Showing posts with label Washington D.C.. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Washington D.C.. Show all posts

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Bob Davis and Henry Schalizki Married in DC after Six Decades Together

          In 1942, Bob Davis and Henry Schalizki met while serving their nation during World War II.  They fell in love and have been a committed couple since 1948.  Over six decades they found the acceptance of friends, family, and even their military superiors (who invited them to events as a couple).  Now, in Washington, DC, they have finally been able to declare to those who know them, "We're married."

Bob in his days as a popular Baltimore radio announcer and Henry in the Navy

     The Washington Blade's video report of the couple's history and their wedding is embedded below.  

     Listening to their story, seeing their love, and their commitment, it's incredible that many  compassionate and honest religious people continue to believe that committed couples such as Henry and Bob are diabolical.   

     Click here for pictures of the wedding, via The Washington Post.
     Henry says one of the secrets to longevity in a relationship/marriage is "I'm always right and he gets his way." 

Friday, April 30, 2010

Progressive Christian Pastors Protest Lou Engle and Uganda's Gay Death Penalty Law

     On May 2, The Call, a U.S. evangelical ministry led by Lou Engle, together with its Ugandan affiliate, will host a religious gathering at a stadium in Uganda’s capital Kampala. Among other things, the event aims to rally participants around anti-gay sentiments by urging them to "fight vices eating away at our society", and specifically mentions homosexuality as a societal evil. This comes as Uganda’s Parliament continues to debate an anti-homosexuality bill that is one of the most severe discriminatory measures ever proposed. Though homosexuality is already illegal in Uganda, there have been reports that this much harsher bill emerged in part as a result of the anti-gay campaigning conducted in recent years by some U.S.-based evangelical groups with an anti-gay message similar to that of The Call. The May 2 event has the potential to inflame intolerance and worsen the situation for LGBT Ugandans, who have, in recent months, suffered from increased instances of public harassment and targeted violent attacks
     A small group of Christian faith leaders gathered in Washington, D.C. to protest Americans' involvement in the discrimination, harassment, and murder of gays in Uganda.  They are joined by an anonymous (for his safety) gay Ugandan man, who was forced to marry a woman, assaulted in school, raped by a policeman, and fired from his job because he's gay. This is the life of gays in Uganda, under the rule of Born Again Christian President Yoweri Museveni.

     Harry Knox, Director of Religion & Faith Program, Human Rights Campaign, sums up the actions of those like Lou Engle (text from the embedded video below):
     It's clear that there is a movement afoot in this country by the right wing unfortunately to export homophobia. We have done a really good job of combating that in this country and the tide is beginning to turn.  They [members of the religious right] feel the sand slipping under their feet.  They're looking for greener pastures and they're trying to export homophobia to equatorial Africa and South America and other places.  It's incumbent on us, now that we have a little bit of privilege as LGBT folks in this country, to be sure to stand with our sisters and brothers around the world and not let homophobia be exported.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Don't Ask, Don't Tell: Statistics, Obama, Protests; a Discharge a Day Keeps the Christian Right Away

     Don't Ask, Don't Tell had a busy week. 


     President Obama was heckled during a speech in Los Angeles for dragging his feet on the DADT repeal.  Staying true to form, he promised change, saying that LGBT persons have an ally in him.

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    six military officers discharged under DADT, lead by Lt. Dan Choi and Capt. Jim Pietrangelo, were arrested after chaining themselves to the White House fence in protest of Obama's failure to realize his campaign promise to repeal the discriminatory policy.  CBS News reports:
     GetEQUAL identifies the six protesters as Choi, Capt. Jim Pietrangelo, Petty Officer Larry Whitt, Petty Officer Autumn Sandeen, Cadet Mara Boyd and Cpl. Evelyn Thomas. Pietrangelo was arrested with Choi last month as well.   
     "We're tired of people just giving us lip action," Thomas says in a video posted to the GetEQUAL Web site. She vows to hold the president responsible until the policy is repealed. "Just put your money where your mouth is," she says in the video to Mr. Obama, who vowed to repeal the policy both as a candidate and as president. "If you're going to say that you're going to do something, do it. Because anything else is just a lie."
     Police banned reporters from the scene of the protest and closed Lafayette Park, Politico's Ben Smith reports, an unusual move that one reporter deemed "ridiculous."
     Police banned reporters from being able to cover the story?  Don't we live in a country, where the First Amendment explicitly points out that the government can't restrict the free speech of the news media?  What kind of change is this, President Obama?

