29 July 2010

The gay community in Chile is reacting with indignation to recent comments by 83-year-old Cardinal Jorge Medina Estévez, who led the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments from 1996 to 2002.

Reacting to Argentina’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage, the cardinal said that “the Church distinguishes the homosexual tendency and homosexual practice. If a person has a homosexual tendency it is a defect, as if one lacked an eye, a hand, a foot.” On the other hand, homosexual activity, he noted, is immoral.

“In my life as a priest, I have had [pastoral] care of many people with this problem,” he added. Some, like alcoholics, have overcome this tendency by “discipline, education, or reeducation,” he said, while others have heroically resisted this tendency for their entire lives.

Same-sex marriage, he added, “is something in opposition to the law of God, and no human law can go against the law of God. If a human law goes against the law of God, that human law does not exist.”

In a 2002 letter, Cardinal Medina Estévez, in his capacity as a Vatican prefect, had reiterated the Church’s discipline against ordaining men with homosexual inclinations.

“Ordination to the diaconate and the priesthood of homosexual men or men with homosexual tendencies is absolutely inadvisable and imprudent and, from the pastoral point of view, very risky,” he wrote. “A homosexual person, or one with a homosexual tendency is not, therefore, fit to receive the sacrament of Holy Orders.”

Sad. I am praying for all gay children who are being raised in Roman Catholicism--a church consumed by hatred for anyone who cannot conform to a narrow and arbitrary idea of sexuality (this includes thousands of its own priests) and dependent on the "natural law" scam for moral justification. Natural law was unheard of for the first twelve centuries of Christianity.

A footnote: if you 'heroically resist' a homosexual tendency for your entire life, you may well end up as this man.

24 July 2010

If it were up to you, what works of non-fiction would you assign to be studied as literature?

1. Carl Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln
2. Barbara Tuchman, A Distant Mirror

17 July 2010

This November I will not vote for any U.S. Senate candidates. Instead, I will write in REFORM!

When a minority of 40 Senators can stop the passage of any bill--and, all too often, do so out of pure nihilist malice (disguised under the pretense of 'stopping socialism')--we should demand a change in the rules. The filibuster was never envisioned by the drafters of the Constitution; in fact, it only made its first appearance in 1946.

The filibuster procedure is uniquely injurious to democracy: 40 senators, who may represent as little as 10.08 percent[1] of the national population, can block legislation with the stroke of a pen. (All-night recitations of Shakespeare are no longer required.) The months of sucking up to Ben Nelson and Olympia Snowe during the health care debate were a product of a threatened filibuster. At this moment, we have been waiting for seven weeks for the full Senate to vote on the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, because most Republicans feel icky about gays in the showers and Harry Reid thinks they have a valid point.

Defenders of the filibuster spin magical tales of the 'slow, organic' character of our politics. There is something profoundly conservative and stabilizing about the filibuster, they say, as if Burke and Disraeli had wet dreams about a three-fifths supermajority rule in Westminster. They claim that without the rule, Congress would make too many 'unwise decisions.' As I recall, we do have elections where the people can throw the makers of unwise decisions out.

Paul Krugman wrote a perceptive column on this very issue in February.

51 Senators could reform the rules right now. To let your senators know you want an immediate elimination of the filibuster and anonymous holds, write in REFORM! on your ballot this year.
1. The smallest 20 states by population comprise 10.08 percent of the US population. As for anonymous holds, one man from Wyoming (0.17% of US population) can stop a presidential nomination from advancing.