“It just goes to show ya, it’s always something”
~Roseanne Roseannadanna (AKA Gilda Radner)
Fresh from the Vatican, Cardinal George assured the right wing, anti-gay fringe element that he’s still a first rate bigot. In a recent television interview, he chose not to reinforce Pope Francis’ message to serve the poor. Instead, he focused on marriage. He stated that marriage is a sacred bond between a man and a woman. Its purpose is to procreate.
But wait, I’m confused here? Does that mean only couples committed to unrestrained child-rearing are eligible for marriage? No more older couples getting hitched, no more DINKs: double-income-no-kids couples, no more one or two children families? Do all heterosexual couples marry only because they want to have children? These questions rampaged through my brain as the Cardinal dictated what everyone, not only his congregants, should believe.
Then, the Cardinal went on to define homosexuality as amoral or unprincipled, unethical, and dishonorable. Many people still believe that homosexuality is immoral or wicked, depraved, corrupt; it’s good to have that clarified. But, did the Cardinal have anything enlightening to say? Was there really anything different about the Cardinal’s treatise against gay marriage?
No. There was nothing in the Cardinal’s position that was either new or enlightening. There was, however, something different. There was a definite shift in the way the Cardinal presented his position. And that is what is concerning. The Cardinal’s rationale for denying people there civil rights is what we really need to be attuned to. He and other anti-gay zealots have become more sophisticated in their message; essentially, they have rebranded hate. In the interview, the Cardinal presented himself as sincere, controlled, and logical. And by doing so, he appeared to be reasonable. That is the new approach to hate-speak; to present a seemingly sensible demeanor.
In the on-going debate about LGBTQ rights, we’ve seen lots of outright vitriolic messages and genuine acts of violence against the LGBTQ community. It is easy for even the average American who has no stake in the matter to react with disgust and turn away from these emotional extremes. But, it is harder to find argument with or recoil from the Cardinal’s calm, seemingly rational position delivered without emotion.
Emotionally charged hate-speak is falling more and more on deaf ears. So, the Cardinal and many other opponents of gay rights now APPEAR to be almost rational in their condemnation. We should not be fooled; it is the same message simply recast.
As the Supreme Court listened to testimony about Proposition 8 and DOMA, Chief Justice Scalia related that marriage equality in nine states and the District of Columbia does not represent a watershed of public opinion. Justice Kennedy questioned how we know that marriage equality actually works when we have had only a few years to test it out. Justice Thomas, whose own marriage would have been considered illegal not so very long ago, said nothing as usual. But, those of us who cherish the Constitution and what it stands for believe equal rights not only work, they are worth fighting for. Cardinal George’s message, albeit repackaged (which characterizes the position several of the Chief Justices will probably take) is moving into the realm of being irrelevant, and most Americans know that.
But in order to ensure equality for all Americans, we need to continue to keep up the pressure: We need to continue to be OUT, whether we are LGBTQ or whether we are an ally; letting everyone know we are here, we are fabulous, and we are NOT going away. We need to speak out against injustice; calling people out for their verbal slights and insults. We need to contact our State and Federal Senators and Representatives. Our message must remain the same; equality for all as guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States of America. We don’t need to repackage or rebrand; our message is the truth, and THAT can never be changed by deception or subterfuge.
While we actively seek equality, we also need to be mindful that every day, someone will come up with some new rationale that sounds sincere and logical, but in essence is designed to deny fellow Americans their rights. We must be prepared for that inevitability and combat it with all we’re worth because, “It just goes to show ya, it’s always something.”
. . . And I’m just a mom who loves her son . . .