Tag Archives: Pope Benedit XVI

Number 4 Bigot of the Year 2012: The Catholic Church

28 Dec
Number 4 Bigot of 2012

Number 4 Bigot of 2012

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.

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Sunday Morning: The Conundrum of Catholicism

24 Apr

She says, ‘But in contentment I still feel
The need of some imperishable bliss.’
Death is the mother of beauty; hence from her,
Alone, shall come fulfillment to our dreams
And our desires.  From Sunday Morning, by Wallace Stevens

While I am not religious and refuse to subscribe to any organized religion, I can’t help but wonder and worry for my LGBT brothers and sisters on this Sunday morning. It is both Easter and Passover.  I wonder what it must feel like on a “holy” day to want to worship and be part of a community of worship, only to be met with contempt and or righteous indignation.  I should imagine one must feel quite isolated and rejected.

I was reading a blog by a bisexual youth who identifies as Catholic and my heart broke for this young person. The Pope, or as my husband and I refer to him, Benny the Rat, has been less than Christian toward the LGBT community, as he passes judgement on “the abomination” of homosexuality while wearing his beautifully ornate frocks.

All I can offer this young person and LGBT people of faith is that: Death is the mother of beauty; hence from her,
Alone, shall come fulfillment to our dreams And our desires.  How I interpret Stevens’ line here specifically for the LGBT community is that when the OLD GUARD finally dies and is replaced with a more loving and compassionate community, organically created from a more educated and compassionate populace, only then will we fulfill our dreams.  But it starts with you! Being visible and vocal and by paying attention to politics is our task at hand.  Those of us in the LGBT community do not have the luxury of not paying attention.  The Personal is Political.  I encourage you to read about a young person’s journey of faith and sexual orientation.

Celebrating Women’s History Month: March 12

12 Mar

Honoring Annie Lennox

Today I would like to honor and pay tribute to Annie Lennox. Lennox achieved her fame and celebrity through her amazing voice–a voice that has been described as the “Greatest White Soul Singer Alive.” While I do enjoy much of her music, it is her work and focus on social justice that inspired me to celebrate her during Women’s History Month. Lennox has used her celebrity to become a social reformer. For example, she is most notable for raising money and awareness for HIV charities in Africa. Even her music changes and takes on the mantle of social justice. In her 2007 album, Songs of Mass Destruction, Lennox describes the album:

[It is]a dark album, but the world is a dark place. It’s fraught, it’s turbulent. Most people’s lives are underscored with dramas of all kinds: there’s ups, there’s downs – the flickering candle. Half the people are drinking or drugging themselves to numb it. A lot of people are in pain.

In 1999 Eurythmics donated all of the profits from their Peacetour to Amnesty International and Greenpeace. In December of  2007, Lennox established The SING Campaign, an organization dedicated to raising funds and awareness for women and children affected by HIV and AIDS. Lennox opened the 2009 Edinburgh Festival of Politics with a stinging attack on Pope Benedict‘s approach to HIV/AIDS prevention in Africa. She said that the Pope’s denunciation of condoms on his recent tour of Africa had caused “tremendous harm” and she criticised the Roman Catholic Church for causing widespread confusion on the continent. Lennox also condemned the media’s obessesion with “celebrity culture” for keeping the AIDS pandemic off the front page.

As you can see, I applaud Annie Lennox not only for her contributions to the world of music, but even more so for her contributions to making the world a better place for ALL. She lends her powerful voice to those that have no vice.  Here is a nice anthem for Women’s History Month.

Who Would Jesus Hate?

20 Feb

One of the scariest aspects of the lunacy that drives the Right-wing agenda in America today is its claim of divine right. The Querulous Quartet and all their ilk regularly invoke their faith as the justification for their actions. After all, who can argue with actions inspired by God?

T.A. Barnhart published a brilliant piece on BlueOregon this weekend that calls out the artificiality of this claim. Using the wonderful example of Mr. Rogers, a true Christian who promoted loving values without ever even invoking God, Barnhart demolishes the howling hypocrisy of those who trade in biblical invocations without practicing any true Christian values.

I told you to LOVE one another

Sadly, the examples of this kind of fakery are all too prevalent:

  • Banning Gay/Straight Alliances in the name of Catholic values while comparing the LGBT community to Nazis
  • Preachers devoting whole sermons to the evils of homosexuality while ignoring poverty and homelessness
  • A mother being berated by her minister for a blog post about loving her son
  • A “christian activist” from the U.S. helping create homophobic legislation in Uganda
  • A Georgia congressman calling homosexuality a capital offense, using the bible as his source
  • That same congressman practicing his christian values by attacking rape victims
  • A fast-food restaurant famous for its christian values sponsoring rabidly anti-gay seminars
  • The Governor of Alabama telling people that non-Christians are unworthy in a public speech
  • A “family values” organization using teen suicides to blame the gay community
  • The Pope himself promoting violence against the gay community

The list goes on and on. Apparently all of these people learned scripture where Michele Bachmann leanred history. (Bachmann herself is a big user of false christianity to explain her ranting.) How dare these people misuse God as a weapon? True Christians like Chuck Currie, Kathy Baldock, and Daphne’s mom have a very difficult task  making a true message of love and hope heard over these miscreants. People who truly understand what family values are get drowned out by bigots who have co-opted the language.

I’m certainly not a biblical scholar, but this behavior puts me in mind of a couple of verses.  How about the 9th Commandment: Thou shalt not bear false witness. It seems that such regular abuse of scripture in the name of power certainly violates that edict. Seeing all the damage done and the potential good works avoided by warriors in the name of Christ, I think also of a very simple line.

“Jesus wept.”

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