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Tensions Rise in Guadalajara

Jim Burroway

August 22nd, 2010
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Gay rights supporters during Sunday morning's protest in Guadalajara

First off, let me begin by saying that I’m having trouble with the AP’s headline (“Mexican Catholics, gay rights protesters face off“) because more than three-quarters of all Mexicans identify as Roman Catholic, including undoubtedly a similar proportion of LGBT Mexicans. But tensions do appear to be rising in Guadalajara, home to Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iniguez, who accused the mayor of Mexico City of bribing the nation’s Supreme Court to find that Mexico City’s marriage equality law was constitutional. The Court then followed that with another ruling declaring that LGBT people cannot be discriminated against in adoption. As Timothy Kincaid noted, Iniguez’ head exploded, and claimed he had “proof” that the fix is in. But also in that LA Times story, we have this:

Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iniguez, archbishop of Guadalajara and one of the most senior prelates in the nation, in recent days made especially harsh comments widely seen here as offensive. His statement set off a firestorm in a country where, by law, the church is not supposed to get involved in politics.

Calling same-sex unions an “aberration,” he said, “Would you want to be adopted by a pair of faggots or lesbians?”

So that set the stage for Sunday morning’s march by LGBT advocates at the plaza next to Guadalajara’s Cathedral. According to the AP, they were met by a similar number of protesters opposed to the court’s decision. The AP reports that “One of them ripped up a sign held by a gay rights activist, prompting screaming by both sides.”

Writing for the blog for the magazine U.S. Catholic, Bryan Cones laments the Cardinal’s rhetoric, and called him out in particular for hurling anti-gay epithets. And for good reason:

Indeed, the Catholic side of this debate must tread carefully, for several reasons. First, there are many gay and lesbian people in the church, called by God into it through their baptism. Catholic conversation about homosexuality must always keep in mind that we are talking about members of the body of Christ here.

Second, there are more and more Catholic families with openly gay and lesbian children, many of whom are grown and have partners and families of their own. The blood of family being thicker than the waters of baptism, the participants in the Catholic debate about gay marriage must recognize that many Catholic parents long ago accepted the sexuality of their gay children, have come to love their partners, and treasure the grandchildren they have through them.

Cones cited the poll we discussed last month which found that Latino Catholics in California were more likely to vote for marriage equality than any other religious/ethnic combination surveyed, and said, “That’s the family dynamic at work.”

Update: According to this Spanish language report, another confrontation occurred Saturday afternoon between about 400 conservative Catholics and approximately 150 LGBT advocates. The war of words was rough, according to my rough translation:

En ese momento se desató una guerra de consignas: “¡guerra-guerra contra lucifer!” y “¡adopten un perro maricones!”, gritaban los católicos encarando a los grupos gay, quienes respondieron: “¡nos vamos a casar y vamos a adoptar, nos vamos a casar y vamos a adoptar!”

“¡Ustedes dense, pero dejen a los niños en paz!”, profirió un joven católico haciendo la seña del acto sexual; además, ponían el pulgar hacia abajo en señal de desaprobación, y en respuesta los integrantes de la diversidad sexual gritaban “¡pederastas!”

[That’s when a war of words broke out: “War! War against Lucifer” and “Adopt dogs, faggots!” shouted the Catholics confronting the gay groups, who responded, “We’re getting married and we’re going to adopt, we’re getting married and we’re going to adopt!”

“Go ahead, but leave the kids alone,” shouted a young Catholic while making a gesture of a sexual act, and then putting his thumbs down in disapproval. And in response, members of the sexual diversity groups were shouting, “Pedophiles!”

Second Update: My translation of “¡Ustedes dense” as “Go ahead” may be a bit off, according to commenters. I can usually handle straight-on Spanish, but idiomatic expressions often elude me. This one apparently has a crude sexual connotation as well, sort of on the lines of “Go f*ck yourselves.” Classy people, aren’t they?]

Meanwhile, the College of Catholic Lawyers of Mexico announced that will file a request for impeachment before  Mexico’s lower House of Congress against the Supreme Court judges who ruled in favor of marriage equality.

