Tuesday, November 08, 2011

You must maintain bigotry, lest we be called bigots

If you had any question where the messaging on gay marriage spouted by Katherine Kersten, Maggie Gallagher, and Joel Adkins (each of whom I've written about recently on the topic; put them in the search engine on the site to find those posts, if you're interested) comes from, we can lay it to rest today. It comes from that most democratic of institutions, the Catholic church's HQ. And the message, stripped to its essence is:
Traditional marriage is "natural" (implying that gay marriage is "unnatural"), and if you disagree with us, we're the victims here.
Because, you see, this is the message delivered by Bishop Salvatore Cordileone of Oakland, chairman of the USCCB Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage to a committee of the U.S. Senate. Here's a little of what he said:
Redefining marriage also threatens the fundamental human right of religious freedom. Those who refuse on moral and religious grounds to accept or accommodate the redefinition of legal marriage are already being wrongly accused of bigotry and hatred, bias and prejudice. They are being stigmatized and marginalized precisely because they are exercising their religious freedom to teach and practice their values.

In places where marriage’s core meaning has been altered through legal action, officials are beginning to target for punishment those believers and churches that refuse to adapt. Any non-conforming conduct and even expressions of disagreement, based simply on support for marriage as understood since time immemorial, are wrongly being treated as if they harmed society, and somehow constituted a form of evil equal to racism. DOMA represents an essential protection against such threats to faith and conscience.
Bishop Cordileone, the man for whom the word sanctimonious must surely have been coined, thinks that gay marriage violates his religious freedom.  Au contraire, mes amis!

There are a lot of churches, including mine, that would perform gay marriages if we could. What about our religious freedom? The Catholic bishops suffer from a big ego boundary problem here: they don't know where they end and the rest of the world begins when it comes to religious freedom.

The bishop wails about pressure (apparently to marry gay partners) from "officials" in jurisdictions where gay marriages are permitted, but he was a little short in specifics. Why any gay couple would want to get married in a Catholic church is beyond me, but I am highly skeptical that anyone has ever pressured a Catholic clergyman (and they're all men, remember) to perform a gay marriage.

I'd like to see that documented; I think that Cordileone is making it up. I can't remember (well, I actually never knew), is lying a cardinal or a venal sin?

The cherry on top of this banana split is the plaintive claim by the bishop that people are treating gay rights and marriage opponents like they were racists or something. As I have tried patiently to describe before, the proper term isn't racism, it's bigotry. Bigotry is a harsh word, too, but no harsher than calling gays and lesbians "abominations."

And it fits the situation perfectly. If you discriminate against somebody based on grounds of culture and tradition alone (which is what you are doing when you rely on Biblical law from pre-science era), that's bigotry.

Although now that you mention it, Bishop, Scarlett O'Hara felt victimized when they took her darkies away, too.

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