Connect with us

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



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.)

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.

NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.


Republican Who Declared His State a ‘2nd Amendment Sanctuary’ Blocks Senate Bump Stock Ban



In 2021, as the Republican Governor of Nebraska, Pete Ricketts signed a “largely symbolic” proclamation declaring The Cornhusker State a “Second Amendment Sanctuary.” Now, calling the legislation a “show vote,” U.S. Senator Ricketts has blocked a Democratic bill that would have restored a ban on bump stocks, like the one used in the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history.

Just four days ago, in a 6-3 decision along partisan lines, right-wing justices on the U.S. Supreme Court ruled a bump stock, that effectively turns an AR-15 into a machine gun, cannot be regulated under current law. Justice Clarence Thomas authored the majority opinion. The device is so dramatically lethal pro-gun President Donald Trump banned it in 2018.

In his concurring opinion, Justice Samuel Alito made clear: if lawmakers want to ban bump stocks, they can, by passing a federal law:

“Congress can amend the law—and perhaps would have done so already if ATF had stuck with its earlier interpretation. Now that the situation is clear, Congress can act.”

On Tuesday, Senator Ricketts blocked a bipartisan bill banning bump stocks – what the Supreme Court suggested and what Donald Trump had done – which was sponsored by Senators Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Susan Collins (R-ME).

READ MORE: ‘Morally Bankrupt Loser’: Top Trump VP Contender Wants to Deport 20 Million People

Bump stocks increase the rate of fire from approximately 45-60 rounds per minute, to 400-800 rounds per minute.

Senator Ricketts called the vote on banning the lethal accessory that effectively increases the rate of fire by a factor of ten, “another day in the Democrat summer of show votes,” and called the legislation “a gun-grabbing overreach.”

“This bill will not pass,” Ricketts also said, as the Associated Press reported. “It won’t pass because enough people in this building still believe in the Constitution, and the Constitution affords Americans the right to own a firearm.”

Watch Ricketts’ remarks below or at this link.

READ MORE: Marjorie Taylor Greene’s Desperate Scramble to Stop Steve Bannon From Going to Prison

Continue Reading


Marjorie Taylor Greene’s Desperate Scramble to Stop Steve Bannon From Going to Prison



On July 1, criminally-convicted former top Trump advisor Steve Bannon is expected to begin his four-month prison sentence for contempt of Congress after a federal appeals court in May rejected his last-ditch claim he was merely following advice of counsel by ignoring a lawful subpoena issued by the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack.

U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) has a plan to make Bannon’s conviction and prison sentence disappear – and that of former top Trump adviser Peter Navarro, who is currently serving his four-month prison sentence.

“I fully support and am co-sponsoring @RepThomasMassie’s resolution to rescind the subpoenas for Steve Bannon and Peter Navarro by repudiating Nancy Pelosi’s illegitimate J6 committee,” Congresswoman Greene wrote on social media Tuesday.

“Nancy Pelosi violated House rules by refusing to accept McCarthy’s appointed Republicans on the committee. Now, our Republican-led House must nullify any actions taken by the illegitimate J6 committee,” Greene wrote, falsely.

Two federal courts have ruled the House January 6 Committee was legally constituted.

READ MORE: Matt Gaetz Ethics Committee Sexual Misconduct and Drug Use Probe Expands

“We must also hold the J6 Committee members accountable for the destruction of the committee’s records,” she clamored, also falsely.

The New Republic‘s Hafiz Rashid is mocking the Georgia GOP lawmaker: “MTG’s New Plot to Save Trump Allies From Jail May Be Her Stupidest Yet.”

“Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene seems to think you can just rewind time,” TNR writes. “Unfortunately for Greene and other House Republicans, rescinding the subpoenas doesn’t magically mean no crime was committed.”

Bannon, who served as Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign CEO, his Chief White House Strategist, and Senior Counselor to the President, before returning to the far-right wing website Breitbart, where he was a founding board member and later, executive chairman.

But now Bannon, a far-right provocateur, hosts the “War Room” podcast, which Media Matters last year called “the media home of Project 2025 and Trump’s retribution plans.” Last year he called for Rep. Greene to become Speaker of the House.

Project 2025 is The Heritage Foundation’s massive plan to remake the entire Executive Branch, fire thousands of civil servants, and turn the Dept. of Justice into an arm of the next Republican President.

