|Cardinal Dolan demonstrates 'big tent' Catholicism. His letter on immigration reform specifically states the tent has no room for any gay spouses. The USCCB opposition to ENDA says the tent has no rooms for gays period.
I'm sure it was in the interests of not judging anyone that the USCCB weighed in on the Senate's attempt to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act otherwise known as ENDA. The input of the bishops was not successful in the Senate as ENDA passed 64-32. An amendment by Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa) to broaden the religious exemption aspects failed to pass as well. The vote in the Senate reflects the attitude of the general US population--including the Catholic population-- with regards to ENDA. But of course ENDA still has to pass the House and the House more closely reflects the attitude of the USCCB. I'm sure the bishops letter will have a much better reception in the House where Majority Leader John Boehner refuses to introduce the bill.....good Catholic that he is.....Moving right along I thought I'd pass on some of the observations of NCR's Jamie Manson. Here is the part where she explains the USCCB objections to ENDA.
"Their reasons are fivefold. In a letter to the U.S. Senate signed by three of the USCCB's most ardent culture warriors, Archbishop William Lori, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone and Bishop Stephen Blaire insist they "oppose unjust discrimination in the workplace."
"No one should be an object of scorn, hatred, or violence for any reason, including his or her sexual inclinations," the letter continues.
Nevertheless, they complain, ENDA "does not include an exemption for a 'bona fide occupational qualification' (BFOQ), for those cases where it is neither unjust nor inappropriate to consider an applicant's sexual inclinations." Such an omission equates sexual orientation to the same level of race discrimination "and above religion, sex, and national origin discrimination." (The BFOQ 'inclination' reasoning doesn't apply to heterosexuals I guess. The USCCB is not complaining about straight men coaching girls sports. It just refers to things like lesbian women coaching girls sports.)
Adding to that, the bishops argue, "ENDA's vague definition of 'sexual orientation' would encompass sexual conduct outside of marriage." Therefore, it will legally affirm and protect what they consider to be extramarital sex. (I'm not sure I get what this means. Are bishops advocating for employment terminiation for co habiting straight couples or does this just apply to gays?)
And speaking of marriage, the bishops believe ENDA will be used in courts to argue that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right.
Not surprisingly, gender identity protections create another host of worries for the bishops. ENDA, they say, legally forces them to view gender as little more than "a social construct or psychosocial reality" that an individual can choose.
The bishops say the bill would also violate the privacy of other employees in places where they may reasonably expect people of the same sex. One assumes they are referring to bathrooms or locker rooms here. It's a worry that apparently hasn't arisen in the 17 states where gender identity protections are already in place, but the bishops fear this could become a problem. (This kind of argumentation gets old, especially given our homes don't normally have his and her bathrooms.)
All of this adds up to their ultimate concern: ENDA threatens religious liberty. The bill threatens to punish the church by treating the teachings of the Catholic faith as discrimination. The exemption for religious employers is uncertain, they insist, and they are convinced that even exempted employers will face government retaliation. (Well, these teachings can easily be considered a form of discrimination, but the good news is the bishops can still kick out all the gays they want any time they want. It's an unfortunate reality for them that they don't rule the world.)
Even with this litany of complaints, the bishops conclude their letter insisting that they are ready to work with "all people of good will to end all forms of unjust discrimination, including against those who experience same sex attraction." (Oh yes indeed this is surely more 'up is really down' kind of wishful thinking which is why it will find a welcome audience in Tea Party controlled House.)
The bishops declare they want to work to fight LGBT discrimination in the very same document where they use remarkably discriminatory ideas.
I don't know whose tune the USCCB is dancing to, but it doesn't seem to be the one being played by the Papal piper in Rome. I hate the thought of what will come out of next week's USCCB meeting in Baltimore. The entire agenda, except for the approval of more Latinized English for a couple of sacraments, is all pelvic issues. Why this obsession with sex? Of course, that question could be asked of the Church in general and for too much of it's history, but the USCCB is going beyond the usual.
I'm hard pressed to think of another national conference of Bishops using the gay wedge issue to the same extreme the USCCB is. I couldn't help but notice in the NCR coverage of Cardinal Dolan's letter to John Boehner on immigration reform that Dolan included the following line: He called for expediting the reunification of families, but emphasized the policy must be "based on marriage as the union of one man and one woman." I'm sure John Boehner gets the reason for this line. He can be assured the USCCB will not support immigration reform if it contains anything about gays getting the same protections as straights. It sets up yet another Obamacare/contraception religious freedom fight that was so useful to certain Republicans in the Tea Party in the last elections and this current debacle we call Congress.
I really do want to know who benefits from the constant attacks on gay rights, and why it's only the USCCB that pushes this issue to this extent in Roman Catholicism. One beneficiary is obviously the Republican party and yet, this doesn't really explain what the USCCB is getting out of it. It must be on heck of a lot of Benjamins all coming from anonymous sources or the Carl Anderson led K of C, and it's enough money so that Bishops like Lori and Cordileone can spew double talk with a straight face. I'm sure most US Catholic can't wait for the coverage of Cordileone's progress report on the defense of traditional marriage. It shouldn't take more than a second. All he needs to say is: "We lost." Of course that kind of honest assesment is in short supply so I suppose we'll get to hear how losing is really winning and the Benjamins will continue to flow into USCCB coffers. Sighhhh.