The sensational story that the Vatican contained a "gay lobby" before Pope Benedict . . . of all people . . . broke it up, a story making the rounds of news sites today:
1. This is typical Vatican tit-for-tat political stuff, predictable political stuff, which must be read in the context of Pope Francis's recent remark about apologizing to the gays. Give the gays an inch, and we now have to find a way quickly to go on the attack again, lest anyone who is really paying attention think we're about to relinquish a single inch in our attack on them . . . .
2. This is how the political and religious right have long behaved, and the fact that the Vatican still believes it can engage in such behavior and peddle such sorry memes with impunity as people become more expert in detecting the game-playing reveals the extent to which it remains fatally, shamefully committed to gay-bashing as a useful political tool.
3. Supposedly, Benedict states that some four or five men constituted a gay lobby that he . . . of all people . . . takes credit for breaking up. Some gay lobby, four or five closeted gay men (if they've been identified and their identities are known, I've yet to hear about it), who obviously exercise absolutely no influence on the direction of a worldwide church deeply wedded to a heterosexist, homophobic worldview, which is attacking the rights of LGBTQ people throughout the world.
4. I say it again: some gay lobby. Shades of McCarthyite hysteria when Commies (and homosexuals) were thought to lurk under every American bed — even as sane and moral people understood that this was simply not the case in any world in which reality and truth count for anything at all.
5. It's not in the least to the credit of Benedict that he . . . of all people . . . wants to be credited with this story. That he's willing to be a willing tool of the political and religious right in delivering a big slap in the face to LGBTQ people throughout the world in the name of Catholic orthodoxy, within days after Francis made his remark about apologizing to gay people. Nor is it to the credit of Francis that he himself plays this game, allows it to continue to be played, the toxic tit for tat that the Vatican, representing a clerical elite and hierarchy well-known to be chock full of closeted gay men, still wants to play with a segment of the human community it finds all too convenient to target, attack, dehumanize, and lie about.
The photo of women laughing in a clothing factory in Grevesmühlen, Germany, in 1978 is by Jürgen Sindermann, and is from the photo database of the German Bundesarchiv (picture 183-T0425-0005). It has been uploaded to Wikimedia with a Creative Commons license to share.