Thursday, April 12, 2012

Jamie Manson on Marginalized as Pawns in USSCB Anti-Gay Political Maneuvers

I did want to comment, too, on Jamie Manson's very fine article at National Catholic Reporter right now, to which the comments of John Lyons that I featured in a previous posting this morning were directed.  Manson notes that the Catholic hierarchy is now--unmercifully and without any foundation in the gospels--making marginalized communities in general pay, as it zeroes in on gays and lesbians and tries to punish organizations with any ties to groups supporting gay rights.  She notes, as I did on Holy Saturday, that the USCCB is threatening to withhold funding from Compañeros, a group assisting poor Hispanic immigrants in Colorado, because Compañeros is part of an umbrella organization of social service agencies that includes groups promoting gay rights.

Manson notes that the actions now being considered vis-a-vis Compañeros are part of a broader narrative in which the Catholic church in recent years has punished one charitable group after another by withholding funding or shutting down services, if the group is in any way connected to or endorses gay rights movements.  As she points out, this uncharitable campaign that targets the poor is being orchestrated by the American Life League, which pressures the USSCB to drop support for any groups  supported by the USCCB's Catholic Campaign for Human Development, if the groups do not pass American Life League's right-wing orthodoxy tests.

And why does the USCCB cater to this tiny minority of Catholics who represent views not held by the majority of American Catholics?  Manson suggests it's about money and power.  The tiny minority calling the shots for the USCCB happen to be those Catholics in the U.S. with the most money and the most political clout.

As Manson notes, 

But who can blame the hierarchy for pandering to right-wing groups? At a time when Catholics are leaving the church in droves, parishes and schools are closing, and legal fees and settlement payments are mounting, conservative extremists offer two crucial elements of survival: radical devotion and economic power.
Killing off a few small nonprofit agencies in order to appease wealthy, arch-conservative forces seems a small price to pay for self-preservation. The Roman Catholic Church's own fear of becoming impoverished and empty is driving them to overlook the neediest.

As I read this analysis (which seems correct, to me), I keep trying to remember that passage where Jesus says, "The poor will always be with you.  So victimize them to appease the rich, especially the rich folks who hate the gays.  Because the kingdom of heaven belongs to those who have money and power, and who keep the gays in their place."

I'm not finding it in my bible this morning.  Maybe I'm just not looking hard enough.  

Instead, and maddeningly, my bible keeps falling open to Deuteronomy 15:11.

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