Showing posts with label Homophobia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Homophobia. Show all posts

Friday, June 22, 2012

On My Ten-Year Anniversary of Ordination to the Catholic Priesthood


On June 22, 2002, I was ordained a priest. 

Minutes before the ceremony, a squirrel met its demise at the intersection of a power line, junction box, and the cathedral’s roof.  The ensuing explosion left those in attendance in the dark.

Everything in the Catholic Church seemed dark in 2002.  Accounts of bishops concealing sexual abuse perpetrated by priests inundated the news.  Daily, revered clerics fell in shame.  Victims came forward, their long-suppressed pain and anger finally being given voice.  Those on the left blamed the pre-Vatican II, conservative and sex-suppressing seminary system that had formed the elder generations of priest-perpetrators; they blamed mandatory celibacy.  Those on the right made the post-Vatican-II progressives and their sex-embracing psychology their scapegoats; they blamed gay clergy.  Being both a victim and gay, I was angry, hurt, heartbroken, shamed, and frightened.  I'd wanted to run. 

But trusted others dissuaded me: "Don't make decisions in desolation." "The church and god have affirmed your vocation for eight years; you can't run from that now."  “Doubt is the vehicle to deeper faith and commitment.” "You don't need to come out of the closet; that's just pride tempting you." "It's not lying if those asking don't have a right to the information." "Your sexuality is a gift from god, in god's image, but if you act upon it’s 'disordered,' sinful." 

I dissuaded myself: "Jesus will work through my wounds, if I sacrifice everything."

During the ordination rite, an endless succession of priests passed on the priesthood by laying their hands upon my bowed head.  I knelt before them.  My kneecaps pressed through the thin cotton of my alb and ground against the hard floor.  After a few dozen hands had pressed upon my scalp, spasms began to shoot down my back.  I focused on the residual scent of incense in the air.  I breathed into the pain, the depression, for I deserved it.

Ruled by shame, I begged god for the strength to resist my "depraved" homosexual "urges."  Ruled by fear, I did nothing as the priest, who had assaulted me during confession and then sexuallyexploited me in college, placed his hands upon my head.   Ruled by redemptive suffering, I nailed my anger at him and all the corrupt priests and bishops to the cross.  There were no other options.  I accepted the only path prescribed to gay Catholic men: silent celibacy.


Thankfully, I no longer owe obedience to these clerics.  Ten years later, I am no longer a priest, no longer a Catholic.  The collective clerical closet in which I once lived is eight years abandoned. 

Others continue under that yoke.  I understand their plight, their fear.  It’s difficult to turn your back on the institution that “formed” you.  It’s terrifying to speak out against your superiors’ abuses.  It’s mindboggling to imagine a future beyond your career and community. It’s painful to witness cherished relationships end, as those, who cannot accept your truth, shun you. 

To those of you remaining, it is possible.  There is a life of health, peace, balance, joy, purpose, communion, love, and truth that exists beyond the Catholic church. 

Ten years after being ordained a priest, eight years after leaving the priesthood, and seven years after evicting the guilt imposed by my old religion, I can tell you that it does get better.  You can speak out about the abuse you endured.  You can build a new career.  You can make gather new friends and communities.  You can regain your mental health.  You can protest on the steps of your cathedrals.  You can find a creed or philosophy that brings you peace.  You can marry the man or woman that you love.  You can give of yourself to the world.

Not a day goes by that I regret leaving the priesthood and the church.  Ten years makes a difference indeed.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Biblical Marriage & Traditional Christian Values

How can one argue with what's in the Babble?  

Come on, conservative Christians, let's stick up for "traditional" values and legislate these religious beliefs:
I came across this chart on Facebook.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Dan Savage and Keith Olbermann Get to the Heart of the Hatred Involved in Religious Homophobia

     In the video below, Dan Savage and Keith Olbermann get to the heart of how religion conditions gay persons to hate themselves.  So much of what Savage says speaks true to my past experience of being trained to hate myself as "God created me." 

     An example of this is in an Advocate article by John Becker, a married gay man, who went undercover and experienced the "ex-gay therapy" offered at Michelle Bachmann's husband's "clinic."  So much of what they told Becker is what I was told in Catholic seminary "formation."  I'm so grateful that I escaped.

     Back to Savage and Olbermann.  Savage is brilliant at turning homophobic arguments on their heads.  (The first half of the interview is about the Tony-winning The Book Mormon and marriage equality in New York.)  Start the video at minute 11:00 to get the point about the homophobia preached by many religions, Christianity in particular.


