RIP Father Raymond Gravel, Progressive Catholic Priest

Father Raymond Gravel

Sad news via CBC News:

“Father Raymond Gravel, a well-known Catholic priest, an advocate for Quebec sovereignty and a social activist, has died.

[…]

“He served one term as the Bloc Québécois MP for Repentigny, before he was ordered by church authorities to choose between his priesthood or politics and returned to the pulpit.

“He was a progressive force in the Catholic Church and an outspoken supporter of gay and women’s rights.

“At one point Gravel called the Vatican’s opposition to same-sex marriages “discriminatory, hurtful and offensive.”

“Gravel challenged the Catholic Church to adopt a more compassionate tone and get in touch with the beliefs of its adherents.

“”The Church must evolve beyond the language of interdiction and condemnations,” he wrote in an open letter dated April 23, 1999. “Such language only proves, once again, to the entire world just how disconnected the Church is from reality.”

[…]

“Gravel personally opposed abortion except in cases of rape, but he said he also opposed rules and regulations that “infantilized” women.”

Listen to an interview with one of Father Gravel’s parishoners, Gregory Baum, a retired professor of religious studies at McGill University, after the fold: Continue reading

Freedom and Responsibility (Phil Robertson Edition)

11608489735_5e822f2d20_z

Via Bob Mann:

Gay people, more often than not, throw the baby out with the bath water when it comes to religion. But we have a good reason. We’ve been scarred. Religion has damaged us. And I try to share with them the light I have seen in the Episcopal Church. But every time I get close to a breakthrough, something happens that brings out the worst in people.

One year it was Chick-fil-a. This year it’s Phil Robertson.

Thanks to Phil, I now know where everyone in my family stands on the issue of whether or not I’m a human being.

I even saw a “friend” of mine post something about how gay people can’t be Christians. Wow. Not only will they keep us from having equal rights, but they’ll keep us from equal salvation. We can’t just be second-class citizens. We have second-class souls.

Josh Barro:

The worst of my problems from being openly gay is that I get some nasty email. That means I have it really easy. In a country where gay teenagers are being bullied at school and thrown out of their homes by their parents and told by their clergy that they’re going to Hell, we should not count my inbox as a hardship.

Rather than hurting me, these emails are a reminder that I have not just an opportunity but an obligation to be out of the closet — an obligation of which other people in my position should be mindful.

[…]

The only reason these emailers make me angry is that I think about how their insults affect other people. I’m too arrogant for self-loathing, but that’s not true of everyone. A lot of gay people still live in communities where these hateful attitudes are dominant. A lot of gay children and teenagers are at the mercy of parents, teachers and clergy who hold bigoted views.

Being open and unashamed about being gay is just one small thing I can do to change the culture and make life easier for people who haven’t had my luck.

Shorter Andrew Sullivan: It would be criminal NOT to speculate about Elena Kagan’s “alleged lesbianism”

by matttbastard

Sully momentarily veers from his dogged quest to discover the truth about Trig Palin’s parentage to set his sights on an even more momentous issue of international importance: Breathlessly demanding that SCOTUS nominee Elena Kagan come clean about her sexual orientation. Or, as Sully’s latest Murdoch Times column bluntly headlines, “Answer the lesbian question, Ms. Legal Eagle.”

FFS:

[Kagan] is unmarried, and apparently has no anecdotes of dates, no ex-boyfriends or girlfriends, no romantic interludes … nothing. In 4,500 words, we do not find out even where she lives or has lived or if she lives alone. (But we do know what her brothers do for a living — teaching). The far right has already identified her as a “lesbian homosexual”; and the gay blogosphere openly discussed her alleged lesbianism weeks ago.

But there is no confirmation of that anywhere and the White House reiterated last week that questions about sexual orientation “have no place” in judging a nominee (but her gender most certainly does). Quite how you defend this argument — from a president whose own criterion for nominees is a real experience of how law can affect ordinary people — is beyond me. It is also beyond most ordinary people out there.

