Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Kate Childs Graham on Benedict's Human Rights Legacy: A Mixed Bag

Yesterday, I wrote about the continuing attempt of some people of faith (notably, those who resist human rights for gay and lesbian human beings) to talk about human rights as if the rights of those who are LGBT are somehow a case apart. Some people of faith resistant to gay human rights appear to imagine, I argued, that "'real' human rights have to do with poor people and really marginal people--not the gays." And I responded:

As I've repeatedly argued on this blog, you can't promote human rights and pretend that gay human rights shouldn't exist. When you do that--when you cut gay folks out of the human community and make them a case apart--you undermine your case for human rights in general. You undermine your case for human rights, period.

As Terry Weldon puts the point succinctly in a response to the previous statements yesterday:

The whole point of human rights is that they're human rights, not special interest rights, applicable to blacks, or women, or the poor but not to lesbians and gays, or any other defined group.

After I had posted the preceding commentary, Kate Childs Graham published an interesting essay at National Catholic Reporter noting Pope Benedict's valuable support of human rights in the area of economic life, but his less than admirable record in the area of human rights for women and LGBT persons. Kate writes,

However, as progressive as many may characterize this pope on economic justice, he has been equally conservative -- and perhaps a bit regressive -- on many so-called social issues, including gender equality; lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality; and reproductive justice, to name just a few. 
Here's the thing: We can't separate the social from the economic. When a woman is barred from leadership, she feels that in her bank account. When same-sex marriage is banned at the state and federal levels, same-sex couples are forced to pay thousands more in taxes. When a person has to choose between paying for reproductive health care and putting food on the table, local economies suffer.

And in response (and as if to prove my point about how some people of faith continue to be intent to play the human rights of "really" poor people against the human rights of LGBT people (]and of women]), a reader with a long track record of attacking gay and lesbian persons, Purgatrix Ineptiae, immediately responded to Kate's argument with the argument that "[s]ome things are just a lot more important than other things." Purgatrix pooh-poohs three stories Kate tells about the economic suffering of three real-life Catholics facing discrimination as women and gay persons, by arguing that their suffering is not "real" when compared with that of people living in the developing sector of the globe.

Though Purgatrix herself lives in Boston and has a cushy job at a prestigious research university there, according to what she has told readers here (under another username) and at other blog sites under various usernames . . . . 

And so the discussion (or is it a non-discussion, when some people are simply determined to read some fellow human beings out of the calculus of human rights and call this Christian virtue?) goes on.

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