Here's a little bonus video: "I Believe" from The Book of Mormon.

Friday, May 20, 2011

REM Music Tribute to Harold Camping's Homophobic End of the World "Prophecy"

     Have you noticed the billboards around the world?  Be afraid!  "Judgement Day" is upon us.

     Again.

     I'm not talking family-values politician Arnold Schwarzenegger's spousal termination and judgment day.

     Tomorrow, May 21, 2011, is going to be the start of the five-month Christian "apocalypse."  The Christian making this absurd prediction is Harold Camping of  Family Radio.  
Don't forget to purchase your celebratory t-shirt.
     Of course, Camping long ago discovered the lucrative nature of rapturous merchandising. He wrongly predicted the end of the world to happen back in 1994.  Why anyone continued to follow him is beyond me.  I guess you just gotta "have faith."

     Guess which minority is being scapegoated as bringing on the "end times."   Ding.  Ding.  Ding.   Went the bell.  You guessed it: Gay Pride.  (Evil laugh.)  Check out homophobic Mr. Camping's incredible document, "Gay Pride: Planned by God as a Sign of the End."  Don't be surprised if FamilyRadio.com  has crashed.  What an omen that would be. 

     If you are a heretic, who will be left behind after the rapture for five months of unattended sin-time, don't worry.  You can join the half a million hellions who are attending the "Post Rapture Looting" party on Facebook.  Tonight, I'm camping out on Rodeo Drive.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Visual Aid: If Marriage Equality Becomes a Reality What Will Happen?

     Here's visual aid concerning all those nasty claims and myths from right wing Christians, Catholics and Mormons concerning same-sex couples' civil-marriage rights courtesy of Political Ironing at the PBH Network.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Plural Marriage, Racism, Homophobia, and Armageddon for "Big Love"

     Tonight is the series finale of HBO's polygamist-family drama Big Love.

     Here's a clip in honor of Bill Henrickson and his "true" Mormons:


     Because the other "true" Church of Latter Day Saints knows about the sanctity of marriage:


      Some LDS claim plural marriage is an immutable pillar of their faith.  Others have spent millions of dollars on smear campaigns against same-sex couples in an attempt to prove the Mormon church believes marriage is, has been, and always will be, as their God commanded, between one man and one woman.  But they are hypocrites.  LDS teachings are mutable.   

     Or do they still believe the once-immutable teaching that African-Americans and other persons of color are the cursed descendants of Cain?  Polygamist Brigham Young did. Here's a Young quote from a Utah State University Secular Humanists, Atheists, and Free Thinkers article, entitled, "Why I Don’t Believe: Racism in Mormon History and Doctrine:"
     Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so. (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Volume 10, page 110)
     Tonight, as I say goodbye to the Henricksons, I can only hope that someday the Mormon church will say goodbye to its homophobia as it did to its racism.
Image via Entertainment Weekly

     PS.  If gays were as dominant in football as African-Americans, would the LDS drop its teachings condemning homosexuals to improve BYU's chances of winning a national championship?

Monday, February 28, 2011

Anti-Gay Christian Fundamentalist Rev. Grant Storms Arrested for Masturbating in Public Park while Watching Children

     Hypocrisy alert: Rev. Grant Storms, another outspoken, hate-spewing, anti-gay Christian cleric, goes down in a sex scandal involving children.  

     The Rev. Grant Storms, a Christian fundamentalist best known for his bullhorn protests of the Southern Decadence festival in the French Quarter, was arrested for allegedly masturbating at a Metairie park Friday afternoon...Storms told deputies that he was merely having lunch at Lafreniere Park, 3000 Downs Blvd., in his van when he decided to relieve himself using a bottle instead of using the restroom, an incident report said.
     But two witnesses said they saw Storms through the open windows of his van masturbating himself while watching children on the playground, the report said.
     Armed with bullhorns, Bibles and picket signs, Storms and a group of followers in 2003 protested against Southern Decadence, the gay three-day festival held over Labor Day weekend in the French Quarter. Storms' efforts prompted the New Orleans City Council to ban megaphones and other amplification devices.
     And we gays are the ones they're calling pedophiles.

