Monday, May 18, 2009

I love a parade.

On Sunday May 17th some friends invited me to drive down to their home in Long Beach and accompany them to the Pride Parade. I arrived at their home around 8:40 AM and joined a small group of people for a breakfast buffet on the patio. I didn’t know many of the people at breakfast, as is customary in our society, after exchanging names people discuss their professions.

Soon the discussion turned to religion and its role in their various lives. One man said that he used to go to daily Mass well into his years as a university student, but he eventually stopped attending Mass after he was made to feel unwelcome. Essentially, the same story was repeated with minor variations.

Several asked me where I saw the Church moving on this issue. I did my best to explain the theology of marriage and the evolution which the hierarchy had undergone on this issue through the pontificate of Paul VI. The watershed statement by the Vatican which proclaimed that for some “homosexuality is innate.” Sadly while, after the death of Paul VI, this statement has never been refuted; it has been simply ignored.

On to the parade! It was a cool Sunday morning, you couldn’t have asked for better weather for a parade. Our little group made its way down the parade route by the Pacific Ocean. We found a spot and settled in as the parade started.

After a few moments, I heard the bellicose bellowing of a rather corpulent middle aged man in a very tight tank top. He was apparently the spokesperson for an anti-gay group. I looked twice incredulously at the banners which flanked the speaker. God Abhors You! The group had managed to use God and hate together in various declarative statements.

A psychologist in our group offered us some probable explanations for the man’s behavior. One woman if front of us simply observed “he looks like a closet case to me!”
We soon tuned out the goateed man’s vitriolic and enjoyed the parade.

Various student groups marched by followed by, LGBT police officers, firefighters who ran their sirens when they were next to the man spewing out hatred on his bull horn, a marching band and elected officials. The local aquarium had a float as did a group of veterinarians. A group of veterans walked by, one was in a wheel chair holding a placard which read “End the war” and asking for an end to our military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

PFLAG marched as did a cadre of LGBT parents with their children. Various religious groups marched past us. St. Luke’s Episcopal Church had a large contingent, several other protestant churches also marched along with their ministers. St. Matthew’s Catholic Church had about fifteen people in their group, but no priest. The man with the bull horn became particularly agitated with these groups.

After several hours, we adjourned for lunch back at the house and then went down to the festival held by the marina. As I walked past the various booths, I noticed that St. Matthew’s Catholic group “Comunidad” had a banner which said this was part of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Ministry. I couldn’t help but think that this was initiated by Cardinal Roger Mahony about the same time that he forbade Dignity (a Catholic LGBT organization) to meet on church properties in the Archdiocese.

Mahony, who attempted to wrap himself in the mantle of the late Cardinal Bernadin of Chicago as America’s leading Catholic “liberal” prelate could have made a HUGE difference in the recent Prop 8 election IF he had not publicly supported the “yes on prop 8” side in the referendum. His quiet collaboration with Cardinal Leveda and Archbishop Niederauer of San Francisco ensured the LDS (Mormons) Church becoming heavily involved in the “yes on Prop 8” campaign and its eventual narrow win.

You have to hand it to Mahony. Niederauer got the Mormons to write the big fat checks and Mahony left Niederauer holding the bag for having done so. The Mormons were out the money and left holding the bag for the PR fallout for having underwritten the “yes on 8” campaign costs. Mahony is still “liberal” and the patron of the good folks at St. Matthew’s and elsewhere in the Archdiocese. Cardinal Richelieu would have been proud!

As I walked past St. Matthew’s booth, I came upon the “Log Cabin Republicans” and I thought how poetically ironic that it was that they were so close to the booth from the Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles and yet how far both were from the acceptance of their respective hierarchies.

1 comment:

Pater Nostra said...

I am looking to the day when we will be having parades here in Kenya.

Then, shall we party!!!