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“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
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Posts for July, 2010

What does one wear to a machination of the Father of Lies?

Timothy Kincaid

July 10th, 2010

From the increasingly histrionic Catholic news site, LiveSiteNews:

Argentina’s number one Catholic prelate, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, is calling upon the priests of the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires to bring their flocks to an upcoming protest against homosexual “marriage,” which is currently under consideration by the nation’s senate.

“Let’s not be naive, we’re not talking about a simple political battle; it is a destructive pretension against the plan of God,” writes Bergoglio in a letter sent to the monasteries of Buenos Aires, where he is archbishop. “We are not talking about a mere bill, but rather a machination of the Father of Lies that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.”

Which makes me think, if I’m ever invited to something so important as to require the direct coordination of Old Scratch himself, I should dress up. Do you think red Prada slippers are appropriate for a gay wedding? After all, the Pope wears them to all his formal functions.

Catholic Charities Ends Spousal Benefits

Jim Burroway

March 2nd, 2010

In a bid to avoid inadvertently providing spousal benefits to gay men and women who happen to be employees, Catholic Charities of Washington, D.C. , has taken the extraordinary step of ending spousal benefits for all of its employees, the Washington City Paper reports.

Catholic Charities President and CEO Edward Orzechowski sent a memo out to employees yesterday informing them that spouses’ who have already been enrolled in the health plan would continue to receive care under a grandfather clause, but that new employees or newly married employees would no longer be eligible to obtain coverage for their spouses through Catholic Charities.

The change goes into effect today. The District of Columbia will begin granting marriage licenses to same-sex couples beginning on March 4.

According to the Washington Post, Catholic Charities employs 850 people in the District and five surrounding Maryland and Virginia counties, but fewer than 100 use the spousal benefits option.

Michigan Christians sue because the Matthew Shepherd Act restricts their rights. They must want to violently attack gay people

Timothy Kincaid

February 5th, 2010

Hate crimes, as defined by Federal law, are violent crimes that are motivated by a victim’s actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. The Matthew Shepard Act is very clear that it relates to violent crimes, not to preaching:

(3) CONSTITUTIONAL PROTECTIONS- Nothing in this Act shall be construed to prohibit any constitutionally protected speech, expressive conduct or activities (regardless of whether compelled by, or central to, a system of religious belief), including the exercise of religion protected by the First Amendment and peaceful picketing or demonstration. The Constitution does not protect speech, conduct or activities consisting of planning for, conspiring to commit, or committing an act of violence.

(4) FREE EXPRESSION- Nothing in this Act shall be construed to allow prosecution based solely upon an individual’s expression of racial, religious, political, or other beliefs or solely upon an individual’s membership in a group advocating or espousing such beliefs.

However, the Thomas Moor Law Group has filed a lawsuit on the behalf of some “Christians” who feel that this law restricts them from observing their faith. (Christian Post)

Four Christians on Tuesday filed a federal lawsuit challenging the recently enacted Hate Crimes Prevention Act, arguing that it seeks to criminalize deeply held religious beliefs that are in opposition to homosexuality.

The 27-page long complaint was submitted by the Thomas More Law Center on behalf of Gary Glenn of the American Family Association of Michigan and Pastors Levon Yuille, James Combs, and Rene B. Ouellette, who are also based in Michigan. It names U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr., as the defendant.

We must assume that the Thomas More Law Center has read the law. And because the law has no effect on their rights to belief or expression of belief, the only logical conclusion is that these four Christians wish to plan for, conspire to commit, or commit an act of violence.

Or, perhaps, this is just another example of folks who think that because “homosexual acts, according to Scripture, are acts of grave depravity that are intrinsically disordered and are contrary to the natural law” then their religion trumps civil law.

Sometimes I can’t figure out if they are arrogant and opposed the basic principles of civil liberties and equality or if they really truly wish they were free to beat us in the streets.

