Minnesota Liberal

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Toxic Waste Dump of Perversion

The Pope and the Vatican have been taking a very active role in hot political debates recently, so it was no surprise when I saw this story in the Pioneer Press today.

Church will obey Vatican's order
Gay pride material to be removed from site

St. Joan of Arc was founded in 1946 and claims 4,000 member households. It has a long history of supporting the gay and lesbian community, including its organization of a hospice for people dying of AIDS and parish participation in Gay Pride events.

Is there anyone who doesn’t believe this is politically motivated? To be more specific… I think this is more likely an extension of our current partisan atmosphere than it is a debate about what the scriptures say about homosexuality.

If you read the Pioneer Press article, you will find this little quote:

Wertin said it's unclear what prompted the order.

So, after a “long history of supporting the gay and lesbian community” it has suddenly become taboo?

Let’s make it perfectly clear- this order was prompted by politicians and/or lobbyist groups who have been pressuring the Catholic Church to pay attention to this issue. There are thousands of groups like this that are actively pursuing discrimination against gays in every possible venue. And a place of worship is no exception. In fact, it is one of the most important to their agenda.

If churches were to allow homosexuals to participate in religion… it would ruin all the nasty stereotypes that are used to denigrate the gay community. How “evil”, “disgusting”, “hedonistic”, and “sex crazed” would queer “sinners” seem if they attended regular mass each Sunday like “normal God-fearing” straight folk?

Needless to say… most churches don’t follow all the strict codes they believe are outlined in their religious texts. Just look at marriage. Most Protestant churches differ on their rules, but for the most part they have varying levels of tolerance. Many relaxed their stance on the issue as the rate of divorce increased in our country.

And it is that arbitrary decision of what is and is not acceptable at any given time that infuriates me.

My partner and I attended a mass at St. Agnes Catholic Church in St. Paul, MN a few months ago. I’m not Catholic but my partner wanted to hear their musicians. The music was excellent, but as we were leaving I found a flier about an upcoming lecture they would he hosting. The subject of the lecture was “Defending the Sanctity of Marriage.” The literature went on to describe same-sex relationships as “a toxic-waste dump of perversion.” Needless to say I regretted dropping a few dollars in the collection during the service.

This is becoming more and more common. For anti-gay activists, the church has become a key battleground. For homosexuals… it is just the place where they go to praise whatever God they believe in.

The Bush administration has also realized how great a tool religion is for pushing a political agenda. His election campaign has been lobbying churches to endorse his reelection and distribute his campaign material.

They even have a list of Minnesota churches they are targeting. This list was among dozens of emails that were inadvertently sent to georgewbush.org, instead of georgewbush.com. If you look at their “Dead Letter Office”, you can read all of the dirt that Bush campaign operatives sent to the wrong email address.

I understand that religion and politics will forever be entangled. It is impossible to get around when a good amount of the people in this country pull all their morals and values from their religious beliefs. But it hurts to see partisans refusing others the same freedom of religion they are enjoying themselves.