‘We Were Verbally Abused’: How a Kerala Church’s LGBTQ-Themed Star Sparked Row

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12/26/2022

A church in Kerala’s Ernakulam district is in the eye of a storm for spreading the message of ‘one love’ through an LGBTQIA+-themed decorative star that it had put up this Christmas. What happened? A youth group at St Mary’s Forane Church in Tripunithura hung the star around three weeks ago with the intention of spreading the message of “humanism, inclusivity, and fraternity.” Days later, the church and its members were allegedly subjected to cyberbullying by “religious fundamentalists,” James Panavelil, the assistant vicar of the parish, told The Quint. What did the church say? James Panavelil added that “religious fanatic groups like CASA (Christian Association and Alliance for Social Action) and Marthoma Margam, who have very aggressive beliefs, started circulating photos of the star and launched a hate campaign against us. We were all portrayed in a bad light on WhatsApp groups for spreading a progressive message.”

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