     Wednesday and Thursday

      Statistically, each day, at least one homosexual military officer is dismissed under the discriminatory prescriptions of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.  This week alone, eight or nine lives will be turned upside down, careers lost, and your tax dollars put to work, in discriminating against persons, who want to protect your civil rights in the world.


     Service Members United released the latest statistics, the number of homosexual discharges under DADT, and the numbers are likely underestimated, because certain military branches aren't telling:
     “As expected, this record low in total annual ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ discharge numbers reflects a continuing downward trend, as military commanders continue to ignore this law that is clearly outdated and which impairs their unit readiness,” said Alexander Nicholson, a former U.S. Army interrogator who was discharged under ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and the current Executive Director of Servicemembers United. “But this new number still means that 443 lives were unnecessarily turned upside down in 2009, 443 careers were unfairly terminated, and military units unexpectedly lost a valuable asset 443 times last year as two wars raged.”
     Although only 443 total discharges are included in the official statistic for fiscal year 2009, the true number of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” discharges is very likely higher. When pressed by Servicemembers United, the Office of the Secretary of Defense’s Freedom of Information Office confirmed on three separate occasions in late 2009 and early 2010 that the internal source of their annual “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” discharge numbers is the Defense Manpower Data Center, and that Defense Manpower Data Center statistics do not include discharges from the Reserves or the National Guard.
     On this revelation, Nicholson added, “It is indeed surprising to learn now that the annual discharge numbers have been underreported. Policy makers, the media, and the American public rely on these numbers to make decisions and judgments about the costs of this policy."
Image Credits:
DADT Protest at White House: GetEqual
Which is the gay one?: Tribune Media

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A Day in the Life of Tea-Party-Inspired Violence and Terror

     You know how Tea Party and Republican politicians, like Sarah Palin, have been using language saturated with veiled and not-so-veiled calls for violence against the U.S. government and elected officials (Democrats).  Well the past few days have been bearing fruit.  And as their Jesus said, you shall know a tree by its fruit

     In the embedded video below, Rachel Maddow reports on the fruit of the Tea Party's labor.  Here are the highlights.
     I guess the question of these good Christians is now "Who Would Jesus Terrorize?"

Monday, April 5, 2010

Catholic Clergy and Laity Stand by Their "Unfailing" Pope on Easter

"You can't blame our pope.  Our pope is a beautiful pope." 
     This is the voice of a regular Catholic in the pew in Washington, D.C., from the first video embedded below.  This voice then goes on to blame the scandal on what Pope Ben inherited from John Paul II, who is on the fast track to sainthood.

     The sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church is not only a problem with the hierarchy, but also of the church-going laity.  Folks at the bottom of the Catholic power chain are turning a blind eye to Pope Benedict's participation in certain cases of reshuffling and/or refusing to punish sexually abusive priests

     They are echoing the words of Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., the hypocrite who thinks the Catholic Church knows what's best for children and parenting, and Archbishop Timothy Dolan, another aspiring American bishop hoping to make the college of cardinals.  I guarantee you that after the way they've been obediently defending the pope, they will be cardinals within a couple years.

     As I've said before, the Catholics in the pews, who continue to turn a blind eye to sexual abuse and the failures of those at the highest levels of authority in the church to properly deal with sexual predators, are now complicit participants in any future crimes committed and/or covered up by clergy in the name of holy dysfunctional Mother church's god.