Rev. Storms, Masturbator,
and Possible Pedophile

Monday, January 31, 2011

Inhospitable Christian Sodomite Elder Bobby Harries Denies Entry of LGBT Homeless to Church Shelter

     Elder Bobby Harris is the head of the House of Mercy homeless shelter in Columbus, Georgia. If you're homeless or in need, his religious shelter is there to offer you refuge. Unless, of course, you happen to be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. If that's the case, Elder Bobby Harris has a few short words for you: "[Homosexuality] is not tolerated here at all."
     So much for that Christian obligation to help all who are in need. At the House of Mercy, there's apparently a sexual orientation and gender identity litmus test.
      Elder Harris spoke to WRBL in Columbus this week, after numerous activists (including over 1,000 Change.org members) wrote the shelter criticizing the House of Mercy's policy to deny gay homeless people shelter. Harris stuck to his guns, and reiterated his previous statement that the reason LGBT people weren't welcome at his center was because "of the Bible."
     In an irony of Biblical proportions, when I studied the Old Testament in seminary, I learned that mainstream scripture scholars concur that the actual "sin of Sodom" was failing to provide hospitality to those in need of a roof over their head.

     Thus, Elder Bobby Harris has revealed himself a true Sodomite.

     Many will argue that it's freedom of religion for Christians to discriminate against LGBT persons, the separation of church and state.  True.  They can use their money to be as cruel and mean to people in their pews as they want to be.  But guess where Elder Bobby Harris gets some of his funding?  You guessed it.  He's using U.S. tax dollars to discriminate.    Change.org continues:
     But as Alex Blaze uncovered at Bilerico, the House of Mercy sure looks like it receives some federal grant money, at least according to its 990 form. Moreover, Georgia's government approved a measure last year that earmarked $75,000 for the House of Mercy, via the state's Special Housing Initiatives program. That's an awful lot of taxpayer money to be giving a shelter that refuses to serve and shelter all who are in need.
     Harris' tax exemption should immediately be revoked.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Anglican Priest Show's up at David Kato's Funeral to Condemn Gay Mourners

     A gay civil rights leader is bludgeoned to death by a hammer in his own home after a local newspaper outed him and called for the hanging of all gays.  Terrified, shocked, and friends, family, and supporters bravely gather to mourn the assassination of their leader.  What would Jesus do?

     Ugandan police have escorted a priest away from the funeral of a gay rights activist after he told homosexuals to repent, sparking scuffles.  Anglican priest Thomas Musoke told mourners that homosexuality was "evil".
     Hundreds of people had gathered for David Kato's burial in his home village near the capital, Kampala...hundreds of people - friends, family, colleagues and diplomats - crowded outside Mr Kato's family home in the village of Nakawala in Mukono district, 40km (about 25 miles) from Kampala.  Many members of the lesbian and gay community wore T-shirts with Mr Kato's portrait on the front and the words "La luta continua [the struggle continues]" printed on the back.
     They were shocked when the priest started condemning homosexuals.  "You must repent. Even the animals know the difference between a male and a female," he said, before warning that they would face the fate of residents in Sodom and Gomorrah, the biblical cities destroyed by God.  Gay rights activists then stormed the pulpit and prevented the priest from continuing.
     An excommunicated priest who has in the past called for people to respect the rights of homosexuals then presided over the rest of the service.
     So, let me get this right.  The practicing Anglican priest, who is supposedly his god's vessel of grace on earth and guide to heaven, berated the mourners with death threats of Biblical proportion.  The excommunicated priest, who has supposedly been cut of from his god's grace and will be punished with an eternity in hell, reached out to the mourners, cared for them, and buried the dead.  It sounds like Anglican hell beats out Anglican heaven as the better place to be. .  

Lesbian Granted Temporary Reprieve from UK Deportation to Uganda; How "Gay" Someone Needs to Be to Seek Asylum Is Also a U.S. Issue

