Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Roman Catholic Bishops oppose ENDA because they oppose marriage equality

The US Roman Catholic bishops oppose ENDA (the Employment Non-Discrimination Act), writing in a recent letter:

For example, we have seen state Supreme Courts repeatedly rely on state-level ENDAs as a basis for creating a state constitutional right to same-sex “marriage.” We consider it very likely that ENDA, despite referencing DOMA, could be used for similar purposes at the federal level. The highest courts of California, Connecticut, and Iowa have declared that the traditional definition of marriage is “discriminatory” and lacking any “rational basis,” and so violates the constitutions of their respective states. Cases are now being brought in order to create a federal constitutional right to same-sex “marriage”—whether by striking down federal DOMA, or by striking down California’s Proposition 8 in federal court. If ENDA were to pass, we would expect lawyers to invoke it in federal court under the federal constitution, just as they invoked analogous state laws in state constitutional litigation. If this strategy were to succeed, it would represent a legal and moral disaster comparable in many ways to Roe v. Wade. As leaders of the Catholic Church, we have a moral obligation to oppose any law that would clearly contribute to this outcome.
Are you clear on that? It's more of the slippery slope.

Of course, it's not the only reason they oppose ENDA. It's the usual religious institutional argument that they should be able to hire people who support their tenets, even in non-religious functions. As Andrew Sullivan writes,

Legally protecting gays from employment discrimination is now, apparently, illegitimate for Catholics. Why? Because non-procreative sexual acts violate church doctrine, and protecting employees who might engage in such acts in private therefore violates church doctrine. How does anyone know that the gay person in the office or factory is engaged in non-procreative acts? You don't. You assume it. But the assumption is enough. And so firing gay people cannot be made illegal - or it would be a restriction on "religious liberty."

Notice that there is no attempt here to argue that straight people who violate church doctrine - anyone who masturbates or uses contraception, is divorced or re-married - should not be protected from discrimination. It is always just the gays who are the target, because their identity inherently proves their iniquity, while most straight people can hide theirs..... It does not matter whether they are good at their job; their orientation, even if no one even knows it results in sodomy, is sufficient to allow them to be fired and no law be broken.

....The bishops say they'd like to protect gay people, but only if they can be seen as in no way endorsing sexual acts. But you can't do that. You can't enact a law protecting some gays from discrimination while omitting others, the distinction being whether they are engaged in non-procreative acts. It would be unenforceable, as the Bishops seem to imply.

And so they have a choice: favoring a civil society to protect individuals from unjust discrimination or not. When it comes to gays - and only gays - the Bishops have taken a stand. It is a de facto endorsement of obvious injustice. It is a profound betrayal of the core message of Jesus: that the already despised should be embraced not stigmatized, that the victims of discrimination be protected not marginalized.

1 comment:

PseudoPiskie said...

It's so easy to be a "Christian" yet so difficult to be a follower of Jesus. Why don't folks get the message? It's easy to understand why you have rejected it all, IT.