Comments

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justsearching
August 22nd, 2010 | LINK

I understand the Catholic-pedophile association, but it seems a bit much for gay-adoption advocates to be chanting “Pederast/Pedophile” at their conservative Catholic opponents. That the slogans from the anti-gay-adoption advocates are repulsive goes without saying. Let’s hope these heated and over-the-top exchanges don’t get violent.

Lucrece
August 23rd, 2010 | LINK

For the sake of gay people, it better not get violent. They’re the ones who stand to lose, being grossly outnumbered and all.

Also, “dense” in this context was not merely “go ahead”. It had a sexual slant of giveaway.

These Catholics are not too politically savvy like their U.S. counterparts, given the unrestrained hurling of epithets.

Then again, people always have the uncanny belief that just because the government legitimized gay people with this breakthrough, that means the country must be some open and accepting place. It isn’t.

truthteller
August 23rd, 2010 | LINK

The behavior of the cardinal is abhorrent and anti-christian.

Your translation was good, but your translation is off in this phrase:“¡Ustedes dense, pero dejen a los niños en paz!”

It should read: You can f*ck each other but don’t f*ck the kids.

Real Jesus-like behavior.

AJD
August 23rd, 2010 | LINK

truthteller: Bear in mind that the church’s behavior is actually a lot nicer than what the church has done to us throughout history. Not too long ago, the ones the cardinal and anti-gay protesters are calling “maricones” would have been publicly burned at the stake.

Lynn David
August 23rd, 2010 | LINK

The rhetoric reminds me of my Catholic school-yard.

Cones is right, but also naive. The Catholic Church will have nothing to do with us, whatsoever. At any time a gay or lesbian should acknowledge themselves as such in any way whatsoever which might have to do with the Church then their relationship in that respect with the Catholic Church is over.

The Church wants us in the closet (and that is what is told to gays by priests – “don’t tell anyone!”), so it does not have to deal with us or the rights the closet keeps us from gaining. So the Church has developed the idea that one who is out is not only sinning – performing an evil act – on their own part but also goading others into evil acts by saying our lives are alright. And, of course, marriage for gays and lesbians goes a long way in saying just that.

So the rhetoric coming out of the Catholic hierarchy is never going to get any nicer.

horus
August 23rd, 2010 | LINK

think inquisition,forced conversions under threat of death. bonfires of human beings. torture with forced confessions, fomenting violence, waging war against the innocent. that is the REAL legacy of the Catholic Church.
they try to erase it and they try to obfuscate how their hate is endemic, but it’s all there in black and white. and it’s never going to be forgiven.

EX Seminarian.

Titus
August 23rd, 2010 | LINK

This is a preview of what will happen should the US Supreme Court issue a similar ruling.

Embarcadero
August 23rd, 2010 | LINK

Actually, as awful as all of this is, it does represent a significant improvement from recent history. Does anyone remember when the ILGHRC meeting had to move because the police in Jalisco threatened that they would be “unable to maintain order”?

The college of lawyers is just posturing, and it could get them in deeper than they are today. If they present a case for impeachment, they will have to make their evidence public or write it off as a publicity stunt

Not going to happen.

The comments to that Milenio piece are a real eye-opener!

Ben in Oakland
August 23rd, 2010 | LINK

As I always say, thre enemy is not the church, it is the closet. The “good” cardinal is causing people to discuss things that they would not have discussed before. Thoughtful, emptatheic people who do not have their own nasty little secrets (and you know hwat I mean) are indeed paying attention to what is going on.

Good work, cardinal. you’re helping the cause.

I only hope it doesn’t end in some bloodshed.

L. Junius Brutus
August 23rd, 2010 | LINK

horus: “think inquisition,forced conversions under threat of death. bonfires of human beings. torture with forced confessions, fomenting violence, waging war against the innocent. that is the REAL legacy of the Catholic Church.”

I disagree. The Catholic Church has engaged in some nasty stuff over the past 2000 years, but it was nothing outside of the ordinary for the time, and it was actually one of the civilizing forces in Western culture.