     Here's an update on my last post.  The BBC reports:
     A Ugandan woman who says she is a lesbian has been granted an injunction temporarily preventing her deportation.  Brenda Namiggade says she fears for her life if she is returned from the UK to Uganda, where gay sex is illegal.  Her initial asylum application had been refused. The Home Office said a court had ruled she was "not homosexual" and therefore did not have a genuine claim....  Ms Namiggade's case will now go to judicial review.
     Ms Namiggade's legal team asked a judge to grant an injunction against her deportation, which was due to take place on Friday evening.  The 29-year-old's lawyer told the BBC his client had already boarded her flight at Heathrow airport when the injunction was granted.  Her lawyer, Abdulrahman Jafar, said he would argue that Ms Namiggade should be allowed to remain in the UK regardless of her sexuality.  "The press coverage about her activities certainly expose her to a real risk if she is to be returned to Uganda," he said.
     Ms Namiggade, who was held at a detention centre just outside London, has told the BBC's Network Africa programme she was "shaking" with fear at the prospect of returning to Uganda.  She said she fled to the UK in 2002 after being beaten and victimised because of her sexuality.
     Before you conclude that the United States treats homosexuals, who seek asylum from their native states where LGBT persons are murdered or imprisoned, any better than the UK, read on.  The New York Times reports:
     Amid international outcry over news of the Czech Republic’s testing the veracity of claims of purportedly gay asylum seekers by attaching genital cuffs to monitor their arousal while they watched pornography, some gay refugees and their advocates in New York are complaining that they can be penalized for not outwardly expressing their sexuality. While asylum-seekers and rights groups here expressed relief that use of the so-called erotic lie detector is impossible to imagine in the United States, some lamented in recent interviews that here too, homosexuals seeking asylum may risk being dismissed as not being gay enough. 
     The very notion of “gay enough,” of course, or proving one’s sexuality through appearance, dress and demeanor, can be offensive — and increasingly androgynous fashions and the social trend known as metrosexuality have blurred identities in many people’s minds.
     “Judges and immigration officials are adding a new hurdle in gay asylum cases that an applicant’s homosexuality must be socially visible,” said Lori Adams, a lawyer at Human Rights First, a nonprofit group, who advises people seeking asylum based on sexuality. “The rationale is that if you don’t look obviously gay, you can go home and hide your sexuality and don’t need to be worried about being persecuted.”
     So basically, U.S. policy is if you can pass by lying about who you are and living in the closet, then you should.  So much for equality, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Hypocrisy Today: Iowa's Republican House Goes after Same-Sex Marriages AND Anything Resembling a Domestic Partnership

     When the Religious Right and their anti-gay Republican (and sometimes Democrat) allies repeatedly claim that they're not against same-sex couples having equal civil rights as long as it's not called "marriage," they are lying.

     A proposed amendment to the Iowa Constitution in the newly-elected Republican-controlled Iowa House is proof.

     The Des Moines Register reports:
     The Iowa House Judiciary Committee approved a proposal Monday to amend the Iowa Constitution to prohibit same-sex marriages.
     The vote was 13-8, with Rep. Kurt Swaim, a Bloomfield lawyer, the only Democrat to join Republicans in supporting it. The resolution is now eligible for debate by the full House
     The amendment would not only prohibit same-sex marriages but also would deny state recognition to arrangements such as civil unions and domestic partnerships.
     The resolution reads, "Marriage between one man and one woman shall be the only legal union valid or recognized in this state."
      Once again, it's okay to lie and hit people with your god-stick, as long as Jesus is on your side.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Catholic Church Unveils 12-Step Program for Homosexual Addiction and So Much More

     It was really only a matter of time.  When I was a priest/seminarian, I was formed to believe that my (homo)sexuality was an addiction and prescribed so many "more natural" ways to "deal with" my "depraved" nature that was a "gift" from a loving god.

     The Catholic Diocese in Colorado Springs has adopted a 12-step program that offers "support" for homosexuals.  Despite striking similarities to Alcoholics Anonymous's 12-step program for recovering addicts, proponents claim that the program is less about therapy than it is about support for people experiencing homosexual thoughts that they consider "a burden."
     Sure it is.  And it has nothing to do with a closeted clergy projecting their own crap onto the rest of the world.

     Here are the actual Twelve Steps as reported in The Huffington Post via The Gazette (and my comments):

      1. We admitted that we were powerless over homosexuality and our lives had become unmanageable.

     When I was parked at the edge of a frozen river with the plan of driving on the ice until it broke and I died, I admitted that I was powerless against Catholicism.

     2. We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

     So, I guess, those of us who are out of the closet are obviously insane.  

     3.  We made a decision to turn our will and our lives to the care of God as we understood Him.

    Clarification: as Holy Disfunctional Mother church taught us to understand "Him" [sic].

     4.  We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

     As a gay Catholic, my greatest was going to hell because god made me gay.  

     5. We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

     Exact nature?  According to Catholic teachings, their god makes people gay.  How can one's exact god-given nature be wrong?  Unless your god's a vindictive ass hole.

