons in countries such as Chechnya, Nigeria and Indonesia goes unnoticed and is not even considered to be newsworthy, while such a simple and spontaneous gesture marking the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) was interpreted as a sacrilegious action.”
“It is, indeed, ironic and sad that the persecution, electrocution, arrest, public flogging and killing of gay persons in countries such as Chechnya, Nigeria and Indonesia goes unnoticed and is not even considered to be newsworthy, while such a simple and spontaneous gesture marking the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) was interpreted as a sacrilegious action.”
Drachma, Maltese LGBT Catholic Group
In the past few years, the formerly-conservative Malta has transformed itself into a beacon of LGBT rights. A few days ago Prime Minister Joseph Muscat was re-elected in a massive way after his campaign focused substantially on his civil liberties track record. His first bill this legislature will upgrade Malta’s civil union law into one that allows full marriage equality. Read the LifeSiteNews article about this development.