Madrid LGBTI+H Christians have responded to ultra-Catholic and queerphobic attacks on their association’s premises with even more “love” and “forgiveness”.
– Vandalism “will not stop our activism for a better world more in line with the message of Jesus”
In a statement June 22, Crismhom – the ecumenical community of LGBTI+H Christians in Madrid – denounced it had suffered two recent attacks on its premises in the gay-friendly Madrid neighbourhood of Chueca.
Those attacks were perpetrated, Crismhom alleged, “by persons unknown who protected themselves with the anonymity and impunity that come with the use of masks and with the lesser presence of passers-by” in the context of the ongoing COVID-19 situation.
In the first place, on June 5, Crishom said that one of its information panels facing the street outside its headquarters “appeared full of stickers with messages with homophobic content”.
“We were able to ascertain that the same stickers were plastered over many other LGTBI premises and associations in the Chueca neighbourhood”, Crismhom denounuced.
The association of LGBTI+H Christians said that it proceeded to gather evidence for a police complaint and to clean up the panel.
But nearly two weeks later, on June 18, the association suffered yet more vandalism, when attackers painted over Crismhom’s information panel with black spray paint and scribbled a sinister message on the door of the group’s headquarters: “YOU WILL BURN IN HELL”.
That message was, for Crismhom, “a clear and intolerant allusion to our ecumenical and inclusive character”.
For the association, furthermore, both attacks “show, unfortunately, that there is still a long way to go in our Spanish society until we are fully equal in rights”.
“In each and every right: to affective and sexual freedom, to gender equality, but also to religious freedom and its practice in a peaceful, tolerant and integrative way”, the group lamented.
But Crismhom promised that the attacks “will not stop our activism for a better world more in line with the message of love of Jesus of Nazareth” – especially, it said, in the “harsh reality” of homophobia that queer people still suffer in Chueca.
– “We pray that the Churches may be friendly, welcoming spaces for LGTBI+H people”
Speaking to Spanish Catholic website Vida Nueva June 24 – and making allusion particularly to the “You will burn in hell” graffiti – Crismhom president Enzo Guardino deplored that “once again, our LGBT+H Christian community has suffered an attack of intolerance and hatred from some individuals who arrogate to themselves God’s exclusive right to judge us worthy of burning in hell”.
“It is very regrettable that, in the middle of the 20th century, there is still a portion of God’s holy people who think this way”, Guardino denounced.
The Crismhom president insisted that “the only burning we have in us is that of God’s love, which pushes us more strongly to respond with forgiveness to all kinds of hate”.
“In Crismhom we believe in the positive value of the Churches in the construction of a more just society, where the Kingdom of God may be present, a kingdom of justice, peace and love. Where no one is excluded because of their sexual orientation or gender identity”, Guardino continued.
“We pray that the Christian Churches may be friendly, welcoming spaces for LGTBI+H people, where their identity and dignity may be respected and their rights to express their way of being and loving may be recognised.
“As a community, we want to build a bridge based on respect, compassion and sensitivity, as expressed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
“A bridge of love and tolerance, as St. Francis of Assisi prayed in his most exemplary prayer: ‘Where there is hatred, let me sow love. Where there is injury, let me bring pardon'”.