1. The Inquisition was brutish and nasty, but only established in 1233 – it is closer to us than to Constantine. For most of Catholic history, there was no Inquisition. Moreover, the ecclesiastical Inquisition was relatively mild. Secular tribunals were much more brutal on heresy than ecclesiastical ones, because the latter often operated out of a (misguided) sense that they needed to ‘save’ the soul of the heretic. Wherever Catholic countries were challenged by new forms of Christianity, the authority over heresy prosecutions were almost always transferred to secular tribunals, because they were much more willing to mete out brutal punishment.

2. Forced conversions under threat of death. If you are talking about adherents to another religion being forced to convert, it is actually rather rare in Christian history. Christianity has been spread largely by peaceful means, unlike, for example Islam.

3. Torture with forced confessions. Again, this is not something uniquely Catholic or Christian, but something catholic (universal).

4. Fomenting violence. The Catholic Church has rarely fomented violence. Mostly, it acted as an intermediary between Catholic countries, in order to prevent warfare. It also acted to prevent innocents from being the victim of violence by their secular overlords, in the Peace and Truce of God movements, and the whole genre of chivalric romances, which were intended to teach nobles how to be… well, noble. Now, there are exceptions, but by and large, the Church did not foment violence.

Now let’s talk about the *real* legacy of the Catholic Church. It is decidedly mixed. But since everyone here has a negative view of the Catholic Church, I will name a few positive elements.

1. Separation of church and state. Although they were heavily intertwined, church and state were still separate institutions, which they are not in other religions.

2. Marriage. The Catholic Church required consent to be given, before a marriage could take place. That is why forced marriages are so rare in our culture. And that is why Romeo and Juliet can marry without getting anyone’s permission – and their marriage would have been legal in ecclesiastical courts (which had jurisdiction over such matters).

3. Preservation of part of the West’s intellectual tradition. Most of the important works of ancient authors were copied by monks. Even as the West descended into an intellectual dark age, the Catholic Church kept literacy alive and preserved part of ancient Greco-Roman culture, so much that by the end of the first millennium, the word for ‘cleric’ began to be used for ‘literate person’, and ‘layperson’ for ‘illiterate person’. Without the Catholic Church, we might have ended up in real Dark Ages.

4. Many of the writers and supporters of the Enlightenment were Catholic clerics and monks. Emmanuel-Joseph Sieyes is the one who comes to mind as the most prominent example. The Estates-General of 1789 had many reform-minded, liberal clerics who supported the demands of the Third Estate. Only when the French Revolution turned against the Church and tried to destroy it, did the Church become anti-revolutionary.

I realize that it’s much more fun to engage in polemics, and I can’t say that I like all (or even most) of the things that Catholic Church teaches today, but let’s not deny that it has contributed a decent amount to modern society. It has done some inexcusable things, but it has also done good things.

And that is also why people like this cardinal are an absolute disgrace.

horus
August 23rd, 2010 | LINK

@L. Junius Brutus; all those words of objectivity, then you negate the whole tripey mess in the end. thank you for proving my point about obfuscation. polemic-takes one to know one!

As long as I am here on this planet; not a day will go by that I will not look for any opportunity to hasten the demise of the Roman Catholic Church.

So help me God!

Priya Lynn
August 23rd, 2010 | LINK

All the good Junius says the Catholic church has done and more would have been done anyway and more if it didn’t exist and all that wealth and power had been given to secular organizations. To compare it to Islam and use this as a yardstick to measure its goodness is a false comparison, Islam, like Catholicism is bad because its a religion, to compare the relative contribution of christianity you have to compare it to a secular society of which there were none at the time.

In the end you can’t claim the Catholic church did any good deeds that wouldn’t have happened anyway if it didn’t exist and the net sum you’re left with is that the Catholic church on the whole has been a destructive influence.

L. Junius Brutus
August 23rd, 2010 | LINK

horus: “all those words of objectivity, then you negate the whole tripey mess in the end. ”

What exactly? The part where I said that the cardinal was a disgrace?

“As long as I am here on this planet; not a day will go by that I will not look for any opportunity to hasten the demise of the Roman Catholic Church.”

