Yesterday at the National Catholic Reporter site, Tom Gallagher posted an article focusing on something about which I spoke briefly in a posting here on the same day: namely, that in the wake of the Kim Davis-Pope Francis debacle, the mainstream media are finally saying out loud what many of us have known and been saying for some time now — that the outfit giving legal advice to Ms. Davis, Liberty Counsel, is an anti-gay hate group. I find the comments in response to Tom Gallagher's article especially enlightening.
As AnonAJ says, look who gathered together at this year's March for Marriage sponsored by the (Catholic-funded and Catholic-affiliated, though the organization has sought to keep this secret) National Organization for Marriage: there's the papal nuncio Carlo Maria Viganò, who is being blamed for "ambushing" Pope Francis by setting up the meeting with Kim Davis. But there are as well Davis's legal counsel and head of Liberty Counsel Mat Staver, USCCB president Archbishop Joseph Kurtz (of Louisville, Kentucky), Archbishop William Lori, head of the USCCB religious freedom committee (and Supreme Chaplain of the Knights of Columbus, who have lavishly funded attacks on LGBT rights, and also born in Louisville).
And there's Cathy Ruse of Family Research Council, which is also labeled an anti-gate hate group by Southern Poverty Law Center. As wfdehaas notes in another comment in response to Tom Gallagher's article, Cathy Ruse used to be the spokesperson for the USCCB Life Committee.
As Yvette Schneider notes in an NCRM article to which I pointed you recently,
The USCCB is led by President Joseph E. Kurtz, the Archbishop of Louisville, in Davis' home state of Kentucky, and by the Archdiocese of Washington led by Cardinal Donald Wuerl. Both institutions have actively opposed same-sex marriage. In 2009, Cardinal Wuerl signed the Manhattan Declaration, an ecumenical statement calling on Evangelical, Orthodox, and Catholic Christians to defy laws permitting same-sex marriage and other issues they claim challenge their religious freedom.
The USCCB has ties to organizations designated as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center, including the Family Research Council and the Center for Family and Human Rights (C-FAM). FRC President Tony Perkins has said about gay people, "They are intolerant. They are hateful. They are vile. They are spiteful." Perkins also says gay people are "pawns" of the "enemy." FRC's Senior Fellow of Legal Studies, Cathy Ruse, was the USCCB chief spokesperson for human life issues for several years. (Full disclosure: Cathy Ruse is a personal friend.)
Cathy Ruse's husband, Austin Ruse, is the president and director of C-FAM, and a blogger at the far right website Breitbart. In his most recent constituent email dated October 1, Ruse calls same-sex marriage, "a definition of marriage cooked up in the pits of hell," and he supports Russian anti-LGBT laws that have led to an increase in violence against gay people in Russia.
Wfdehaas's comment linked above concludes,
The ties between Liberty, Family Research, Catholic League, Lori, Vigano, Kurtz, and the Manhattan Declaration are frightening.
And as a correspondent who sent me much of the information found in these comments in a recent email tells me,
Bill...after the Manhattan Declaration in 2009 the USCCB has pursued "religious freedom" with a messy and large group of players and formed alliances with groups on the Southern Poverty Law Center's watch....they went way overboard...but they did it very quietly.....the more the average catholic understands these issues the better.....what I most dislike about this ugly deal is the bigotry...especially the anti gay bigotry...think these guys have sold their souls for a mess of bigoted pottage...,
If only this energy had been implemented to help the poor!
Oh, and Josh Duggar: Josh Duggar (!!) was there at the NOM March for Marriage along with Viganò, Kurtz, Lori, Staver, Ruse, etc. Check the link in the second paragraph above.
Why do I keep telling you I don't really believe the Vatican's account of how the meeting between the pope and Kim Davis was set up and what transpired at that meeting? All of above.
I don't think we have been told the full story of who was responsible for setting this meeting up and what happened at it. I don't think we'll ever be told the full story.
I think that if we knew all the facts, they'd implicate more than the papal nuncio Viganò. I think they'd point to some very influential members of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and I think they'd expose the very direct ties of the USCCB to a number of anti-gay hate groups who have had much influence in the American political sector because of the money that lies behind them.
I also doubt that Francis went into the meeting blind, as we've been told by the Vatican and those making apologies for the Kim Davis meeting. I don't think the people playing these toxic games — embrace a gay friend today, meet in secret with members of anti-gay hate groups tomorrow — expected to be found out, and the pushback we've seen from the Vatican is damage control.
It's not unusual for members of the Catholic hierarchy to embrace a gay friend today and then meet with people attacking the rights (and humanity) of gay people tomorrow, under cover of secrecy. This is how Catholic pastoral leaders tend to business. I have always been told by the church leaders who took away my livelihood, destroyed my career, ripped away my healthcare coverage, all which Steve and I were providing care for my mother as dementia took her mind away in the final years of her life, that they love me, and that they never discriminate against people on grounds of sexual orientation.
All of the above is why I was telling you even before the papal visit and the meeting with Kim Davis that the USCCB had played a large role in creating the monster that is Kim Davis, but wanted to distance itself from her and Staver and to pretend that its hands are clean — while using Davis and others like her to pursue a nasty agenda very damaging to the rights and humanity of LGBT people in the U.S. . . .
The substance that lies behind the symbolism of a pope embracing a gay friend is decidedly more mixed, and more noisome, than the symbol suggests.
I find the graphic at a number of blog sites, but with no indication (insofar as I have found) of its origins.