     6. We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of our character.


     7. We humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.

     Pray away the gay.  And you'll soon discover that nothing fails like prayer.

     8. We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make direct amends to them all.

     Someone, who claims to have been injured by someone else's homosexuality, is the person who needs to be making amends for their bigotry.

     9. We made the direct amends to such people whenever possible except when to do so would injure them or others.

     I'm still waiting for Father Mustache and those who covered his tracks to apologize.  But maybe their apology would hurt me too much.

     10. We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

     Yes, just as Pope Benedict XVI, the Slapping Pope, has promptly admitted his wrongdoings in the sexual abuse scandals.

     11. We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for the knowledge of God's Will for us and the power to carry it out.

     "Conscious contact"?  I guess that is in opposition to the unconscious contact that being gay implies.  

     12. Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to others and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

     So I guess that makes Rev. Larry Brennan, diocesan director of priest formation, who defended this program to the paper a liar, for The Gazette quoted him: “It’s not about therapy and not about activism.”  Yes, and the Catholic money, DVDs, and pamphlets that support the suppression of gay rights is totally not about activism either.

     And for those of you who just can't stop harping about the penile focus of the Catholic Church , don't worry.  The Gazette reports:
     A 12-step program for lesbians may also be created if there is demand for it, Brennan said.
    Fight on, my feminist lesbian sisters! 

Monday, December 27, 2010

Southern Poverty Law Center Adds NOM, FRC, & AFA to List of Hate Groups; Congressional Republicans Protesting

     The Christmas spirit of love and peace has failed to reach the Republican and right-wing leadership in our nation's Christian community.  On Top Magazine reports:
     The Republicans have joined an online petition protesting the claims of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).  The SPLC recently added the Family Research Council (FRC), the American Family Association (AFA) and the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) to the same list of hate groups as the Ku Klux Klan, the Nation of Islam and the Aryan Nations for their opposition to gay rights.
     Republicans aren't pleased.  They are fighting back calling the SPLC "slanderous" and "hateful," saying "Our debates can and must remain civil - but they must never be suppressed through personal assaults that aim only to malign an opponent’s character."

     These are hypocritical words of the greatest degree.  For the right-wing and Christian rhetoric used to strip LGBT persons of their rights been anything but civil.  Ask those in Iowa, Maine, California, and in every other state where the political commercials funded by FRC, AFA, and NOM have maligned the character of LGBT persons, their families and their allies.

     To see the letter of those who support these hate groups click here.  You will find that the Republican leadership in Congress is well represented, so are the leaders of most anti-gay Christian groups.  Some of the signatories include: Majority Leader-elect Eric Cantor, House Speaker-elect John Boehner, Tim Pawlenty, Rick Santorum, Mike Hukabee, Rep. Jim Jordan, Rep. Louie Gohmert, Rep. Michele Backmann, Rep. Steve King, Sen. Jim DeMint, Rep. Joe Pitts, Bill Donahue (Catholic League), Lou Engle (of Uganda's Kill-the-Gays bill), Gov. Bobby Jindal, and Sen. David Vitter.

     To see how "civil" any of these signatories is when it comes to gay rights, just Google search his/her name with the words "gay," "anti-gay," "homophobic," or "hate," and see what comes up.  You might also try substituting "Muslim," "black," "immigration," or "woman" for gay to see what happens.

     In response to the right-wing's letter accusing the SPLC of  being anti-Christian, the SPLC responded:
     Booth Gunter, a spokesman for the SPLC, on Friday rejected the allegations.
     “The bottom line is it's simply not true that we attacked them because of their Judeo-Christian beliefs or their opposition to gay marriage,” Gunter told Fox News. “It's because of their continued propagation of falsehoods about gay men and lesbians that have the effect of demonizing them.” (Via On Top Magazine)
      Merry Christmas, everyone!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Don't Ask Don't Tell Repeal Passes, DREAM Act Dies; So Much Farther to Go in Christian America

     The Don't Ask, Don't Tell repeal passed the Senate over the weekend.  This a great milestone on the way to LGBT equality.  Tragically, the DREAM Act failed, which I'm sure pleased Bigot McCain and our nations' other racist xenophobes.

     But things remain a bit confusing, so let me get straight.  Here's the Christmas-state of the union:  

     The ruling Christian class has now given me the right to kill many men, but still withholds the right to love just one.

     The ruling class did not include transgender soldiers in the DADT repeal.  So these individuals are free to civilly marry a person of the same biological sex (as long as the individual has had his or her legal sex changed), but this person is not allowed to kill transgender people in foreign lands.    


