Monday, April 24, 2006

Queer and Loathing

Polls are below 35%. Iraq looks like Vietnam without the charm. Iran is investing in Geiger counters, and Osama bin Laden is sitting in his cave making tapes that basically say, “Neener, neener.” Karl Rove is back doing what he is supposed to do; gin up the political machine for yet another season of fear and loathing of anything that doesn’t leak out of the White House or make the president look like Johnny Bravo. First step: get the Religious Reich — including the Catholics — riled up. How? Easy! Pick on the only group left in America that it’s perfectly acceptable to discriminate against: the queers! (Watch out, Mexicanos; you’re next.)

Well, at least they’re showing their cards.

About 50 prominent religious leaders, including seven Roman Catholic cardinals and about a half-dozen archbishops, have signed a petition in support of a constitutional amendment blocking same-sex marriage.

Organizers of the petition said it was in part an effort to revive the groundswell of opposition to same-sex marriage that helped bring many conservative voters to the polls in some pivotal states in 2004. The signers include many influential evangelical Protestants, a few rabbis and an official of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

But both the organizers and gay rights groups said what was striking about the petition was the direct involvement by high-ranking Roman Catholic officials, including 16 bishops. Although the church has long opposed same-sex unions, and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops had previously endorsed the idea of a constitutional amendment banning such unions, it was evangelical Protestants who generally led the charge when the amendment was debated in 2004.

“The personal involvement of bishops and cardinals is significantly greater this time than in 2004,” said Patrick Korten, a spokesman for the Knights of Columbus, a lay Catholic group.


Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, a gay advocacy group, said supporters of the amendment were out of touch. “We have a war raging in Iraq, we have a Gulf Coast that needs to be rebuilt, we have an economy barely hanging on,” he said. “The last thing America wants is this Republican-controlled Congress spending time writing discrimination into the Constitution.”

So I guess all this talk about “Love thy neighbor as thyself” and so on was just a whole lot of sailboat fuel from these so-called ministers of the Gospel. What they want to do for the first time in over eighty years is amend the Constitution to deny rights to a group of citizens, and do it purely for the purpose of sheering their flock and then getting them into the voting booth with the horrifying image that two men or two women falling in love and making a lifetime commitment to each other is the greatest danger to America since fluoridated water. I especially enjoy the irony of the Roman Catholic Church, fresh from settling lawsuits over pedophile priests, getting in their two cents. If there’s any church in the world that needs to be a little more sensitized to gay issues, I can’t think of one. Oh, and if you don’t think this isn’t coming from the hand of Rove, I have a nice piece of land down here in East Naples to sell you.

What else have they got? They’ve got nothing to run on except fear and loathing.