Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Pope Benedict Assigns Clerics with Questionable Records on Abuse to Investigate Irish Church

     The press is abuzz with what the New York Times is calling Pope Benedict's "most concrete actions since a sexual abuse scandal began sweeping the Roman Catholic Church in Europe."  What is this concrete action?

     Pope Benedict XVI has ordered an investigation into child abuse in the Irish Catholic Church to begin in the fall and named top prelates to carry it out, the Vatican said Monday.
     And who's qualified to head this Church run investigation?  A handful of bishops and a nun, including Archbishop Timothy "Stop picking on our awesome pope" Dolan and Cardinal Sean "I can't believe he abused again because I didn't think the allegations were credible" O'Malley, neither of whose own hands are clean when it comes to sexual abuse.

     The AP reports:
     But U.S. victims of clerical abuse were not impressed by Benedict's selections, saying some of the bishops themselves had "troubling" records on confronting abuse.  "We must look outside a largely complicit church hierarchy for real solutions to this devastating ongoing crisis," said Barbara Dorris, outreach director for the U.S. victims' group Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests.
     Some American victims groups criticized the appointments of Cardinal O’Malley and Archbishop Dolan because of their mixed records on handling abuse cases within their own dioceses.  Terrence McKiernan, founder and president of BishopAccountability.org, which tracks church records on abuse cases, said an apostolic visitation was by its nature a secretive approach that recapitulated the fundamental problem underlying the sex abuse crisis. “To employ a secretive process to solve a problem caused by secrecy,” he said, “seems to us problematic.”
      The images above are taken from articles that explore Dolan and O'Malley's participation in the cover-up and enabling of sexual predators.  The Dolan image is from the New York Times.  The O'Malley photo is  from the SNAP website.

Lt. Dan Choi and Capt. Jim Pietrangelo Declare Hunger Fast in Pursuit of Equality for LGBTQ Soldiers, GLAAD Members and Capital Pride Attendees Gather to Drink Vodka

"I hope that people will remember in future generations that somebody did stand up uncompromisingly in 2010."
-Lt. Dan Choi to Newsweek,  on May 27, 2010: Dignity Fast, Day 1

     While President Obama and the House Leadership were patting themselves on the back for having passed the Murphy Amendment, which sets in motion the possible repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell at some future date when the military deems equality acceptable, homosexual military members were being warned not to come out because the discriminatory DADT was still in effect.

     That's right.  Our "fierce advocate" President Obama is such a champion of justice that he's happy to compromise the rights of LGBT folks currently in the military to appease the estimated 22% of Americans that don't want DADT repealed immediately (including John the Baptist McCain).

     What I don't understand is why Commander in Chief Obama doesn't follow the lead of President Harry Truman and integrate the military via executive order.  Where are Obama's balls?  The least he could do is order a halt to the discharging of LGBT members immediately. Why let the discrimination continue? It's ludicrous.

     In response to the government's lackluster stand for LGBT military equality, activists Lt. Dan Choi and Capt. Jim Pietrangelo have declared a hunger strike. The news media is barely covering this story, so it's up to the blogs to continue to spread Dan and Jim's story.

     Choi and Pietrangelo's hunger strike can be followed at Dignity Fast on Youtube.  Dignity Fast's  mission:
  A fast in pursuit of Equality and Dignity for LGBTQ soldiers and the complete Repeal of DADT.
  The Dignity Fast starts May 27, 2010.
  DEMAND #1: End the Comprehensive Working Group "Study," which insults the dignity of all Americans.
  DEMAND #2: End "Don't Ask Don't Tell" discharges forever.
  DEMAND #3: Replace all discriminatory regulations in the military with a comprehensive non-discrimination policy.
  Comprehensive Repeal of DADT now.  LGBTQ service members deserve no less for their sacrifice and service.
     Again, Choi and Pietrangelo are leading the way in the equality movement. It's hypocritical and atrocious that they aren't getting support from the mainline LGBTQ advocacy organizations, who are too busy romancing big money with open bar, all-you-can eat fundraisers.

     I wonder if the activists from GLAAD's Absolute Vodka networking party in Washington, D.C., scheduled for this Friday will stop by between rounds to wish Dan and Jim well.

     As the Capitol Pride festivities kick off this week, I hope that those celebrating will not forget to recognize Dan and Jim, and perhaps drop their corn-dogs and martinis in order rally around them.

     Imagine if one day of Pride activities were cancelled and all Pride attendees were asked to gather in vigil outside the home where Dan and Jim are slowly starving themselves to death for our community's equality.

Dignity Fast, Day 2

Dignity Fast, Day 4

Image Credits: I took these photos during protests in May 2009.