Ugandan Church Leaders Back “Kill Gays” Bill

Jim Burroway

December 9th, 2009

The independent Ugandan newspaper The Daily Monitor reports on a meeting of 200 religious leaders held in Entebbe this week in which participants encouraged the government to cut diplomatic ties to all countries demanding withdrawal of the Anti-Homosexuality Act that is now before Parliament.

The meeting brought together church leaders representing Catholic, Anglican, Orthodox, Seventh Day Adventist churches as well as Muslim kadhis. Participants pledged to actively campaign for the bill in their houses of worship. According to the Monitor:

At their three-day meeting in Entebbe this week, the spiritual leaders came up with several recommendations that are opposed to homosexuals. “Government should cut ties with donor communities and other groups which support ungodly values such as homosexuality and abortion,” one of the resolutions reads.

…The Secretary General of the Inter-religious Council of Uganda, Mr Joshua Kitakule, told Daily Monitor yesterday that development partners should not  interfere in the process of legislation in Uganda.

“Those countries should respect our spiritual values. They shouldn’t interfere,” he said. “All senior religious leaders have been given copies of the Bill to read and educate people in the churches and mosques,” he added. Mr Kitakule said the Bill, which was tabled last month by Ndorwa West MP David Bahati, has not been understood by human rights activists and homosexuals. “The Bill is ok. But it has been misunderstood. We need to educate people on this proposed law,” he said.

Member of Parliament David Bahati, who introduced the bill into Parliament, was also at the conference and spoke in favor of the legislation. Echoing Richard CohenDon Schmierer, Scott Lively and other American ex-gay advocates, Bahati said:

“It is a learned behaviour and can be unlearned. You can’t tell me that people are born gays.   It is foreign influence that is on work,” he said.

Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

A New Outing Website

Jim Burroway

November 18th, 2009

What Mike Rogers has been doing with closeted gay politicians who work against the gay community, Phil Attey wants to do to gay priests

Every Sunday, for generations, hundreds of thousands of gay and lesbian American Catholic youth are told in church, they need to be ashamed of who they are and are deemed to live loveless lives as social and religious abominations.   The emotional, psychological and spiritual pain inflicted on them by Catholic priests and our church hierarchy is more damaging than any level of physical or sexual child abuse that is quickly condemned in our society.  

More shameful is that this abuse is being inflicted by men, many of whom are gay themselves, leading  closeted lives of self-persecution and quiet desperation.

Most shameful, is that many of these priests, while remaining silent, lead dual lives filled with romantic and sexual relationships.

There’s a fine line between legitimate investigation and waging a public vigilante campaign. Rogers carefully collects testimony and eyewitness accounts, checks details, demands corroboration, and then only goes public once he know he’s on solid ground (he does have legal liability to consider) and is dealing with a politician who us actively working or voting against the LGBT community. In my opinion, that’s the difference between conducting an honest investigation of corruption and dishonesty versus waging a public vigilante campaign. If I hope this web site facilitates the former and not the latter, and that’s what it appears to be set up to do.

But if it ends up outing gay priests without regard to what they preach or whether they act against the LGBT community, then that would be a problem because the Vatican is already working that beat.

Catholic Report: Homosexuality Not a Factor In Clerical Sex Scandals

Jim Burroway

November 17th, 2009

How about this?

A preliminary report commissioned by the nation’s Roman Catholic bishops to investigate the clergy sex abuse scandal has found no evidence that gay priests are more likely than heterosexual clergy to molest children, the lead authors of the study said Tuesday.

The full report by researchers at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice won’t be completed until the end of next year. But the authors said their evidence to date found no data indicating that homosexuality was a predictor of abuse.

“What we are suggesting is that the idea of sexual identity be separated from the problem of sexual abuse,” said Margaret Smith of John Jay College, in a speech to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. “At this point, we do not find a connection between homosexual identity and the increased likelihood of subsequent abuse from the data that we have right now.”

