I got this from New Ways Ministry (see previous post).
The US Conference of Catholic Bishops is not happy about the new VAWA.
Greetings, fellow YouTube, WordPress and maybe a few Pinterest denizens. I got this story today from New Ways Ministry, which, unlike me, are pro-LGBT Catholics rather than filthy heathens. It concerns the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and how they feel about the latest iteration of the Violence Against Women Act. Not that they can do anything about it at this point, but of course they think they’re entitled to spray their turds all over the walls of public discourse no matter how low they allow their credibility to sink. I read the Bishops’ statement about the new VAWA, and I tried to write a blog post about it earlier today, but my sober brain kept putting up walls to shield my unconscious mind from the truckload of irradiated manure that the Bishops held ready to toss into any room stupid enough to open a door. So, I came home and, with the help of my trusted friend Johnnie Walker, have put together an analysis of the USCCB’s latest bout of pathological posturing.
Their issues with the new legislation are these:
All persons must be protected from violence, but codifying the classifications “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as contained in S. 47 is problematic. These two classifications are unnecessary to establish the just protections due to all persons. They undermine the meaning and importance of sexual difference. They are unjustly exploited for purposes of marriage redefinition, and marriage is the only institution that unites a man and a woman with each other and with any children born from their union.
The Senate’s decision to incorporate into S. 47 a title reauthorizing the Trafficking Victims Protection Act also raises concerns because this title omits language to protect the conscience rights of faith-based service providers to victims of human trafficking. We strongly supported efforts to include such provisions. Conscience protections are needed in this legislation to ensure that these service providers are not required to violate their bona fide religious beliefs as a condition for serving the needy.
There’s a lot of weasel-wording in there, so in case you’re not sure what’s buried in all that word salad, I will translate their bullshit to English.
First, we have their complaints about the provisions for sexual orientation and gender identity. The Bishops’ concern is not with anything that would actually happen under this legislation, they just think that language was included to hurt their feelings. They are alleging that this is about the culture war over gay marriage. Meanwhile, the bit about “undermine the meaning and importance of sexual difference” says they don’t think lesbians and trans* women know what’s good for them, anyway. Their hand-wringing over the importance of marriage suggests that they’re not really interested in helping battered women escape from their abusers.
Then we have their whining about the paucity of so called “conscience protections,” which means they want to reserve the right to refuse to provide services that offend their sensibilities. Alternatively, they want to be able to refuse services to people who don’t play by their rules. Given that their rules include prohibitions on birth control, hostility to sexual minorities, and, indeed, a lot of really shitty approaches to women’s health and personal dignity, their conscience tends to leave a lot of vulnerable people out in the cold.
To put it bluntly: when you are providing desperately needed services to vulnerable people, there is no place for conscience clauses.
If your conscience prevents you from providing needed services to all who come to you for help, then you need to get out of the way. Your freedom of religion does not mean you are entitled to public funding. What about the religious freedom of the women who’ve been forced into prostitution and are trying to get their lives back? The law does not protect you while it constrains everyone else.
Even aside from all that, I think what’s most relevant here is to consider the source of the criticism. We have a club of theoretically celibate men, who refuse to let women into their ranks, who oppose birth control access at every opportunity, who have a well-documented, global history of enabling sex offenders, and they see VAWA, a law which has actually had some success at reducing sexual violence, and they want to make it all about them. The Catholic Church and all its national subsidiaries have no credibility in advancing the rights of women to do anything but stay home and make all the babies. They should not be in this discussion. Their opinion in this arena is worse than worthless, it is toxic. They are the arsonist presuming to give helpful advice to the fire department.
Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, Calif., chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, we’re not interested.
— Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco, chairman of the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, your presence is a net negative in this discussion.
— Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Ind., chairman of the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, we don’t want to hear what you have to say.
— Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, shut the fuck up.
— Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, chairman of the Committee on Migration, this is not your fight.
You all shouldn’t even be in this conversation. Go home. Grown-ups are talking.