Sunday, May 10, 2009

Catholic Leadership Makes the News

Mote ... beam ...

From the BBC:
Pope Benedict XVI has warned against the misuse of religion for political ends, in a speech to Muslim leaders on the second day of his visit to Jordan.

Speaking in the King Hussein Mosque in Amman, he argued that religion was a force for good, but its "manipulation" caused divisions and even violence. Pope warns of misuse of religion

From the Portland (Maine) Diocese:
Bishop Richard Malone, spiritual leader of Maine's 200,000 Roman Catholics, said today:

"I am deeply disappointed in the Maine Legislature and the Governor for making same sex-marriage legal in our state. We believe that the vast majority of Maine's people believe that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, and that calling same-sex relationships marriage doesn't make them so. Marriage as we have known it for millennia has served as the cornerstone of society. The family, consisting of mother, father and children, has served throughout the ages as the natural place for the healthy development of children into well adjusted and productive citizens. Same-sex marriage is a dangerous sociological experiment that I believe will have negative consequences for society as a whole. Children will be taught in schools that same-sex marriage and traditional marriage are simply different expressions of the same thing, and that the logical and consistent understanding that marriage and reproduction are intrinsically linked is no longer valid. These are profound changes that will reverberate throughout society with tragic consequences."

The Catholic Diocese in Maine previously declared that it will work closely with a number of partners in bringing this issue to the voters this November.

"Although the details are still being worked out at this time, we can say with certainty that the Portland Diocese will play a lead role in organizing this petition drive to bring the issue before voters," said Marc Mutty of the diocese, who has been working closely in the legislature on this bill. He went on to say that he expected a number of prominent national organizations dedicated to preserving marriage to assist Maine in its efforts to restore traditional marriage to its rightful place.

I'm just saying ...

I wouldn't pick on rank-and-file Catholics -- just about a month ago, Gallup found that Catholics are just about like everybody else on social issues, including abortion. As a group, they are quite liberal, but their leadership has a tendency to lean a little toward the nutty side, you have to admit.

Like, look here, a Catholic priest out in Arizona is gay, he believes women should be ordained, he believes that gay and lesbian Catholics should have full participation, he believes that priests should be able to marry. Okay, I understand the church might not want to assign him to answer questions at a press conference, he might not be their most mainstream spokesman, but... The Arizona Republic headline will summarize well enough, I think: 2nd priest excommunicated from diocese. The other priest who was excommunicated is gay, too. Not reprimanded, not relieved of duties: excommunicated.

And what is it with Bill Donohue and the Catholic League? Why doesn't the Catholic hierarchy tell this guy to shut up and go away? Look at this open letter on the hate crimes bill being debated in Congress. He says, "To be specific, the bill would criminalize religious speech that was critical of homosexuality if it were linked to a crime against a gay person." Is this what the Catholic church wants to fight for -- the right to say hateful things before you murder or assault someone?

Everywhere you look. The University of Notre Dame is going to have the President of the United States as its commencement speaker. Or, as Philadelphia's The Bulletin puts it: Bishops Opposed To Notre Dame Invite Now Totals 68. What was that the Pope was saying? Oh yeah, misuse of religion for political ends. Mote ... beam.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrea-not anon
I find it interesting how much effort religions put into opposing gay marriage- as if nothing else was affecting their followers. Because we all know that it is gay marriage that causes divorce among straight people, makes straight people commit adultry, makes people use drugs, abuse their kids, their wives, give less money to their church or synagogue, not attend services- you name it- homosexuality and gay marriage is the root of all those things. Or at least, if you can spend a lot of time focusing on homosexuality- you can avoid dealing with real issues affecting your religion. And of course, this is all religions- my own included.

May 11, 2009 7:58 AM  
Blogger Tish said...

The opposition is trying hard to portray this bill as a law that will put preachers in jail.

Here's what the bill actually says.

Section 7, paragraph a, subparagraph 2A: ‘(A) IN GENERAL- Whoever, whether or not acting under color of law, in any circumstance described in subparagraph (B) or paragraph (3), willfully causes bodily injury to any person or, through the use of fire, a firearm, a dangerous weapon, or an explosive or incendiary device, attempts to cause bodily injury to any person, because of the actual or perceived religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability of any person--That is, it covers violent actions, not words.

Section 7, paragraph c, ‘(1) the term ‘bodily injury’ has the meaning given such term in section 1365(h)(4) of this title, but does not include solely emotional or psychological harm to the victim;That is, hurting somebody's feelings doesn't count.

