GLN permalink 2-8-2013
Just when you thought that they couldn't go any lower in their contempt for LGBT people, on Wednesday the Catholic hierarchy stooped even lower.
According to the Associated Press, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (of which George is a past president) issued a letter to the White House threatening to torpedo immigration reform unless all protections within it for same-sex couples were thrown under the bus.
They're so blinded by their hatred of gay people that, while they object to the break-up of immigrant families if the parents are heterosexual, they have no problem with same-sex coupled families being broken up by deportation. This is heterosexist bigotry, plain and simple.
And the Catholic leadership knows this is bigotry and thus fears being subjected to ridicule because of it. As the Associated Press politely put it, "In a sign of the sensitivity of the issue, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops would not provide a copy of the statement, saying the signatories agreed not to make the letter public."
In a recent column in the Archdiocese house organ, George himself recognized the quandary that being called out for his bigotry has caused him and other Church leaders: "The Church will be portrayed as 'anti-gay,' which is a difficult position to be in," and "those who know the difference between marriage and same-sex arrangements will be regarded as bigots."
It's little wonder that many people might find the Catholic leadership bigoted, given that they funneled millions of dollars into the 2008 anti-gay Proposition 8 in California and 2009 Question 1 in Maine all while parochial schools were being closed and dioceses bankrupted by Church's never-ending pedophilia scandals.
And while they were too cowardly to publicly release their letter to President Obama, that didn't keep some in the church leadership from publicly blasting LGBT people. As the same AP article reported, "Last week, San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, who leads the bishops' marriage efforts, said the struggle against gay marriage is a gift from God 'and by overcoming it we may achieve spiritual greatness.'"
What Can We Do About This Bigotry?
As George's own comments and the secrecy of the Bishops' letter both show, the last thing that the Catholic leadership wants is for their opponents to loudly denounce the bigotry of the Church leadership's positions.
Yet that is precisely the stance that almost all LGBT organizations took in the string of referendum defeats that preceded the 2012 elections. In California, for example, they sheepishly acknowledged the crucial anti-gay role of the Mormon Church in Proposition 8 only AFTER the votes had already been counted!
In Illinois we won't make that same mistake. We are perhaps days away from winning the right to marry in this state, but the struggle for equality won't end there.
Looming on the horizon are the far more important national battles over respect for same-sex couples in immigration reform. And this summer, there are the Supreme Court decisions which could bring full marriage equality at the federal level for the nine states that already have equal marriage rights.
In these bigger battles, we should not repeat the same failed strategy of ignoring bigots dressed in religious garb and hope they go away. Instead, we should employ the strategies used successfully in Harvey Milk's day to defeat California's Briggs Amendment. One crucial aspect of that successful campaign was making an issue of "religious" bigots like Anita Bryant, and hence destroying their ability to promote hate and discrimination.
So please join us in that task this Sunday, Feb. 10 at the Gay Liberation Network's annual Freedom to Marry Day demonstration at 10:30 AM to 11:30 AM in front of Holy Name Cathedral, 735 N. State Street, Chicago.
We know that a clear majority of lay Catholics even more so than the general populous support either the right to civil unions or full marriage equality for same-sex couples, according to the polls. On Sunday let us show Catholics of good conscience that we've got their backs versus the bigots who currently have a stranglehold on the leadership of the Church. Let us affirm, by our presence, that bigoted religious leaders do NOT speak for us!