Catholic Bishops and Bigots appear to have Common Ground

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops behavior is being described as bigoted. Apparently this description of their position on Gay Marriage by the Justice Department is becoming a very difficult pill to swallow. Like the clergy sexual abuse scandal when the public spotlight is placed on their shortcomings they try to distract that spotlight by wanting to talk about religious freedom.

Recently Bishop Lori testified before Congress that it is not bigotry to discriminate against gay people if that is their religious belief.

Following Lori’s testimony Archbishop Gomez of Los Angeles said Catholics are being denied their Civil Rights because the Justice Department believes that DOMA is unconstitutional and therefore they will not defend it.

Archbishop Gomez, cites the push to legalize “same-sex” marriage as example of government suppression of religious freedom. He says the move to legalize “same-sex” marriage has caused Church adoption and foster-care ministries to shut down rather than “submit to government demands that they place children of same-sex couples or provide benefits for same-sex employees.”

Gomez appears not to understand that if a state has either Civil Unions or Gay Marriage laws you cannot discriminate against Gay Couples if you accept state funding. His rational appears to be because we have always have been allowed to discriminate in the past we should be allowed to do so in the future, and that any law that does not allow us to do that is an attack on religious liberty. The Rainbow Sash Movement finds the Archbishop’s conclusion totally illogical therefore unreasonable and a further example of a bigoted mentality that justifies itself in the name of habit.

The ongoing circus in the Archdiocese of Minneapolis/St. Paul further illustrates why opposition to Gay Marriage is motivated not by Gospel Values, but by bigotry. Archbishop John Nienstedt is out of touch with many lay Catholics according to a recent large survey . The survey showed only 35 percent of Catholics oppose same-sex marriage.

Scott Alessi, writing for U.S. Catholic, which is published by a Roman-Catholic community of priests and brothers called the Claretian Missionaries, said Niensted’s decision was “unusual.”

“Nienstedt has made clear that for priests in his archdiocese, fighting to ensure that the state defines marriage in the same way as the church is today’s top priority,” Alessi wrote.

Alessi wondered if anti-gay marriage amendment was the most appropriate use of resources: ”If an archbishop can call upon all his pastors to form grassroots committees, appoint parish leaders, and organize a large-scale effort, is this the issue on which to do it? What if every parish developed an unemployment committee dedicated to helping out of work people in the parish community find jobs?”

In a recent letter to President Obama Cardinal Francis George of the Archdiocese of Chicago claims that there should be a Conscience Clause in any legislation passed so Catholics can pick and choose what laws they have to follow, and which ones they don’t when it comes to Gay Marriage and women’s right to choose. Following-up on that letter he wrote a column in the Chicago New World accusing gay activists of using the issue of equality as a way to get back at the Church for its past and current hostility. The flip side of that coin is that the Bishops promotion homophobia in the name of God will only promote bigotry and violence against gay people.

What these bishops don’t want to understand is religious organizations cannot discriminate against Gay Couples where state funding is guided by a nondiscrimination laws that apply to Gay Marriage/Civil Unions. If the Bishops want to discriminate in states with non-discrimination laws based on Civil Unions and Gay Marriage they will have to seek funding from their own Diocese and Archdioceses and not a government subsidy.

The Rainbow Sash Movement understands it’s not persecution not to get a government subsidy. Nobody has a right to government subsidies. If the secular majority decides secular agencies should handle gay marriage/civil unions in a non-discriminatory fashion it is not up to Catholic Bishops to pick choose what laws they and will not obey. Promoting discriminatory policies while providing public services is bigotry and it is something the bishops can no longer hide from.

Mary Anderson
Rainbow Sash Movement


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