Let’s face it. The Catholic Church has a homophobia problem. Despite all the evidence that’s out there showing that it is as much part of a person’s makeup as the colour of their eyes, many people within the church can’t reconcile themselves to a the fact that a homosexuality is a normal part of the diverse tapestry of humanity. They find all kinds of excuses why homosexual people should not be entitled to the same expectations of happiness and reward as other ‘normal’ folks. Somehow, according to some, it’s just not right.

It’s a big problem. You see, because of their inability to accept homosexuals fully into the fold, and in some cases their outright hostility to the idea of equal rights for homosexuals, other, less restrained folks, have decided that they have approval to discriminate against their own gay communities to a far greater extent, secure in the knowledge that they won’t hear much opposition from any powerful religious leaders.

By giving homophobia a cover and a degree of respectability, they have provided an intellectual underpinning to the assault, imprisonment and killing of homosexuals in Russia, in Nigeria, in Ghana, in Uganda and other countries. In their insistence on keeping homosexuals at arms length, they are fuelling violent bigots across the globe. This fire of bigotry gets stronger by the month – having already reached alarming levels in some of the aforementioned countries.

I am not saying that the Catholic Church is directly responsible for this, but there are great violations of human rights happening right now. Instead of coming to the aid of the downtrodden, they have prevented themselves from taking any sort of leadership position. Indeed, by their silence and opposition to the cause of gay rights, they are making matters worse, not better. It’s a negation of everything they claim to be about.

It’s not just the Roman Catholic Church, of course. The greater Christian church, including Protestantism and Eastern Orthodox, not to mention Islam, is blighted by homophobia, often to a much greater extent. No major religion, to my knowledge, has come to the defence of the LGBT community. None of them have revised their thinking sufficiently to shout ‘stop’. Instead, the task has been largely left to secular groups.

A sea change is urgently required. Some of the bigger churches need to alter their stances. They need to stop giving succour and support to the bigots and those who provide them with ready arguments. They need to start campaigning against discrimination and bigotry based on sexual orientation. The leadership needs to come from the top, if they are not to repeat the mistakes of the past.