Posts Tagged “2012 elections”

Saint Peter's Square, RomeIt seems the Vatican has run out of stuff to do, these days, in spite of things like the Vatileaks scandal and the worldwide clerical child-abuse scandal (which it has yet to deal with in any kind of contrite, meaningful way). Yes, the robed denizens of the Holy See, you see, are more than slightly miffed that measures permitting gay marriage passed in three US states this past Tuesday, and it’s becoming the law of the land in France, too. The AP reports via the Washington Post that they’ve gone on the offensive over the matter (WebCite cached article):

The Vatican is digging in after gay marriage initiatives scored big wins this week in the U.S. and Europe, vowing to never stop insisting that marriage can only be between a man and a woman.

In a front-page article in Saturday’s Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, the Holy See sought to frame itself as the lone voice of courage in opposing initiatives to give same-sex couples legal recognition. In a separate Vatican Radio editorial, the pope’s spokesman asked sarcastically why gay marriage proponents don’t now push for legal recognition for polygamous couples as well. …

The Vatican’s anti-gay marriage media blitz came after three U.S. states approved same-sex marriage by popular vote in the election that returned Barack Obama to the U.S. presidency, Spain upheld its gay marriage law, and France pushed ahead with legislation that could see gay marriage legalized early next year.

The Vatican used expressed the raging paranoia typical of militant religionists:

The article insisted that Catholics were putting up a valiant fight to uphold church teaching in the face of “politically correct ideologies invading every culture of the world” that are backed by institutions like the United Nations, which last year passed a non-binding resolution condemning anti-gay discrimination.

“The church is called to present itself as the lone critic of modernity, the only check … to the breakup of the anthropological structures on which human society was founded,” it said.

Given that gay marriage is vehemently opposed by lots of people and groups … like the American Family Association and Focus on the Family in the US and other evangelical Christian ministries all over the world … the Vatican lies when it says it’s alone in this regard. The cold fact is that the R.C. Church is by no means alone in its effort to unravel the advancements we’ve made since the Enlightenment and yank humanity back to the Dark Ages.

Here’s a thought for those in the Vatican who think they should be able to moralize and tell humanity what it can and cannot do: Once you’ve purged your own Church of its criminals and miscreants; once you’ve handed over for prosecution every abusive cleric in your ranks and every bureaucrat and hierarch who covered up for them; once you’ve admitted your policies were focused more on protecting your own reputations and wealth than looking out for the welfare of children in your care; once you’ve explicitly conceded your organization is not above the criminal law of the countries in which you operate; once you’ve changed your policies to put children first and commit to operating more transparently; once every abusive priest, nun, brother, etc. and obstructionist bishop has confessed his/her crimes and begun their jail sentences; and once you’ve grown the fuck up and stopped blaming anything and everything but yourselves for what you did … THEN, and ONLY THEN, might you have anything coming close to the kind of moral authority that gives you any right to tell anyone else how to live. Until then, you should just shut your fucking mouths about the evils of gays, or of this horrible, rotten, insolent “secularism” you so passionately despise. They haven’t perpetrated anything close to the scope of crimes your own Church is guilty of worldwide.

Is that clear?

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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Crusaders at ConstantinopleNote: A minor update on the CT-5 primaries is below.

With primaries underway for both parties in Connecticut’s hotly contested 5th Congressional District, it almost goes without saying that the Republican candidates are falling all over themselves trying to present themselves as dutifully sanctimonious Rightists. They’ve been advertising themselves as “job creators” and as wanting to promote “freedom” (even though, if any of them are elected to Congress, they will never hire anyone, and will only reduce people’s freedom rather than enhance it). They’ve mostly steered clear of religion, but I knew it wouldn’t be long before their urge to express their piety and sanctity would overpower them. The Hartford Courant reports that the first of them to do this, is Mark Greenberg (WebCite cached article):

Republican congressional candidate Mark Greenberg questioned whether Islam was a peaceful religion Thursday and said he believed it was “a cult in many respects.”

His remarks were made in a radio interview on WNPR’s “Where We Live” program. …

When [host John] Dankosky asked Greenberg if people who don’t share those beliefs also change the country and help make it great, Greenberg said, “perhaps, to a certain extent” and went on to talk about aspects related to the religion that he found objectionable. For example, he said he doesn’t believe a mosque should be built near Ground Zero in New York City, and he questioned whether Islam was a religion of peace. …

“I think it’s more a blueprint for living one’s life — a cult in many respects,” he said of Islam. “It’s a religion, but it’s also a way of living.”

Although agreeing with Dankosky that Judaism and Christianity are also ways of living, Greenberg said there is a difference.

“Judaism and Christianity are very peaceful religions,” he said. “I think they are more peaceful than Islam.”

First, I need to begin by commenting that the word “cult” has more or less become useless. It’s a pejorative term, a label slapped on any other religion one happens to dislike. The word itself has long since lost any specific meaning. That Greenberg used it of Islam, just tells me he doesn’t like Islam — it doesn’t mean anything else.

Second, his claim that Islam is not a “religion of peace” but Judaism and Christianity are, is absurd on its face. All three religions have violent pasts and they have adherents willing to resort to violence in the names of their faiths. The scriptures revered by Judaism and Christianity are chock full of violence. Some of that violence was supposedly committed by God himself, and the rest was done by his human followers. Those revered texts tell of the many bloody wars Israel supposedly fought while it was a tribal confederation and then a kingdom, including massacres and genocides. Christians have marched to war in the name of their god Jesus and took part in atrocities of their own. As recently as the late 20th century, Catholics and Protestants in Ireland were killing each other to prove which church was more Christlike. Christians have even engaged in terror campaigns of their own. And modern Judaism isn’t free of the stain of violence either; they are one side of a decades-old conflict in the Middle East, and there are some violent extremists among Jews, too.

As far as I’m concerned, any religion that carries an entitlement to impose itself on other human beings and on reality, can lead to violence in some of its adherents. That’s as true of Islam as it is of Christianity, Judaism, and a whole host of others.

I’m dreading this primary season here in the Nutmeg State. I’m sure things are going to get even weirder, very soon (the primaries are less than a month away).

Update: Things have, indeed, ramped up a bit in the twin primaries for CT’s 5th District, as I predicted they would. Dankosky’s interview with Greenberg was part of a series of planned interviews with all of the CT-5 candidates from both parties. It turns out, as the Torrington Register-Citizen reports (cached), none of the rest of them did any better than Greenberg — and one declined the interview out of fear of being asked a question she’s successfully avoided answering. The 5th District is doomed, folks … not one of these slippery creatures deserves a place in Congress, however, one of them is guaranteed to end up there. Ouch.

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