Pharyngula

Radio reminder

Today is the day of the GLBT Pride Parade in the Twin Cities, so naturally today’s Atheists Talk radio is all about the fight against discrimination and for equal rights for all. Tune in at 9am!

If you’re godless, there’s nothing to prevent you from supporting civil rights for everyone without regard for their sexual orientation. That doesn’t seem to be the case if you’re Catholic, however.

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has told a liberal Roman Catholic church in Minneapolis that it can’t hold its annual gay pride prayer service because the event goes against the teachings of the church.

St. Joan of Arc Church has held the prayer service for several years in conjunction with the annual Twin Cities Pride Celebration. The archdiocese, however, suggested that the church hold a “peace” service with no mention of rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. “That descriptor (LGBT) was not possible on church property. We suggested they shift it, change the nature of it a little bit, and they did,” archdiocese spokesman Dennis McGrath said. “The reason is quite simply because it was a LGBT pride prayer service, and that is really inimical to the teachings of the Catholic church.”

Gays are “inimical” to the Catholic church, and even naming lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender is “not possible”. Perhaps the LGBT community should instead admit that rapprochement with the Catholic church is not possible, because their teachings are not compatible with human decency.

Comments

  1. #1 Buzz Buzz
    June 29, 2008

    Yeah… meh. Who cares how dumb they are on church property anyway? As long as it doesn’t spill out into the streets. Of course it’d be nice if they were this hard on pedophile priests, but hey, it’s not my church.

  2. #2 maakuz
    June 29, 2008

    We need Fred Phelps´s comment on this one. Teh Bilbe clearly states that racism and discrimination is not only okay, but the word of GOD. Where did I put my stones…?

  3. #3 Ramases
    June 29, 2008

    Such positions on gay rights by the Catholic church (and other churches and religions) are certainly destructive, backward, anti-human rights and contemptible.

    They are not, however, the worst they do – that would have to be the effect they are having in Africa, Latin American and elsewhere in the world when their hostilility to contraception and disinformation about AIDS is increasing the spread of that disease, causing hundreds of thousand of deaths.

    That religions have chosen to take such a hard line on such matters, however, can only turn against them in the long term and make more people question the irrational basis on which their belief systems are build on. I would like to think that as destructive as they are, such positions are not in the long term sustainable in the modern world, and will leave to the chruch’s decline.

    Let’s hope so at least.

  4. #4 ahmcguffin
    June 29, 2008

    The Catholic church varies it rules depending on the country. Money talks and if they are receiving money from certain people they will look the other way. St.Joan of Arc church must be slacking on it’s payments or it wouldn’t matter.
    I just heard a bit on BBC about the African Anglican “church” who wants to split from whatever Anglican overlord they serve, because of the overlord’s acceptance of gays and “other liberal trends”. It was pointed out the the African sect prefers not just shunning gays but killing them. And still openly accepts and practices polygamy.

  5. #5 S.Scott
    June 29, 2008

    It’s interesting to me that the Catholic church takes such a stance on homosexuality. Did you ever wonder why the priests fondle little boys? — Becoming a priest has always been a career choice for men who were gay and wanted to hide their “gayness” from the world. That didn’t want to answer the question -”When are you going to get married?” – and save their mothers and fathers from embarrassment.

    I’m not saying that all priests are gay – but a lot of them are.

    If you are interested: There is a new article out (yesterday) on EurekAlert about genetic and environmental factors for homosexuality.
    http://www.eurekalert.org/bysubject/biology.php
    And a post here about the male male courtship gene that was identified in fruit flies.

  6. #6 DiscoveredJoys
    June 29, 2008

    Make continuing tax exemption conditional on acceptance of all sexual orientations and see how quickly the dogma changes…

  7. #7 David Harper
    June 29, 2008

    Early last year, the Catholic Church in Britain threw a tantrum in an attempt to obtain an exemption from an anti-discrimination law that was about to come into force. The Equality Act made it illegal to discriminate against gay people in the provision of goods, facilities and services. It meant, for example, that hotels could no longer refuse to provide accommodation to gay couples.

