Regular TSM readers know that I have real suspicion of organized religion and its role in privileging dominant forces in the power structure, thus sustaining a white, heteronormative discourse. While some denominations have inched toward inclusion and social justice, the Catholic church leadership of the 21st Century has abandoned its traditions of caring in favor of narrow political dogma and oppression–completely abandoning any dedication to social justice. This year, the hate filled voices of Pope Benedict XVI and his bishops have proved that more loudly than ever.
Not content to stick with centuries old traditions of misogyny and homophobia, the bishops danced a cruel jig across the lines of church and state, issuing proclamations about candidates and electoral issues willy nilly. Some, like Newark Archbishop John Myers, went so far as to suggest that priests refuse communion to parishioners who support marriage equality, reproductive choice, or progressive candidates–my, Who Would Jesus Hate?
The church spent the year emptying its venomous purse as well. The single largest contributor to anti-equality campaigns in the four states that voted on marriage equality this fall was the Catholic Church. It spent over $2 MILLION fighting fairness. When added to money contributed by the Catholic group Knights of Columbus and the National Organization for Marriage, a church ally that uses local congregations to raise funds, Catholic contributions exceeded $6 million. How much poverty could that fight? How many lives could have been saved instead of harmed?
Just to add insult to injury, the Pope used his biggest speech of the year, the Christmas Message, to spew a little more homophobia and transphobia.
There is no denying the crisis that threatens it (the family) to its foundations — especially in the Western world. When such commitment is repudiated, the key figures of human existence likewise vanish: father, mother, child — essential elements of the experience of being human are lost.
Again I ask, who would Jesus hate? I don’t want to dismiss the progressive Catholics that exist, but I feel it necessary to remind everyone that every time you tithe, a portion of that tithe goes to Rome and the Pope.
Sadly, there are a number of homophobia dishonorable mentions this year. High on the list, nearly taking the crown from Benedict’s head, is the Boy Scouts of America, which pretended to consider its anti-gay policies and then doubled down on them. Fake researcher Mark Regnerus and his “gay families are harmful” study funded by NOM and its Catholic allies wraps up this unholy trinity in a foul shroud.
Additional dishonorable mention goes to NOM itself and to the ironically named Family Research Council. Both spent huge amounts of time and energy spewing homophobia and pretending to offer “balanced” views to common sense positions of equality. Happily, they lost just about every issue they supported. So much fear, misogyny, and homophobia. I guess it is true, the squeaky wheel (Pope Benny the Rat) wants the grease.