Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Jesus Heals, Some Bishops Wound: Violent Effects of Lori's and Chaput's Anti-Gay Rhetoric

In my open letter to the U.S. Catholic bishops appealing for an end to the immoral political use of gay human beings (here), I state the following:
Such immoral use of people subject to stigmatization elicits further prejudice and often results in violence of various kinds, ranging from outright assault to increased social scorn, against those identified as despised objects by political or religious authorities.
Sadly and predictably, a report by Andy Bromage in this week's Fairfield Weekly about the "gay bashing bonanza" Catholic leaders have stirred up to stop consideration of the Connecticut legislation shows that violence is precisely what Bishops Lori and Chaput have elicited (here).

Bromage reports that the two lawmakers, Mike Lawlor and Andrew McDonald, who chair the committee to which the legislation to provide lay oversight for Catholic parish finances was brought, have received a flood of hateful emails. These include one threatening violence:

As Bromage notes, what was staged as a Catholic demonstration against legislation Catholic leaders opposed "quickly devolved into a gay-bashing bonanza and a platform for Catholics to blame two openly homosexual lawmakers for every setback their political agenda has suffered."

Bromage points out that Bishop Lori's blog praised those who sent emails to McDonald and Lawlor, though many of those emails were filled with hateful comments and threats, such as the following comment from a "Faithful Catholic,"

Bishops. Bishops called to walk in the footsteps of Jesus who, as Mark's gospel constantly reminds us, went around doing good and healing. Not inflicting wounds. Not making people already susceptible to scorn and violence more vulnerable.

The violence now pouring forth against McDonald and Lawlor can be laid right at the feet of Lori and Chaput. I continue to call for their brother bishops to engage in fraternal correction. Such vile, dangerous hate-mongering has no place in a church that looks to Jesus as its founder.