Monday, August 24, 2015

At Least 1,000 Words: Signe Wilkinson on the Boy Scouts, Pope Francis, and the Gays

Signe Wilkinson of Truthdig commenting this morning on, well, all kinds of things that I think will be obvious to you as you think about the cartoon . . . .

And as this cartoon appears, Bob Shines reports that a Catholic priest in Westville, Illinois — Father Timothy Sauppé — has sent out a "public service" diatribe against the gays to everyone in his zipcode, causing the president of the town's Lions Club to say that he's furious that his community is being represented in this vocal, public way as a bigoted community. As Darren VanDuyn, the Lions Club president in Westville, says, not even the members of Father Sauppé's parish agree with his anti-gay views, and many parishioners are very unhappy that he seems to think he speaks for the whole community (and parish) with his bigoted attacks on those who are gay. 

Sauppé has a history of attacking the gay community, and has not been censured by his hierarchical overseers for these attacks.

I also want to note here the recent decision of the bishop of Bismarck, North Dakota, David Kagan, to take Catholic Boy Scout troops in his diocese out of the Boy Scouts of America, after BSA began to permit openly gay Scout leaders, though that decision permits church-based troops to continue to discriminate against gay men seeking to be Scout leaders.

And as this plays out in the Peoria diocese and the Bismarck diocese, in Mormon Utah, as Peggy Fletcher Stack reported recently, a large majority of active Mormons want their church to pull Mormon Boy Scouts troops out of Boy Scouts of America — obviously, in reaction to the recent BSA decision to permit openly gay Scout leaders, though, as noted above, that decision also explicitly stated that each troop can make its own choices about such matters, and that church-based troops can continue to discriminate against gay men seeking to be Scout leaders.

Steve and I will be taking our annual trip to do research at the LDS family history library in Salt Lake City in November. Reading about the response of many Mormons to the Boy Scout decision makes me more determined than ever to avoid spending any money that goes directly to the LDS church or its institutions while I'm in Salt Lake.

I'm tired of the pretense of toleration on the part of many Catholics, right-wing evangelicals, and Mormons, when the reality is that leading spokespersons for these religious groups are bitterly hostile to me solely because of how God made me to be. And I agree with Signe Wilkinson: Pope Francis could learn to cross the street — from a Boy Scout.

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