At Slate, Will Oremus reminds us that many species of animals are homosexual, though very few are exclusively so. There is no evidence that any animals other than human animals are homophobic:
Not as far as we know. Homosexual behavior has been documented in hundreds of animal species, but the same does not hold for gay-bashing. For starters, few animals are exclusively gay. Two female Japanese macaques might have playful sex with each other on Tuesday, then mate with males on Wednesday. Pairs of male elephants sometimes form years-long companionships that include sexual activity, while their heterosexual couplings tend to be one-night stands. For these and many other species, sexual preferences seem to be fluid rather than binary: Gay sex doesn’t make them gay, and straight sex doesn’t make them straight. In these cases, the concept of homophobia simply doesn’t apply.
I’ve known Charlie Robin for many years, so I was deeply saddened to hear that the Catholic Church retaliated against Charlie’s partner, Al Fischer immediately after the pair announced that they were traveling to New York this week to get married.
Al has done exemplary work as a music teacher at St. Ann Catholic School, a St. Louis grade school. For many years, Al and Charlie have been out in the open as a committed gay couple. When they recently announced that they were getting married, though, it was too much for the St. Louis Diocese. The Administration of the St. Ann Catholic School has been, and remains, supportive of the couple, but must now hire a new music teacher for the children, even though they already had a perfectly good music teacher.
I was raised Catholic and I know a huge number of Catholics who are completely in support of gays getting married. The upper clergy are another matter, though. I’m not really angry about Al’s firing, because this is the kind of thing I expect of the Catholic Church at this point, and I’m also delighted to see how supportive the local Catholic school has been of the relationship and proposed marriage. The Clergy, on the other hand appear to be engaged in classic groupthink, combined with a willingness to elevate a personal feeling of disgust into a dominant moral principle; and this is combined with a classic reaction formation–I’ve heard from many sources (including many men who were in the Catholic seminary) that a significant proportion of Catholic clergy are, themselves, gay.
What should Catholics do in the meantime? That’s certainly not for me to say, since I don’t believe in any of the miraculous claims of the Bible. Then again, from my discussions with many Catholics, neither do many Catholics. What they do tend to believe in is coming together as a community to celebrating their community in song and ritual, as well as maintaining an admirable commitment to helping others in need through on-the-ground good works. It is in this context that the Catholic clergy displays its ugly vindictiveness. Perhaps this self-destructive decision by leadership of an ever-dwindling church will become a flashpoint for reform efforts in St. Louis, or even nationally. Decisions like the firing of Al Fischer, combined with many other salient moral lapses of the Catholic clergy, help explain why one out of every 10 people in the United States (22,725,000) is an ex-Catholic. Not that any of this will sway the Pope, whose constant vitriolic rants against gays strongly suggest to me his own frustrated gayness.
I often wonder whether and when large numbers of Catholics will start buying up abandoned Churches, and start their own churches.
Then again, this animosity toward gays goes well beyond the Catholic Church. Rick Santorum, one of the front runners for the GOP has indicated that, if elected, he would work hard to pass laws to un-marry the 130,000 gay married couples in the United States. Such are these times . . .
Bill Moyers applauds the Presidents position on mandating birth control coverage:
The president did something agile and wise the other day. And something quite important to the health of our politics. He reached up and snuffed out what some folks wanted to make into a cosmic battle between good and evil. No, said the president, we’re not going to turn the argument over contraception into Armageddon, this is an honest difference between Americans, and I’ll not see it escalated into a holy war. So instead of the government requiring Catholic hospitals and other faith-based institutions to provide employees with health coverage involving contraceptives, the insurance companies will offer that coverage, and offer it free.
At Huffpo (same link as above), a writer named Michael Dodd, perturbed that many conservative politicians oppose even this compromise, turns their argument (why should citizens be made to pay for things that they morally oppose) on its head:
Okay, people, those of you who think it is all about “why should we pay for anything?” Why should churches NOT pay taxes? Why do I have to support THEM by paying taxes so that the roads to their buildings are built and the snow plowed? Why do I have to support churches who use the money they save by not paying taxes to pay advertising firms to produce anti-equality ads to suppress equal rights for tax-paying citizens who happen to be LGBT? Why should my taxes make it possible for them to use the money saved to pay salaries to lawyers to shield pedophiles?
Jessica Valenti is author of The Purity Myth. She has argued that conservatives who are pushing hard for virginity and chastity (with virginity proms and virginity pledges) are sexualizing women every bit as much as our pop culture, though in an opposite direction. She argues that women should be judged by what they say and do, because of their intelligence and kindness. “Our moral compass does not lie between our legs, but that is what the purity myth is telling young women.” And by the way,
Media Education Foundation has released a new video about The Purity Myth. Here’s the trailer:
What follows is a short interview of Jessica Valenti:
Look at what Josh Block told Politico about what makes someone an anti-Semite:
As a progressive Democrat, I am convinced that on issues as important as the US-Israel alliance and the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program, there is no room for uncivil discourse or name calling, like ‘Israel Firster or ‘Likudnik’, and policy or political rhetoric that is hostile to Israel, or suggests that Iran has no nuclear weapons program, has no place in the mainstream Democratic party discourse. I also believe that when it occurs, progressive institutions, have a responsibility not to tolerate such speech or arguments.
So according to Block, you are not allowed (unless you want to be found guilty of anti-Semitism) to use “policy rhetoric that is hostile to Israel” or — more amazingly — even to “suggest that Iran has no nuclear weapons program.” Those ideas are strictly off limits, declares the former AIPAC spokesman.
Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to Aaron, saying, ‘Whoever he be of your seed throughout their generations that has a blemish, let him not approach to offer the bread of his God. For whatever man he be that has a blemish, he shall not approach: a blind man, or a lame, or he that has a flat nose, or any deformity, or a man that is broken-footed, or broken-handed, or crook-backed, or a dwarf, or that has a blemish in his eye, or is scurvy, or scabbed, or has his stones broken. No man of the seed of Aaron the priest, that has a blemish, shall come near to offer the offerings of Yahweh made by fire. He has a blemish. He shall not come near to offer the bread of his God.’”
The above post combines this bible quote with a brand new decision by the United State Supreme Court that invites blatant discrimination by churches, Hosanna-Tabor Church v. EEOC. The above post by Michael Morris squarely fits the formula announced by Funmentionables:
Whereas a religious authority may try to explain away difficult passages, Morris’ refreshing man-in-the-pew perspective allows the Bible’s authority to speak for itself, as he complements each passage with his own humorous and thought-provoking commentary.