Truth In The Face Of Ignorance

peace love joy

peace love joy (Photo credit: Leonard John Matthews)

Back in March, I wrote a piece about the Pope speaking to American bishops about the need for a culture war about marriage equality- and we got one. The Catholic Church was the largest single contributor (through the Bishop’s Conference, the Knights of Columbus and the National Organization For Marriage) against marriage equality initiatives in four states.

They lost.

Kind of makes you wonder what kind of help those millions of dollars would have given the poor if they hadn’t been so horribly directed against love.

Anyway, I ended that essay with with an open letter to LGBTIQ persons who live every day in the face of moral attack, physical violence and angry, ignorant, powerful people. We may have come a long way this year, but we’re not there yet.

So- if I may be so bold- I’d like to reprint the letter as a reminder that we need to find inspiration in ourselves. We need to remember that in the face of ignorance, we must continually speak the quiet, powerful truth of purpose and experience.

And I need to be reminded just as much as anybody else.

To my LGBTIQ family,

Love toward yourself remains a fundamental principle of morality. Therefore it is important and necessary to insist on respect for your own right to life. I believe you were created to fill a very important place in this world- a place often dramatically misunderstood and opposed by people out of ignorance and fear.

It is crucial that you understand that you are not alone- there are millions of people who want to understand you and accept you and who will love you. You have the right to be understood- and you have the right to love and be loved in the ways you feel are most faithful to your created nature.

You have the right to live free from fear of attack and violence. You have the right to defend yourself against ignorant attacks on your dignity, happiness and self-respect. You have the right to fulfill your potential and to follow your heart and mind and soul and dreams to the best of your ability. Despite ignorance, despite persecution, despite fear and power and hate.

I believe that we are all beloved by the God of our understanding. I believe that we are valuable in being beloved. And that value is not diminished, even in the face of anger, fear and ignorance. Even in the face of religious belief which would deny us that value.

We are a courageous, wonderful people, with visions of love and acceptance and equality and happiness that I believe are deeply important to the future of the world.

I beg you, don’t let go of these visions- no matter how strongly others try to pull them away from you. They are your birthright.

They are the key hope to a world filled with peace.

Amen.

Donors For Marriage Equality Dwarfed Those Who Opposed It

 

 

Human Rights Campaign 2791

Human Rights Campaign 2791 (Photo credit: tedeytan)

From HRC Blog:
The number of contributors who gave in support of marriage for gay and lesbian couples was thirteen times greater – about 133,000 compared to an estimated 10,500 – than those giving financial resources to oppose marriage equality. That’s according to a new analysis HRC released today.

 

Polls consistently show – USA Today/Gallup and ABC News/Washington Post being the latest examples – that a majority of Americans support committed gay and lesbian couples getting a marriage license.

 

HRC obtained financial contribution data in each of the four states through the Maine Ethics Commission, Maryland Board of Elections, Minnesota Campaign Finance & Public Disclosure Board and Washington Public Disclosure Commission. Supplemental data was obtained from each of the pro-marriage equality ballot committees to account for small donors not required to be itemized by law.  Anti-marriage equality donor information was aggregated from currently available public reports and estimates of non-itemized contributions.

 

Pro-equality groups raised more than $34 million in the four states, mostly from small donors. Anti-marriage equality campaigns raised $12 million, of which nearly two-thirds ($8 million) came from just three sources: the National Organization for Marriage, the Catholic Church and its affiliate the Knights of Columbus.

 

NOM, the largest funder in all four states to defeat marriage equality, saw a one-third decline in contributions for 2011, with two donors providing 75 percent of its funding, according to tax returns obtained last month by HRC.

 

 

 

Do you Know Where YOUR Envelope Goes? Catholic Church Hierarchy Spending More Than A Million Dollars Against Marriage Equality

From The Human Rights Campaign:
by Dan Rafter, Online Campaigns Manager

click for full story

The Catholic Church is funneling unprecedented dollar amounts into the four states where marriage equality is on the ballot this fall – Minnesota, Maryland, Maine and Washington – and in many cases, parishioners may not even be aware that their dollars are being used to fund discrimination. The new HRC report finds that the Church has spent at least $1.1 million as part of its broader effort to deny loving, committed couples the right to marry. In addition, a close ally of the Church and past co-conspirator, the National Organization for Marriage, has spent nearly $1.4 million on the four ballot measures. In the aggregate, the Church and NOM are the single largest funders of discrimination, responsible for funding nearly 60 percent of all anti-equality efforts in Minnesota, Maryland, Maine and Washington.

A significant portion of the Catholic-affiliated funding -more than $640,000 – comes from the Knights of Columbus, a fraternal organization within the Church. The Knights of Columbus have an established history of using their money to fight marriage equality dating back to 2005. Equally Blessed, a coalition of pro-LGBT Catholic groups, will be releasing an extensive report in partnership with HRC today detailing the Knights’ longstanding financial support for anti-equality measures.

