Tuesday, December 29, 2015

NCR's Choice of Greg Bourke and Michael DeLeon As Persons of the Year: A Pretty Big Deal (See SCOTUS Daily)

A footnote to what I posted yesterday about the editorial announcement of National Catholic Reporter that it has chosen as its 2015 persons of the year the Catholic couple Greg Bourke and Michael DeLeon, lead plaintiffs in the Obergefell case: I subscribe to the more-or-less daily email newsletter of the Come to Terms Project. Come to Terms sends out an emailed newsletter entitled SCOTUS Daily. To my knowledge, issues of this emailed newsletter are not archives online (but if you're interested, it's very easy to go to the link I've just provided, click on it, and add yourself to the email list by clicking on "Supporters" and then following the instructions given there.

Yesterday's SCOTUS Daily emailed newsletter contains the following announcement:

PERSONS OF THE YEARThe National Catholic Reporter just named its 2015 persons of the year, and they're not who you might expect them to be. With respect to this year's historic Supreme Court decision in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges, making same-sex marriage legal in the United States, the NRC Editorial Board believes the Catholic Church has responded with confusion and often cruelty and that "gay, lesbian and transgender Catholics deserve better." For their historic roles as plaintiffs in the case and "for their faithful public witness as gay Catholics" the NCR named Greg Bourke and Michael DeLeon persons of the year for 2015. 

This actually is rather a big deal, NCR's choice to name Greg Bourke and Michael DeLeon persons of the year, as well as NCR's recognition that how the Catholic church at an official level has been dealing with LGBT people is "confused, uneven, and often cruel." It's a big deal because there's a contingent of U.S. Catholics (a minority, certainly, but a loud-mouthed one) determined to bear down on the cruelty — and they have the ear of many members of the U.S. hierarchy. 

Note, for instance, John Walsh's comment in the thread discussing the NCR editorial reporting that the Knights of Columbus announced last month that they're cancelling their sponsorship of 1,300 Boy Scout Troops after Obergefell because — John Walsh's observation — the Knights "do not want to be inclusive." They'd rather ratchet up the cruelty and call that the definition of Catholicity, as would quite a few other folks responding with venom to NCR's editorial. Under the leadership of their current Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, who served in the administration of Ronald Reagan and as a legislative assistant to Jesse Helms, they'd rather continue functioning as a Catholic arm of the Republican party, committed to the agenda of that party, no matter how badly it betrays core Catholic values.

I've frequently criticized NCR, especially for its handling of LGBT people and issues. It's incumbent on me now to praise NCR for taking this courageous step, which will create some serious pushback for the journal. This is a pretty big deal.

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