     In some of the United States, I'm forbidden to adopt and care for a child, but in foreign states I can use our tax-funded bullets and bombs to blow children apart.

     All praise and glory be to the just and compassionate god of the Christians, for He is a wonderful counselor, a prince of peace, wisdom and understanding, who wears righteousness as His belt, and cares for the poor, the widow and the orphan (unless they are a different color, religion, orientation, or nationality).  Thank dog that he came into the world roughly 2010 years ago (depending upon the heavily redacted and religiously syncretized source of your choosing).  Dog bless America, where the currency, 90% which is in the hands of the upper 10% of the U.S. population, reads: "In God [sic] We Trust."  No doubt.

     The fight for equality continues.  ENDA died in Congress this year.  Obama's justice department is still fighting to overturn the Federal Court ruling that DOMA is unconstitutional.  We've scored victories on DADT and Hate Crimes legislation, but there's much more to be done in the Land of the Free Institutionalized Homophobia, Hatred, Bigotry, Racism and Xenophobia.

Postscript:
     Update on Lt. Dan Choi; his response to the DADT repeal; how PTSD landed him in the hospital.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Leering Pope Benedict Gives Half-Naked Male Acrobats a Standing Ovation--But He's Not Gay

     What would you do if you opened today's window on your iPad Roman Catholic Advent calendar and found this?
     What a great early Christmas present!


    Is this proper activity for the sanctuary?  I hope they removed the Blessed Sacrament.


   But remember: none of those smiling and/or fearful cardinals watching and applauding is gay.  And neither is the scrutinizing and standing-ovation-eager Pope Benedict.  


     Postscript:  Those towel-waving nuns are definitely straight.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Rachel Maddow Interviews David Bahati, Author of Uganda's Kill-the-Gays Bill

     Here's some background on the scientifically-debunked myths still being spun by fundamentalist and Catholic Christians concerning homosexuality:

     Bahati claims to "love" gays, but believes they should be put to death. He goes on to say: "I want to be sure that this law is consistent with god's law."

     Here's part two of Maddow's Bahati interview.   Bahati: "I'm not involved in a hate campaign."  But, he believes that gays should be put to death, because the Bible says, "The wages of sin is death."  He also says that a certain Jewish carpenter agrees.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Donatism Alert: Pope Benedict's Back on the Banning-Gay-Priests Bandwagon

     The big  news last week was that, in his new book, Pope Benedict said condom use to prevent HIV-infection is okay for male prostitutes.  The scientific world responded with a resounding, "It's about time.  But it's not enough."

     But there's much more to the book, in which Pope Ratzinger's bigotry shines through, like a sunbeam splitting the clouds and illuminating a dove flying over a pair of hands locked in prayer.   

     Once again, Ben's promoting his "theology" of celibacy and priesthood, which claims celibate gay men are so intrinsically disordered that they can't properly image Jesus and should therefore not be ordained.  

     What he is saying is that the priesthood must consist of men who have renounced the love of women, not those for whom it has never been a major temptation:
     "Sexuality has an intrinsic meaning and direction, which is not homosexual...The meaning and direction of sexuality is to bring about the union of man and woman.  And, in this way, to give humanity posterity, children, a future. This is the determination internal to the essence of sexuality. Everything else is against sexuality's intrinsic meaning and direction ... Homosexuality is incompatible with the priestly vocation.  Otherwise, celibacy itself would lose its meaning as a renunciation. It would be extremely dangerous if celibacy became a sort of pretext for bringing people into the priesthood who don't want to get married anyway."
     This is ironic in view of the widely held view that he himself is not a man for the ladies (as a gay catholic once said to me). It's also obviously unworkable. But his reasoning is interesting, for it shows that he understands one of the problems that compulsory celibacy has brought to the church in the West. As it became less and less common for men not to marry – and perhaps this was a result of increasing prosperity as much as anything else – the church was one of the few professions in which a gay man could remain "respectable", even to himself.
     Furthermore, Ben's viewpoint, if promulgated, will create a dilemma of Donatist proportions: Are gay priests who have already been ordained validly ordained?  If not, what does that mean about all the sacraments that they performed?  Does that mean my child wasn't really baptized?  Have I only been eating bread and wine all these years and not Jesus' body and blood?  Are my confessed sins really forgiven?  Is my marriage invalid?  Are my children bastards?  Am I going to hell?

