A sector in the Dominican Republic is outraged with U.S. ambassador James Brewster for what they consider and interference not in internal politics, as is usually the case, but in national morality and decency. For those people, the big problem with bilateral relations is the diplomat’s sexual preference.
James Brewster is an openly gay Chicago businessman and president Obama fundraiser. As it often happens, gratitude was expressed by designing him as ambassador in Santo Domingo. Brewster married his partner one day before leaving, in 2013.
The designation as U.S. representative of a gay person, who has no qualms about displaying his spouse socially, shook a conservative sector of society led by Cardinal Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez. The archbishop became the main critic, making humiliating and insulting comments towards the ambassador. The latest manifestation of this contempt was the refusal of a catholic school to receive Brewster for being gay.
The cardinal’s main complaint is that Brewster is a bad influence for kids and people in general when he appears in public with his husband, because he sets the bad example of an alternative family and promotes an LBGT agenda. In reality, the only confusion lies in believing that the ambassador’s stance in favor of tolerance in general is an aggressive promotion of other values.
The – totally inappropriate – discussion about the ambassador’s sexual preference goes beyond scaring parents; it represents a good moment to teach about diversity and respect. For López Rodríguez it is time to remember Pope Francis’ words of understanding, moving away from the church of condemnation represented by the cardinal, and seeking a compassionate one. López Rodríguez already showed his lack of those values when he supported stripping the children of undocumented Haitians of the Dominican citizenship.
At 75, the cardinal is well into retiring age. In this Holy Week, we believe that now is the time for the change currently happening in the Vatican to reach the Dominican church. Brewster is working towards making U.S. relations useful for the Dominican people. There are no complains in that regard; on the contrary, nobody ever questioned his work and good intentions. And that is what actually matters.