Earlier in the week, Truth Wins Out slammed Catholic extremist Daniel Avila for a radical article he wrote in the Boston Pilot that suggested that the devil may be responsible for making people gay.
Avila’s opinion was so “out there” that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops distanced themselves and forced him to make a weak apology of sorts.
Quite frankly, the sluggish apology was not enough. Avila is an extremist with outrageously backward views and should have nothing to do with the official Roman Catholic Church in any capacity. In TWO’s opinion, Avila should be immediately fired and all formal and informal ties should be severed.
At the very least, we’d like to see a large angry nun emerge from a convent and slap his knuckles with a splintered ruler. (I probably have to specify that this last line was a joke because Mr. Avila appears to have been born without a funny bone)
Becky Garrison, who is the author of Ancient Future Disciples: Meeting Jesus in Mission-shaped Ministries and writes the On Faith column for the Washington Post blog, wrote:
In Avila’s apology, he admitted “his column does not represent the position of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the column was not authorized for publication as is required policy for staff of the USCCB.” Furthermore, he professes, “The church opposes, as I do too, all unjust discrimination and the violence against persons that unjust discrimination inspires. I deeply apologize for the hurt and confusion that this column has caused.”
Even though Avila regrets penning this column, there is little evidence that this is not part of a pattern of belief and behavior. Wayne Besen of Truth Wins Out describes Avila’s “very aggressive and ambitions plans to use the Catholic Church to turn back the clock on LGBT equal rights.” For example, when Besen attended the 2011 Values Voters Summit, he filmed a speech by Avila on his iPhone that he believes reveals a substantial campaign being organized on his part and seemingly on behalf of the Catholic Church.
The brouhaha was also covered by journalist Chuck Colbert in the Rainbow Times (I love the name):
Sure enough, Avila drew vigorous responses from LGBT advocacy organizations, a mainstream Catholic worshipping community, a local priest, and gay men among the faithful in the pews.
“Avila’s bizarre theories are unscientific and defamatory,” said Wayne Besen, executive director of Truth Wins Out, an advocacy group based in Burlington, Vt. “Telling Catholic mothers with LGBT children that Satan entered their womb and caused their child’s homosexuality is spiritual abuse of the highest order.”
“It is outrageous for an official advisor to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to make such an appalling statement at all, much less in the approved newspaper of the Archdiocese of Boston,” added John Becker, the organization’s director of communications and development.
Avila is the Marriage and Family policy advisor, a position created to support the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops’ Subcommittee on the Promotion and Defense of Marriage. The USCCB is the official lobbying arm of the hierarchy in the country.
From 1997 until earlier this year, Avila served as Policy and Research associate director for the Massachusetts Catholic Conference, the official lobbying arm of the local Church.
Avila holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Francis University, Fort Wayne, Ind., and a law degree from Valparaiso School of Law. Also located in Northern Indiana, Valparaiso University, a private, independent institution, has historic ties to the Lutheran Church.
Watch Avila’s extremism at the recent Values Voter Summit in DC, which was attended by Truth Wins Out: