Zack and Peterson are back to talk about a new (old) product on the market: celibacy! Also known as “ex-gay lite.” Since the ex-gay movement has largely crumbled in recent years and it’s no longer convincing to argue that sexual orientation can be changed, conservatives are now encouraging gay, lesbian, and bisexual people to just […]
Thanks to the flattery of Ben, Zack and Peterson found time for a new episode. (It may have helped that Zack is under the weather.) Among the topics are Christians are “not all like that” (NALT), how the Pope really is like that, and Peterson’s second wedding — don’t worry, it’s to the same person […]
Inspired by Arrested Development, Zack and Peterson have returned from their indeterminate hiatus. Peterson discusses the passing of his father, and Zack offers a few updates from the blogging world. Peterson is also now a climate activist, and rightfully so! If you’re excited that we’re back, you should leave some comments, or tweet us, and […]
No doubt, allies are crucial to every community, but being an ally is not easy nor simple role to play. Zack and Peterson talk with the Anarchist Revered, Shannon Kearns, to discuss how allies sometimes get it wrong. Sometimes allies make it all about them, or believe that apologizing for the actions of their church […]
Last week, I was going to write about this story, where a woman at Benedictine University lost her job, but not for being gay or getting married. She lost it because she had the gall to publish a wedding announcement. Change.org followed up with a statement from the university defending the decision, running the appropriate […]
Thanks to the flattery of Ben, Zack and Peterson found time for a new episode. (It may have helped that Zack is under the weather.) Among the topics are Christians are “not all like that” (NALT), how the Pope really is like that, and Peterson’s second wedding — don’t worry, it’s to the same person as the first. But maybe there will be a third or more! There are lots of different state options to choose from. There’s also an interjection about foot cream, but it’s probably lacking in validity. If you like what you hear and want to hear more, leave lots of comments and shower us with praise. Positive reinforcement works!
Inspired by Arrested Development, Zack and Peterson have returned from their indeterminate hiatus. Peterson discusses the passing of his father, and Zack offers a few updates from the blogging world. Peterson is also now a climate activist, and rightfully so! If you’re excited that we’re back, you should leave some comments, or tweet us, and let us know you want us to keep coming back.
No doubt, allies are crucial to every community, but being an ally is not easy nor simple role to play. Zack and Peterson talk with the Anarchist Revered, Shannon Kearns, to discuss how allies sometimes get it wrong. Sometimes allies make it all about them, or believe that apologizing for the actions of their church counts as action. Zack and Peterson discuss their own experiences as trans allies, and Shannon offers some insights about the intersections between queer and faith identities. High standards are important for allies, and hopefully people committed as allies will appreciate the task before them. Take a listen!
GLN’s Bob Schwartz pointed out that 60 percent of Catholics now support marriage equality (multiple polls add to the evidence of this majority view), and that the real problem is in the hierarchy. Surely groups like Catholics for Equality are helping move that message within the Church community.
Of course, that doesn’t change the power of the voices of Cardinals, Bishops, and Popes who speak on behalf of all Catholics. Their voices carry and often successfully paint the Zeitgeist in ways that very much oppose those survey results. If so many Catholics do support marriage equality, then they should speak up and denounce the anti-LGBT expressions of their Church leaders.
More importantly, are all these pro-marriage equality Catholics ready to put their money where their mouths are? How many of them continue to tithe the Church, enabling its continued campaign against queer liberation? If 60% of Catholics suddenly stopped giving to the Church, it would be crippling!
I don’t really see that happening. Catholicism is not a democracy, so it doesn’t get credit for poll results. Only when all these supposed Catholic allies can turn their support into real action do they deserve any credit.
If you’re a Catholic who supports marriage equality, good for you! If you’re still putting money in the offering basket each week, thanks but no thanks. All those hundreds of thousands of dollars the Church spends on anti-LGBT campaigns come from good pro-LGBT Catholics like you.
Today marks the ceremonial 100th day of school for students across the United States. It’s an important day to mark the ongoing culture of bullying and harassment that persists for young people who are perceived to be LGBT in our schools and universities. In solidarity with the Safe Schools Action Network, I’m pleased to share with you the testimony of one young person who has been the victim of bullying.
The following was written by a student at the Catholic University of America.
Late one night during my sophomore year, here at CUA, I was asleep in my dorm room in Ryan. It was probably around 3:00 AM when I awoke to several loud bangs on my door. I heard several voices out in the hallway, all male, and they were all laughing and talking about me. They yelled, “Yo, come out here faggot!”
I continued to lie in my bed; my heart was racing, and I didn’t know what to do. Another male then said, “Yo, get the fuck out here faggot so I can beat the shit out of you!” I glanced across the room to my roommate’s bed to see if he had woken up, but it seemed he hadn’t.
The group in the hallway continued to bang on the door as hard and as much as they could. The hinges on the door were rattling and I was afraid that given the force with which they were hitting the door, the door itself would break at any given moment.
Then, the banging stopped and the voices were reduced to light giggling and laughter. It was at this point that I could hear the guys outside my room writing on the whiteboard outside my door. After a few minutes they began to bang on the door some more, screaming for me to come out there to see them, then the voices died down and then finally there were no more sounds in the hallway.
I was breathing rapidly, and it was only after ten minutes that I had the courage to get out of my bed to go over to the door. I looked through the peephole and saw that no one was outside. I opened the door and looked at my whiteboard and written all across it were profanities regarding my sexuality along with vulgar images of penises.
I called DPS and they responded and I filed a report, but nothing ever came of it. I lived two doors down from one of my two RAs, yet neither he nor the other one responded that night. Neither of my RAs were around that night, and as such, there was no one who could have responded right away to help me. I felt as though I couldn’t talk to anyone about it, except for close friends, and that there was no one who could legitimately sympathize with me.
Z: That’s interesting. So you’re paying for me to come to The Vatican to tell you what’s up?
P: Actually, it will be in Paris.
Z: Oh, that’s nice. I guess it wouldn’t be the most welcoming setting to invite atheists into the heart of all the Church’s opulent wealth.
P: Yeah, we thought universities would be better settings. And the Cathedral of Notre Dame.
Z: *sigh* Ah, of course.
P: And we’re not paying. In fact, we’re not even inviting. We like the idea of talking to atheists, and we like people knowing that we like the idea of talking to atheists, but we actually haven’t found anyone we want to have this dialogue with.
Z: Umm… well, I’ll pretend I believe you at this point and that it’s actually going to happen and be meaningful. Tell me more.
P: It’s going to be a series of seminars on the theme of “Religion, Light, and Common Reason.”
Z: Oh neat! The only thing I love more than physics lessons is discussions about how everything we’ve learned about our universe—much of which has become common knowledge—it all points to how unnecessary religion is. Sounds interesting!
P: Actually, we are thinking of it more as a “‘courtyard of the gentiles’ where men can in some way hook on to God, without knowing Him and before having gained access to His mystery.”
Z: Wait, so my lady friends aren’t event invited? I know the atheist community hasn’t been the best at creating visibility for our female members, but I still know plenty who would be just as eager to dialogue as these men you’re referring to.
P: They can come, I suppose, but we never have any real expectations about women’s ability to connect with God, which is why we just disregard them most of the time.
Z: Yeah, about this connect with God thing. That’s what you expect from this charade?
P: Of course. You atheists are lost in the dark. You cannot truly know God because you’ve stopped looking for Him. We just want you (at least the men) to have at least a little bit of God’s influence in your life. It’s because we care.
Z: So where does the dialogue come in?
P: What do you mean? We’re having all of these seminars just for you.
Z: Are you going to listen to us at all?
P: And at the end of it all, there will be a big party for youth, and then we’ll pray and meditate inside the Cathedral of Notre Dame.
Z: That’s a no.
P: We’ve got to turn back the tide of Western secularism!
Z: This is like inviting vegetarians to a slaughterhouse.
P: Aren’t you excited? You should feel so honored that we’re sinking so low as to reach out to you!
Z: Yeah. I’m thrilled. What are your actual goals? How will you know if this is a success?
P: Well, obviously, we’ll convince you you’re wrong. At the very least you’ll shut up, and at the best you’ll join our new evangelical efforts!
Z: So let me get this all straight. You want to hold a dialogue with atheists, but you don’t really want to hear from the atheists. You want to bring us to Church locations, teach us Church teachings, and have us pray with you. It’s on your terms, it uses your rhetoric, and you have made no suggestion that the Church is open to growing or cooperating more with secularism.
P: You’ve got it exactly! Doesn’t it sound great?
Z: You going to apologize for anything while we’re there?
But as you might recall, when I last wrote about Catholicism two weeks ago, I pointed out that people complain I “bash” Catholicism too much. So rather than just add one to the pile, I thought I’d compile the posts I’d written here about Catholicism. I want to really put it to all my Catholic readers out there… is there ever enough evidence of Church shenanigans that will make you question your loyalty? And more importantly, do you recognize that by putting money in the offering at Mass, you are endorsing all of the following behavior?
Take a look and just the few examples I’ve written about, a list that is hardly exhaustive.
November 1 – Cardinal-Designate Raymond L. Burke said that discrimination against gays is okay, because they “suffer” and are “wrong.”
October 28 – Materials I was handed at a summer street fair show that Catholics guilt teenage girls out of abortion with twisted facts, gender police dating rituals, and condemn homosexuals as “disordered” using bunk Paul Cameron research.
September 17 – The Pope told the Queen of England that “atheist extremism” was responsible for the holocaust, ignoring the fact Hitler had been Catholic.
August 24 – The group Catholics for Equality creates an opportunity for LGBT advocates to defend their Church at the same time (thus maintaining the very cognitive dissonance this post is meant to challenge).
July 13 – Chicago’s Reverend Robert Barron used atheist Christopher Hitchens’ terminal illness as a petty opportunity to promote prayer.
June 7 – The New York Times celebrated “A Gay Catholic Voice Against Same-Sex Marriage,” a profile of Eve Tushnet, who promotes harmful ex-gay therapies or condemns gay people to chastity.
April 12 – The Pope’s #2, Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, promoted the (completely wrong) idea that homosexuality and pedophilia are related.
April 3 – A senior Vatican priest speaking before the Pope compared the backlash against the Church for sexual abuse scandals to the persecution of the Jews.
March 16 – A lesbian couple cared enough about their children being Catholic that they didn’t care if their kids learned that they were actually going to Hell for their relationship.
March 12 – Bill O’Reilly actually defended the aforementioned lesbian couple when their kids were kicked out of their Catholic preschool; Father Jonathan Morris, not so much.
March 5 – A number of highlights! The DC Archdiocese ended their foster care program and all spousal benefits rather than subscribe to marriage equality. An Italian cardinal made it clear that if you support same-sex marriage, you can’t be Catholic. Distributing condoms to help fight AIDS in the Philippines is also anti-Catholic, according to bishops there. That was also the week we heard about the gay prostitution scandal inside the Vatican.
November 20 – Many Catholic leaders signed the very anti-gay Manhattan Declaration, just a week after threatening to pull out of DC charity serves should marriage pass there (as we saw above the ended up doing).
So there are my posts about Catholicism from the past year (aside from reminders here or there about Catholic positions on LGBT issues). That completely ignores the huge sums of money they gave both in 2009 (Maine) and 2008 (California and elsewhere) to fight marriage equality, as well as all scandals of sexual abuse, which continue to come to light.
So… you all okay with all of that? How many cracks will it take to break your diplomacy dike and cause you to raise some concern about your Church? If you disagree with the above actions and statements, why do you still support them both financially and in name? And if all of these things are so wrong, how is it that your beliefs are still so right?
Are you still proud to be Catholic? How did Catholicism get to be so important in your life? Can the values Catholicism represents for you ever be separated out from support of the Church?
Could you go a week without bashing – just let us be who we are?
Well, I could, except that that is exactly what Catholicism does not do for gay people. It’s amazing how often leaders of the Catholic Church (or its messaging) glibly rail on gay people. (These are the same folks whose salaries are paid by your tithing, by the way.)
I don’t know if you’ve noticed what the cultural environment is like for gay people right now, but we’ve finally been hearing about the many suicides committed by people who are persecuted for being perceived as gay. Where do all those bullies get their message?
The Catholic Church is a big source. Take a look at this Catholic Action insight from Cardinal-Designate Raymond L. Burke (hat tip Joe Jervis). You’ll note that commenting on the video has been disabled. Opponents of the gay community thinks this gives their message more power because there is no room for dissent; I think it just shows how insecure they are.
Did you catch that? First he said:
There is a discrimination which is perfectly just and good and namely that’s the discrimination between what is right and what is wrong.
Then, he goes onto say that “people with same-sex attractions” are people who “suffer” and that this attraction is “not right” that they should “correct in themselves” this attraction.
So discrimination between right and wrong is okay. People who are gay are not right. Thus, it’s okay to discriminate against gays. See how obvious the message is?
And if you don’t agree with my conclusion, you don’t have to. The good Cardinal goes on to make it for us:
And so it’s not at all an unfair discrimination to say, “Well, no. Persons who are attracted in this way…”—we can’t do them any good by making up a new idea of marriage contrary to the way in which God has created us.
[Church teachings, scripture, and tradition help us understand why] same-sex behavior is always and everywhere wrong.
I couldn’t quite make out all his words there, but his point was obvious. You can listen to the whole spiel for yourself.
Now, to all you folks out there who say, “Those are just beliefs,” you’re wrong. They are fallacies and they are incredibly hurtful. They’re not just different point of view; they are, in fact, wrong.
So yes, every time religious organizations try to use their beliefs to perpetuate discrimination against gay people, I’m going to call it out and hold the religious organization accountable for the harm it propagates.
Maybe if Catholic Church leaders stopped demonizing us and spreading the message that we’re sinners and in great need of help I wouldn’t have to keep writing about how archaic and dangerous it is.
Well, now that Halloween is upon us, it’s time for that post.
In the background right now, I’m listening to a free CD I got from the Mary Foundation called The Mass Explained. I’m almost 20 minutes into it… it’s basically an extended rant about how the bread and wine REALLY IS the body and blood of God. It’s baloney. I don’t know if I can listen much longer. It’s really just baloney… reminds me of that Frank Zappa quote about the difference between cults and religions: size. Ugh, yeah, no more.
There were a LOT of materials being distributed at the Catholic tables, and I took but a few, but which will give plenty to discuss here. The first was the aforementioned CD, of which nothing more will be said. Then, I picked up two booklets by Jason Evert (chastity.com) which I’ll pull quotes from below, and lastly, a fetus model. The distribution of these materials was at a public street fair and clearly targeted at young adults.
Let’s look at the fetus first.
Gus, The Little Jelly Fetus
This little guy (its sex organs may have appeared, but not on the model, so it could be a gal, or intersex; I named mine Gus) is 10-12 weeks old. Known as “precious one” (“Some people think that my life began at birth; but my life’s journey began long before I was born…”), it comes with a little card that tells you some things about how developed it is, things clearly designed to humanize the little jelly lump. Example:
Week 1: Conception; the baby is smaller than a grain of sugar, but the instructions are present for all that this person will become.
A zygote is not a baby and definitely not a person, but of course, the distributor of these cute little suckers, Heritage House 76, wants you to think otherwise.
Week 5: Tiny arms and legs appear, as well as the baby’s face. The baby’s blood is now separate from the mother’s.
Whoops! Sorry, an embryo is still not a baby. And I actually don’t think that’s quite accurate about the blood.
Week 11: The baby “practices breathing and facial expressions, even smiling. The baby can also urinate and stomach muscles can contract.
That one is good both for scaring girls out of getting pregnant AND guilting them out of getting an abortion. I don’t want no baby peeing in me!
Ugh. I don’t know if there’s much else need be said about the fetus. If you’re curious about getting some, they come in both Caucasian and Ethnic flavors (because all non-white fetuses look the same—you knew that right?). They’re $24.99 for a pack of 50; perfect for your Halloween party. Who doesn’t love the ol’ bowl-of-fetuses gag.
Providing misleading ideas about pregnancy are cruel, as is guilting young girls out of making certain decisions about their body. This blog is, and forever shall be, vehemently pro-choice, and disapproves of any and all pro-life propaganda.
Funny part is, there weren’t even religious messages that came with the fetus, but it sure came from the Catholic table, I can assure you of that.
Gender Policing and Sex “Education” Chastity Policing
So I picked up two booklets by Jason Evert, “Pure Love,” and “Pure Manhood,” published by Catholic Answers. Let’s be clear straight out the gate that a couple of degrees in theology do not a psychologist make. But what does a teenager know who wants to explore their sexuality? These books are loathsome.
Here are a few talking points from “Pure Love.”
p. 2: Chastity is a virtue (like courage or honesty) that applies to a person’s sexuality.
p. 4: If you’re sexually active and trying to figure out if it’s love, apply the love test. Take the sexual part out of the relationship and live the virtue of chastity. When you remove the lust, you can see if there was ever any love to begin with. Don’t be afraid to do this, because only when love is put to the test can its real value be seen.
p. 5: Your body is a gift, and during the sexual act, the couple give themselves to each other. But to reduce this gift to a loan gives you less respect than you deserve.
p. 6: Although it may be hard to see now, sex outside of marriage hurts both people. Besides the obvious risks of disease and unwanted pregnancy, it scars them emotionally.
p. 10: If you follow others into premarital sex, you may follow them into divorce court as well. In fact, if a guy gets married as a virgin, his divorce rate is sixty-three percent lower than a non-virgin. For girls, it’s seventy-sex percent lower.
That last one’s according to a 1994 study. This kind of crap pisses me off. It’s all about guilt. It’s all about some higher calling for what you are and are not supposed to do with your body. It’s incredibly stifling and, in my opinion, harmful.
What about masturbation, Christine O’Donnell asks?
p. 26: God created sex for two purposes: bonding and babies. Masturbation achieves neither, and instead of communicating life and love, the purpose of sex becomes the satisfaction of lust.
Yes, this 2007 mini-publication includes that lovely old nonsense condemning masturbation. After all, “nothing bad happens to a man’s body if he isn’t sexually active.” Just change the sheets more regularly…
Is homosexuality a sin?
p. 27: The causes of homosexuality have not been fully explained, and many who experience these temptations do not choose or want them!
Hey! That’s true! Alright! Oh wait…
p. 27, cont.: People with same-sex attractions are called to a life of chastity along with the rest of the members of the Church who battle with their own temptations.
So, being gay isn’t a choice, but your only choice is to never have sex. Ever. If you were ever confused about how Church teachings promote bullying, check out this condemning passage:
p. 28: When we understand sex for what it is—a reflection of God’s life-giving love—it becomes clear that same-sex unions cannot reflect this. Members of the same sex can reflect his love by doing what is best for each other, but the sexual act must always be ordered toward giving life.
I just threw up in my mouth a little.
Let’s look at some of the gender policing in “Pure Manhood.”
p. 4: When the time comes to ask a young woman out, take the initiative. … This honors the girl, because it takes the burden of rejection off of her and places it on you. … If she’s not worth the pain of rejection, then you don’t desire her enough.
Get that? Girls are weak and soft, so you have to be the strong man and take initiative. Here comes more chivalry sexism!
p. 5: If you go to a restaurant, open the door for her. When you sit down, pull her chair out for her. Deliberately give her the seat that faces the center of the restaurant, or whichever one has the better view. You should take the seat that faces the wall. This is a sign that you won’t be looking over her shoulder at the hostess or the TV during dinner. Your eyes are on her, and she knows it. If an attractive woman walks by, you should keep your attention on your date, so that she is secure in your love.
Right, because women are insecure!
She should also order first, and you should pay.
p. 7: If you’re getting the feeling that you’re becoming a servant, you’re getting the right idea. If you hope to be a father one day (as a dad or a priest), then get used to it. The man is the spiritual head of the family.
That’s Catholicism in a nutshell for you. It’s all about men, which makes its values as archaic as its delusions.
This booklet also includes info about masturbation and homosexual attractions. Check out these factoids:
p. 30: The world tells people who have same-sex attraction that they have two options: either hide in the closet in fear or come out, embrace your identity, and sleep with whoever you want. …
A guy who has these attractions may not want them, or even know where they’re coming from. Perhaps they stem from an unhealthy relationship with his father, an inability to relate to other guys, or even sexual abuse.
Wrong, wrong wrong. Such horrible lies.
p. 30-31: The homosexual act is disordered, much like contraceptive sex between heterosexuals. Both acts are directed against God’s natural purpose for sex—babies and bonding.
I don’t know why he bothers mentioning bonding. Clearly, he doesn’t give a shit about bonding. And guess what, he’s not done!!!
p. 31: Even if a person does not believe in God, he cannot argue with nature. For example, the life expectancy of homosexual men is half that of heterosexual men. [Paul Cameron 1996 citation.] Furthermore, imagine what would happen if all people with same-sex attractions were place in their own country. It would be empty in a century, because bodies of the same gender are not made to receive each other. Even if a man has same-sex attractions, his body is heterosexual. He was designed to give life.
Excuse my language, but fuck. that. shit. That is the most bogus distortion of homosexuality I think I’ve ever heard (and the patronizing reference to atheists was icing on the cake). And it was right there at the Catholics’ table, freely shoved into the hands of every teenage boy who walked by.
Let me end this post with Jason’s 10-step guide to staying pure. I’m sure all of these steps will really help me deal with the fact that I have sex with whoever I want.
1. Admit the problem and set the goal. [Wait, what problem?]
2. Remove the temptation. [I can go to that country with all the gays, right?]
3. Go to confession. [Can I just blog about it?]
4. Receive the Eucharist. [I listened to that explanation of Mass and I’m really not into cannibalism.]
5. Use personal prayer. [Talking to myself isn’t very productive; I already know what I’m going to say.]
6. Ask the saints for help. [They’re dead, aren’t they?]
7. Fast. [But… I’m hungry!]
8. Do something. [Like have more sex with men?]
9. Control your eyes and words. [Well, yes, that is how I read, write, and talk.]
10. Exercise patient perseverance. [I’m bored.]
Catholics want you to live life according to their archaic and psychologically damaging ideas.