Thursday, April 24, 2014

Droppings from the Catholic Birdcage: Michael Sean Winters at National Catholic Reporter on "Gendergeist" Issues

As Michael Sean Winters reports that Harold Meyerson sees liberal leaders resurgent in many American cities, he adds:

He notes the importance of unions in the new liberal alliances, which all Catholics should welcome: Unions embody the kind of bread-and-butter economic issues that should be the heart of the liberal political agenda, not the "gendergeist" issues that alienate working class voters from those who champion their interests.

Why? Why are the needs of women set over against the needs of all other workers, over against the needs of workers in general?

Why does Michael Sean Winters think that "all Catholics" should welcome movements to protect the rights of workers, while "all Catholics" should, so it seems, disdain movements that promote the dignity of women?

What is it about Catholic teaching which assumes that there are the poor, the marginalized, those struggling for their rights — and then there are women? And gay folks?

Who are not the poor, the marginalized, those struggling for their rights . . . . Who are not to be thought of as we read magisterial statements about our obligation to stand with those on the margins, to lift up the poor . . . . 

Though women are the poor. Though women are disproportionately represented among the poor. Everywhere in the world. And this means that the children that various cultures around the world expect women to raise (whereas they do not have that same expectation of women's male partners — because it has always been that way and this pattern is rooted in sincerely held religious belief) are radically affected by their mothers' economic struggles.

For that matter, gay people are also more likely than their heterosexual counterparts to be among the economically poor in the U.S., stereotypes to the contrary notwithstanding. And in two-thirds of the states of the U.S., they have absolutely no legal protection at all against losing their jobs, or being denied work or housing, solely because of their sexual orientation.

And so once again I ask Michael Sean Winters: why are "gendergeist" issues, and therefore women and gay folks, to be set over against the needs of all other working people and other poor people by "all Catholics"? And how do "all Catholics" expect anything they say about lifting up the poor and standing with those on the margins of society to be in any way credible when "all Catholics" keep making astonishing exceptions based on distinctions of gender and sexual orientation as they talk about workers or the poor?

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