Friday, March 2, 2012

A tale of two churches

Maryland has approved marriage equality. It will, predictably, go to the voters for a MD-version of Prop8, the outcome of which is unclear. What we do know is that it will be hard fought.

 Two Episcopal Bishops have immediately responded by approving marriages between same sex couples in their churches. (Read more here). Now THAT is religious freedom.

 The Roman Catholic bishops of course by contrast are passionate opponents of marriage equality. Indeed, they are passionate opponents of gay people generally. Two recent stories (H/T Madpriest) highlight their opposition. Both feature gay people who were not bringing their sexuality into the church in any political way…but were not "suitably closeted" and were punished simply for being.

 In one story, a Catholic priest refused Communion to a lesbian woman at her mother's funeral. The woman and her family are shocked and deeply hurt. I believe that RC policy is that Communion is not to be used as a weapon in a public manner--and the woman was not making an issue of her sexuality.

 In a second story, a teacher has been fired for getting married to his male partner. (Apparently they had no problem with him "living in sin". )  He wrote a very well-worded letter asking his supporters not to politicize this.

 The gay individuals involved are people of far more grace than certain clergy. The Roman Church comes across very badly.

 I hate to say it, but a welcoming Episcopal church really needs to step forward as the Catholic alternative when this kind of thing happens.


dr.primrose said...

What the Gaithersburg priest did would be beyond despicable under any circumstances. But at this woman's mother's funeral? It makes the Gospel view of Pharasees seem cuddly in comparison!

OT. Good Paul Krugman column in today's N.Y. Times on the Repubicans candidates' tax plans, all of which would take from the poor and give to the rich.

"[A]ll four significant Republican presidential candidates still standing are fiscal phonies. They issue apocalyptic warnings about the dangers of government debt and, in the name of deficit reduction, demand savage cuts in programs that protect the middle class and the poor. But then they propose squandering all the money thereby saved - and much, much more - on tax cuts for the rich.

"And nobody should be surprised. It has been obvious all along, to anyone paying attention, that the politicians shouting loudest about deficits are actually using deficit hysteria as a cover story for their real agenda, which is top-down class warfare. To put it in Romneyesque terms, it's all about finding an excuse to slash programs that help people who like to watch Nascar events, even while lavishing tax cuts on people who like to own Nascar teams.


"So the Republicans screaming about the evils of deficits would not, in fact, reduce the deficit - and, in fact, would do the opposite. What, then, would their policies accomplish? The answer is that they would achieve a major redistribution of income away from working-class Americans toward the very, very rich.

"Another nonpartisan group, the Tax Policy Center, has analyzed Mr. Romney's tax proposal. It found that, compared with current policy, the proposal would actually raise taxes on the poorest 20 percent of Americans, while imposing drastic cuts in programs like Medicaid that provide a safety net for the less fortunate. (Although right-wingers like to portray Medicaid as a giveaway to the lazy, the bulk of its money goes to children, disabled, and the elderly.)

"But the richest 1 percent would receive large tax cuts - and the richest 0.1 percent would do even better, with the average member of this elite group paying $1.1 million a year less in taxes than he or she would if the high-end Bush tax cuts are allowed to expire."

JCF said...

I understand even the (RC) bishop wrote to the woman, to apologize. Now, let's see what happens to the execrable priest...

[NB to IT: I trust you've made sure this can't happen to you? (That execrable "FrMichael" is, I believe, not that far from where your mom lives---and long may she live!---but I certainly wouldn't put it past him to do something similar)]

Counterlight said...

The claims of the Catholic hierarchy that they are only against gay marriage and not gay rights are pure mendacity.
The New York Archdiocese through its surrogates on the city council for many years successfully fought against every bill to expand the city's human rights charter to include gays and lesbians. They opposed every bill to end discrimination in housing and employment, and to extend hate crimes protection.
The city's gay rights bill was first introduced in 1970 and died in committee every year until 1986 when Mayor Koch in his final term as mayor (when such a move would no longer be politically costly) publicly backed the bill and finally got it to the floor of the City Council where it passed.

The Roman Catholic Church is actively involved in the Hungarian right wing government's effort to write homophobia into that county's new constitution. The Russian Orthodox Church is leading similar efforts in the Russian Federation.

IT said...

JCF, thanks. But my mom would come back and haunt me if I tried to give her an RC funeral, and I don't take communion so I think we're safe! ;-)

dr.primrose said...

L.A. Times says, Recent wins in state legislatures show personal stories may be more effective than appeals about legal rights.

"Proponents of gay marriage, who traditionally frame the cause as a matter of equality and civil rights, are increasingly invoking something else: family. And the tactic seems to be working.


"Putting a human face on same-sex marriage reflects a strategic change — one that can pack an emotional wallop and, as [Republican Maryland state delegate] Kach's experience shows, win over the undecided or even opponents.

"The message 'used to be one that focused on rights, parity in benefits,' said Fred Sainz, vice president of communications and marketing for the Human Rights Campaign, a national gay rights group based in Washington, D.C.

"Since about 2008, Sainz said, same-sex marriage activists have begun 'talking about love, honor and commitment.'"

JCF said...

Here's Yet Another Story of Popoids behaving badly:

Fired over love - Charlotte area organist loses job for marrying his long-term partner

Of all the OUTRAGEOUS aspects of this story (the church KNEW he was gay&partnered when it hired him, he depends on his partner esp. because of his early-onset Parkinsons, he told the priest some months ahead of the October wedding, and nothing was said until his firing in JANUARY---and let's not forget the Chocolate Labs! <3<3), my favorite has got to be this:

Following their honeymoon in January, Steav Bates-Congdon was hospitalized for a ruptured appendix. During his hospitalization, he received an email from Fr. O’Rourke stating that the church was fine and wished him a speedy recovery. Bates-Congdon stopped by St. Gabriel on his way home from the hospital and at that time Fr. O’Rourke presented him with a termination letter.

How's that ruptured appendix doing? Oh, by the way: YOU'RE FIRED!

Gotta love the pastoral concern there.


Un-frickin'-believable. Oh wait, it's Popoid clergy: it's ENTIRELY believable.

"The Episcopal Church Welcomes You"

Anonymous said...

But you're so middle/upper middle class Whitebread; the chances of moving beyond "NPR at Prayer" is so small. You've been known for being "progressive for years and all it's brought you is about 3% membership "of color". And check out the complexions of those voting against Prop8 in California and against gay marriage in Maryland; it's a "progressive" shame that their clients, the poor and people of color, are some of the most anti-gay anywhere.

JCF said...

Update: Take a picture of it, RC bishop Does the Right Thing:

Priest who refused communion to lesbian removed from church