The Irrelevance of Religion on Gay Marriage

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or, for that matter, any other gay issue.

They told us the Earth was the center of the universe, the Earth was flat, there was no Antarctica, there was no gravity. They imprisoned Galileo, charged Da Vinci with sodomy and committed unspeakable atrocities during the Inquisition and the witch hunts. We are just the latest in a long line of people who have suffered under their holier-than-thou connection to "God." - Tony of California


The Archbishop vs. the Governor: Gay Sera, Sera

Worn out by the rampant sexting of Anthony Weiner and the relentless blogging of Archbishop Dolan, I'm wondering if our institutions need to rejigger: Maybe pols should be celibate and priests should be married.

by Maureen Dowd

With his cigars, blogs, Jameson's and Irish affability, New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan prides himself on his gumption.

Certainly his effort to kill the gay marriage bill, just one vote away from passing in Albany, shows a lot of gall.

priesttest.gifThe archbishop has been ferocious in fighting against marriage between same-sex couples, painting it as a perversity against nature.

If only his church had been as ferocious in fighting against the true perversity against nature: the unending horror of pedophile priests and the children who trusted them.

In the second-generation round of the Church vs. Cuomo, Archbishop Dolan is pitted against Andrew Cuomo , the Catholic governor who is fiercely pushing for New York to become the sixth and most populous state to approve gay marriage.

Governor Cuomo was already on the wrong side of the church for his support of abortion rights, his divorce and his living in "sin" with the Food Network star Sandra Lee. He was accused by the Vatican adviser Edward Peters of "public concubinage," as it's known in canon law, and Peters recommended that Cuomo be denied communion until he resolved "the scandal" by ceasing this "cohabiting."

And therein lies the casuistry. On one hand, as Peters told The Times about Cuomo and Lee, "men and women are not supposed to live together without benefit of matrimony." But then the church denies the benefit of marriage to same-sex couples living together.

Dolan insists that marriage between a man and a woman is "hard-wired" by God and nature. But the church refuses to acknowledge that homosexuality may be hard-wired by God and nature as well, and is not a lifestyle choice.

Dolan and other church leaders are worried about the exodus of young Catholics who no longer relate to the intolerances of church teaching. He dryly told The Times last year that when he sees long lines of young people on Fifth Avenue waiting to get into a house of worship, it's at Abercrombie & Fitch, not St. Patrick's Cathedral.

The church refuses to acknowledge the hypocrisy at its heart: that it became a haven for gay priests even though it declares homosexual sex a sin, and even though it lobbies to stop gays from marrying.

In yet another attempt at rationalization, the nation's Catholic bishops -- a group Dolan is now in charge of -- put out a ridiculous five-year-study last month going with the "blame Woodstock" explanation for the sex-abuse scandal. The report suggested that the problem was caused by permissive secular society rather than cloistered church culture, because priests were trained in the turbulent free-love era. It concluded, absurdly, that neither the all-male celibate priesthood nor homosexuality were causes.

In another resistance to reform, the bishops voted on Thursday to keep their policies on sexual abuse by the clergy largely the same, with only small revisions, ignoring victims' advocates who were hoping for meaningful changes.

At their meeting in Bellevue, Wash., one retired archbishop from Anchorage actually proposed an amendment to get rid of the "zero tolerance" provision on abuse so some guilty priests could return to parishes. That failed, at least.

If God and nature are so clear about what marriage is, why do the well-connected have an easier time getting the church to sunder their marriages with annulments? (Yes, we're talking about you, Newt Gingrich .)

In his blog, "The Gospel in the Digital Age," Dolan invokes not just God but Orwell, denouncing the "perilous presumption of the state" in reinventing the definition of marriage, which, he says, "has served as the very cornerstone of civilization and culture from the start."

The Starchbishop noted with asperity that "Last time I consulted an atlas, it is clear we are living in New York, in the United States of America -- not in China or North Korea," where "communiqu├ęs from the government can dictate the size of families, who lives and who dies, and what the very definition of 'family' and 'marriage' means."

Yeah. Not like the Vatican.

In the same blog, Dolan snidely dismissed the notion that gay marriage is a civil right. "We acknowledge that not every desire, urge, want, or chic cause is automatically a 'right,' " he wrote.

"And, what about other rights, like that of a child to be raised in a family with a mom and a dad?"

And how about the right of a child not to be molested by the parish priest?

Dolan acts like getting married (when done by gays) is a self-indulgent act of hedonism when it's really a leap of faith and a promise of fidelity.

Worn out by the rampant sexting of Anthony Weiner and the relentless blogging of Archbishop Dolan, I'm wondering if our institutions need to rejigger: Maybe pols should be celibate and priests should be married.

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This page contains a single entry by cul published on June 19, 2011 10:24 AM.

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