Parishioners at St. Matthew's Cathedral, Washington, D.C., support their pope.
Future Cardinal Dolan of New York supports his pope, while stroking his crosier.
One of the leading candidates to be the next pope, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, defends Pope Benedict's abuse record and calls him an "unfailing" leader.
Another case of the Vatican (under Pope Ben/Ratzinger) taking years to defrock a repeat-offending-pedophile-priest is exposed, this time in Tucson, Arizona.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Maryland Secedes from the Anti-Gay South, Goes on the Offensive Against Discriminatory-Friendly Virginia

     Our nation's two states that are named after the Virgin are involved in a dispute over the rights of LGBT persons. 

     Maryland has thrown aside all ties to the anti-gay-in-god's-name South, especially Virginia, which last month made it legal to fire people for being gay and earlier this month called for all college campuses to put an end to LGBT-friendly organizations

     The virgin Maryland on the other hand is recognizing all marriages performed in Washington, D.C. and other states, and is using its gay-friendly reputation to woo jobs from gay-friendly defense contractor, Northrop Grumman away from the discriminatory Virgin.  (Side note: so honest gays can build the items used by the military, but cannot serve in the military.)

     In response to the possible loss of jobs and an uproar on Virginia's college campuses, Virgina Governor Robert McDonnall backtracked and decided to once again make it illegal to discriminate in his state's workforce on the basis of sexual orientation.

     Welcome to the yo-yo, surreality of life for LGBT persons, where one day, the Christian god, who informs so many of our nation's politicians, allows unrepentant gays civil rights.  The next minute, this omnipotent, perfect god tells his flock to take away gays' rights.  Then when it's financially helpful, this god tells his obedient flock to support gay rights.  How Old Testament moody of this god-being-thingy!

     Here's Rachel Maddow's report on the Maryland-Virginia gay civil war.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

D.C. Catholic Archbishop Punishes All Spouses for Same-Sex Marriage

     The Catholic church continues it's total war method for attacking gay rights.  If dysfunctional Mother church doesn't get her way, she follows the example of her Old Testament god and cuts everyone off.  Burn it all to the ground and blame the gays!  If there are gays in the pews, deny everyone at Mass communion.  If homosexuals have legal rights to marry, then quit providing social services to the needy.  It's what Jesus would want. 

     Now, the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C.,  and Archbishop Wuerl have taken the war on gay rights to a new level.  Rather than provide a gay employees' civil spouses with medical benefits, ultra-straight Wuerl is cutting off benefits to all spouses who work for Catholic Charities in the nations capital.  So much for the church being a champion of healthcare reform. 

     Employees at Catholic Charities were told Monday that the social services organization is changing its health coverage to avoid offering benefits to same-sex partners of its workers -- the latest fallout from a bitter debate between District officials trying to legalize same-sex marriage and the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington
     Starting Tuesday, Catholic Charities will not offer benefits to spouses of new employees or to spouses of current employees who are not already enrolled in the plan. A letter describing the change in health benefits was e-mailed to employees Monday, two days before same-sex marriage will become legal in the District.
     The employees, who already work for reduced not-for-profit wages, are not pleased.  Here, The Post reports some of their reactions:
     Tim Sawina, who was until last year one of the group's highest-ranking executives, called the elimination of spousal health benefits "devastating" and "wrong" in a letter Wednesday to the governing boards of the social service organization..."Some, including the archbishop, have argued that by providing health care to a gay or lesbian spouse we are somehow legitimizing gay marriage," said Sawina, a former priest. "Providing health care to a gay or lesbian partner -- a basic human right, according to Church teaching -- is an end in itself and no more legitimizes that marriage than giving communion to a divorced person legitimizes divorce, or giving food or shelter to an alcoholic legitimizes alcoholism."
    Many Catholic Charities employees did not return calls or declined to talk, citing worries of being fired.
    "People are really upset," one employee said, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of losing his job. "You don't do this kind of job for the money. You're not getting paid a lot to start with. You're working in pretty rough areas, doing pretty tough work for the needy. If recruiting was hard before, it's going to be even worse now."
    One employee provided by Catholic Charities this week agreed to be named. Michelle Mendez, staff attorney for immigrant legal services, also described dismay about the spousal benefit reduction but said she remained committed to the organization's work and mission.
    Gibbs said that the archdiocese is not surprised that workers expressed discouragement but blamed it in part on media coverage of the issue.
    "Part of the problem is that they're coming in hearing this stuff every day -- not all of it accurate -- about the organization they work at," she said. "It's been a tough few months for all of us. It was a hard decision but one that allows us to continue the important work we're doing."
     When will the people in the pews stand up to these injustices?  Sure, it's legal for the church to discriminate, thanks to the separation of church and state (which the church has violated time and again by funding crusades against the civil rights of women, blacks, and now LGBT persons), but to all you Catholics out there: is it moral?  Is it just?  Is it right? 

     Your "savior" is definitely weeping the falling tears.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Straining Gnats while Swallowing Camels

     The holy, Roman Catholic, Mother church has made it clear where she stands: having no parents is better than having two loving mothers or fathers.  Strange, since in Mother church every priest is called father, god is called father, female religious superiors are called mother, and the "virgin" is called mother.  This practice created a dangerous equivocation in my mind as a child: the Fathers were equal to god the father and to be trusted and obeyed like my own daddy.  It's no wonder kids are so prone to sexual abuse by clergy.  The praxis of Mother church does the grooming for the pedophiles.

     So, the definition of a Catholic family is not two mothers or two fathers, which is too confusing for a child and sinful, but a harem of mothers and a gaggle of fathers, which is healthy and holy.

      The Post reports:

    The Catholic Archdiocese of Washington has ended its 80-year-old foster-care program in the District rather than license same-sex couples, the first fallout from a bitter debate over the city's move to legalize same-sex marriage.
    The marriage bill, which was approved and signed in December, is expected to become law in the next couple of weeks if it clears a congressional review period.
    Catholic Charities, which receives $20 million from the city, had sounded alarms in the run-up to the council vote, saying programs serving tens of thousands of people were in danger. Being forced to recognize same-sex marriage, church officials said, could make it impossible for the church to be a city contractor because Catholic teaching opposes same-sex marriage.
     Fantastic!  That's $20 million that the District can give to charities that won't discriminate on the basis of creed.  In the long run, Mother's bigoted leaders will have done the needy children of Washington a huge favor.  

     The Post continues:
     Edward Orzechowski, president and chief executive of Catholic Charities, the archdiocese's social service arm, said the group is optimistic that it will find a way to structure its benefits packages in other social service programs so that it can remain in partnership with the city without recognizing same-sex marriage.
     Asked if that meant looking at ways to avoid paying benefits to same-sex partners or ways to write benefits plans so as not to characterize same-sex couples as "married," Orzechowski said "both, and."
     Both, and?  Orzechowski is definitely Catholic.  Both/and is at the heart of every one of Mother's theological paradoxes: Jesus is both god and man, one gets to heaven by both grace and works, revelation is in both scripture and tradition, one's relationship with god is both individual and communal, etc. etc.  Catholics are gluttonous experts when it comes to having their theological cake and eating it too, but they don't share.  No  unleavened Jesus for you, unless you are in full communion with Mother.
     "Now we're in a position where we need to scrutinize everything," he [Orzechowski] said. "From our point of view, it's important that we don't in any way compromise our religious teaching."
     Yes, Mother wouldn't want to compromise her precious religious teachings.  Didn't the Pharisees use that same argument, before Jesus ripped them a new one with one "woe" after another

     And, it's not like mother didn't compromise her teachings before, when she was placing children in homes, with one mother and father, who didn't use artificial contraception, who never had a secret abortion, who never cheated on one another, who tithed at least ten percent of their pre-tax income back to mother, who didn't have sex before they were married, who didn't live together before they were married, who didn't use in vetro fertilization or other aggressive fertility measures to try and get pregnant before turning to adoption, who didn't take one of god's many names in vein, who didn't have oral sex or dog-forbid practice any sort of ass-play, who didn't masturbate (even mutually), who didn't vote for candidates outside of mother's moral prescriptions, who didn't support unjust wars, who didn't fantasize about sex outside of marriage, who didn't lie, who didn't question the virgin birth, the assumption, and the immaculate conception, who didn't ever skip Sunday Mass, who didn't ever do anything in violation of any one of mother's endless moral prescriptions.

     No.  It's just easier to pick on the homosexuals.  What a consistent Mother she is!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Gay Washington D.C.

     The New York Times reports
    The [Washington D.C.] City Council passed a measure Tuesday legalizing same-sex marriage, making the nation’s capital the first jurisdiction below the Mason-Dixon Line to allow such unions.
     The bill, which passed by an 11-to-2 vote, may still face obstacles in Congress, among city voters and in the courts, but most advocates say they expect it to become law by the spring. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty has said he will sign it.
     “Today’s vote is an important victory not only for the gay and lesbian community but for everyone who supports equal rights,” said Councilman David A. Catania, an independent and the author of the bill... “I think that putting the rights of minorities on the ballot and allowing the forces of intolerance to spend an unlimited amount to demonize and marginalize a population is unsavory.”
     In November, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington said that if the law passed, the church might have to limit its social service programs that help residents with adoption, homelessness and health care.
     So, will the Catholic church and its closeted gay clerics keep its threatening promise to stop serving the poor of our nation's capital in protest?  Only time will tell.

     The Times goes on to report that other religious groups have endorsed the bill and equality for all couples:
     “Social justice and equality are goals for all people of faith, which is why so many religious leaders and faithful people in the District support this legislation,” said the Rev. Robert Hardies, senior pastor of All Souls Church Unitarian and a co-chairman of D.C. Clergy United for Marriage Equality. “The D.C. marriage equality bill ends harmful discrimination against same-sex couples, and we celebrate the City Council for supporting the human rights of all residents.”

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Ontologically Changed Saints Fans?

Ontologically altered cheers for "Drew-Brees-iAna"?  
Could this be the secret weapon behind god's showering the New Orleans Saints with a perfect season?

No.  It's simply default, for who else would the boy-friendly Catholic bishops root?  Not the Redskins of gay-friendly Washington, D.C.

So much for the separation between church and sport.

Washingt-homo, D.C.

New Heterorleans

Image Credits:
"Bishops for Boys" by me from NFL on Fox

"Black, Out, & Proud" by
"Reggie Bush & Kim Kardashian" by The Hollywood Gossip

Friday, December 4, 2009

N.O.M. Claims a God-Given Right to Vote Away Marriage Equality

     According to Towleroad, Executive Director of the National Organization of Marriage (NOM) Brian Brown, who brought you CA Proposition 8 and Maine Question 1 and the "Gathering Storm," stated the following in response to the Washington D.C. Council's 11-2 preliminary vote to approve equality for gays and lesbians:
      NOM will be proud to fight alongside Bishop Harry Jackson to make sure politicians hear the people's voice loud and clear: don't mess with marriage. We will fight in Congress. We will fight through the courts to get this to the people of D.C. who have a God-given right to vote for marriage.
     "God-given right"?  Isn't that what slave owners argued from as well?  And terrorists?  And crusaders? etc.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Washington Blade: Resurrection

     After its sudden and unexpected shut down early this week, it seemed the LGBT newspaper, The Washington Blade, was dead forever.