1. Sully, baby, no matter how one feels about you and the vainly mercurial ‘of no party or clique’ passion play that defines your trademark rapid-fire, post-ideological preening, one could never, ever accuse you of being ‘ordinary’.

So don’t even try to project your latest singular obsession onto the vast, blank canvas that symbolizes your (mis)understanding of the great, collectively anonymous (and oh-so-noble!) unwashed you and your Serious™ ilk love to cite with blissfully ignorant impunity — you’re not fooling anyone.

2. This whole quest to uncover the sordid secrets of who (ALLEGED LESBIAN!) Elena Kagan does (or doesn’t) like to get freaky with is ridiculous — and, quite frankly, sexist.

Sully is Google-stalking someone to hunt down evidence of romantic/domestic minutia that might provide clues as to which way Kagan swings, all because her physical appearance and chosen lifestyle contradict sociatal norms.  IOW, the “lesbian question” is, as Jonathan Pitts-Wiley recently dubbed it, the “white version of being called uppity” (ie, ALLEGED LESBIAN ELENA KAGAN TOTALLY FITS THE STEREOTYPICAL IMAGE OF A DYKE). One would expect coverage of what is essentially an elite whisper campaign to be the traffic-boosting provenance of gossip outlets, not an Atlantic-affiliated political blog.

Elena Kagan isn’t some desperate, fame-seeking reality show contestant. She’s (most likely) the future next 9th SCOTUS justice  And, true to her own words, she should submit to a vigourous, extensive and transparent confirmation process* to help fill the serious chasms in her scant public record (not her dating record).

Going off on a demonstrative, tangential outing campaign is both an unnecessary digression from vital efforts to illuminate an all-too-opaque SCOTUS nominee and an all-too-familiar example of the sort of sexist speculation uppity women continually face.

*Which, though sure to be a (highly relative) ratings bonanza for CSPAN as it unfolds live and in real time on teh Twitterz, is totally NOT AT ALL LIKE A REALITY SHOW. Shaddap.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Glibertarian Follies in ME

by matttbastard

So. Maine puts marriage equality and access to medicinal marijuana up for referendum. Guess which one ends up getting tread on by a big ol’ homophobic bus?

Yup.

Heckuva job, kiddies.

As usual, Adam Serwer nails it:

It never ceases to amaze me how conservatives manage to erect political-cultural barriers that seem only to apply to liberals–conservatives have argued that any path to marriage equality that goes through the courts is illegitimate, “judicial activism” so to speak, even as gun rights advocates fight for the incorporation of Second Amendment rights into the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The path to freedom through the courts is fine for the NRA, just not for people looking for the right to marry the person they love.

Marriage [equality] is ultimately inevitable–but these referendums, which put up what should be individuals’ inalienable rights up to a majority vote–nevertheless mean a great deal, as they needlessly prolong an era of inequality which this country will someday look back upon in shame. Maine relaxed prohibitions on medical marijuana last night while voting down marriage equality–it may be time to put a picture of the state in the Balloon Juice Lexicon under “glibertarian“.

Oh, and what dnA also said about Obama being MIA in ME while stumping for the two gubernatorial losers in VA and NJ:

Just as this country will one day look back in shame at discrimination against same-sex couples, so should President Obama feel regret, wondering if things could have been different had he intervened and put the full force of his office behind those fighting for their rights, rather than simply looking out for his party.

Signed. Off.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Newsflash: Alberta Jr. Fears Teh Ghey.

by matttbastard

"Justice" = finding ways to subvert the constitution. Srsly.

Dude, WTF?! Homobigoted opt-out FAIL from Canada’s new wingnut capitol:

The Saskatchewan Party government is proposing legislation that would allow the province’s marriage commissioners to refuse to perform same-sex marriages.

In a news release Friday, the government said the proposed law would ensure there are other marriage commissioners available to fill in if someone refused to perform the service because it violated his or her religious beliefs.

Provincial Justice Minister and Attorney General Don Morgan said he’ll ask the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal for an opinion on whether the proposed legislation would conform with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Two legislative options will be put to the court, he said.

