When former Focus on the Family leader James Dobson told The Daily Oklahoman in 2004 that,”Homosexuals…want to destroy the institution of marriage. It will destroy marriage. It will destroy the Earth,” reasonable people dismissed him as a crank. And, for the record, six states have since legalized marriage equality and the earth is still here.
Now we learn that Pope Benedict XVI did his best Dobson imitation when he delivered a New Year’s address to diplomats representing 180 nations. According to reports, the pontiff said that the marriage was “not a simple social convention, but rather the fundamental cell of every society. Consequently, policies (such as gay couples marrying) which undermine the family threaten human dignity and the future of humanity itself.”
Really? Because I just married my same-sex partner in Vermont, a state that allows for such unions. South of us is Massachusetts and Connecticut, which both allow gay people to get hitched. To my east is New Hampshire, another state where gay couples get equal treatment under the law. In this cluster of states, marriage equality has had no visible effect on heterosexuals, unless you count the extra money their businesses have made from gay tourists who visited New England to marry. Meanwhile, for the LGBT people who live in the region, there has been an obvious increase in human dignity. Whatever evidence Joseph Ratzinger possesses to back his outrageous claim must be shrouded in more secrecy than a Pope-picking conclave.
As for the claim that the future of humanity is in jeopardy – it seems to be a figment of the Pope’s vivid imagination. Life in New England has not changed one iota since marriage equality was established and anyone who says otherwise is either a liar or a lunatic. Which camp is the Pope in?
It is time for people to be honest and admit that this pope is becoming a joke and his reign is an abject failure. He arrogantly swept into office and preposterously lambasted the secularization of Europe, as if the continent was more humane when ruled by the Church and its countless bloody religious wars.
Fortunately, his goal of turning back the clock has been unrealized. Once staunchly Catholic Spain now has marriage equality and the Vatican had to recall its ambassador to Ireland after the Irish prime minister lambasted the Roman Catholic Church over pedophile priests.
Why are we even listening to the pronouncements of a “moral leader” who presides over a church that has spent billions of dollars to settle child molestation cases? If a church and its leadership do not protect the interests of children and cover-up the misdeeds of monsters, they forfeit the right to point the finger and preach. The last thing hardworking, taxpaying, law abiding LGBT families need is to be scolded by the enablers of the child sexual abuse scandals.
The pathological homophobia of Pope Benedict XVI has filtered down the food chain. Last month, Chicago Archbishop Cardinal Francis George compared the LGBT community to the Ku Klux Klan. After a huge public backlash, he finally apologized.
In Minnesota, Saint Paul and Minneapolis Archbishop John Nienstedt recently posted a letter to the local diocesan website that infuses a prayer for marriage discrimination into the Catholic Mass. Nienstedt’s pathetic “prayer” was to “assist in the strengthening of our state-wide efforts to defend marriage in our civil constitution.”
Can you feel the spirituality?
Sadly, gay bashing is a way to ascend the career ladder in Rome. For instance, the Pope will promote New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan to cardinal next month. Dolan worked mightily, yet unsuccessfully, to keep gay couples from marrying in New York. Like the Pope, Dolan should either admit he was blowing holy smoke where the sun don’t shine or produce sold evidence that he was correct in asserting that gay couples marrying would harm society.
Of course, his attacks on innocent LGBT families are not the Pope’s only notable gaffes, which include:
• In 2006, the Pope enraged Muslims when he quoted a 14th-century Christian emperor as saying the Prophet Muhammad had introduced only “evil and inhuman” ideas into the world.
• In 2009, Benedict decreed that Anglicans who leave their Church because they believed it was too liberal could join the Catholic Church, which would allow them to keep some of their traditions.
• In 2009 the Pope revoked the excommunications of four schismatic bishops from the far right order, St. Pius X Society. One of the bishops the Pope embraced, Richard Williamson, is a conspiratorial holocaust revisionist who claims the extermination of six million Jews was a hoax.
The pontiff’s rule can best be described as insensitive, indecent, and intolerant, and his latest anti-gay comments should be put into context of his overall reprehensible record. While LGBT marriage equality does not threaten the future of humanity, the out of touch pronouncements and actions of Pope Benedict XVI may very well threaten the future of the Roman Catholic Church.
Wayne Besen is a columnist and author of the book “Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth.”