    The new law also covered adoption agencies run by churches. The Catholic Church threatened to close its adoption agencies completely if the British government didn’t exempt it from having to consider gay adoptive parents. Shamefully, and not entirely surprisingly, the Anglican Church backed their Catholic co-religionists.

    By way of a compromise (or capitulation, if you prefer straight talking), the government gave the churches an exemption to the end of 2008. Expect more whining from the Catholic Church at the end of this year.

  8. #8 Stagyar zil Doggo
    June 29, 2008

    A considerable proportion (most?) of transgendered people are born that way. So, what’s the ‘sin’ that the Catholic Church pins on them?

  9. #9 S. Scott
    June 29, 2008

    @ #6 – Good idea!

  10. #10 CosmicTeapot
    June 29, 2008

    Is a priest buggerin a choir boy is not homosexual?

    Surely you’re only gay if you take it! ;)

  11. #11 Justin
    June 29, 2008

    It’s a good thing that here in the U.S. that as my generation gets older, somewhere around 65% of the population won’t give a rats ass about what the Catholic hierarcy has to say about morality. They’re wiping themselves out by not changing their ways and being reasonable.

  12. #12 ShadowWalkyr
    June 29, 2008

    He and I must operate on different definitions of “possible.” Lacking permission does not mean lacking ability.

  13. #13 steve zara
    June 29, 2008

    #10

    It is very important not to confuse homosexuality with paedophilia. There may be many gay priests who have consensual sexual activity with adults. Paedophilia is not consensual.

  14. #14 carr2d2
    June 29, 2008

    everybody together:
    SCHISM!, SCHISM!, SCHISM!…
    you know it’s coming, especially if ratzi keeps pushing his uber-conservative agenda. i wish churches like st joan’s would grow a pair and tell the church to shove it. i’d be surprised if the percentage of catholics who actually agree with church teachings (at least in the us) is above 10. but no one will stand up to rome. i don’t get it.

  15. #15 Mercredi
    June 29, 2008

    @ #5 – While yes, there is (or was, before Benedict changed the recruitment rules) a higher proportion of gay men in Catholic seminary and clergy than in the general population (30% v 10%) what with official catholic doctrine being that gays are ‘called’ to celibacy, it’s important to keep clear homosexuality and pedophilia are not the same thing.

    While the majority (but not all) US child victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests are male, that has more to do with their accessibility than their sex – we’d probably have had more female victims if girls were allowed to serve at the altars too, for example.

    The Catholic church is currently trying to blame Teh Ghays for their problems with clergy sexual abuse of children by conflating man-boy pedophilia with homosexuality, both in high-up policy (like saying gay men shouldn’t be clergy because they can’t be trusted to be celibate when surrounded by altar boys) and in lower-level things like newsletters. Instead of blaming, oh, the guilty priests and the higher-ups who protected and enabled them.

    Pointing out the Church’s hypocrisy in brushing mostly-same-sex child abuse under the rug while condemning healthy same-sex relationships between adults is important, but we should take care not to do so in a way that supports their attempts to blame homosexuality for child abuse.

  16. #16 Tulse
    June 29, 2008

    A considerable proportion (most?) of transgendered people are born that way. So, what’s the ‘sin’ that the Catholic Church pins on them?

    According to the Church (and Annie Lennox), we’re all born with original sin.

  17. #17 David Marjanovi?, OM
    June 29, 2008

    if girls were allowed to serve at the altars too

    …which, funnily, depends on the dioecese. Girls are allowed to serve at the altars in Vienna and Upper Austria but not in Lower Austria. Or maybe they are now in Lower Austria — a few years ago, the archconservative bishop was (immediately!) sacked when he said a case of homosexual abuse was a prank.

  18. #18 CosmicTeapot
    June 29, 2008

    Steve @13

    Thanks for the warning, but fear not, I do not confuse homosexuality with paedophilia.

