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Victim Or Victimizer? Catholic Church, Diaz’s Gay Equality Intolerance

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Victim Or Victimizer? Friend or foe?

Hard at work painting itself as the victim in a public debate on marriage equality, The New York State Catholic Conference, along with New York State Senator and Reverend Rubén Díaz, are instead victimizing the gay community.

Guest post by New York City-​based novelist and freelance journalist Scott Rose, who frequently writes about human rights.

The New York State Catholic Conference, which bills itself as “the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in New York State,” knows absolutely no shame in its efforts to perpetuate sexual orientation apartheid in New York State. Last week the Catholic Conference published a press release titled, “A Note on Intolerance” in which it painted itself and New York State Senator and Reverend Rubén Díaz, Sr. — a Pentecostal minister and sadistic opponent of LGBT civil rights — as victims of hysterical and vulgar attack from the marriage equality movement. In fact, gay rights foes are, indeed, the bullies. Merely consider which group has full, equal, constitutionally-protected civil rights, and which does not.

I sent the author of that press release, Richard E. Barnes — who, coincidentially, was quoted Sunday in an AP article, “Some gay-rights foes claim they now are bullied” – and other leading figures in the Catholic Conference an e-mail, objecting that their presentation of information surrounding the marriage equality movement was calculated to smear gay people. I specifically offered to help to do what Mr. Barnes had not at all done – that is, to present within the press release a well-reasoned, intellectual statement explaining just what about state-sanctioned sexual orientation apartheid in the matter of marriage is so hurtful, backwards and ignorant. I did not receive the courtesy of a reply.

The appearance is that the New York State Catholic Conference, whose web site states it “was founded to translate Catholic teachings into action in the public policy arena” — in clear, direct conflict of the U.S.  Constitution’s separation of church and state – wants to keep attention centered on that handful of LGBTers who in outrage and frustration over being oppressed, do something goofy, like decide to hold an F*!% Ruben Díaz Festival.

The core issues surrounding marriage equality have nothing whatsoever to do with such diversions. For that matter, the arguments involving marriage equality, as a politician like New York State Senator and Reverend Rubén Díaz presents them, also have nothing to do with those core issues. Díaz and his anti-gay co-conspirators in the Catholic Conference have their minds closed shut, like safes with nothing but cobwebs and anti-gay vindictiveness inside. The arguments they present against equality have all been resoundingly debunked.

To cite but one example from the Catholic Conference’s press release, they allege that marriage equality would take away their “religious liberty.” That is absolute hooey. The Catholic Church has a special interest in keeping gay people oppressed. Its noxious set-up in the past has been to persecute gays and lesbians over their sexual orientation as they are growing up, drive them to the utter depths of social despair and then offer to them as the only apparent workable option for living out their lives a sexless enslavement to the Church.

The nuns in particular get hidden away, doing the dirty work and the laundry for the men up through to those towards the top of the hierarchy like the Catholic Conference’s Barnes who exploit them to live cushy privileged existences. Where anti-gay bigotry is eliminated, where gay people’s long-term relationships are validated, where gay youth are shown hope for love and intimacy in their futures, the Catholic Church loses many potential candidates that it otherwise might have been able to terrorize into becoming slavish priests or nuns.

The Catholic Conference’s press release duplicitously alleges that the organization has a “love for all of God’s children, gay or straight.” Exactly what, according to these duplicitous anti-gay bullies, are the gay and lesbian people that these Catholics allegedly love supposed to do upon reaching a marrying age? Force themselves into impossible relationships with heterosexuals? Resign themselves to permanent second-class citizenship with a mate? Part of what caused the bullycide of Tyler Clementi when he jumped to his death off the George Washington Bridge last year was Tyler’s knowledge that his society irrationally hated him so strongly for who he was that it would not permit him to marry a man.

What, incidentally, but not insignificantly, is the source of anti-gay bullies in our schools?  Anti-gay bullies do not grow under cabbages, nor do they come from families that teach good strong acceptance values. Anti-gay bullies in the schools come from households where parents teach children fraudulent notions that there is something inherently “wrong” with homosexual human beings. The way the unrelenting anti-gay bully the Pope states it, actually, is that homosexual people are “objectively disordered.” That is rich, coming from a man who maintains his grip on power by alleging belief in a “virgin birth.”

The Catholic Conference’s press release also attempts to make all LGBT people accountable for supposed credible threats made against Diaz. None of those threats, however, have come from any leader of the push for marriage equality, such as Governor Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Michael Bloomberg or Senator Thomas Duane. By contrast, during an anti-gay hate rally Díaz held in the Bronx on May 15, his co-conspirator in anti-gay oppression, the Reverend Ariel Torres Ortega, hollered at an anti-LGBT mob that God says that gay people are “worthy of death.” Not only has Diaz not apologized for that, he and his associates have tried to excuse it away, with any number of repugnantly disingenuous defenses of it.

The arguments that Ruben Díaz and Richard Barnes would make against Cuomo, Bloomberg and Duane in their defenses of equality do not bear intellectual scrutiny. The intellectual bankruptcy of Díaz’s and Barnes’s anti-gay bigotry, furthermore, is thrown into heightened relief against all the religious leaders today — not to mention, Whole churches! Whole branches of Judaism! – that favor marriage equality.  It bears repeating here that in 2009, Saqib Ali, the first Muslim Delegate in the Maryland General Assembly, explained why he voted for marriage equality. “I recognize that I represent people of all faiths and no faith at all. If I tried to enforce religion by law – as in a theocracy – I would be doing a disservice both to my constituents and to my religion.”

Díaz is to be condemned for more than just endorsing the idea that God says gays are “worthy of death.”  He calculatingly scheduled his May 15 anti-gay hate rally on the same day as this year’s annual New York Aids Walk, so people would not be available to protest at his anti-gay hate rally — forcing some to choose between their love of their brand of religion and their love of a loved one. More heterosexual than lesbian women are living with HIV or AIDS, yet lesbians of course give priority to participating in the AIDS walk over protesting Díaz’s anti-gay hate rally. The New York State Catholic Conference should be ashamed of its attacks on LGBT New Yorkers and equally ashamed of its preposterous presentation of the maliciously anti-gay Reverend-Senator Díaz as a victim.

Diaz and the Church are not the victims. Indeed, they are the victimizers.

(Image, top: Catholics at the Capitol, buttons from a March, 2011 religious lobbying effort by the New York State Catholic Conference.)

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