Thursday, February 23, 2012

Catholic bigotry from a Catholic perspective

I grew up Catholic and I have wonderful memories of my church, priests I knew, and activist Catholics who were my heroes. I was never one who has called myself a recovering Catholic, that just wasn't my experience.

I left the Catholic church when I came out. I remember clearly my last mass as a closeted gay man. I was on a ship (in the Navy), and after thoughtful prayer I walked away. The only time I have been back is to celebrate people getting married or who have passed, and the occasional time I go with my mom just to make her day.

In my office I have a poster, in Spanish, with all of the names of Catholic activists murdered in El Salvador in the 80's. I spent time in San Salvador going to places where the murders occurred and visiting the tomb of Bishop Oscar Romero, another Catholic hero of mine. There are many. As an activist I have learned a lot from social justice Catholics. Indeed, that's what I thought my church was all about until I came out: helping the poor, the sick, the imprisoned, the tortured, and those seeking justice.

Meanwhile, in Colorado, the Catholic hate against gays and lesbians is front page news. Outraged at being second-class citizens, groups have introduced yet another attempt to pass a civil unions bill. In Senate committee testimony, "members of Catholic Charities threatened to cut their services in the state if gay and lesbian couples were granted civil unions. That's right, they said they'd stop assisting the most vulnerable among us—including children waiting for foster or adoptive homes—if our families were protected under the law. The reality is that the Colorado Civil Union Act contains specific protections on religious freedom and ensures that no child placement agency will be forced to place a child with a couple in a civil union." (Taken from a press release from One Colorado)

This isn't a surprise as I believe they did the same thing in Illinois. I'm sure the Archbishop of Denver agrees with this stance, although I have a hard time finding Catholics (just basic, regular, church going Catholics) here who agree. And some Catholics around the country go gaga over Rick Santorum, who points to his Catholicism as reasoning for being anti-gay (amongst the many things he is anti towards). Even some animal rights activists can't help but drool over Rick Santorum as he is so animal friendly. There is no mention of his genocidal tone towards gay people when the drool flows. As if it doesn't matter.

It's time for these same Catholics to take a stand and say enough is enough. These same people have so much power, especially with their pocket books. Stop the spiritual war against gays and lesbians. Stop supporting religious hierarchies that have declared war on gays and lesbians.

Thank you for reading!

1 comment:

  1. Oh Dan, this resonates!

    I grew up in a pretty progressive parish. Like you, the "real world" was eye-opening in a bad way as far as the Catholic Church was concerned.

    For me, finding the Episcopal Church was great - but in so many ways, you continue to carry your Catholicism (large C) with you always.

    I hope for change, but I couldn't stay and fight.