Friday, June 17, 2011

U.N. Resolution Recognizes Gay Rights, NY Catholic Leader Says Comparing Gay Struggle to Civil Rights Struggle "Odious"

Two worldviews, two opposing views of human rights: it's fascinating that on the same day the United Nations Human Rights Council passes a resolution calling for a worldwide study of rights of LGBT persons because anti-gay violence and discrimination is persistent around the globe, a Catholic leader in New York, Msgr. Kieran Harrington, Brooklyn diocese's Vicar for Communications, informs the media that it's "odious" to see civil marriage for gay couples as a civil rights issue.  And that the struggle for human rights for LGBT people can't be compared to the similar struggle for rights for people of color, because, 

"People of color were subjected to unimaginable discrimination....So many people had human rights denied." 

A single day.  Two diametrically opposed perspectives on the human rights of an oppressed minority group.

With the twist that the body one would expect to be leading the charge to protect and foster the rights of the vulnerable minority group--the Christian church--is attacking that group's rights.  Placing itself on the side of other anti-democratic groups that, in the U.N. debate about recognition of the human rights of gay people, also sought to argue that the concept of human rights does not apply to gay human beings.

Except the secular body, which one doesn't expect to be leading a movement to protect and foster human rights for an oppressed minority when a major Christian church is lagging behind that movement, overrides the argument constantly pressed now by the Catholic church that the concept of universal human rights doesn't apply to LGBT persons.  And announces that the human rights of LGBT people must be recognized precisely because the refusal to recognize those rights is fueling violence against these human beings around the globe.

One day, two diametrically opposed views of human rights and of the moral obligation of decent human communities to defend the human rights of vulnerable minorities.  As cultures around the globe reach a tipping point at which they begin to recognize the humanity and human rights of LGBT persons, while the Catholic church continues to work fast and furious to foster discrimination, one wonders how long practicing Catholics can continue to hold their heads high and take any pride at all in what their church does to build a humane world for all of God's children.  

No, Msgr. Harrington.  The odious characters and odious behavior in this historic struggle aren't to be found among those calling for recognition that every oppressed minority group has human rights.

They're clearly to be found somewhere else in this historic narrative.  And if you don't have the decency to be ashamed of yourself for what you're doing now, then subsequent generations of Catholics who will have to face the ugly history you and other Catholic leaders are writing for your church will, I daresay, burn with shame enough on your behalf as they read that history.

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