Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Catholic Bishops Punishing Nuns who Supported Healthcare Reform

     Now, some Catholic bishops, who don't like it when more qualified women disagree publicly with them,  are punishing women religious, who have generations of experience working in the healthcare industry, for supporting President Obama's healthcare reform bill. 

    Because we all know that Jesus refused his healing services to those without Coliseum Care or Blue Phalanx coverage.

     At least two U.S. bishops have taken actions to indicate their disapproval of the support some women's religious communities and the Catholic Health Association gave to the final version of health care reform legislation.
     Bishop Lawrence E. Brandt of Greensburg, Pa., has directed diocesan offices, parishes and the diocesan newspaper not to promote the "vocation awareness program of any religious community" that was a signatory to a letter urging members of the House of Representatives to pass the health reform bill.
     In Providence, R.I., Bishop Thomas J. Tobin asked the Catholic Health Association to remove the diocesan-sponsored St. Joseph Health Services of Rhode Island from its membership rolls, saying that CHA leadership had "misled the public and caused serious scandal" by supporting health reform legislation that the bishops opposed.
     Here's some of the response of my friend and fellow Catholic priest of the gay diaspora, Fr. Geoff Farrow, to the ongoing punishing of women religious by incompetent bishops concerning healthcare reform:
     If you want to understand why the sisters spoke out on behalf of Health Care Reform legislation you need to understand that the sisters operate Catholic Health Care, a vast network of hospitals. Unlike most bishops who live in immaculately manicured Episcopal Residences and work in equally impressive office complexes. The sisters actually work in hospitals. Unlike bishops, the sisters are not served by doting staffs and surrounded by cadres of sycophants. The sisters actually serve the sick and the poor. They teach children, they don’t cover-up sex abuse violations of children.
     When I worked at a Catholic hospital, patients who were being wheeled in were asked: Do you have health care insurance? If the answer was no, the patient was given necessary immediate care and promptly shipped off to County Hospital. Catholic hospitals are permitted only a specified number of “pro-bono” patients per year. The nursing staff referred to County as “the butcher shop.” One nurse told me, if you graduated bottom of your class in Medical School, you work at County.
     The sisters know all of this. They know it first hand. The bishops know that most women will not go through the pains of childbirth to save $400.00 for an abortion. They know that the legislation in question did not authorize federal payments for abortions. The bishops almost succeeded in sacrificing laws which protect the poor. What stood in their way were the sisters. The sisters were a voice for the poor, the marginalized while the bishops were busy being choir boys for the Republican Party and for an insurance industry that racked up multi-billion dollars worth of profits.

Family Research Council Uses Skeletor to Condemn ENDA

     FRC has just unveiled this wonderful clip art depicting the what they think will happen if ENDA passes, protecting LGBT persons from workplace discrimination.

     Their arguments are the arguments of the bigots of old, who said abolishing slavery was against the bible and would destroy religious freedom, who said that desegregation and interracial marriage was sinful, and who fought women's rights in the name of St. Paul. 

     Under this bill, the government will order businesses, including religious ones, to stuff their personal beliefs and hire gays and lesbians--even if the organization considers the lifestyle immoral. Essentially, Congress would be establishing a caste system, where the "rights" of homosexuals trump the First Freedoms of any employer. At the very least, it will force people out of business. At its worst, it will bully into silence every American who disagrees with homosexual behavior.
     This is bullshit.  Religious institutions, who are not recieving tax dollars, will still have the right to discriminate against all of us homos.  That's justice in America.

     And, FRC, I don't appreciate you putting words into Skeletor's mouth!

Lou Engle's Call to Uganda: Put Gays to Death

     Guess who's taking his hate-filled god-show to Uganda next month?

     Lou Engle

     The month of May will be a very dangerous time to be gay in Uganda, as Pentecostal churches there gear up for a series of crusades, marches and rallies commemorating the 50th Jubilee of the Pentecostal movement there. An anonymous BTB reader in Uganda reports that television is already carrying commercials advertising at least one event, a three-day conference to be held at the sports grounds at Makerere University (Uganda’s largest institution of higher learning) with a march and rally to be held the following Friday, May 7.  In the midst of that expected furor steps yet another American anti-gay extremist, Lou Engle of The Call, who has announced plans to hold a rally in Kampala on May 2, also at the Makerere University Sports Field.
     Engle's "The Call to National Repentance Climax Day" description lists "witchcraft and human sacrifice" right next to "homosexuality" in a list of evils in society that the Call will combat.  You know, because all gays are witches and are into killing people for their gods. 

Lutheran Restorative Justice for LGBTQ Christians Terminates Millennia of Discrimination and Hate

     The Huffington Post reports:

     After twenty-five years of deliberation, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Church Council has abolished its anti-gay policies, effective immediately. Following from discussions at the ELCA Churchwide Assembly last summer, the ELCA will now allow people in same-sex relationships to serve as rostered leaders. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) human beings are no longer considered abominations but blessed church members with full standing. Same-sex partners and families can now fully participate in the ELCA Pension Plan.
     Best of all, the ELCA is reinstating people who were removed from ministry positions because they were truthful and came out of the closet, as well as those who conducted holy unions for non-heterosexual couples. The ELCA has practiced restorative justice.
     The Lutherans -- breaking from Garrison Keillor stereotypes as shy, retiring, or stoic -- said, "Just do it!" All votes passed overwhelmingly, with no votes against and no drawn-out hassles about how to implement the policies.
     I'm proud of my Lutheran friends, some of whom are voting members of the ELCA.  By throwing out all discriminatory practices against LGBTQ persons and by restoring those who were thrown out in the past because they were honest about being gay or a supporter of equality and love for all people, the ELCA has embodied the reconciling love that the Jesus of Nazareth of the scriptures offered to marginalized and oppressed persons.

     Can you imagine if, instead of continuously blaming gays for the sexual abuse crisis or condemning the so-called "gay culture" in Vatican documents or electing a pope that referred to his own gay priests as "filth," the Roman Catholic Church did the same?

     Who would Jesus discriminate?  The ELCA has joined the United Church of Christ and Episcopal Church to firmly answer that question: "Not homosexuals!"

     Makes me wonder how any closeted gay Catholic priest, who still believes in the whole god thing can remain in a church hierarchy that smacks them with such theological violence.

Photo by NCinDC