Friday, January 13, 2012

Jamie Manson on U.S. Bishops' Defense of Discrimination: What Image of Church Is Being Cultivated?

Jamie Manson writes at National Catholic Reporter with her usual incisive analysis (and theological sensitivity) about the U.S. Catholic bishops's continued demand that they be given a special "right" to discriminate against gay and lesbian persons.  As she notes, anyone who has ever worked for a religious institution knows just how broadly the license the Supreme Court has just given religious employers to discriminate may be extended.  And this should be of serious concern to anyone who cares about the rights of minority groups working in faith-based organizations.

And then she writes, 

It is ironic that most religious organizations blame a secular, antireligious culture for these attacks on religious liberty. But can Americans be blamed for antireligious sentiments when they watch religious organizations lobby so heavily for exemptions from so many laws that protect human rights? 
What kind of image is cultivated by a church that would rather make its employees vulnerable to a hostile work environment than be accountable to labor laws? What vision of Christianity is derived from a church that would rather see foster children remain in a lonely, detrimental system than be placed in stable, loving homes? What are average Americans to think of churches that lobby for the right to deny a human being her legal right to health care, property, housing and legal taxation because of her loving, committed relationship?

And she's absolutely correct.  What kind of church are the old boys (of both genders) promoting, when they high-five each other because the Supremes have affirmed the right of religious groups to discriminate (in a case involving a disabled woman!)?

Not one I want to have much to do with.

Meanwhile, Michael Sean Winters once again asserts his original assessment of the Supreme Court decision--a big win!--and suggests that David Gibson is engaging in a bit of writerly rhetoricism when Gibson asks the same question Manson is asking: What kind of church are those jubilating about the Supreme Court decision defending?

No comments: