Catholic Biden: “Who do you love?”

From New Ways Ministry Blog:

Vice President Joe Biden’s statement in support of marriage rights for lesbian and gay couples on NBC’s “Meet the Press” yesterday offered one of the simplest and most practical criteria for defining who a person should be allowed to marry: “Who do you love?”

Not surprising that such support comes from the first Catholic Vice President, since it so precisely reflects the views of at least 74% of American Catholics (according to a PRRI poll) who are in favor of marriage rights for same-gender couples.

A good news summary of Biden’s statements can be read by clicking here, or you can watch a video clip of the interview with Biden:

New Ways Ministry is delighted with Vice President Biden’s remarks.  He reflects the thoughts of millions of American Catholics on marriage equality, and it is great to have such a prominent Catholic lay person be the spokesperson of the laity’s views on this matter, which differ significantly from those of the Catholic hierarchy, whose voice is usually the only Catholic one heard. Biden’s comments may not be the fullest statement of support one could have hoped for from the Obama administration, but they certainly move the discussion one giant leap forward.

The vice president’s wife, Dr. Jill Biden, has long been an advocate for LGBT equality, and we are delighted that these two Catholics are helping to spread the message of equality and justice which comes from our faith experience which promotes the dignity of all human beings.

Interestingly, Biden’s question, “Who do you love?” echoes the title of an article written three decades ago by New Ways Ministry’s co-founder, Sister Jeannine Gramick:  “With Whom Have I Fallen In Love?”  The article, published in a Catholic periodical, focused on how people can determine their sexual orientation.

How does the Catholic veep’s views reflect the the views of President Obama?  Opinion is divided.

Political analyst Josh Marshall, editor of TalkingPointsMemo.com, thinks it might be a foretaste of what is to come:

“. . . I’m curious whether today’s remarks by Joe Biden on marriage equality are another example of Biden’s off-the-cuff indiscipline or something more like the White House trying to moon walk the President’s position on the issue, i.e., nudge and ease the president’s position forward while seeming to walk it back, so we’ll wake up one day and it will simply be different without ever being able to point to a day when it changed.

“Needless to say, we all know at this point that President Obama supports gay marriage but thinks the political tides aren’t quite safe enough to come out and say so. Lots of presidents telegraph this kind of equivocation but I have seen few cases where it’s been done so out there in the open.”

Pam Spaulding, writer/editor of Pam’sHouseBlend.com, did not think the remarks were significant because she felt that he was only endorsing support for civil unions, not marriage:

“I guess you could see this as yet another attempt to placate the LGBT community (i.e. open the gAyTM), or a hint that the President is about to tip-toe out of the closet, perhaps after the election. I don’t hold my breath for such things. . . .

“Biden’s comments are interesting in that they represent the President’s exact view – that gay and lesbian couples deserve the same civil rights, save the whole bit about the word ‘marriage.’ Talk about threading the political needle.”

Joan Walsh, editor at large for Salon.com, asked some interesting questions of the situation:

“It seemed an important step for an administration that can’t seem to get the president all the way there. President Obama is going to have to come out for gay marriage one of these days – can anyone honestly believe he’s against it? — but having the Catholic Biden endorse it helps, too. The group Catholic Democrats immediately Tweeted the little known fact that Catholics are the most pro-gay marriage of all Christian groups. Yet the backwards politics of the U.S. Bishops means most people don’t know that, and thus view gay marriage as a no-fly zone during an election season when the  Catholic swing vote is particularly important. So Biden’s comment mattered.

“Then the Vice President’s office issued a clarification:

‘The Vice President was saying what the President has said previously – that committed and loving same-sex couples deserve the same rights and protections enjoyed by all Americans, and that we oppose any effort to rollback those rights.  That’s why we stopped defending the constitutionality of section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act in legal challenges and support legislation to repeal it.  Beyond that, the Vice President was expressing that he too is evolving on the issue, after meeting so many committed couples and families in this country.’

” He too is evolving.’ Actually, it seemed as if Biden had finished evolving, and actually supported ‘men marrying men, and women marrying women.’  For a moment, I actually thought having Biden step out ahead of Obama was a deliberate, maybe even slightly cynical campaign move. But apparently the campaign isn’t ready to take that chance. Why would it be a problem to have the grandfatherly Irish Catholic VP a step ahead of the president on this one, anyway? I don’t know, but backtracking seems like a lose-lose to me.”

Let’s hope that the next steps will continue to be steps forward, as Biden’s original statement certainly was.