In Minnesota alone, the opposition to marriage equality has received more than $180,000 from dioceses across the nation. Much of this funding likely came without the knowledge of parishioners; and as diocesan schools and important programs like soup kitchens struggle for resources, the Catholic Church has instead chosen to fund hateful, misleading political campaigns targeting loving, committed couples.

Learn more about the work of the Church hierarchy and its allies in fighting marriage equality this election cycle at www.hrc.org/catholicreport.

A Catholic’s Easter Lament: Dogmatic Tone-deaf (Seattle) Bishops

Joel Connelly, who has written about the official church’s anti-gay craziness before, now addresses the move by Seattle’s Catholic bishops to use churches as places to gather signatures for Referendum 74, which seeks to rollback marriage equality in the state of Washington. Excerpt:

A painful truism of this Holy Week, Christianity’s most important days of the year:  Moral leadership in America’s Catholic Church is starting to flow from lay persons in pews and priests who deal with human problems, not prelates on thrones wearing white, red and purple hats.

Just look around to events from Rome to Berlin, and from Worcester, Mass., to Seattle.

In the Archdiocese of Seattle, our bishops issued a letter saying parishes will become signature-gathering centers for Referendum 74, a ballot measure designed to roll back same-sex marriage.  But the state’s marriage equality law was sponsored by a Catholic state senator and signed into law by a Catholic governor.

Archbishop Sartain and Bishop Elizondo talk about treating all persons with “respect, sensitivity and love,” but then urge support for a campaign put together by the National Organization for Marriage — an outfit that wants to “drive a wedge” between blacks and gays, “sideswipe” President Obama and make opposition to marriage equality “an identity marker” for young Latinos.

Connelly correctly identifies the root of all moral teaching: experience. The authentic experience of human beings who want nothing more than to live authentic lives is the only thing behind marriage equality and relationship recognition. The only thing. Most people care little for the dogma behind the teaching- especially, as in the case of thoughtful Christians, it doesn’t match their experience.

A key lesson:  Moral authority is earned.  It is not  simply acquired when a bishop/cardinal/Pope is installed.   The American (and Irish, and Dutch, and Belgian , etc.) hierarchy has forfeited a lot of that authority through its handling of the priest sex-abuse scandal. The despair is mitigated by the good works and wise words from  those in the pews. As Pope Benedict XVI used a Holy Thursday sermon to tell priests to obey orders, Medina, Wash., lay Catholic Melinda Gates was speaking from conscience about contraception at a conference in Berlin.

Contraceptives are not a code for abortion, she said, nor an invitation to promiscuous sex.  “We are talking about giving women the power to save their own lives and their children’s lives — and to give their families the best possible future,” said Gates, talking of the need for birth control in the developing world. Gates discussed the instruction in faith she received from sisters in a Catholic high school:  “In the tradition of great Catholic scholars, the nuns also taught us to question received teachings.  One of the teachings most of my classmates and I questioned was the one saying birth control was a sin.”

She didn’t question lessons on service, and giving back, and social justice, worthy grounding for the future co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Read it all here, and then forward it to everyone you know.

HRC: Romney Gave 10k To Prop 8

From LGBT/POV:

Mitt Romney - Caricature

Mitt Romney - Caricature (Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)

A number of politicos jumped on GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney for the casual way he offered to make a $10,000 bet with rival Rick Perry during a debate, saying it clearly illustrated out “out of touch” Romney was with regular folks for whom $10,000 is a lot of money. And certainly, $10,000 was a lot of money during the Prop 8 fight in California – which the Human Rights Campaign and its project NOM Exposed revealed was the amount Romney gave to the National Organization for Marriage when the antigay group emerged as a leading proponent for the Prop 8 ballot initiative that successfully stripped marriage rights from same sex couples in California. NOM has been working hard to keep the names of its donors private.

Scott Wooledge at the Huffington Post has more, finding the contribution cited “in the Oct. 28, 2008 edition of Deseret News reporting on Mitt Romney’s $10,000 donation to the National Organization for Marriage (NOM). We since have come to learn that NOM circulated some nefarious memos to convince donors that their cause was strategically planned.”

HRC’s Fred Sainz says:

The aide quoted in The Deseret News that gets Romney into campaign disclosure problems is none other than Eric Fehrnstrom, the same trusted aide who infamously compared the general election to an “Etch A Sketch.” The NYT has a great profile of Fehrnstrom here.

It also bears mentioning, that Robert George, the chairman emeritus of NOM and the author of two federal marriage amendments, sits on the editorial board of the Deseret News. You will remember that Mr. George was appointed this week by Speaker Boehner to the U.S. Commission for International Freedom.

It’s not that surprising, but in the era where “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” ended with barely a whimper, State Legislatures enacted marriage equality, and Republicans have backed off the gay marriage issue, Romney’s anti-equality contributions should be noted.

Did anyone notice a Log Cabin Republican response to Romney’s contribution?

I didn’t either.

Full story here.