It looks like the report’s authors are coming to the same conclusions I did when I tackled the question in our report, “Testing the Premise: Are Gays A Threat To Our Children?”I poured through the professional literature and found no connection between homosexuality and child molestation. The Catholic Bishops commissioned a $2 million study in response to the clerical sexual abuse scandals which came to the same conclusion. Here’s the money quote:

At the meeting Tuesday, Bishop Edward Braxton of the Diocese of Belleville, Ill., asked the researchers whether their study indicated that homosexuality should be considered when evaluating a candidate for the priesthood. In 2005, the Vatican issued a policy statement that men with “deep-seated” attraction to other men should be barred from the priesthood.

Smith said: “If that exclusion were based on the fact that that person would be more probable than any other candidate to abuse, we do not find that at this time.”

Last year, Pope Benedict XVI drew a distinction between homosexuality and pedophelia, saying “I would not speak at this moment about homosexuality, but pedophilia which is another thing. And we would absolutely exclude pedophiles from the sacred ministry.” Yet the Vatican’s instructions barring gay men from entering holy orders unless they had “overcome” for at least three years still stands.

Catholic Church Threatens D.C.

Jim Burroway

November 12th, 2009

Washington, D.C. City Council is expected to take up a same-sex marriage bill in the coming weeks. The bill would not require religious institutions to perform or accommodate same-sex marriages, but they would have to obey city laws prohibiting discrimination against LGBT people. It’s that point — that religious organizations providing social services under contract with the city would be prohibited from discriminating — that has the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington threatening to take all their cards and go home:

The Catholic Archdiocese of Washington said Wednesday that it will be unable to continue the social service programs it runs for the District if the city doesn’t change a proposed same-sex marriage law, a threat that could affect tens of thousands of people the church helps with adoption, homelessness and health care.

…Catholic Charities, the church’s social services arm, is one of dozens of nonprofit organizations that partner with the District. It serves 68,000 people in the city, including the one-third of Washington’s homeless people who go to city-owned shelters managed by the church. City leaders said the church is not the dominant provider of any particular social service, but the church pointed out that it supplements funding for city programs with $10 million from its own coffers.

Which means that the Catholic Church feels it is more important to discriminate against LGBT people than follow Jesus’ mandate to serve the poor. Go figure. City Council members appear unimpressed with that threat:

“If they find living under our laws so oppressive that they can no longer take city resources, the city will have to find an alternative partner to step in to fill the shoes,” [City Council Member David] Catania said. He also said Catholic Charities was involved in only six of the 102 city-sponsored adoptions last year.

Catholic Cardinals around the country funded Maine’s Yes on 1 Campaign

Timothy Kincaid

November 11th, 2009

From the St. Lewis Post Dispatch

Campaign finance records for a ballot measure that last week defeated a law legalizing gay marriage in Maine show that the St. Louis Archdiocese contributed $10,000 toward that effort.

Only two other dioceses in the country – Phoenix and Philadelphia – contributed more ($50,000). The dioceses of Newark, NJ and Youngstown, Ohio also contributed $10,000.

The Catholic church led the charge to reject the new law. In the quarter leading up to the vote, 45 dioceses around the country contributed a total of $180, 550 to the effort, according to the campaign finance records.

You have to wonder whether the poor Catholic widow in St. Lewis who sacrificed to give to her church knew that her money was going to pay for a political campaign in Maine. Or if the Methodist Maine voter knew that the campaign of lies being fed to him was funded by out-of-state Catholic diocese.

In time, American opinion on the civil rights and freedoms of gay citizens will become strongly supportive. I cannot imagine that it will reflect well on the Catholic Church that it spent church funds to fund campaigns designed to deny rights to some Americans.

Although today many “conservatives” can hide behind popular opinion or social status quo, in 20 years it will be very difficult for the Catholic Church to explain how its actions taken this year can be viewed in any context other than religious oppression and bigotry.