    I think my joke (which sounded better in my head) went awry when I neglected to use the preview button.

    The comment should have read:

    A priest buggerin’ a choir boy is not homosexual.

    Surely you’re only gay if you take it! ;)

  19. #19 PeteK
    June 29, 2008

    “Catholics and other Christians are against abortions, and they’re against homosexuals…Well, who has fewer abortions than homosexuals? They’re tossing them aside! You’d think they’d make natural allies!” George Carlin

  20. #20 Stagyar zil Doggo
    June 29, 2008

    According to the Church (and Annie Lennox), we’re all born with original sin.

    Um, OK. But then why’re they picking on the transgendered?

    Let me clarify here. I have no doubts that they’re picking on LGBT folk because they are a bunch of raving bigots. I mean, what demented logic of church doctrine do they quote when trying to justify their treatment of the transgendered? Cos unlike LGB people, its not behavior that defines their group membership.

  21. #21 Dahan
    June 29, 2008

    Always interesting how these people rank sins. According to the Bible I read, all sin is sin. It all equalls death. Period. Still, it’s hard to find the crowds of people parading around with “God Hates the Covetous!” signs on Wall street. Or for that matter protesting the “all-you-can-eat buffet” with their “God Hates Gluttony!” placards. Shit, I bet they’d even greet those money-makers and second-helping folk into their church with open arms. Just as long as they fuck just like them…
    This makes me very, very angry. My tolerance of the intolerant seems to shrink every year. I thought one was supposed to become more conservative with age, not the reverse.

  22. #22 Crudely Wrott
    June 29, 2008

    So, ahhh, lemme see if I understand. The sky daddy changed his mind about some stuff that we consider a big deal and he only tells Phelps and the Poop? He didn’t tell anyone else like you or me or that person over there? OK, I see. What we have here is not a problem of morality but a failure to communicate. And the failure is the fault of a being alleged to be omnipotent and omnipresent among other things. These two qualities alone should insure perfectly intelligible communication on a constant basis. Why not?

    Just another observation that the faithful will ignore or bury under a heap of disconnect and dissembling, happily cherry picking their course along the narrow way.

  23. #23 lytefoot
    June 29, 2008

    I mean, what demented logic of church doctrine do they quote when trying to justify their treatment of the transgendered? Cos unlike LGB people, its not behavior that defines their group membership.

    I’m not sure what definition of “transgendered” you’re working with…

    In the eyes of the church, people born with male genitalia are men, people born with female genitalia are women (and intersexed people are the work of the devil, I guess, since that would violate god’s plan). So, from this viewpoint, they’re actually on more solid scriptural footing here than with teh gays. Paul specifically condemns people who step outside their gender identity, in Corinthians IIRC. It’s one of the passages most commonly used to condemn homosexuality as well.

    According to the Church, then, they aren’t condemning the aspect of being transgendered that one is born with–the sense of gender identity opposed to ones physical anatomy. They’re condemning the activity–bringing ones social identity in line with ones self-perception. Just as homosexuals are called to celibacy, then, the transgendered are called to live a lie.

  24. #24 S. Scott
    June 29, 2008

    @ 15 – I stand corrected. :-)

  25. #25 infidel57
    June 29, 2008

    Don’t get me wrong. I support tolerance and acceptance and feel the typical progressive outrage over injustice toward those of an unconventional sexual orientation.

    That said, I have to admit a knee jerk reaction to all the “pride” events. We have gay pride parades, black pride events, white pride events, etc. I’ve got to ask, what do any of these participants have pride in? If we are to believe that we are born gay, born black, born white, and it’s something that just happens of our free will, pride isn’t a rational feeling.

    When a gay, white, black persons actually accomplishes somthing, that’s an occasion for pride, as long it is minimally exibited.

    I feel the same way about orgainizations that identify race, gender, sexual orientation or any other thing which sets us apart. For example, my wife was ask to join the Texas Association of Hispanic Teachers. I objected because the name of the organization was racist and exclusive. This type of organization, as does the NAACP and the Aryan Brotherhood, promotes what is different about us instead of what we have in common the the problems we all share.

