The dean of the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., claimed during his weekly address this past Sunday that it is a sin to oppose homosexuality, the Christian News Network reports. The message was part of a weekend tribute to the homosexual youth at the National Cathedral, and a commemoration of the death of Matthew Shepard, whose slaying sparked the passage of the federal "hate crimes" bill signed into law by Barack Obama in 2009. During his speech, Gary Hall blamed churches across the country for influencing American beliefs about homosexuality. "We must now have the courage to take the final step and call homophobia and heterosexism what they are," he said. "They are sin. Homophobia is a sin. Heterosexism is a sin. Shaming people for whom they love is a sin. Only when all our churches say that clearly and boldly and courageously will our LGBT youth be free to grow up in a culture that totally embraces them fully as they are." He proceeded to claim that churches that oppose homosexuality produce a culture that is harmful to children. "It's more than tragic -- in fact it's shameful -- that faith communities, especially Christian ones, continue to be complicit in putting our children at risk and abetting the attitudes that oppress them, thereby encouraging the aggressors who would subject our children to pain, humiliation and violence," Hall stated. In an interview with reporters following the message, Hall said that he believes that "sexual orientation is a gift, and the religious question should be about how they responsibly use that gift." As previously reported, the National Cathedral pealed its bells this past June for nearly an hour in celebration of the Supreme Court's decision to strike down a key section of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Hall also publicly participated in Washington's homosexual pride march in 2010.