“One would grandfather the existing marriage commissioners that are reluctant or unwilling to perform a same-sex marriage and the second option would grant religious exemption for not only the existing ones, but for future marriage commissioners that would have the same concerns,” he said.

As Nathan Seckinger, spokesman for the GBLUR Centre for Sexuality and Gender Diversity aptly notes, “Ultimately, what it comes down to is that we can’t have government officials asking for the right not to enforce law…I mean, where does that stop?”

Which begs the question: What if an SK marriage commissioner (which, last time I checked, was NOT a religious title) was “reluctant or unwilling” to perform an interracial marriage? Would they too be allowed to refuse their services due to strong personal convictions?

Inquiring minds want to know, Don.

h/t megan_eb

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

PSA: Support the Uniting American Families Act of 2009

by matttbastard

Immigration Equality:

Great News! Rep. Jerrold Nadler plans to reintroduce the Uniting American Families Act on Feb. 13!

You can make the bill a success by convincing your Representative to support the bill from Day One. Reintroducing the bill with as many cosponsors as possible will show powerful momentum for the rights of gay and lesbian binational couples!

Please call your Representative and ask them to be an original cosponsor of the “Uniting American Families Act of 2009”

It’s easy!

  1. Find out who your U.S. House Representative is.  Go to http://www.congressmerge.com/onlinedb/index.htm, enter your address, and you will be provided the name of your U.S. Representative.
  2. Call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202)224-3121 and ask to be connected to your U.S. Representative.
  3. Tell your representative’s staff:

I am calling to ask Representative ________________ to be an original cosponsor of the Uniting American Families Act of 2009.  To cosponsor, he/she must contact Rep. Jerrold Nadler who is the lead sponsor.

The U.S. government discriminates against gay and lesbian binational couples by not allowing us to sponsor our foreign-born life partners for immigration.  Because of this, we face the terrible choice of separating from the person we love or leaving our country.  As Americans, we should not have to choose between family and country.  Please ask Rep. _________________ to cosponsor the Uniting American Families Act of 2009 by reaching out to Rep. Nadler before February 12.

Thanks for asking your member of Congress to celebrate love this Valentine’s Day by cosponsoring UAFA!

h/t Sarah J

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

PSA: A call for action on trans rights in Tennessee

by matttbastard

Via The Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition:

For Immediate Release: Dated December 27, 2008

Another Transgender Woman Shot in Memphis

On Christmas Eve, a Memphis television station reported the shooting of Leeneshia Edwards in Memphis. She becomes the third transgender woman shot in Memphis in just six months. At last report, Leeneshia is in critical condition. We extend our hopes and prayers to Leenashia for a speedy recovery.

We also ask for anyone with any information about this latest crime to call Memphis Crimes Stoppers at (901)528-CASH.

The shooting of Leeneshia Edwards helps shed light on a disturbing trend in Memphis. Transgender women who work in the sex industry in order to survive are now being targeted by a pervasive culture of violence.

The indifferent attitude of law enforcement towards the February 16, 2006, murder of Tiffany Berry, and the February 12, 2008, beating of Duanna Johnson by Memphis Police Department officers, has sent a message that the lives of transgender people are not important. This has fed the culture of violence that has permeated the second half of 2008, and is exemplified by the July 1 murder of Ebony Whitaker, the July 28 murder of Dre-Ona Blake, a two year old girl who was killed by the man who had previously been charged with the murder of Tiffany Berry, but was allowed to walk free for two and a half years, the November 9 murder of Duanna Johnson, and now the shooting of Leeneshia Edwards.

This open season on transgender people in Memphis and elsewhere, regardless of whether or not they engage in sex work, must come to an end right now.

We call on business people who refuse to hire transgender people to open their doors immediately to transgender workers so there are alternatives to working on the streets.

We call on shelters that routinely turn away transgender people who are seeking help, to open their doors so that transgender people do not have to live on the streets.

