Saturday, March 28, 2015

Where Are the Catholics, As Laws Across U.S. Target Gay Citizens? Photographic Evidence from Indiana

Where are the Catholics, I keep asking, as laws are being passed right and left with the specific intent to tell LGBT citizens that they're unwanted, unwelcome, should expect to have fewer rights than other citizens have? Where's the Catholic voice, I have been asking, as someone garners signatures for an initiated act in California that calls for putting bullets into the heads of LGBT citizens?

Where were the Catholics, historians now ask about the rise of the Nazis in Germany and the Holocaust? Where was the Catholic voice as the horrors unfolded then? What did Catholics learn from that experience, and from their shameful silent complicity in those horrors?

Where are the Catholics? The photo in the tweet at the top of the posting is an answer to that question, for at least part of the Catholic community. When historians assess the role of the Catholic community in the U.S. in assisting a vulnerable minority community to obtain rights long denied to it, or in doing just the opposite and working to add to the misery of that minority community, this photo will be important evidence.

It will perhaps crystallize for historians who and what the Catholic community in the U.S. was in the early 21st century — particularly who and what it was as a community committed to welcoming the stranger, making the outsider at home, working to uplift those denied rights.

The photo is the tweet that Governor Pence of Indiana sent out when he signed his state's new anti-gay "religious liberty" bill into law this week in a private ceremony in which he was, as the Maddow Blog has noted, "surrounded by a group of religious leaders." Ashamed, the rest of you Catholics? I certainly am.

Remember that Public Religion Research Institute study a year ago which found that Americans rank the Catholic church as the religious body most hostile to gay people in the U.S.? The survey found that 58% of Americans rank the Catholic church as the religious group most unfriendly to gay folks, with Mormons at 53% and evangelicals at 51%.

Look at the tweet at the top of this posting and you might get an inkling why Americans have reached this conclusion about the Catholic church in its approach to gay folks.

P.S. As Tony Cook is reporting for IndyStar, Governor Pence refuses to identify the group of religious leaders who surrounded him as he signed his "religious freedom" legislation. He's refusing to disclose the names of the 80 or so religious leaders he invited to his private signing ceremony.

And isn't that interesting? The hate that dare not speak its name — at least not out and proud, in public, owning itself for what it really is as it traipses around in religious costumes and clothes itself in "religious liberty."

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