Go ahead, that’s your right – as long as you use historically accurate reasons to be against the Catholic Church.

Priya: “All the good Junius says the Catholic church has done and more would have been done anyway and more if it didn’t exist and all that wealth and power had been given to secular organizations.”

What secular organizations? I’m talking about the Middle Ages (mostly). Feudal landlords and kings were the competitors for the church’s power and wealth, and if anything, they were more barbaric in the way they dealt with the people, not less.

“To compare it to Islam and use this as a yardstick to measure its goodness is a false comparison, Islam, like Catholicism is bad because its a religion, to compare the relative contribution of christianity you have to compare it to a secular society of which there were none at the time.”

No, I actually think that it’s a very good comparison – because one compares religions to realistic alternatives, and not to some ideal type of secular society. If you want to evaluate whether the Catholic Church did good or ill, you have to compare it to what would have been without it. The alternative for the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages was Islam, not a secular society. I do agree that a secular society would have been better, but it was just not realistic for that period.

L. Junius Brutus
August 23rd, 2010 | LINK

To be clear, my sympathies lay squarely with non-religion and with Greco-Roman culture (which is why I have adopted the name of the founder of the Roman Republic). I do have some concerns about non-religion, and I tend to see enlightened Christianity as “just as good” or even better.

Why? Because non-religion, for many people, means that they have to deny every form of objectivity imaginable. And there is nothing I hate more than ethical relativism.

Emily K
August 23rd, 2010 | LINK

Actually, it was the Arabic and Islamic cultures that put the Greek texts into Medieval European hands again.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transmission_of_the_Classics#Ummayyads

see also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_Golden_Age

L. Junius Brutus
August 23rd, 2010 | LINK

I knew you would show up, Emily. You didn’t defend your ridiculous assertion that it was Islam that made Western civilization, but now you’re back, armed with Wikipedia.

By the beginning of the Middle Ages, the classics had largely been forgotten, and it was indeed the contact with the Arabs that evoked the interest of Westerners in the classics. Given that I just stated that literacy had almost died out before the start of the second millennium, it should come as no surprise that not much was done with the classics, which had been preserved by copying monks. The interest drove lovers of Greek and Latin culture, like Petrarch, to seek out classical manuscripts (mostly in church libraries), and to correct the mistakes and try to get at the original text. So that is how these texts were recovered – not through the Arab world. Or did you actually think that modern translations of Plato come from medieval Arabic translations?

By the way, the very source that you cite says that it was mostly Christians who did the translating in the Arab world (hardly surprising). How ironic.

Emily K
August 23rd, 2010 | LINK

No, it says Christian translation took place in small bursts. But in the Arabic nations, it took place continuously.

Oh to be back in the “Greco-Roman” times, when people could own other humans as property, pederasty was institutionalized and expected, and women had little to know civil rights. Oh and imperialism was rampant. (Democracy had a good couple centuries though.)

Emily K
August 23rd, 2010 | LINK

Oh, and I never said “Islam made Western Civilization.” It did help preserve the Classical portions of it, however, in a big big way.

Emily K
August 23rd, 2010 | LINK

“I knew you would show up, Emily.”

LOL!!! someone needs a more productive and exciting life than to sit by their monitor waiting for ME to show up.

Priya Lynn
August 23rd, 2010 | LINK

Junius said “Because non-religion, for many people, means that they have to deny every form of objectivity imaginable. And there is nothing I hate more than ethical relativism.”.

Uh-huh. I’ve never met any such person. I think you’re imagining what you want to think exists.

L. Junius Brutus
August 23rd, 2010 | LINK

“No, it says Christian translation took place in small bursts. But in the Arabic nations, it took place continuously.”

From your own source: The first stage of this process was the translation into Arabic of Greek philosophical and scientific works that had been preserved by Eastern Christians in Mesopatamia, Syria and Egypt. The translators were mostly Nestorian and Jacobite Christians, working in the two hundred years following the Abbasid period…Almost all translators were Nestorian and Syrian Christians…Greek-speaking Christian missionaries…had kept Aristotle’s ideas alive in order to debate philosophy and increase the quality of their medical practices.

