Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Mid-Week News Items: Marriage Equality and Religious Groups

More mid-week news tidbits, these focusing on religion and gay issues (the Cincinnati story discussed below does focus on gay issues, since it's about the attempt of Catholic institutions to weed out and control employees who show any support at all for gay people or gay rights):

Guess who's coming to dinner the hate rally? Faithful America fills you in and asks you to sign a petition in protest:

San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone is appearing at the upcoming "March for Marriage" in Washington, D.C. The event is organized by the National Organization for Marriage, an organization that has equated gay marriage with incest, and co-sponsored by the Family Research Council, a hate group that blamed gay marriage for the recent mass shootings in Isla Vista.

And as preparations are made for the preceding event, Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver testifies before the Congressional sub-committee hearing on religion, claiming that faith-based discrimination against African Americans is bad, but faith-based anti-gay discrimination, not so much. David Badash comments for New Civil Rights Movement:

Staver told Nadler he thinks that a photographer, based on her religious beliefs, refusing to take photos at a wedding of Black people is "fundamentally different" from a photographer refusing to take photos at a wedding of gay people.

At his Formerly Fundies blog, Benjamin L. Corey counters John MacArthur's proposal that Christian parents shun their gay children. Corey proposes that Christians might want, instead, to take a close look at someone called Jesus and how he behaved:

Jesus is the one who religious conservatives hated because instead of shunning, he had meals with people.

Corey has embedded a video clip in which MacArthur offers his bible babble advice.

At Religion Dispatches, Patricia Miller looks at the recent Commonweal forum on marriage equality to which I alluded several days back and notes that she agrees with Ross Douthat's insistence in this forum that the leaders of the Catholic church can't possibly retreat on same-sex marriage, because, 

The church can’t retreat from its fight on gay marriage because to do so would take it back nearly 50 years to when it was on the brink of approving the use of contraception but backed down because it would codify the idea, which it had already tacitly accepted, that the purpose of marriage wasn’t limited to reproduction."

And guess who's solemnizing same-sex marriages in Illinois now that that state has opened the door to marriage equality with the strong support of Catholic governor Pat Quinn? Melissa Harris reports for the Chicago Tribune

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke, a Roman Catholic who has clashed with Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George, has presided over two gay weddings this year, including a double wedding last week.

Remember that colossal new contract the Catholic archdiocese of Cincinnati wants teachers in its schools to sign? The one that tells you you may be fired because of comments you make on Facebook or because you show support for a gay family member or friend? At Think Progress, Ian Milhiser notes how it also tries to get around federal non-discrimination laws by turning any employee of a Catholic institution into a "minister":

The Cincinnati Archdiocese, by contrast, is simply declaring as a blanket rule that all of their teachers are "ministers," regardless of their training or their duties — and regardless of the fact that the church was happy to view these teachers as lay people until a couple of years after the Supreme Court said that the church could gain legal immunity if they were reclassified as "ministers."

And remember Mark Regnerus, who published that "study" of "gay" couples raising children that turned out not to be a study of gay couples raising children at all, but a bought-and-paid-for piece of right-wing propaganda rushed through to publication in order to influence the Supreme Court's decision about the Defense of Marriage Act? In case you've forgotten the details of that story, Human Rights Campaign has created a very helpful Regnerus Fallout website that tells the whole shoddy story in detail, naming names.

Speaking of websites and marriage equality, Damon Linker reports yesterday on a mysterious new website called Discussing Marriage that has suddenly popped up online, with no information at all about who's paying for it or who's sponsoring it. As Linker notes, it has the fingertips of right-wing Catholic anti-gay activist Robert P. George all over it — Robert P. George who formerly chaired the National Organization for Marriage, the right-wing anti-gay group with close ties to the Knights of Columbus, Opus Dei, the U.S. Catholic bishops, and the Mormon church, which is still fighting tooth and nail to keep hidden the names of its big funders, even after the state of Maine has ruled that NOM must disclose its donors in its battle against same-sex marriage in that state, in order to comply with Maine's campaign finance laws.

Inquiring minds would surely like to know who has funded this ugly political machine to attack gay citizens of the U.S. in the name of God for lo these many years now, and to set the African American and Latino communities against the gay community and vice versa, in order to do God's work of humiliating and demeaning gay people and denying basic human rights to them.

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