    Anyway, the Catholic Church (Earth’s longest running con game) are a bunch of jackasses for excluding gays but the idea of a gay pride prayer is stupid too.

  26. #26 Tulse
    June 29, 2008

    That said, I have to admit a knee jerk reaction to all the “pride” events. We have gay pride parades, black pride events, white pride events, etc. I’ve got to ask, what do any of these participants have pride in?

    When one is repeatedly told by society that one should be ashamed of what one is, it’s probably healthy to counter that by fostering pride in it instead.

  27. #27 Stagyar zil Doggo
    June 29, 2008

    lytefoot:

    I’m not sure what definition of “transgendered” you’re working with…

    Lets say we are taking about intersexed people who’ve been celibate to the extent of never having had a sexual thought. What’s their sin? (Over and above the ‘original sin’.)

  28. #28 JoJo
    June 29, 2008

    One thing that I’ve always found irritating about the Catholic Church is how a group of professional virgins have such strong beliefs about sex and sexuality.

  29. #29 Fiziker
    June 29, 2008

    My take on the Divine Comedy is that inner ring of the seventh circle of Hell is really the fun place to be. First, the circle is guarded by the Minotaur–it’s no cephalopod but close good enough. But then we have all the fun people: users, sodomites, and blasphemers. Users are OK but it’s the last two that make it fun. Mind you, sodomy refers to any “unnatural” sexual act, so you’re probably in included no matter what your sexual orientation. Of course, if you’re reading this, odds are you’ve blasphemed–perhaps even visiting Pharyngula counts. I’ll meet you guys there in a few decades, it looks like great fun.

  30. #30 Christophe Thill
    June 29, 2008

    It’s worth noting that Joan of Arc was actually a cross-dresser, since she wore men’s clothes. In fact, it was one of the carges against her at her trial. So it’s logical that a church bearing her name could show a little more understanding towards people with a different sexual orientation. Of course, they should have expected problems for that…

  31. #31 erp
    June 29, 2008

    re #4′s comment

    just heard a bit on BBC about the African Anglican “church” who wants to split from whatever Anglican overlord they serve, because of the overlord’s acceptance of gays and “other liberal trends”. It was pointed out the the African sect prefers not just shunning gays but killing them. And still openly accepts and practices polygamy.

    Actually there are multiple Anglican national churches in Africa each of which is independent and has no “overlord”. However they do belong to the worldwide Anglican Communion which meets every 10 years (and this year is it). Some of the bishops in some of the African countries (notably Nigeria) have been unhappy that the American branch of the Anglican communion (The Episcopal Church) has an openly gay bishop in a committed relationship (Bishop Gene Robinson). These bishops are joined by others (including a few in The Episcopal Church and notably Bishop Jenson of Sydney, Australia) and just had there own meeting. One of the highlights of this meeting was a press conference where Archbishop Akinola of Nigeria and Orombi of Uganda were asked about violence against gays and lesbian in their countries (Akinola has supported laws criminalizing groups supporting Gay rights). Bishop Jenson eventually stepped in to condemn violence against gays.

    However not all African bishops oppose gay and lesbian rights. In fact probably the best known and most respected Anglican Archbishop, Desmond Tutu from South Africa, (now retired) has come out in favor of allowing gays and lesbians to be treated equally (and has not been quiet about it).

  32. #32 Richard
    June 29, 2008

    Same with the MormonChurch. A letter will be read to all the members (or maybe just the ones in California) enjoining them to vote for an amendment to the state constitution banning same-sex marriage. Like Dawkins says in The God Delusion, they are just so concerned with what other people do with their private lives.

  33. #33 beent
    June 29, 2008

    I have no doubts that they’re picking on LGBT folk because they are a bunch of raving bigots. I mean, what demented logic of church doctrine do they quote when trying to justify their treatment of the transgendered?
    Bi,gay,lesbian,transgender community ### FindBilover dotcom

  34. #34 Bjorn Watland
    June 29, 2008

    The podcast has been uploaded. Enjoy!

