Monday, August 31, 2009

Taxpayer Funded Religious Bias

The proponents of Proposition 8 in California argued that same sex couples should be denied full marriage equality in order to “protect marriage.” They further argued that same sex couples could have all the same protections afforded to heterosexual married couples by entering into domestic partnerships. We argued that “separate is NOT equal” that a first and second-class form of citizenship violates the equal protection clause of our constitution. That we are talking about CIVIL marriage and not religious marriage.

Now these proponents of separate but equal have shown their true face in Washington State. The same people who argued that domestic partnerships afford same sex couples the protections and rights of marriage without calling it marriage are now trying to strip same sex couples of those rights and protections. In Washington, they are working to strip same sex couples of the right to enter into a Domestic Partnership. Read the following excerpt from an HRC news post for Monday 31 August 2009:

“But the big news of the day is that the campaign to support domestic partnerships in Washington State has filed suit saying that the “Secretary of State has accepted thousands of signatures that were not in compliance with State laws related to fraud in the signature-gathering process.”  They further explain why this issue is so important:
Because of the limited number of signatures turned in, failure to enforce these laws could well lead to a measure being qualified for the ballot that should not be, and that measure has the potential to strip away important protections from thousands of families all across the state. There are domestic partners in every county of the state. They are same sex couples and heterosexual couples where one or both partners is 62 years or older. These couples should not have to worry about whether a partner can take sick leave to care for a loved one who is ill. A firefighter should not have to worry about whether her children will be taken care of if something should happen to her while fighting a fire. These are basic rights and protections that all families should have. Those trying to qualify Referendum 71 for the ballot do not think that families different than theirs should have these protections, so they are trying to overturn the law.”


These attempts to strip same sex couples of basic legal protections spill over into hate speech and acts of violence towards LGBT persons. The Gay and Lesbian Center in Los Angeles sent out the following release on Friday 28 August 2009:

“We did it!  Together we canceled the “murder music” tour!
Less than 24 hours after the Center encouraged the public to demand that AEG Live, Goldenvoice and Live Nation cancel their nationwide concert tour by “faggots have to die” singer Buju Banton, including a show at L.A.’s Nokia Club, they complied; you can read more on Variety, Entertainment Weekly and Pollstar's websites. 
It’s outrageous that it was even necessary for us to pressure these companies to cancel shows by an artist whose lyrics blatantly promote violent attacks on LGBT people; this is a singer who has recorded such appalling lyrics as, “Anytime Buju Banton come, faggots get up and run … they have to die.” He sings that he will shoot them in the head or “burn them up bad.”

What this reveals is the impact of the religious rhetoric of institutions such as the LDS (Mormon) and the Catholic Church, or rather their leadership. They attack the civil rights of LGBT persons; they accomplish this with their “special rights” of tax exemption, a special status that other Political Action Committees do not enjoy. From their tax-subsidized pulpits, they create hatred towards LGBT persons who they directly/indirectly cast as “the enemy” and a despised and/or dangerous minority within society. They also use surrogate organizations, which they direct such as N.O.M. (LSD/Mormons) and Knight of Columbus (Catholic Church) to carry out political campaigns against marriage equality.

The ironies here are multiple. Both the Mormons and Catholics were viewed, as suspect minority groups not that long ago. Even today, many Protestant Fundamentalists do not consider either group “Christians” Since Mormons deny the existence of the Holy Trinity and Catholics are accused of “worshiping Mary.” I wonder if Jesus would consider any group which promotes legal discrimination and social bigotry as being worthy of the title of Christian.

Gandhi’s famous quote “In the West I came to love Christ and to hate Christians” comes to mind. Gandhi was dark skinned and therefore subjected to discrimination and was marginalized. The truths spoken by Christ in the Gospel are betrayed by “the faithful” who use those words not “as a lamp for my feet” but as a weapon to hurt others. An additional irony is that many of the Cardinals and Bishops who oppose same sex marriage are themselves gay. This will come as little surprise to anyone who has read Father Donald Cozzens’s books, or for that matter Shakespeare “Me thinks the woman doth protest too much.” Some of the most virulent anti-gay people are closeted gays.

In the end, all of the religious right’s anti marriage equality campaigns have much more to do with naked political power and the desire of religious leadership to control secular society. They accomplish this using the age-old tools of fear, guilt and shame. Perhaps the ultimate irony here is that it was such people who put Christ and the Prophets to death for the very same motives.


Freedom Fighter said...

Great post again! This is all so utterly ridiculous. Look at Canada for heavens sake. Full marriage equality across the entire country coast-to-coast and guess what! The sky hasn't fallen. Now granted the churches are nearly empty in Canada much like Western Europe. The USA needs to catch up and put these religious bigots in their place.

Marky's MADWORLD said...

Wow, thank you Father Geoff for posting this. I learn so many truths by following your blog & listening to your words.