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry

Guest Editorial: Because Our Children Are Watching

By Brody Levesque | BETHESDA, MARYLAND –

Exactly what is wrong with the human body? On second thought- no – let me rephrase the question; Exactly why does the American Public feel so repulsed by the human body in its unclothed form?
Granted, I’m an adult gay man who, while I admire the female form, I am not sexually stimulated nor do I find it quite as erotic as the male form. But, and here’s the caveat and in full disclosure and honesty, as there’s an obesity pandemic here in the United States- serious obesity problem – that quite frankly limits the numbers of human forms walking around I would consider pleasant to look at au natural.
Even so- there are some very nice male & female forms out running around which brings me to today’s subject; Anti-Porn Groups Urge Boycott of NBC’s new fall show ‘Playboy Club.’
According to Patrick A. Trueman, president of Morality in Media, a faith-based group in New York that fights porn in the media;
“The TV series will “contribute to the sexual objectification and exploitation of women and encourage greater acceptance of pornography.”
The Parents Television Council’s president Timothy F. Winter wrote to NBC saying:
“Putting a veneer of sophistication on an industry that exploits women and destroys families is not laudable, it is disgraceful. Whatever positive spin you may wish to put on the series, it is undeniably a betrayal of the trust you have built over the years with America’s families — the owners of the broadcast airwaves that you will be using to force this content into the living rooms of every family in your community.”
He then added
“In what manner does the airing of such material reconcile with your public interest obligations as a broadcast licensee?”
An executive at NBC Studios in Burbank, California, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told me that ‘The Playboy Club’ series is based on the actual Playboy Club in Chicago, which became one of the busiest nightclubs in the nation during the 1960s. The show follows the drama that unfolds between Chicago’s powerful political and business movers and shakers who frequent the club and the scantily-clad Playboy ‘bunnies’ that wait on the men there.
Playboy magazine and empire founder Hugh Hefner did a voiceover for one of the first episodes of the show, describing the Playboy Club as a place “where everything was perfect, where life was magic, where the rules were broken and fantasies became realities for everyone who walked in the doors.
“It wasn’t the 50s anymore … and that was my kingdom. It was the place where dreams came true.”
According to my NBC source, the network calls the show “a provocative new drama about a time and place that challenged the social mores.”
Here’s the thing- look at the following picture:
Photo Courtesy of NBC-Universal Productions

I’ve seen MUCH less clothing both sexes on shows such as the old ‘Baywatch’ series and some of the reality shows that have invaded broadcast primetime in the past few years. In fact, I’d cite CBS’s Big Brother & Survivor as notable examples.

Oh, and shows on cable? Yeah, right, oh please don’t get me started.
But the PTC and their allies want assurances that no minor in the United States will ever lay eyes on the shocking sight of a woman in a satin swimsuit outfit and bunny ears. Because goddess knows, that is just the most scandalous thing thing ever! (Nothing worse than that is available to today’s kids with a few clicks of a mouse on the internet.)
In fact- I have researched this subject previously and the majority of kids today are internet savvy to the point of making the adults/parents/guardians look pretty silly.  Lets get Net nanny software? Today’s kids can find Anime of Bambi getting buggered by Thumper and having then the subject of *gasp* human flesh revealed? The PTC & company are pretty clueless, just ask any police agency or district attorney that’s arresting children for taking nudie pics of themselves on their mobile phones and “sexting” each other.
The Coalition for the War on Illegal Pornography, a coalition of more than 70 smaller groups (which includes Focus on the Family, Morality In Media, the Family Research Council and Concerned Women For America) told the Deseret News:
“NBC is now contributing to and encouraging a highly dangerous sexualized culture as they stoop further into the gutter for programming and profits.”
The rabidly ant-gay folks at the Florida Family Association — the group that flew a banner warning people about Gay Day at Disney World last month, have joined the war against NBC over the show, according to ChristianPost.com. The FFA warns that it intends to document all the advertisers of the show and publicise the names of those companies online and in emails to its base and like minded Christonut organisations.
God forfend that these people ever travel to Europe where nudity doesn’t even raise an eyebrow and there’s more tits, ass, and penis on commercials broadcast round the clock on regular television- not just cable- than online in porno sites.
Americans are their own worst enemies at times. Mind you, I think it’s genetic at times. They are, in some cases, descended from the Puritans, who in turn brought Americans the Salem witchhunt and whom even the English were only too happy to get rid of.
These folk are just plain morality morons and like the bumper sticker I spotted the other day states: “The Christian ‘Right’ Is Neither.”

NBC Speaks

….about the Montana GOP Platform plank that wants to criminalize gays-at least on a Montana station. Still waiting for Brian Williams and CNN.

Check it out here

And Jay Stevens on Left In The West has an excellent analysis here.