     The former Blade staff reports:

     The news that parent company Window Media was shuttering and liquidating its newspapers came as a shock to the staff, some of whom devoted their careers to the paper that became an institution. We were ushered out the doors of our offices with no severance, canceled paychecks and more questions than answers about why this was allowed to happen.
     This is a horrendous experience for any person to go through, but the good news is that the former Blade staff is reporting this from their new publication DC AgendaThe Blade has been reborn.

     I for one am thankful for the persistence of these LGBT pioneers and activists.  You can support their new endeavor by clicking here.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Perp Is the One Wearing the Rosary

     A few days ago, Christopher Pagan reported on CNN iReport about the horrendous murder of a gay man and activist in Puerto Rico, Jorge Steven López Mercado:

     I am writing to you about a tragic murder that has happened here in Puerto Rico.  It has really only made local news simply because we are on this island, but you are the voice of those that are unheard throughout the world.  On November 14 the body of a gay 19 year old was found a few miles away from the town in which he was residing in called Caguas.  He was a very well known person in the gay community of Puerto Rico, and very loved.  He was found on the site of an isolated road in the city of Cayey, he was partially burned, decapitated, and dismembered, both arms, both legs, and the torso.

     The killer, Juan Antonio Martínez Matos, is claiming "gay panic" and self defense.  He is the man wearing the Catholic rosary and the cross of Jesus Christ (his savior) in the photo to the right.

     Rev. David O'Connel, President of Catholic University, Washington, D.C. told CNN that Catholics are worried that same sex couples having marriage equality in Washington will put Catholics "at risk."  O'Connel urged the D.C. government to "think of the consequences" of their action and to "think of the real life people that may be hurt" if same sex couples have marriage equality and the Catholic church is forced to stop providing services to the poor in D.C. because their "core beliefs" are being violated.

     What about the human dignity of boys like Jorge Steven López Mercado?  Is he not "a real life person" that was murdered?  Was he not a human person "at risk"?  Was he not violated by a rosary toting disciple of Jesus Christ?  What about gay couples who are "at risk," unable to be with their dying spouses or even to bury their dead?  Why should the Catholic church be except of civil rights laws and allowed to practice discrimination and seed hatred?

     Concerning López Mercado's murder, America Blog reports:

    The local police investigator went on the Spanish-language channel Univisión and said about Steven:

    "Este tipo de personas cuando se meten a esto y salen a la calle saben que esto les puede pasar."
     "Someone like that, who does those kind of things, and goes out in public, knows full well that this might happen to him."

     Once again, the word of the people in power: if you are gay, if you are honest about it, it's YOUR fault if you lose your job, your faith community, your family, your home, your health, or your life!

     The religious leaders of institutions that claim love, non-discrimination, etc. but continue to fight against the civil rights of LGTB persons don't get it.  They don't see the connection between the rosary and cross around Martínez Matos' neck and the decapitated, dismembered body of a gay teenage boy.  But I do.

     Theological violence begets psychological and physical violence.

     Please click here to take action and encourage Attorney General Eric Holder and FBI Director Robert Mueller to investigate whether a hate crime was committed against Jorge Steven López Mercado.  

     Thank you.

R.I.P. Washington Blade

The Washington Post reports that the pioneering gay weekly newspaper the Washington Blade was shut down on November 16th.  This is a tragic loss to the LGBT community and our movement for equality.

The Washington Blade, the weekly newspaper that chronicled the coming-out of the capital's gay community, was born amid the idealism of 1960s street protests. Monday, the paper died, victim of the unforgiving realities of the nation's sagging newspaper industry. 
For the full Post article, click here.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Scorpions and Snakes: the Daily Bread of a Catholic god

     Rod Dreher of Crunchy Con sparked an online discussion over why gay Catholics remain in the church.  At this point there have been 137 comments posted in response to his question.  Andrew Sullivan entered the argument and posted his apology for still attending his progressive Washington, D.C. catholic parish.  Their reasons are nothing that I haven't heard before, nothing that I didn't tell myself for years when I was still under the influence of the Catholic church and its fear-filled gospel.

     The following is the commented response that I posted on Dreher's blog post and what I would have posted on Sullivan's were comments enabled on his post:

     Jesus asks in Luke 11:11-12:

What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish? Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg?
     Answer: the Catholic god.

     Being gay and Catholic, I lived for three decades with the idea of a god that was loving and who created me in "his" image. When I was in seminary getting my Masters of Divinity, I learned that spirituality and sexuality were two sides of the same coin, of the same energy source planted deep within our beings, and the energy that drove each of us towards union with not only god but with others. I was taught that even in homosexuals this energy was a gift and in the image and likeness of god.

     Of course, to act upon that gift genitally was sinful and depraved.

     The closeted gay clerics that are condemning homosexuality are doing it in a way that makes the same compartmentalization of their sexualities that they use to remain "celibate" the norm for all: "I'm not a gay person, or a gay Catholic, or a gay priest. I'm a priest, catholic, or person, who happens to be gay." This is compartmentalization at its psychological worst, and an affront to true integration of one's self that the church claims to preach.

     The distinction between acts and thoughts is a dualism in which even Jesus didn't believe, for in Jesus' words just to think about a sexual act was to commit the act. (Mt 5:27-28)

     So, the Catholic church will go on telling homosexuals that they have a place in the church, that their god loves them, and accepts them, but at the same time the bishops will continue to decry homosexuals and will use their bully pulpit to raise money to take away LGBT persons' rights (in Maine they even took a special collection at all Masses to raise money to strip people's civil marriage rights) and threaten to boycott serving the poor if civil marriage equality is granted to all couples (as the Archbishop of Washington, D.C. did last week).

     Many of the 137 comments on Dreher's blog defend the church saying it's a family, with room for all people, even gays and lesbians.   They are correct.  The Catholic church is a big family.  It's an extremely large dysfunctional family.

     Why stay with a spouse, who tells you that he loves you as he continues to beat you?  Why believe in the Catholic god, one that hands out scorpions and snakes, when his children ask for eggs and fish?

     Andrew Sullivan wrote in response to Rod's posting saying:
But it [is] also true that absence from the sacrament of communion is for me an unbearable thing after too long.
     The sad truth is that Sullivan and so many like him believe the only place they can experience the ultimate communion with their god is in the Catholic church and it sacraments. This is mind game that the Catholic church has won: form your flock to believe that you have the monopoly on truth, god, communion, etc. and you can get them to stay, even at the cost of their own integration and health.

     Slap your followers with theological edicts that condemn them, but then tell them that you love them and don't discriminate against them. That is the sick dynamic that gay Catholics live in everyday.

     Catholic LGBT persons find themselves in a monetary connundrum as well.

     The US Catholic Conference of Bishops gave large chunks of money to take away marriage equality rights of gays and lesbians in both California and Maine, and many individual dioceses from across the country also gave money. Where did that money come from?  It came from the people in the pews who put money into the collection plates, part of which the parishes tithed to their dioceses, and part of which was sent to the USCCB.

     So, to all you gay Catholics, Andrew Sullivan included, who give money to your "progressive" parishes, part of your money is still being used to take away the rights of LGBT persons, who are not even Catholic, in far away places around the nation. Thank you for supporting your own kind!

     I for one speak from the bottom of my ontologically changed priestly soul when I say that am thankful everyday that I left the dysfunctional nightmare of the Catholic church and its priesthood behind.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Why Marriage Equality Will Destroy the Catholic Priesthood

     Here is the response that I posted to an online editorial in The Baltimore Sun concerning the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C.'s threat to stop providing social services to the poor if marriage equality is granted to same sex couples in D.C.

