Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Benedict Builds Alliance with World Religions to Combat LGBT Rights and Shore Up Patriarchy

In linking this article to his Facebook feed, my friend and fellow theologian Michael J. Iafrate observes,

Interesting that this pope has had a tendency to do a lot of damage to hard-won ecumenical and interfaith progress throughout his papacy but gets all ecumenical when he sees it as an opportunity to attack "the gays."

The Reuters article by Phillip Pulella linked above notes that the Catholic church is now making common cause with other religious groups, including Judaism and Islam, to oppose marriage equality. Wayne Besen also notes this emerging anti-gay alliance in a recent article at Huffington Post.

What this alliance indicates, of course, is that underneath all the rhetoric about resisting secularism and modernity and about divinely established gender roles is the resolute, unyielding intent of the male leaders of many major world religions to resist any and all incursions on patriarchy. On their power.

Increasingly, what binds many of the world's religions together is not the intent to spread justice and love in societies around the world. It's the untenable intent to defend male power and privilege--heterosexual or pretend-heterosexual (in the case of many top Catholic leaders)--male power and privilege.

As if this power and privilege are at the very center of world religious traditions, rather than love and justice. As if the aspirations of women and of gay and lesbian human beings to be admitted as full equals to loving communities of faith, and to enjoy the same power and privilege accorded to other human beings, run counter to the fundamental affirmations of the major faith traditions of the world.

This is what religion is coming to be all about in the view of some of the top leaders of world religions--top male leaders. And it's no wonder at all that many people in many parts of the world now want to distance themselves in every way possible from those religious leaders and the traditions they represent . . . or, to be more precise, the traditions whose central values they betray.

It's out of respect for the fundamental values that are really at the core of the world's major religious traditions--doing justice and enacting practical compassion--that many people are (rightly) fleeing any contact with religious traditions that have gone increasingly awry, even downright demonic, under the governance of their current top (male) leaders.

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