And even today, some may find themselves questioning the priorities of the church.

The contribution from the St. Louis Archdiocese was received by the Portland diocese on July 16.

Less than a month earlier, on June 22, the archdiocese eliminated four positions at Catholic Charities, the largest private provider of social services in Missouri. Catholic Charities president, Monsignor Mark Ullrich, said at the time that the job cuts were “due to our need to economically downsize.”

Choosing exclusionary politics over care for the poor does not yield itself to many PR successes. And if that religious institution wasn’t so dedicated to causing harm to my life, I would feel pity.

Maine’s “Yes” Side Claims LGBT Groups Contributed $5 Million to Defeat Question 1

Jim Burroway

October 25th, 2009

This is amazing. Stand for Marriage Maine’s web page says this:

Your support will help us stand up to the vast network of wealthy homosexuals with seemingly unlimited resources from places like Hollywood, New York and Massachusetts. Washington, D.C.’s largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization has already pledged to spend as much as $5 million to try to defeat us.

Five million dollars from the Human Rights Campaign? Let’s review. According to campaign filings by both sides, Protect Maine Equality’s three largest donors are:

  • Portland resident Donald Sussman, $500,000.
  • The Human Rights Campaign, $220,000.
  • The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, $140,000.

These three contributions altogether make up only 22% of Protect Maine Equality’s total budget. The rest has come from ordinary contributors like you.

Now let’s look at Stand for Marriage Maine. Their top three contributors are:

  • National Organization for Marriage: $1.5 million.
  • Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland: $550,000.
  • Focus On the Family: $114,500.

Altogether, these three organizations alone have provided 83% of Stand for Marriage Maine’s total budget.

Who’s trying to buy an election while pulling the wool over the eyes of Maine voters?

But In Other Catholic News

Jim Burroway

October 23rd, 2009

It’s not all bad. Judge Memorial Catholic High School in Salt Lake City Catholic will go forward with its production of Rent, after the school’s superintendent reviewed the play at the request of the Bishop:

Sister Catherine Kamphaus, superintendent of schools in the Salt Lake City diocese, said she read the script at the request of Bishop John Wester, and she watched a dress rehearsal Tuesday.

“There is absolutely nothing that would be offensive,” Kamphaus said Thursday. “It wasn’t condoning the gay and lesbian lifestyle.”

Rather, she said, the play shows friends forming a loving and caring community while facing AIDS and other challenges. …The superintendent praised Judge’s use of the play as a springboard to teach about the Roman Catholic Church’s compassion for outcasts, the sick and the hopeless.

A special school edition of Rent bcame available in the past year. The school edition removes one song, “Contact,” along with profane language.

LaBarbera Award: The Archbishop of Guam

Jim Burroway

October 23rd, 2009

Recently the Guam legislature introduced legislation that would create same-sex domestic partnerships. That move prompted this response from the Archdiocese of Agana (Guam) (PDF: 261KB/3 pages):

The culture of homosexuality is a culture of self-absorption because it does not value self·sacrifice. It is a glaring example of what John Paul II has called the culture of death. Islamic fundamentalists clearly understand the damage that homosexual behavior inflicts on a culture. That is why they repress such behavior by death. Their culture is anything but one of self-absorption. It may be brutal at times, but any culture that is able to produce wave after wave of suicide bombers (women as well as men) is a culture that at least knows how to value self-sacrifice. Terrorism as a way to oppose the degeneration of the culture is to be rejected completely since such violence is itself another form of degeneracy. One, however. does not have to agree with the gruesome ways that the fundamentalists use to curb the forces that undermine their culture to admit that the Islamic fundamentalist charge that Western Civilization in general and the U.S.A. in particular is the “Great Satan” is not without an element of truth. It makes no sense for the U. S. Government to send our boys to fight AI Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan, while at the same time it embraces the social policies embodied in Bill1SS (as President Obama has done). Such policies only furnish further arguments for the fundamentalists in their efforts to gain more recruits for the war against the “Great Satan.”