A Reading from the First Letter of Heretic Tom to the Baltimorons:

     Catholic moral theology is full of glorified language concerning the preservation of "the dignity of the human person." There are many actions, procedures, and policies that the United States government enacts that violate the Catholic Church's "moral" compass: abortion, artificial contraception, teaching non-abstinence sexual education in the schools, the death penalty, stem cell research, the invasion of Iraq, etc.

     Why hasn't the Catholic Church withheld it ministries in protest of these actions, many of which result in the loss of the potential of life or the termination of an existing human life? Why make such a stand about same sex couples and their CIVIL marriage rights?

     Because they are afraid.

     If same sex couples can be civilly married and their unions recognized as valid, if gay closeted seminarians and priests suddenly see happy and healthy gay men living in committed marriages, then the church's supply of prospective priests will dwindle.

     When I was a seminarian studying at St. Mary's Seminary and University in Roland Park, I was told by the closeted gay priests that were in charge of my "formation" that celibacy was my only option and that even if I left the seminary (and eventually the priesthood) that I would never find true and lasting intimacy because gay men are incapable of sustaining real intimacy in "committed" relationships.

     Fear. They formed me with lies and fear to keep me in the same closet that held them captive.

     If gay Catholics have civil marriage, they will have another option other than the Church's mandatory celibacy for homosexuals.

     If the Church of Washington is serious about not renting Church spaces to homosexual groups, then they best start by refusing to rent spaces to their own seminary faculty, seminarians, religious, and parish priests.

     For you gay men, still petrified in fear and living in the clerical closet, there is life outside. You can find true and lasting intimacy with a man outside the walls of Theological College and the Pink Palace.

     The word of the Blog.

     R.  Thanks be to Fear.

Image Credits 
Pope Ben Flowing: Enlightened Catholicism
Smile, Hon, You're in Baltimore: Eight-Stone Press
Priest Sexual Abuse Logo:

      Postscript: The men interviewed in the article link about Theological College were from my archdiocese in Iowa and Mr. David Kucharski was my classmate.  The ordination he mentions at the end of the article was my ordination.  I wonder where he is today.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Heretic Tom Comes Out: One More Time!

      The Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. has taken the marriage equality debate to a new low.  If the D.C. Council passes their proposed same sex marriage law, then the archdiocese will withhold its social services from Washington's poor, in protest.  Don't believe the church would stoop this low?  Here's the article in The Washington Post.

     This despicable posturing is blackmail.  If the church can't get its way, it will punish the city by taking it out on the poor.  Sounds horrendous and shocking, but looking at the church's scriptural tradition, there is  precedence for such a transference of punishment onto the poor and vulnerable.    Here a just a few examples: the psychological torture of the boy Isaac; the old testament ban (when invading, kill not only the enemy's soldiers, but also the helpless women, children, and animals); the killing of the Egyptian's firstborn; god taking out the parents' sin on their unborn childJephthah's virgin daughter's blood; god killing Job's children; and the ultimate killing of the innocent Messiah on the cross

     I went to seminary in Baltimore, MD.  I was "formed" into a priest by the Society of St. Sulpice that operates the seminaries in Baltimore and Washington, D.C.  I know many priests in these archdioceses that are closeted gays.  I can no longer be silent and anonymous in this fight for gay civil rights.

     Heretic Tom is Tom Rastrelli, graduate of St. Mary's Seminary and University in Baltimore, MD, and former priest of the Archdiocese of Dubuque, IA.  

     I have a story to tell.  It is a story of how the Catholic church, and other religious institutions, preach hate, fear, and shame.  Not love.

     "The Gospel According to Hate," will no longer be a forty day and forty night experiment in exploration and catharsis of my hatred.  In looking deep within my own anger, my own hatred, I have found that nearly all of it is stoked by religious institutions and their hypocritical actions.  This site will continue on, as a forum that exposes the hateful and hypocritical actions and teachings of religious institutions and the people that support them.

    I am here: a voice crying out in the darkness that is "The Gospel According to Hate."