Section 10: (3) CONSTITUTIONAL PROTECTIONS- Nothing in this Act shall be construed to prohibit any constitutionally protected speech, expressive conduct or activities (regardless of whether compelled by, or central to, a system of religious belief), including the exercise of religion protected by the First Amendment and peaceful picketing or demonstration. The Constitution does not protect speech, conduct or activities consisting of planning for, conspiring to commit, or committing an act of violence.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink

(4) FREE EXPRESSION- Nothing in this Act shall be construed to allow prosecution based solely upon an individual’s expression of racial, religious, political, or other beliefs or solely upon an individual’s membership in a group advocating or espousing such beliefs.
That is, in order for a preacher to be prosecuted he would have to be actually beating up a gay person, or specifically planning an attack. Public anti-gay speech such as we have been hearing around the DC City Council's just decision to recognize other states' marriages would still be hateful but entirely legal.

May 11, 2009 8:44 AM  
Blogger Tish said...

Woops, sorry. The above comment on "this bill" is specifically about the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act S.909, and Bill Donohue's open letter. Preachers cannot be prosecuted for religious anti-gay speech, even if a member of the congregation then goes out and commits a hate crime.

The preacher would have to actually be involved in planning a crime in order to be prosecuted.

May 11, 2009 9:17 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

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May 11, 2009 10:43 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

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May 11, 2009 11:27 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Nice open letter.

I've taken the liberty of reading and reporting on the "open letter" in question in order to spare some of you the image of Bill Donohue's about to explode blood red face projectile spittling while straining every vocal muscle at his command to interrupt wildly in order to get his point across in a crescendo of vituperation that would otherwise ooze through your monitor.


Bill Donohue: "The driving force behind the Matthew Shepherd Hate Crimes Prevention Act is the desire to provide additional penalties to criminals who assault homosexuals because of their sexual orientation."

Stolen: “In an ideal world, hate crime legislation would unnecessary, because crimes would be investigated and prosecuted with an even hand.

The need for hate crimes legislation comes from the follow-up crimes of police and justice officials exercising their power in a biased manner by determining that certain crimes against certain people are not worth their effort.

Bigotry, according to American Heritage Dictionary: One who is strongly partial to one's own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ.

Police and justice officials, many times, exercise bigotry, resulting in the need for hate crimes legislation.”

That was from the first paragraph, sans the Stolen part. The other two graphs are basically a "run for you lives the sky is falling" rant on the danger to free speech that hate crimes (against sexual orientation) would undoubtedly cause.

And then there’s this:

“Surely there are ways to protect homosexuals…without trespassing on the constitutional rights of priests, ministers, rabbis, imams and others”

Rabbis, Imams, and others? In other words, anyone going to hell can now join in the effort.

HGYS Christians: Hate gays, you're saved.

Tish: “That is, in order for a preacher to be prosecuted he would have to be actually beating up a gay person…”

I suppose then they would argue that the movement and direction of fists was a matter of freedom of (religious) expression.

May 11, 2009 11:34 AM  
Blogger Tish said...

A sort of "laying on of fists," would you say?

May 11, 2009 1:11 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

"A sort of "laying on of fists," would you say?"

Tish, that's perfect.

May 11, 2009 3:38 PM  
Anonymous David S. Fishback said...

I think it is sad that the Roman Catholic Church, which has the potential (at times realized) to be such a force for good in the world has gotten caught in this cul de sac, as well as the cul de sac of its antipathy toward LGBT people living full lives.

I hope the Church rights itself before it becomes irrelevant.

May 11, 2009 5:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I find it interesting how much effort religions put into opposing gay marriage"

Yes, fascinating.

Truth is, they don't put in much effort at all.

What infuriates lunatic fringe gay advocates is not the vigor of the effort but the fact that they maintain their consistency.

May 13, 2009 1:12 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

I don't think gays are infuriated by the church. When Americans disagree with something about a church, they leave it and often find another. Recent polling has found "many [church-goers] also become unaffiliated due to disillusionment or disenchantment with religious people or organizations, saying that religious people are hypocritical and judgmental rather than sincere or forgiving or that religious organizations focus too much on rules and not enough on spirituality...two-thirds of former Catholics who are not currently affiliated with a denomination say they left the church because they stopped believing in its teachings."

I agree with David and hope the Church corrects itself on gay marriage before it becomes irrelevant.

And I disagree with Anon; I don't think it's gays or people on the left who are infuriated these days. The angry talk is coming from the sore losers on the right and has been for some time now. The right's anger first became evident at McCain rallies last year when they realized they were losing the election. It was widely reported in the media: Anger Is Crowd's Overarching Emotion at McCain Rally
Republican anger bubbles up at McCain rally
Rage rising on the McCain campaign trail

That anger can still be found on rightwing radio. For example "Dallas-based talk show host Mark Davis, subbing for Rush Limbaugh, laughingly and approvingly read a passage from a Dallas magazine article by CBS sportscaster David Feherty claiming that "any U.S. soldier," given a gun with two bullets and stuck in an elevator with Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Osama bin Laden, would use both bullets on Pelosi and strangle the other two.""

And the anger on the right is evident in this video where a member of an Ohio militia group is calling for a million armed militia man march on our nation's capitol on the Fourth of July.

The anger these days is clearly on the right.

May 13, 2009 11:08 AM  

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