On Monday, news came that the Vatican was ready to acknowledge the “gifts and qualities” gay people have to offer. By Tuesday, conservatives at the highest levels of the Vatican made sure that would not happen.
The headlines read as if there had been a major change in the Roman Catholic Church: Groundbreaking! Revolutionary! A seismic shift! All this for a preliminary draft of a document that is itself merely a recommendation for later documents.
Recently cardinals and bishops in Rome convened for what’s called an â€œextraordinary synodâ€ â€“ essentially a meeting â€“ to discuss family in the 21st century. On Monday, a spokesman for this meeting referred to a preliminary statement regarding divorced Catholics, gays and lesbians, and challenges to marriage including cohabitation.Â
Much of the media coverage was on what was thought to be more inclusive language that was, in reality, less than what the LGBT community and allies deserve.
The draft uses the term â€œincomplete and imperfectâ€ to to describe LGBT people (and divorced Catholics). That’s more insulting than welcoming.
The document continues a two-tiered system of personhood for legally married straight and gay couples. â€œThe Church furthermore affirms that unions between people of the same sex cannot be considered on the same footing as matrimony between man and woman. Nor is it acceptable that pressure be brought to bear on pastors or that international bodies make financial aid dependent on the introduction of regulations inspired by gender ideology.â€ To the Vatican, the push for equality is â€œgender ideology.â€
Yes, the document says pastors should recognize the â€œpositive aspects of civil unions and cohabitation.â€ It also notes, â€œHomosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian communityâ€ and asks if parishes are â€œcapable of welcoming these people, guaranteeing to them a fraternal space in our communities.â€ There are some LGBT-affirming Catholic communities, such as St. Francis Xavier on East 15thÂ Street in Manhattan. Other parishes have vocally objected when their pastors fired gay and lesbian lay leaders, ministers and teachers, but their voices fell on deaf ears. To the U.S. Catholic hierarchy, making a doctrinal statement by laying off a gay or lesbian person is more important than that person losing his or her income, health insurance, housing and security.Â
Just one day after this document was released, conservative prelates, led by Cardinal Raymond Burke, the head of the Vatican’s version of the Supreme Court, and African Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier, attacked the draft document, causing the Vatican to backtrack on its meaning.Â
Africa is a growth area for the Catholic Church, as is Asia, both of which are extremely conservative, and in the case of the African Church, very homophobic. Bishops from those two continents will surely join forces with fellow holdovers from John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Those bishops and cardinals make up the vast majority of the â€œmagisterium,â€ or teaching authority of the Catholic Church. Debate over this document will be a battle royale behind closed doors. The ultimate decision will be made by Francis, but in the spirit of collegiality, will he use the force of his personality to overrule the orthodox hard liners? Can the Church go from calling gays and lesbians â€œintrinsically disorderedâ€ and â€œsuffering from same-sex attractionâ€ to opening its arms in a welcoming embrace? Â
Actions will speak louder than words. Will gays and lesbians no longer be fired from churches and schools? Will children of gay and lesbian couples no longer be denied admission to parochial schools? Will LGBT Catholics be allowed to participate in lay ministries? Will they stop drumming gay men out of seminaries? Will legally married gay and lesbian couples be allowed to receive Communion? Will national conferences of Catholic bishops move rapidly to implement changes toward LGBT people, or move at a glacial pace? The final document, due in October 2015, runs the risk of being mere marketing window dressing.
We should wait to see what happens one year, two years, 10 years from now. If warranted, we should reserve a seismic “yay” until then.
Image:Â Prayer Vigil with Pope Francis ahead of the Synod.
Photo byÂ Catholic Church England and Wales, via Flickr
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‘What I Saw Was Abuse’: Allegations of Dr. Oz’s Experiments Killing Hundreds of Animals Fact-Checked by Whistleblower
Over the course of two decades Mehmet Oz, the “celebrity doctor” known as “Dr. Oz,” now the Republican Party of Pennsylvania’s nominee for a U.S. Senate seat, was the “principle investigator” at a Columbia University research laboratory with “full scientific, administrative, and fiscal responsibility for the conduct” of his studies.
According to the website Jezebel, “a review of 75 studies published by Mehmet Oz between 1989 and 2010 reveals the Republican Senate candidate’s research killed over 300 dogs and inflicted significant suffering on them and the other animals used in experiments.”
It was far more than 300 dogs, too, according to Jezebel.
“Over the course of 75 studies published in academic journals reviewed by Jezebel, Oz’s team conducted experiments on at least 1,027 live animal subjects that included dogs, pigs, calves, rabbits, and small rodents. Thirty-four of these experiments resulted in the deaths of at least 329 dogs, while two of his experiments killed 31 pigs, and 38 experiments killed 661 rabbits and rodents,” Jezebel reported.