     No need to worry, conservative Catholics.  That line of thinking is Donatism; a heresy. (Had you lived in the fourth century and believed that sinful priests' sacraments were invalid and did not confer your god's grace, you would have been excommunicated or put to death.)  

     A priest, who lives in a state of mortal sin, will someday leave the priesthood, or is later found to have an invalid or illicit ordination, still performs valid sacraments.  Why?  Because the Catholic god provides, where sinful gay priests (like me) failed.

     Confused?  I'll try to clarify Ben's anti-gay and anti-Donatist logic with a few "hypothetical" situations. 

     1.  A heterosexual priest hears the confessions of his nine-year-old students.  Unbeknownst to the children's parents and (maybe) teachers, the priest has been feeding the children more than Christ's body for the past two years.  Even though the priest is raping these children, the sacraments of Confession and Eucharist that he performs for the children still shower them with god's grace and love, because the priest, in spite of his moral failure to stop using the children for his sexual gratification, is still a vessel of god by virtue of his ordination.  To believe that that abusive priest's sacraments fail to confer grace upon the children he's raping is Donatism.

     2.  A gay priest, who has never had sex (this includes with children), retires at age 73 after forty-eight years of faithful ministry.  If Pope Benedict's anti-gay-ordination theology is promulgated, this closeted and celibate gay priest's ordination could be invalidated.  All of the sacraments performed by this gay priest would remain valid.  But, after a lifetime of sacrifice and service, this priest is thrown out, because being gay is just so evil.

     That's the logic of Pope Benedict.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Pentagon's Report on Repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell Released; Guess Who's Still Not Coming to Dinner

     Yesterday, the Pentagon's Report of the Comprehensive Review of the Issues Associated with a Repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was released.  Read it by clicking here.  The Pentagon's conclusion is that DADT should be repealed.

     Secretary Gates wants the Senate to pass a graduated repeal, before the scary "activist judges" force an immediate full repeal (see the second video below).  Why is "activist" considered a bad word by so many on the Right?  If it weren't for activists who challenged their generations' affronts to civil rights, we wouldn't have women's suffrage, the abolition of slavery, religious freedom, child labor laws, etc.  We wouldn't have the United States of America.



     But not everyone in the military that was polled in the report wants gays and lesbians to be able to serve honestly and openly.   A military minority is dissenting.  Guess who's most opposed to the repeal?  Military chaplains.  I was in seminary with someone who is now a military chaplain.  Rumor was that he hit on guys left and right (and I do mean that politically).  It's okay for priests to sleep with liberals, but not to agree with them politically.  It's okay for priests to sleep around (even with men), as long as nobody knows about it.  Don't Ask, Don't Tell indeed. 

     Imagine if the Pentagon did a study of whether Female or Muslim soldiers in the military has a negative impact on "unit cohesiveness," etc.  My guess is that there would be just as vocal a minority against these groups as there are against gays and lesbians.

     The military has already integrated persons of color and women.  People of all religious beliefs can serve.  Gays and lesbians are already serving in the military.  I find it revolting that it took 267 pages for the the military and many of our tax dollars for President Obama and the Pentagon to finally conclude that honest soldiers won't destroy the integrity of the armed forces.  Apparently, in twenty-first America, honesty and integrity cost.
     Now the question is whether the Senate's Republican minority will block the military's request for repeal.  Flip-flopping hypocrite and leader of repeal's opposition, Sen. John McCain called for more hearings and study, just weeks ago.  Apparently, he's more interested in spending more of our tax dollars on preserving discrimination and bigotry than on the 9.6% of Americans who are unemployed (but remember he's for deficit reduction and is on the side of the middle class, blah, blah, blah).  As of this morning, McCain's was already making a preemptive strike against the DADT report, criticizing its parameters and accusing the Pentagon and Obama administration of not being objective.

     My prediction: the Republican minority will again block a vote on the repeal in the Senate.  Over the past two years, they have consistently shown us that they are not concerned with what is best for the people of this nation, but only with what is best for their political careers.  Right now, they are more concerned with opposing anything that President Obama supports and exposing his ineptitude than with doing what is right and good for the American people.
  

     In this video, Rachel Maddow discusses the report and names numerous Republican senators, who over the past year said they were waiting for the military's report and green light before repealing DADT.

     In this video, Keith Olbermann interview Dan Savage about the report and whether McCain will again block the repeal.