Fox News entirely ignored a Vatican report described as “stunning” by religious leaders which suggested that the Catholic Church should welcome and appreciate gay people, despite the network's track record of using religion as an excuse for discriminating against gays and lesbians.
On October 13, an assembly of Roman Catholic bishops at the Vatican released a preliminary document suggesting that the church should be more welcoming and accepting of gay people, stating that gay people have “gifts and qualities to offer the Christian community”:
Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community. Are we capable of welcoming these people, guaranteeing to them a fraternal space in our communities? Often they wish to encounter a church that offers them a welcoming home. Are our communities capable of providing that, accepting and valuing their sexual orientation, without compromising Catholic doctrine on the family and matrimony?
The document has been described as a "pastoral earthquake" and a "stunning" change in tone for the Catholic Church on the issue of homosexuality. Both CNN and MSNBC devoted significant airtime in the 48 hours following the document's release, discussing its implications for the Catholic Church, the legacy of Pope Francis, and even domestic GOP politics.
But on Fox News, the “pastoral earthquake” went completely unnoticed. According to an Equality Matters analysis, Fox News didn't report on the story once on either October 13 or 14:
It's not surprising that Fox News would ignore a major story about religious acceptance of the LGBT community. The network has worked tirelessly to depict LGBT equality as a threat to religious liberty, and has routinely excused even the most extreme expressions of homophobia as nothing more than mainstream Christianity. Highlighting a story about the Catholic Church's efforts to embrace gay people would undermine the network's “God vs gays” narrative.
In September, prominent LGBT groups called on journalists to stop letting religion act as an excuse for homophobia in their coverage of midterm elections. The Vatican's report is more evidence that the divide between the LGBT community and people of faith isn't as wide as Fox News wants its viewers to believe.
Equality Matters searched transcripts on TV Eyes on October 13 and October 14 for the terms “gay,” “Vatican,” “homosexual,” “homosexuals,” “same-sex,” “pope,” and “sexual orientation” between 4am and 11pm. Reruns and teases for upcoming segments were excluded.