“Oh to be back in the “Greco-Roman” times, when people could own other humans as property”

True, slavery existed in Greece and Rome, just like it existed everywhere else in the world (big surprise). On the other hand, Saudi-Arabia allowed slavery until 1962, and the Islamic world that you regard as so civilized was a hotbed of slavery and slave-trading in the Middle Ages, whereas it was largely absent in the Christian world. The Ottomans kidnapped children from Christian families, enslaved them, forced them to convert to Islam, and made them fight for the Sultan. So much for civilization.

“pederasty was institutionalized and expected, ”

False. It was voluntary, as in a teacher-pupil relationship, and the boys were usually around 16 years old – which is no different than the age at which girls were married. Many centuries after the collapse of Greek independence and the splintering of Greek culture, Muhammad took a 6-year-old girl as his “wife” and slept with her when she was 9 – something that is still being practiced throughout the Islamic world.

“and women had little to know civil rights. ”

Roman women actually had a great deal of freedom and autonomy. Greek women were somewhat worse off.

“Oh, and I never said “Islam made Western Civilization.” It did help preserve the Classical portions of it, however, in a big big way.”

It preserved absolutely zilch. As I stated before (an argument that you conveniently ignored), we have Greek manuscripts of classical texts. “Or did you actually think that modern translations of Plato come from medieval Arabic translations?”

BTW, you said: “Europe owes much to Islam. If Christianity were the sole influence, who knows what kind of squalor Europe would be in.” This is basically saying that Islam made Western civilization, as you are saying that Europe would be in some kind of squalor without it.

“LOL!!! someone needs a more productive and exciting life than to sit by their monitor waiting for ME to show up.”

Don’t worry, you’re not that exciting. However, considering the dislike that you have for Christianity, and your admiration for Islam, I did expect it.

L. Junius Brutus
August 23rd, 2010 | LINK

“Uh-huh. I’ve never met any such person. I think you’re imagining what you want to think exists.”

Really? I envy you, if you have never met people who think that there is no objective right and wrong, and that right and wrong depend on the culture in which you happen to live. It’s so rampant that Rachels and Pojman both spend a chapter refuting it in their respective works on ethical philosophy.

justsearching
August 23rd, 2010 | LINK

From the BTB Comments Policy: “Commenters may be moderated or banned for persisting in any of following behavior…

Piling On — when a commenter posts an inordinate number of comments on a thread in an attempt to dominate the conversation. If you really have that much to say, perhaps you should expend some of that energy on your own blog.”

Ladies and gentleman, I present to you the future creator of his very own blog site, L. Junius Brutus! Kidding, kidding. Sort of…

Embarcadero
August 23rd, 2010 | LINK

To put this debate in slightly more focused, temporally constrained context, let’s just look at the history of the Catholic church’s leadership in Guadalajara: http://www.vanguardia.com.mx/desandovalyotrascriaturas-538591-columna.html

My favorite line is this one:

“Para rematar Sandoval Íñiguez puso a la venta monedas de oro y plata con su rostro impreso , ¿qué tal…?, para financiar el santuario de los mártires de Cristo, entre los que se encontraban varios terroristas que fueron pasados por las armas durante el gobierno del presidente Calles…”

Nice. Minting coins in his image to finance the construction of a “shrine to martyrs” which would include, among others, terrorists””

Jimmy Mac
August 23rd, 2010 | LINK

And in the Mexican community just across the border in El Paso:

http://www.kvia.com/video/24644887/index.html

The fact that this “priest” quotes Nicolosi make me want to upchuck. Shame, shame on him!

Priya Lynn
August 23rd, 2010 | LINK

Junius, I never heard of Rachels or Pojman and they are of no consequence to me.

Religionists who argue that their morality is objective because it is based on an imaginary god are laughably deluded. They are guilty of the ethical relativism that they accuse others of. Their morality is based on the subjective ideas of the primitive bronze age goat herders pretending to speak for a god. That’s no different then saying right and wrong depend on which culture you live in.

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