  35. #35 shane
    June 30, 2008

    Homophobia is a huge problem in many countries in Africa including Uganda and Kenya. I was in Kampala a couple of years ago and the local newspapers were reporting a government purge, or an attempt to purge, homosexuals from the universities. Basically they wanted the gays named, shamed and expelled from the schools. I think they were talking of laying criminal charges against gay people too.

  36. #36 andyo
    June 30, 2008

    infidel57 #25,

    I used to think something along the way too, mainly because the more popular gay pride parades were more about being overly ostentatious and let’s face it, mostly just over-the-top costumes. It wasn’t really a demonstration, but an in-your-face display of rampant “gayness.” I gather some gay people are very against those parades too.

    But now I just see it like a big FUCK YOU to the bigots, which I don’t know if is the original intent of all the extravagance, but if it is, I like the way they think.

    Similarly (but I guess in a much lesser degree) the minority organizations are set up as a reaction, in order to organize, educate and promote positive values and image to and from the minority community.

    The “Aryan” groups, though, are not reacting to anything, they’re the ones spewing bullshit out of nothing.

  37. #37 Richard Eis
    June 30, 2008

    The bible is pretty clear on homosexuality. I fail to see why a church is doing a pride church service.

    Although i also don’t really see the point of a pride church service in the first place except in a desperate attempt to placate, please and get noticed.
    Attendance must really be suffering when you start ignoring your holy book to get butts on seats.

  38. #38 andyo
    June 30, 2008

    Having been baptized (without my consent), first communion’d and confirmed (yeah, that one’s on me) into catholicism I can tell you (and you don’t have to be a catholic to realize it) that these idiots have been doing it since the enlightenment. catholicism has preserved its power by both evolving and spreading like a virus mainly in underdeveloped countries. Of course they accept evolution now, and of course Galileo was right. Whoops! Sorry, it took us only 350 years, but better late than never!

  39. #39 moonwatcher
    June 30, 2008

    37: “The bible is pretty clear on homosexuality. I fail to see why a church is doing a pride church service.”

    And the bible is pretty clear on pork being a sin, but that doesn’t stop anyone from serving pork ribs at church picnics. C’mon, lots of churches discount the parts of the bible that are archaic and bigoted, and there are plenty of gay-friendly churches these days. The pride parade here in DC featured a dozen different churches that reach out to the LGBT community. I don’t particularly like Christianity, but the fact that more and more churches are coming around on this issue is a good thing in my book.

  40. #40 Metro
    June 30, 2008

    Well as I understand it, being gay is fine for Catholics–after all, Herr Gott built you that way. It’s actually doing anything about it that’s sinful.

    So it’s perfectly alright to be gay as long as you slam the closet door and suffer in loveless silence your whole life. Don’t worry, you’ll get your reward in heaven. Of course you also have to dodge the other 613 commandments.

    You can accuse the Catholic Church of much, but internal inconsistency isn’t one of the charges that’ll stick. And if it does, well hey, there’s Papal Infallibility.

    Which means each Pope inherits the mistakes of every previous pope and can’t do anything about it, like say “John III was a pre-medieval peasant with a big hat, and he made some stupid decisions about priets marrying, so I’m gonna overturn them.”

  41. #41 MAJeff, OM
    June 30, 2008

    Well as I understand it, being gay is fine for Catholics

    it’s not “fine,” it’s “inherently disordered.” Acting on it is “objectively evil.”

  42. #42 Ann
    June 30, 2008

    I marched with other Seattle atheists in yesterday’s Pride Parade–we dressed as pirates and carried a large model of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Many were the believers in the crowd who were touched by His Noodley Appendage.

    Before the parade began, we were asked a few times why we (mostly) non-gay people were marching, and we replied that–at least in the US–religion is the primary excuse for hostility toward gays, and we oppose religious interference in law and public policy.

    And I agree, being gay (or any form of “other”) isn’t something to be proud of, per se, but these events are part of simply not being ashamed.