[Hat tip: Andrew Sullivan]

A Simple Anglican/Catholic Proposal

Jim Burroway

October 21st, 2009

The Vatican has announced that they have set up a special structure in which disaffected Anglicans and their clergy can become Roman Catholics while keeping their married priests, the Anglican liturgy and Book of Common Prayer. The Vatican wants to woo Anglicans who are angry over the church’s acceptance of women and gay clergy and the blessings of same-sex unions.

This news reportedly was sprung on Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury and head of the Anglican Communion, just hours before it was made public. Archbishop Rowan tried to put a positive spin on the move, calling it an “end to uncertainty for such groups who have nurtured hopes of new ways of embracing unity with the Catholic Church.”

But I think this represents an interesting pathway that could be a two-way street. After all, there are many disaffected Catholics (myself included) who find great comfort in the Roman liturgy and customs, a deeply felt comfort and meaning that, to us, the Anglican liturgy and the Book of Common Prayer just can’t approach. I don’t mean this as a knock against Anglican traditions. The Vatican move recognizes the deep fondness dissafected Anglicans hold for their familiar Anglican rite and makes room for it within Roman Catholicism. But the same is true both ways: the Roman Missal embodies all of our cherished touchstones just as the Anglican liturgy and customs embodies theirs.

So why not set up a similar structure within the Anglican Communion where disaffected Catholics can continue to worship using the great historical richness of the Roman liturgy and customs while simultaneously entering the 21st century?

Meet Bishop Sal, the Face of Catholic Anti-Gay Discrimination

Timothy Kincaid

September 22nd, 2009

bishop salThe East Bay Express has an article on Salvatore Cordileone, the new Bishop of Oakland. It seems the Catholic Church rewarded him with this position for all his hard work and devoted efforts in taking away civil rights from gay couples.

What almost no one knows is that without Bishop Sal, gay men and lesbians would almost surely still be able to get married today. As an auxiliary bishop in San Diego, Cordileone played an indispensable role in conceiving, funding, organizing, and ultimately winning the campaign to pass Proposition 8. It was Bishop Sal and a small group of Catholic leaders who decided that they had to amend the state constitution. It was Bishop Sal who found the first major donor and flushed the fledgling campaign with cash. It was Bishop Sal who personally brought in the organization that took the lead on the petition drive. And it was Bishop Sal who coordinated the Catholic effort with evangelical churches around the state. Bishop Sal even helped craft the campaign’s rhetorical strategy, sitting in on focus groups to hone the message of Proposition 8.

Nuns Become Catholic

Timothy Kincaid

September 9th, 2009

USA Today

Ten Maryland nuns — almost an entire religious community — converted from the Episcopal Church to Catholicism on Thursday, saying their former denomination had become too liberal in its acceptance of homosexuality.

To which my first thought was, “There are Episcopal nuns?”

Episcopal Bishop of Maryland Eugene Sutton said in a statement that “despite the sadness we feel in having to say farewell, our mutual joy is that we remain as one spiritual family of faith, one body in Christ.”

Well, except for the lesbians of course. They need to stay chaste and, oh I don’t know, become nuns maybe.

Non-Churchgoers In Maine, Get Lost

Jim Burroway

September 8th, 2009

This really is all about narrow religions imposing their views on everyone else. According to WBLZ in Bangor, Maine:

Maine’s Catholic church continues to be active in the fight against same sex marriage.

The bishop has asked churches to take up a special second collection next weekend to support Stand For Marriage Maine, the group leading the effort to repeal Maine’s same sex marriage law.

An interesting tidbit appears at the end of that short news brief. Stand for Marriage Main will hold a rally at the Augusta Civic Center on September 13. But you or I probably won’t be able to get in — not unless we pick up free tickets through our local church. Non-churchgoers need not apply.

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