Monday, April 7, 2014

Want to Know Why Americans Rank the Catholic Church as Religious Group Most Unfriendly to LGBT People? Look at Mike McMahon

Want to know why 58% of Americans think that the Catholic church is unfriendly to LGBT people? — the most unfriendly of all religious groups to LGBT folks, with Mormons being ranked next at 53%, and evangelicals next at 51%? Here's why.

As Michelle Boorstein notes in the Washington Post article to which the preceding link points, 

Teachers, principals, band directors and choir directors, among others, have lost jobs for this reason [i.e., because they married a same-sex partner] in recent months across the country.

The article focuses on Mike McMahon, a music minister of the diocese of Arlington, Virginia, who was fired last summer at the Catholic church at which he had been music minister since 2005, when news reached parish officials that McMahon had married his partner. McMahon has been a Catholic music minister for nearly 40 years, and has served as president of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians.

Want to know why Americans rank the Catholic church as the most unfriendly religious body in the country to LGBT people? If you want to know why that's the case, look at Mike McMahon.

And at all those other teachers, principals, band directors, and choir directors who have been erased from Catholic communities in recent months. Here's a very partial litany of names from last September — names of real human beings living real human lives that are turned upside down by the injustice of being removed without reason or recourse from jobs for which they've worked hard to obtain credentials. 

Others, like Mike Moroski and Trish Cameron, have lost jobs in Catholic schools not because they are gay and married, but because they dared to make statements in support of gay marriage. Others, like Lennon Cihak and his family, have been denied the sacraments because they made statements in support of marriage equality. Information on these and more folks is here.

Barbara Johnson was denied communion at her mother's funeral, when the priest celebrating the funeral mass realized she was lesbian and partnered. Ditto for Carol Parker and Josie Martin when Parker's mother died.

Carla Hale was fired from her teaching position at a Catholic school when the obituary of her mother mentioned Hale's partner's name. Timothy Nelson, who says he's not even gay, had a job offer rescinded by a Catholic school when someone saw the obituary of his father and assumed that Nelson was gay, because the obituary mentioned Nelson's roommate.

Want to know why a majority of Americans think the Catholic church is the most unfriendly religious group in the country to LGBT folks? Have a look at those names.

Read the stories of the people treated this way. Think about what being treated the way Catholic institutions are treating them does to them as human beings, about what it does to their human lives.

Read Mike McMahon's statement to Michelle Boorstein about the quandary he finds himself in, as someone who has dedicated his whole life to music ministry in a Catholic context, but who now finds himself able to find jobs only outside that context —"I know I’m Catholic, and I know I belong, but I can’t do part of what makes me me" — and ask yourself if an institution that proclaims itself as all about love has a right to speak of love when it treats a targeted group of human beings in this cruel way.

Placing them outside. Defining its identity against a group of human beings it chooses to define as other, as the enemy.

While proclaiming love as its ideal, and speaking of itself as, in its very self definition as "catholic," all about inviting everyone to the table . . . And while professing to be a faith community singularly committed to the defense of human rights, one that claims to deplore the unjust termination of people's livelihoods, since human dignity and human meaning can't be separated from the jobs people do —which are an extension of themselves . . . . 

The photo of Mike McMahon is from his Linked In profile page. (I assume that using photos from Linked In is appropriate here, when these are already shared with the public at Linked In. If any reader knows that my assumption here is incorrect, I'd appreciate information from you.)

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