  43. #43 NickG
    June 30, 2008

    Infidel57 @ 25: “That said, I have to admit a knee jerk reaction to all the “pride” events. We have gay pride parades, black pride events, white pride events, etc. I’ve got to ask, what do any of these participants have pride in? If we are to believe that we are born gay, born black, born white, and it’s something that just happens of our free will, pride isn’t a rational feeling.”

    Use of the term pride is in direct contradiction to what the gay, black, disabled, etc communities have been in one way or another fed by society since they first understood their identity as different from the societal norm: shame. For the most part, Pride celebrations are a rejection of that notion that one should be ashamed of one’s membership in these disenfranchised groups. And trust me, there is a lot of shame before you get acceptance – even from yourself. In the case of LGBT youth, even if you have the most super-fab PFLAG-tastic parents in the universe and they try to make life livable for you from the start, Junior High is still a universal experience. It is impossible not to be emotionally damaged the first time you are called a faggot, beaten up, and stuffed in your locker because you are queer.

    And its not just the Junior High abuse. Its the experience of at least in little ways having to hide your identity for the sake of expedience or safety – even for those of us who don’t often have to. My partner and I live in the People’s Republic of Davis in CA but last year we went to Lubbock TX for me to talk to the Texas Tech med school and grad psychology students about queer health care issues. Before my talk a professor in the grad psych program told me about an exercise she used to use in her gender studies course: do one gender non-conforming thing in public and write about it and people’s reactions. Two women in her 2005 class decided to go to a movie holding hands. Thats it: two women holding hands in public. They both ended up in the hospital. She was told by the university she couldn’t use that exercise in her class again.

    My partner and I are very out and generally give a rats ass if our existence or the fact that we hold hands or kiss in public pisses in someone’s wheaties. But after she told me that I can honestly say I was apprehensive…. and I flashed back to that fear of discovery and abuse at the hands of phobic assholes. Perversely I had just read a passage in an unrelated conference packet that quoted from Moi Pierre Seel, deporte homosexuel which detailed the brutal execution of a gay holocaust survivor’s partner in front of his eyes…. so I was sort of set up for this. Lubbock, TX is not WWII Nazi Germany, but that meme is still there for anyone who is LGBT. You understand that you are safe… but not everywhere. And we were in the second most conservative city in the US (After Provo, UT) so the thought of watching my partner be brutalized by a gang of homophobic rednecks was too much for me… so when he reached for my hand, I shrugged it out of his. When he tried to give me a peck on the cheek in Starbucks I moved my head away and pretended to get something out of my backpack. It was motivated by a justified fear, but I will tell you it was very shaming for me. Being out is not only about being yourself, but we know from research that the single thing that best predicts ones level of homophobia is not education, social class, or political leaning, but whether or not you know someone who is queer. And the more experience you have with LGBT people, the more likely you are to lose your homophobic attitudes. So being out is also a way of making everyone in the community safer.

    But I was a chickenshit and took a step back into the closet for a couple of days. And knowing that I in a very small way re-internalized some of that homophobia that I acquired in junior high. Being gay was for those few days was again something to hide and be shamed for. Pride is a way of de-internalizing that homophobia. And this past weekend at SFPride, I gayed it up something fierce partially as a way of dealing with that (partially because its just fun). No I don’t generally wear rainbow tie-dyed tee-shirts or a button that says “That’s Doctor Faggot to you, asshole.” But I did that day. Because that is one of the places and spaces where I can be completely safe. Because I can’t everywhere at all times, even in the US. And because I will be going back to Lubbock this December (the AMSA kids asked me back for a conference.)

  44. #44 changcho
    June 30, 2008

    I don’t know what GLBT has to do with atheism, but that’s just me I guess.

  45. #45 octopod
    June 30, 2008

    changcho: you don’t? The major reason people give for not being OK with LGTB/Qs is that their religion forbids it.

    In fact, have you ever heard any other reason given? I don’t think I have.

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