Saturday, June 15, 2013

Droppings from the Catholic Birdcage: "Equating Marriage Equality with a Loss of Religious Freedom . . . Is Utter Nonsense"

This is one of the good ones, and not the kind that need to go into the compost heap because they're so noisome there's no other place to put them--David Hart responding to an article by Brian Roewe on how various states are propelling the push for marriage equality in the U.S.:

The bishops lost significant credibility by backing NOM and by making obstruction of equal marriage an important part of the agenda. Now they are equating marriage equality with a loss of religious freedom. It's utter nonsense. The Church does not have to solemnize gay marriages. Period. The end. 
Teaching the faithful is one thing. Attempting to impose those teachings on everyone by force of law crosses a line. It has already begun to backfire and it is going to take decades to repair. Imagine the reaction if a group of wealthy Jews tried to make the sale or consumption of pork illegal. 
On top of all the intellectual dishonesty we have the "great thinkers" like Robby George writing papers that wouldn't stand up to the scrutiny of an undergraduate Thomistic polemic. Attempting to claim that gay marriage is in competition with, and adversely affects, traditional marriage is just more bull exhaust. The Church is on the wrong side of human rights and on the wrong side of history. National marriage equality is inevitable. Get over it.

In one day, Hart's comments have already garnered 44 likes with 2 dislikes. Are the bishops listening, I wonder? I doubt it. Especially since they've mandated special prayers and bulletin inserts in all Catholic parishes throughout the U.S. this summer, to ask divine intervention as the Supremes pronounced on marriage equality. 

And as they gear up for yet another expensive and embarrassing spectacle of "Fortnight for Freedom" bashes beginning 21 June--though those failed spectacularly last summer . . . . It's a downright excrciuating time to call oneself Catholic, and I'm not convinced that even (or especially) the theological academy in the U.S. really gets just how damaging the bishops and their orthotoxic supporters have become to the church's project of evangelization, of proclaiming the good news of the gospel to the culture at large. 

What I don't hear in the remarks Susan Ross, outgoing president of the Catholic Theological Society of America, made recently about Catholic "new evangelization" at the latest CTSA meeting is the need to stand against and push back against the toxic, damaging nonsense of the bishops in, for example, their ugly attacks on the gay community at this point in history. That standing against also requires standing unambiguously with those who are LGBT.

I hear these insights loudly and clearly in what David Hart says. I continue to lament that too few Catholic theologians in the U.S. are willing to open their mouths and speak so loudly and so clearly.

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