“Bannon has continued his usual activities, such as telling a Turning Point Action convention audience Saturday who exactly will be on Donald Trump’s anticipated ‘retribution’ list and naming Justice Department officials,” TNR added. “But now, after escaping prison once thanks to a Trump pardon over a border wall fraud scheme, he will soon be behind bars, and not in a minimum-security prison camp as he wants, but in a low-security prison like Rikers since he still has an open criminal case against him.”

READ MORE: Whoopi Goldberg Mocks ‘Crook’ Trump for ‘Black Church’ Trip

Continue Reading


Matt Gaetz Ethics Committee Sexual Misconduct and Drug Use Probe Expands



The House Ethics Committee has expanded its ongoing investigation into U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), releasing a rare statement revealing it is now investigating the Florida Republican congressman for allegations of sexual misconduct, illicit drug use, accepting improper gifts, dispensing special privileges and favors to individuals, and obstruction.

The statement detailed the direction of its probe while announcing it has issued dozens of subpoenas and spoken with numerous individuals. It also announced certain allegations will not continue to be investigated.

The bipartisan Committee adds that “at this time” it “will take no further action” on allegations Gaetz “may have shared inappropriate images or videos on the House floor, misused state identification records, converted campaign funds to personal use, and/or accepted a bribe or improper gratuity.”

No reasons were given for expanding the probe nor for appearing to step back from pursuing certain  aspects.

Under Trump Attorney General Bill Barr, Gaetz, a top Trump follower, had been under federal investigation for alleged sex trafficking of a minor and alleged illicit drug use.

READ MORE: Stephen Miller Furious as Biden Moves to Protect Undocumented Spouses of US Citizens

“Investigators are examining whether Mr. Gaetz violated federal sex trafficking laws,” The New York Times had reported in 2021, citing unnamed sources. “A variety of federal statutes make it illegal to induce someone under 18 to travel over state lines to engage in sex in exchange for money or something of value. The Justice Department regularly prosecutes such cases, and offenders often receive severe sentences.”

The House Ethics Committee had also opened an investigation in 2021, but on Tuesday noted it had paused that probe at the request of the Dept. of Justice, but “reauthorized” its investigation after DOJ withdrew its request.

“On April 9, 2021, the Committee announced it had initiated a review into allegations that Representative Matt Gaetz may have engaged in sexual misconduct and/or illicit drug use, shared inappropriate images or videos on the House floor, misused state identification records, converted campaign funds to personal use, and/or accepted a bribe, improper gratuity, or impermissible gift, in violation of House Rules, laws, or other standards of conduct,” the Ethics Committee said in Tuesday’s statement.

Punchbowl News co-founder John Bresnahan characterized the Committee’s statement as “very unusual,” and adds it “[s]ays Gaetz hasn’t cooperated with the investigation.”

Despite “difficulty in obtaining relevant information from Representative Gaetz and others,” the Ethics Committee revealed it “has spoken with more than a dozen witnesses, issued 25 subpoenas, and reviewed thousands of pages of documents in this matter.”

The Committee notes that Gaetz maintains his innocence. It often indicates an expected date for resolution, updates, or further announcements but did not on Tuesday.

READ MORE: Whoopi Goldberg Mocks ‘Crook’ Trump for ‘Black Church’ Trip

HuffPost’s Jennifer Bendery called it “an unusual public statement.”

“Apparently aware the ethics committee would be making a statement about its investigation, Gaetz claimed on social media on Monday afternoon that he’s been the subject of four committee probes and all were closed,” HuffPost reported Tuesday.

On Monday Gaetz targeted former GOP House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

“’This is Soviet,’ Gaetz said of the latest ethics investigation,” HuffPost noted. “’Kevin McCarthy showed them the man, and they are now trying to find the crime.’ ”

In April, McCarthy declared he was no longer Speaker “because one person, a member of Congress, wanted me to stop an ethics complaint, because he slept with a 17-year old.”

While McCarthy did not name Gaetz, the Florida congressman has denied that allegation and never been charged for it.

Also on Tuesday Noah Bookbinder, president of the government watchdog Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington (CREW), announced the organization is suing DOJ for “documents explaining why the Justice Dept. chose not to prosecute” Gaetz.

Watch McCarthy below or at this link.

READ MORE: Democrats Have One Way to Correct Corruption of Justices Thomas and Alito: Expert

Continue Reading


Copyright © 2020 AlterNet Media.