At Commonweal, Lisa Fullam remembers the fire that killed 32 people at the UpStairs Lounge in New Orleans on 24 June 1973, and notes that as SCOTUS is poised to hand down its ruling on DOMA, the U.S. Catholic bishops continue to talk about same-sex marriage in "extraordinarily harsh terms" as "a multifaceted threat to the very fabric of society."
John Prior responds powerfully:
a multifaceted threat to the very fabric of society
Those words, or some variation of them, have been used over and over in this country to resist change and to limit the rights of whatever group was currently despised. I would guess that 80% of today's Americans would have fallen under a charge of unworthiness or inferiority at some time in our past. And yet for all the apocalyptic talk, we are arguably a better society than we were when we enslaved fellow human beings, when we treated women as subordinate beings not quite up to taking care of themselves, when we concocted scientific studies to "prove" that Southern Europeans and Asians would be undesirable immigrants, and when we suspected and sometimes declared that Catholics were willing or duped tools of a malign foreign power. I am glad that that tattered and soiled fabric of society has been discarded.
If we are entering a post-Christian era, and I think the evidence for that is mixed, it may be because too many Christian leaders are seen as preaching a gospel of condemnation, punishment, and exclusion. Life is difficult enough for most people without having a gaggle of pampered nags shouting, "You're not doing it right!"
He's absolutely correct.
The graphic: "The Prodigal Son," by South Carolina artist Renee Kahn.