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New Pope, Old Policies, Says American Humanist Association

New Pope, Old Policies, Says American Humanist Association

For Immediate Release
Contact: Brian Magee, bmagee@americanhumanist.org, 202-238-9088 ext. 105

(Washington, DC, March 14, 2013)—Humanist leaders say the election of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio as Pope Francis will not lead to progressive change from the Catholic Church’s out-of-touch policies when it comes to access to birth control, abortion rights, the role of women in the church and LGBTQ equality.

“The election of Pope Francis only means the church’s unacceptable policies of the past will be endorsed with a new signet ring,” said American Humanist Association Executive Director Roy Speckhardt. “The Church’s stances on women, same-sex relationships, and access to birth control are centuries out of date and lack compassion.”

Early reports show that Pope Francis has a history of dehumanizing same-sex couples, calling gay adoption a form of child abuse. Before Argentina legalized gay marriage in 2010, Cardinal Bergoglio was a staunch opponent, writing, “Let's not be naive, we're not talking about a simple political battle; it is a destructive pretension against the plan of God. We are not talking about a mere bill, but rather a machination of the Father of Lies that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God."

Nevertheless, Speckhardt sees a silver lining in Pope Francis’ election. “The Catholic Church’s inability to modernize contributes to the growth of the religiously unaffiliated,” he continued. “With a new Pope reinforcing Catholicism’s outdated way of thinking, we humanists and atheists will only increase in numbers.”

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The American Humanist Association (www.americanhumanist.org) advocates for the rights and viewpoints of humanists. Founded in 1941 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., its work is extended through more than 160 local chapters and affiliates across America.

Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism, affirms our responsibility to lead ethical lives of value to self and humanity.

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