Friday, June 17, 2011

I don’t discriminate against Catholics... I just want them to have fewer rights than everyone else



George Wallace at the University of Alabama during his notorious "Segregation today! Segregation tomorrow! Segregation forever!" speech.



The title of this essay is obviously exaggerated to make a point but there actually were those amongst our country’s sainted Founding Fathers who wanted to deny Catholics the right to vote. Would that have constituted discrimination against Catholics? Perhaps not, according to Timothy Dolan, the Catholic archbishop of New York.

If you want an classic Orwellian read, check out this blog entry by Dolan. (If you want to read pure vile hatred and lies, check out some of the reader comments at the bottom)

It was a pretty standard regurgitation of the Vatican’s position.

And no Chicken Little hysteria would be complete without an evocation of a fascist or Stalinist regime -- in this case, North Korea.

The particularly Orwellian passage by the archbishop that caught my attention was this: Our beliefs should not be viewed as discrimination against homosexual people.

Except that applying different standards to different people on the same issue is the EXACT definition of discrimination.

Discrimination is not always bad. DMVs discriminate against the blind in issuing driver's licenses. The Constitution discriminates against young people in who can run for president. Voting laws discriminate against non-citizens. All of these forms of discrimination are generally considered legitimate. But legitimate discrimination is, by definition, still discrimination.

As such, one might argue that the Church’s anti-marriage equality position constitutes legitimate discrimination but even if that's so, it’s still discrimination. It’s one thing to defend a pro-discrimination position; the Catholic Church has a number of them. It’s another thing to deny its reality.

(The most enraging thing about the position of the Vatican and many other religious organizations is not that they are defending their own right to discriminate internally, which would remain unaffected by same-sex marriage bill; it’s that they are trying to mandate that the state practice discrimination itself based on the Church’s own religious beliefs)

The archbishop insists that marriage was invented by God and can’t be modified by Man, even in our non-theocracy. A cursory look at history shows that this is demonstrably false.

But I say that if Albany can’t redefine marriage, then Dolan can’t redefine the dictionary.

***

Opponents of equal rights in New York state have recently invoked the Torah (even though we're "not a theocracy"), the Holocaust and, of course, the totalitarian North Korean regime. State senator and evangelical minister Ruben Diaz, New York's own George Wallace, compared marriage equality proponents with the Ku Klux Klan.

(Maybe there is hope... Wallace eventually came around to the fairness position, recanted his anti-civil rights views and apologized for the damage he helped inflict).

Surely that can’t be it! No Chicken Little hysteria is complete without a Nazi reference. He may have sent gays to the gas chambers, but Hitler would've supported same-sex marriage too, right?

***

A few days ago was the 44th anniversary of the Loving decision, named after the plaintiffs Richard and Mildred Loving. That was the US Supreme Court ruling that struck down all state laws banning interracial marriages.

In his ruling, the initial trial court judge ruling against the Lovings said: Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.

The rhetoric sounds awfully familiar, doesn't it.

In a statement a few years ago marking the 40th anniversary of the case, Mildred Loving wrote: I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no
matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry. Government has no business imposing some people's religious beliefs over
others. Especially if it denies people's civil rights.


She then expressed her pride that her husband's and her name is on a court
case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, black or white, young or old, gay or straight seek in life.


I couldn't have said it any better myself.

If "Wallace" Diaz's assertion is correct, then the African-American Mrs. Loving was no doubt wearing a white hood.

Why Dolan and Diaz, both self-proclaimed men of God, are so rabid in demanding the state deny this basic humanity is beyond me. I just hope the God who they claim to be representing will ask them that exact question when the time comes. I will leave the judgment up to Him. I'd urge them to do the same.


Update: the United Nations passed a historic resolution insisting up equality for all humans, without regard to sexual orientation. The Vatican joined Saudi Arabia, China and Russia in opposition.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

God may have invented marriage but Man invented God, so therefore Man intevented marriage.

Equality Now said...

just heard a report on the protests in albany. one of the chants was "god says no." that's the anti-gay side for ya. sorry people but "god" gets to decide for christians but not for everyone else.