A whistleblower, veterinarian Catherine Dell’Orto provided testimony “about Oz’s research” and “detailed extensive suffering inflicted on his team’s canine test subjects, including multiple violations of the Animal Welfare Act, which sets minimum standards of care for dogs, cats, primates, rabbits, and other animals in the possession of animal dealers and laboratories. The law specifically requires researchers and breeders to use pain-relieving drugs or euthanasia on the animals, and not use paralytics without anesthesia, or experiment multiple times on the same animal.”
Jezebel also reports “Dell’Orto testified that a dog experimented on by Oz’s team experienced lethargy, vomiting, paralysis, and kidney failure, but wasn’t euthanized for a full two days.”
“She alleged other truly horrifying examples of gratuitously cruel treatment of dogs, including at least one dog who was kept alive for a month for continued experimentation despite her unstable, painful condition, despite how data from her continued experimentation was deemed unusable. According to Dell’Orto, one Oz-led study resulted in a litter of puppies being killed by intracardiac injection with syringes of expired drugs inserted in their hearts without any sedation. Upon being killed, the puppies were allegedly left in a garbage bag with living puppies who were their littermates.”
That particular detail was so shocking U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT), commented, “WTF.”
“Upon being killed, the puppies were allegedly left in a garbage bag with living puppies who were their littermates.”
— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) October 3, 2022
“Dell’Orto also noted that while Oz wasn’t the one who euthanized the dogs and puppies himself, ‘When your name is on the experiment, and the way the experiment is designed inflicts such cruelty to these animals, by design, there’s a problem.'”
Oz’s Democratic opponent, Pennsylvania Lt. Governor John Fetterman summed up the allegations, tweeting, “Dr. Oz is a puppy killer.”
PEOPLE magazine followed up with Dell’Orto to fact check the Jezebel report.
It did not get any better for Dr. Oz.
“Dell’Orto tells PEOPLE she witnessed the inhumane treatment of dogs in lab experiments investigating aspects of heart function over which Oz served in the role of ‘principal investigator’ — including leaving dogs in pain and paralyzed for weeks, with no discernible research benefit, before they were euthanized or died,” People reports.
While others in the same role as Oz involved themselves personally in experiments to “ensure minimal suffering,” People reports, Dell’Orto says with Dr. Oz, “What I saw was abuse.”
“‘The puppies killed in the bag were killed by a vet tech,’ not by Oz, Dell’Orto tells PEOPLE.”
In another experiment one dog “was kept alive for 29 days post-operatively despite being paralyzed and with no clear research benefit, says Dell’Orto.”
“Horrible things that went on,” Dell’Orto said.
Kellyanne Conway Is Now a Religious Right Crusader Using Christianity to Attack Democrats as a Paid Fox News Contributor
Former Trump 2016 campaign manager and Senior Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway has remade herself multiple times. A pollster who once had as a client Todd Akin – the GOP lawmaker who made the phrase, “if it’s a legitimate rape” infamous – Conway also did polling for Donald Trump when he was considering a run for New York governor.
Once inside the White House Conway was one of the newsiest officials, often appearing before the Fox News cameras almost daily.
Fox News viewers will once again get to see the former top Trump aide almost daily – this time as a paid Fox News contributor who is using her Christian faith as a sword to attack Democrats.
Conway is the latest Trump White House official to be hired by Fox News, and while she’s not Trump’s spokesperson any longer, she may wrangle the gig into getting her old one back. Puck reports she is being considered to helm Trump’s expected 2024 presidential run.
In fact, the two have something in common.
“I will tell you why he wants to run for president,” Conways told CBS News on Friday. “Donald Trump wants his old job back.”
Conway joins a long list of her former colleagues at what has become a far right wing media outlet catering to promoting anything Trump, while downplaying any negative news about the former president who is currently being investigated by prosecutors in Georgia and the U.S. Dept. of Justice for an array of possible felonies, reportedly including ones under the Espionage Act.
Conway will be right at home working alongside Kayleigh McEnany, Mike Pompeo, Larry Kudlow, and Trump’s daughter-in-law and former Trump campaign official Lara Trump.
In April Vox reported that “while he hasn’t been hired by Fox, former Trump adviser Stephen Miller — known for helping to develop Trump’s nativist immigration policy — has become a fixture as a guest on Sean Hannity’s and Laura Ingraham’s shows.”
“Since the start of President Joe Biden’s term,” Media Matters reported in February, “Fox News has hired at least nine editors who previously worked for former President Donald Trump’s administration, Republican campaign offices, or Republican politicians. Many of those editors now cover politics for FoxNews.com.”
On Tuesday Conway appeared on Fox News and attacked Democrats, saying Hispanic voters “see a Democratic Party that’s openly hostile to religion. They can’t even give their thoughts and prayers when there’s a tragedy. It’s only thoughts now.”
Kellyanne: They see a Democratic Party that’s openly hostile to religion. They can’t even give their thoughts and prayers when there’s a tragedy. It’s only thoughts now. pic.twitter.com/HDL4sB5OtK
— Acyn (@Acyn) October 5, 2022
The Washington Post‘s Philip Bump calls Conway’s analysis “overly simple and, in part, … explicitly dishonest.”
“Kellyanne Conway claimed that Democrats are hostile religion, something that will surprise the vast majority of Democrats, who are religious,” he adds on Twitter. “There’s a reason that ‘religious’ doesn’t automatically mean ‘Republican.'”
One day earlier, in a segment with a chyron that reads, “The Importance of Religion,” Conway told her former and now current colleague, Larry Kudlow on Fox Business, “People are afraid to make the sign of a cross before a meal in public, they’re afraid to express their — they actually think their religion could get them canceled now, not just their politics, and think about that.”
Conway, perhaps best known for her “alternative facts” flub, offered no proof of her claim.
Kellyanne Conway: “People are afraid to make the sign of a cross before a meal in public, they’re afraid to express their — they actually think their religion could get them canceled now, not just their politics, and think about that.”
I see Christians all the time in Brooklyn! pic.twitter.com/z4YVDQ4I5M
— Eric Kleefeld (@EricKleefeld) October 3, 2022
Watch: Herschel Walker Says if Georgia Voters Don’t Elect Him They Won’t Even ‘Have a Chance to Be Redeemed’
Herschel Walker is now suggesting the souls of Georgians are in the balance, and if they don’t elect him to the U.S Senate they will not even “have a chance to be redeemed,” a Christian religious belief about being delivered from sin by God. Walker is also suggesting his right-wing son, who turned against him this week after reports he paid for an abortion, is a member of “the left.”
Appearing on Fox News Wednesday, Walker told host Brian Kilmeade, “If we vote for the people on the left, like the guy I’m running against,” Democratic U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock, “you’re not going to have a chance to be redeemed. He’s a minister and he don’t believe in redemption.”
“Right now, they’re trying to destroy America, they’re trying to destroy Georgia. It ain’t gonna happen on my watch,” the Trump-endorsed GOP nominee said.
Kilmeade asked the embattled Senate GOP candidate why his son, Christian Walker, is “doing tremendous damage to you.”
Walker served up a confusing claim, suggesting his popular right wing social media influencer son is actually a liberal.
“Well, the damage he’s doing is letting people know that the left will do whatever they can to win the seat.”
“I told you when I got into this race, I’m gonna win this seat,” Walker continued, as he played the religion card. “People see someone seated here in front of you right now that have been redeemed. And I want America to know, I’m living proof that you can make mistakes and get up and keep going forward. But you can only do it in this country right here. But you can only do it, if we get this election correct this coming November.”
Christian Walker, once his top supporter, this week blasted his father in several online videos and tweets after The Daily Beast reported the former NFL star turned Trump-endorsed MAGA politician had paid for an abortion for one of his girlfriends.
Kilmeade asked Walker if his son’s allegations – including forcing him and his mother to move to six different homes in six months, going out and sleeping with other women, and never being home to raise his own son – were true.
Walker never answered, instead, telling Fox News viewers he loves is son “unconditionally,” as Fox News repeatedly play a clip of Walker giving his son a hug and kiss at an event.
In a video posted to twitter Tuesday, Christian Walker blasted his father, saying, “I stayed silent as the atrocities committed against my mom were downplayed, I stayed silent when it came out that my father, Herschel Walker, had all these random kids across the country, none of whom he raised.”
“And you know, my favorite issue to talk about is father absence – surprise – ’cause it affected me. That’s why I talk about it all the time, because it affected me.”
“You have no idea what I’ve been through in my life,” Christian Walker added. “You have no idea what me and my mom have survived. We could have ended this on day one. We haven’t. I haven’t told any stories. I’m just saying don’t lie. Don’t lie on my mom. Don’t lie on me. Don’t lie on the lives you’ve destroyed and act like you’re some moral family man. Y’all should care about that, conservatives.”
“Family Values people: He has four kids, four different women, wasn’t in the house raising one of them,” Walker said about his father Herschel. “He was out having sex with other women. Do you care about family values? I was silent lie after lie after lie. The abortion card drops yesterday – it’s literally his handwriting in the card. They say they have receipts, whatever. He gets on Twitter, he likes about it. Okay, I’m done.”
Watch Herschel Walker’s Fox News interview below or at this link.
Herschel Walker again serves up a word salad but seems to imply his son, who is a far right social media commentator, is part of “the left.” pic.twitter.com/VAD1icdEHO
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 5, 2022
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