Monday, December 13, 2010

Top Catholic Chaplain Opposes End of Discrimination Against Gay Service Members

You know that line in the Catholic catechism that deplores discrimination against gay and lesbian folks?  Well, it appears not all Catholic pastoral officials really believe the catechism, when it comes to this issue.  As Eugene McMullen notes at Religion Dispatches today, the Catholic Archbishop for the Military Services Timothy Broglio opposes ending the ban on openly gay soldiers in the American armed forces. 

Broglio quotes the catechism for his defense (conveniently overlooking that line about discrimination), declares gays akin to alcoholics, and suggests (mendaciously) that permitting openly gay soldiers to serve would erode the religious liberty of Catholic chaplains.  

Don't expect any big outcry about this defense of overt discrimination, by the way, from those influential journals of the American Catholic center.  None of them have even mentioned DADT--not in their official editorial sectors, or by way of substantial articles.  A significant national discussion is going on right now about ending legal discrimination against a despised minority in a major American institution, and the Catholic journals have their lips sewn shut.

It's as if the schools were being integrated in the 1950s and 1960s, and Catholics were sitting around talking about, oh, whether priests should wear collars in public or not.  Or whether Catholics can nor cannot sing well.

A recipe for irrelevance?  Yes, absolutely so, especially when Robert Putnam and David Campbell are reporting in their recent book American Grace that the homophobia to which some faith communities insist on clinging is the primary reason that young folks are leaving the churches. 

And, in its own way, just as immoral (and a manifestation of the same anti-gospel mentality) as the refusal of the Vatican to assist the Irish government in tracking down priests abusing minors.  Silence in the face of discrimination and other social evils is never defensible.  

Something about the way even "good" Catholics of the center are dealing with their gay brothers and sisters these days seems just not right.

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