We call on religious leaders who preach intolerance towards crossdressers and transsexuals from the pulpit to cease immediately and begin preaching messages of love and acceptance of diversity.

We call on political leaders of all parties to stop campaigning against transgender people and start supporting fully inclusive employment non-discrimination and hate crimes legislation to show that the lives of transgender people have value.

Marisa Richmond
President

The Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition (TTPC) is an organization designed to educate and advocate on behalf of transgender related legislation at the Federal, State and local levels. TTPC is dedicated to raising public awareness and building alliances with other organizations concerned with equal rights legislation.

For more information, or to make a donation, contact:

Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition (TTPC)
P.O. Box 92335
Nashville, TN 37209
http://ttgpac.com
TTGPAC@aol.com
(615)293-6199
(615)353-1834 fax

h/t Cara by way of Queen Em.

Related: More on Leeneshia Edwards from Em and Monica Roberts

Update: Renee, bumped from comments:

What bothers me most about this is the way in which these acts of violence and murders are ignored. When I wrote about this issue I focused on the race aspect. Trans women of color are being targeted. At remembering our dead over 65% of the women listed are of color. I want to know where the hell the NAACP is. I want to know where the hell NOW is. When are we going to decide that these women matter?

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

More on Barack Obama, Post-Partisanship and Billy Graham 2.0

by matttbastard

Via Sully, Erica Barnett has compiled some of the many not-so-inclusive views held by Obama’s new spiritual BFF, required reading for those who still don’t get why including Rick Warren in the Inauguration ceremony has provoked such an outcry from the left side of the aisle. Yes, by now I fully realize that the President-elect doesn’t give a rat’s ass about progressive and LGBT objections to his upcoming public indulgence in post-partisan political symbolism. But that’s precisely the point: Obama apparently feels that cementing his political philosophy into the general consciousness at the expense of a marginalized group (ie, citizens who identify as LGBT) is of greater import than symbolically challenging entrenched bigotry.

Unless Obama truly believes that progressive “intolerance” of social conservative hobbyhorses trumps the institutional denial of agency to 10% of the US public–in which case we should all just fucking give up and hand Amy Sullivan the gold medal for finally winning the Oppression Olympics.

Once again we have been presented with evidence that establishment figures within the Democratic Party–including, and, especially, Barack Obama and his 1337 team of advisers–really do believe that Sister Souljahing must be a standard operating principle if a ‘liberal’ politician is to be seen as a consensus-builder. Judging by his latest message to progressives, social conservatives, and the Beltway, Obama seems bound and determined to establish himself as the ultimate High Broderist POTUS–which is fine, if the immediate desired outcome is to receive kudos from the Sunday bobblehead brigade. Such a too-clever-by-half strategy could, however, become a long-term political liability when the time comes for Obama to court his perpetually spurned base.

Perhaps I’m a political dinosaur, desperately clinging to the vestiges of a nakedly partisan era, unprepared to navigate the terrain of today’s pragmatic political landscape. Regardless, I really don’t appreciate always being used as a goddamn prop in a broad Kabuki performance established solely for the purview of the chattering classes. There must be a (*cough*) less-divisive way for Obama to broadcast his message of inclusiveness, one that doesn’t require making a blood sacrifice on the altar of centrist credibility–especially one where he, as a straight person, has no personal stake.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

“This should be a fight over the official prayer itself”

by matttbastard

Steve Benen puts the Rick Warren controversy in broader perspective:

The real problem isn’t with who will give the invocation, but rather, the fact that there’s going to be an invocation in the first place. We had 144 years of presidential inaugurations, dating back to George Washington, in which there was no invocation and no benediction. This shouldn’t be a fight over which pastor delivers the prayer; this should be a fight over the official prayer itself.

If anyone needed an indication of how the contemporary Evangelical movement has drastically shifted the intellectual landscape of the public commons, the manner in which this debate has been framed–the existence an inaugural invocation accepted as a given, rather than challenged as an ahistorical anomaly–certainly provides a stark illustration.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers