Friday, March 8, 2013

Rights for Me But Not for Thee: Key Catholic Bishops Oppose Reauthorization of Violence Against Women Act Due to Inclusion of Sexual Orientation

I wrote yesterday that the much-touted progressive socioeconomic teaching of the emeritus pope spectacularly undercuts itself when the person issuing it seeks to deny or block the human rights of targeted minorities. As I stated,

Benedict's social and economic teaching depends on assertions about universal human rights that cannot be maintained when he (and the Catholic magisterium in general from John Paul forward) singles out LGBT human beings and women as scapegoats, with a view to denying or limiting the full range of human rights of these targeted groups within the human community. You can't preach rights for everyone while denying rights to denigrated minorities. 

And now here's Lauren Markoe of Religion News Service in Washington Post noting that "[f]ive key Catholic bishops are opposing the newly authorized Violence Against Women Act for fear it will subvert traditional views of marriage and gender, and compromise the religious freedom of groups that aid victims of human trafficking":

But for the first time since the original act became law in 1994, it spells out that no person may be excluded from the law’s protections because of “sexual orientation” or “gender identity” — specifically covering lesbian, transgender and bisexual women. 
That language disturbs several bishops who head key committees within the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops that deal with, among other issues, marriage, the laity, youth and religious liberty.

The bishops opposing the reauthorized Violence Against Women Act because it offers protection to lesbian, bisexual, or transgender women are (drumroll): Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development (!); Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco, chairman of the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage; Kevin C. Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, chairman of the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth; William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty (!); and José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, chairman of the Committee on Migration.

As a contributor to a thread discussing this report at National Catholic Reporter today--AileenUSA--notes, "It appears that the bishops' position is that violence directed toward some individuals is okay, in the name of God, of course." And she's right. That absolutely is the bishops' position.

Despite what the Catholic Catechism says about deploring violence against those who are gay, these bishops' position is loudly and clearly that violence against people on grounds of sexual orientation is acceptable, even desirable. What else can the insistence that these human beings be excluded from an act affording women protection from violence mean

Nor is this just their argument: as I noted in this July 2011 posting, the Vatican itself has worked directly against resolutions in the United Nations to protect LGBT human beings from violence and discrimination. Rights for immigrants: yes. For women: maybe and under some circumstances. For gays: no. And we'll hold the rights of the former two groups hostage to assure that no rights are accorded to the latter group.

These bishops are following the Vatican itself in signaling that they will gladly use the human rights of immigrants and of women--and of protections from violence in the case of both groups--as bargaining chips to score political points against LGBT human beings. 

As Thom Curnutte of Faith in the 21st Century blog says while he links to the Deacon's Bench blog's report on these bishops' statement, bishops who make statements like this just keep making some decisions easier for many of us--either to walk away or distance ourselves decisively from an institution that professes to be all about defending human rights while it persists in attacking the human rights of targeted minorities. And while it defends violence against those targeted minorities.

No comments: