Thousands of parishioners have started a petition backing a homophobic pastor who said same-sex couples were “immoral”, and allegedly claimed that COVID-19 only affects Black people.
Our Lady of Lourdes Roman Catholic Church in Erath, Louisiana, posted on Facebook on June 28 criticising the New Orleans Saints for lighting up the New Orleans Superdome in rainbow colours to mark the 51st anniversary of the Stonewall uprising.
In the now-deleted post, the church wrote: “Come on NOLA Saints. We want to support you. But this kinda of stunt hurts society and souls.
“Don’t bow down to these pressure groups. Kids have rights. Children deserve to have a dad and a mom.
“Please don’t support immorality. Cancel the PC Culture.”
In response Ashlie Langlinais, an Erath resident in a same-sex relationship who grew up in the church community, spoke out against the homophobic post, allegedly written by pastor Andre Metrejean.
She started a petition “to get the Diocese of Lafayette to take action against the egregious statements made by Father Metrejean”.
She added: “In addition to the anti-LGBT+ statements made, it was brought to my attention that Father Metrejean has also expressed racist sentiments.
“A resident shared details from a phone conversation she had with Father Metrejean regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
“She contacted Father Metrejean to request that he urge parishioners to wear masks when in public and practice social distancing.
“In response to her plea, Father Metrejean stated: ‘This is not really something we need to worry about since COVID-19 only affects Black people.’ The implications of the statement are wildly offensive and racist.”
But, while only 350 people signed Langlinais’s petition, almost 3,000 have signed another one defending the homophobic pastor.
The parishioners and local residents claimed that the pastor’s comments came from a place of “love”.
They wrote: “This counter-petition intends to correct the slander unjustly thrust upon this faithful priest and demonstrate that the majority of Christians in his parish and beyond uphold perennial Church teaching and stand behind this bold leader of the People of God… nothing that Father Metrejean stated on Facebook or in his recording is hateful, and to claim otherwise is an unabashed attack on his good character.”
The counter-petition also refuted that Metrejean made racist comments, adding: “We hold this quote as dubious and at best a paraphrase taken wholly out of context.”
Commenters praised the “courageous priest” for helping to take down the “homosexual dictatorship”, and one wrote: “This holy priest said nothing wrong, untrue nor uncharitable.
“Quite the reverse. He is trying to save souls. Homosexuality is a sin period.”
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