I wish I believed in hell so I could tell Timothy Dolan where to go.
[The Roman Catholic bishops of the United States’] opposition to same-sex marriage took a significant and startling turn on September 20th with the issuance of a letter from New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to President Obama in which Dolan urges the President to end his administration's "campaign against DOMA, the institution of marriage it protects, and religious freedom."
In the course of the letter, Dolan emphasizes that he is not alone in his disappointment with the President. He writes, "The content of this letter reflects the strong sentiment expressed at a recent meeting by more than thirty of my brother Bishops who serve on the Administrative Committee of our episcopal conference. I know they are joined by hundreds of additional Catholic bishops throughout our nation." His implication is that if the President does not reverse his stance regarding DOMA, he can expect the bishops to campaign against him when he is up for re-election. There are 430 bishops who lead 195 dioceses, or districts, in the US.
So the bishops will campaign against Obama, will they? To elect which Republican as President then?
The one who had his record of remorseless executions cheered at the debates? The Church is against the death penalty, supposedly.
That would be Rick “The Executioner” Perry, whose front-runner status has gone wobbly in the knees after several stumbles, not the least of them being that his stand on immigration is not as heartless as the Right Wing base of the Republican Party requires its heroes’ to be.
The Church’s stand on immigration is supposedly that the nation needs to be more open, welcoming, tolerant, and inclusive.
Tom Tancredo, one of the Republican Party’s most aggressive know-nothings wrote his own letter to his fellow Republicans appealing to their inner yahoo:
I need your help getting the word out on Rick Perry. Right now Perry is the Republican frontrunner for president– we can’t let him win! When it comes to immigration the man is George W. Bush’s clone! If Perry gets to the White House we’ll be back to fighting massive blanket amnesty for illegal aliens. You can count on it!
Tancredo used to be a Catholic but he left the Church and turned against it because he was seeing too many brown-skinned people who didn’t speak English in the pews around him.
Tancredo’s a racist and the Church holds that racism is a sin, but Dolan’s not writing any letters to Republicans running for President warning them not to listen to racist demagogues like Tancredo that I’ve heard about.
Poverty in the United States is on the rise and the Church has strong views on what governments are supposed to do about helping the poor which boil down to help them. But it’s the Republicans who are demonizing the poor and working from all directions to cut off all government aid. The plan is to increase the number of poor people, particularly old poor people, old poor sick people by ending Medicare and Social Security, but along with them are already being added many children who are getting kicked off state Medicaid rolls. If the Church is really looking for something to threaten President Obama and the Democrats over it should be that they’re not doing enough to oppose this.
For that matter, if the Church is looking for reasons to criticize the President, two words: predator drones. And, although he’s winding it down, he’s still waging a war in Iraq that both Pope John Paul II and then-Cardinal Ratzinger publically, unequivocally, and continually opposed.
I don’t know where to begin to get into the Church’s stand against the kind of corporatist capitalist Randian economic utopianism all good Republicans champion these days---“Selfishess is the greatest virtue!” isn’t the lesson of any of Jesus’ parables the nuns taught us in grade school. Ayn Rand despised religion generally, Christianity in particular, and she didn’t spare Catholicism her contempt. Her chief disciple in Congress is Paul Ryan, who is Catholic! Has he received any letters from his bishop?
While we’re on it, the Church is pro-labor and pro-Union.
Have Scott Walker and John Kasich and any of the other union-busting Republican governors heard from Dolan?
New Jersey Governor and National Press Corps darling Chris Christie has pretty much taken himself out of the running for the Republican nomination by making it clear he doesn’t feel like cravenly tying himself up into political knots like Mitt Romney, repudiating the good things he’s managed to do, renouncing beliefs he’s held all his life, and swearing he’ll support nonsense and insanity in all GOP-approved forms to get the nod. Statements like this won’t help him with the Right Wing base:
I’ve always believed that people are born with the previous disposition to be homosexual…So I think if someone is born that way it’s very difficult to say that it’s a sin…I believe we can have civil unions that can help to give the same type of legal rights to same-sex couples that marriage gives them.
Chris Christie is Catholic, so Dolan has more grounds for expecting him to care what the bishops think, and so I expect that if Christie does lose his mind and decide to get into the race, Dolan will write him a letter, one adding that “Besides your needing to toe the Church line on homosexuality, you must also repudiate your own party’s platform on the issues of torture, immigration, poverty, and the death penalty.”
I won’t hold my breath.
Of course, this isn’t about anything but the American bishops’ hatred of sex of any kind that isn’t intended to get women pregnant and their desperate need to scapegoat homosexuals for the crimes of the child molesters the Church hid and protected for decades.
I’m writing my own letter.
Dear Archbishop Dolan,
May I respectfully remind you you’re the archbishop of New York, one of the most Catholic states in the nation. You can’t throw a cruet in any direction without hitting a Catholic, and what can gay people do in New York that they can do in only a few other states?
Lot of clout you got there, bish.