We were getting all geared up for next week’s Democratic Convention in Charlotte, until we heard who was giving the closing speech: Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York and a staunch opponent of marriage equality both in his home state of New York and nationwide.
Dolan, who will offer a final prayer at the GOP convention in Tampa this week, offered to bless the Dems as well. “It was made clear to the Democratic convention organizers, as it was to the Republicans, that the cardinal was coming solely as a pastor, only to pray, not to endorse any party, platform or candidate,” said a diocese spokesman.
But his presence is incongruous with the record number of LGBT delegates attending the convention this year and the DNC’s strong support of LGBT equality—not to mention reproductive rights. (Dolan is staunchly anti-choice and is among a group of bishops suing the Obama administration over its mandate that contraception be covered by health insurance.)
On the subject of marriage, Dolan said in 2009 that “there is an in-built code of right and wrong that is imbedded in the human DNA…Hard-wired into us is a dictionary, and the dictionary defines marriage as between one man, one woman for life, please God, leading to the procreation of human life. “And if we begin to tamper with the very definition of marriage, then we’re going to be in big trouble.”
In 2011, when New York passed marriage equality, Dolan compared it to life under Communist China, where “government presumes daily to ‘redefine’ rights, relationships, values and natural law,” adding that responsible people “cherish true freedom, not as the license to do whatever we want, but the liberty to do what we ought.”
Leaders from the LGBT community are not happy, and we can’t blame them: “This is a historic Democratic convention for LGBT people – the party’s platform embraces both full marriage equality and federal workplace protections, and there will be more openly LGBT delegates and participants than ever before,” said HRC’s Dan Rafter. “Despite these advances, the convention will close with words from Cardinal Dolan, an active opponent of LGBT equality.”
Why did the Democrats ask Dolan to talk to the Big Guy at the convention? Were they trying to court the Catholic vote? Any Catholic who’s a fan of Dolan is likely a Republican. Or perhaps they thought it was a game of chicken and if they actually invited the Cardinal, he’d never come. If so, that was a risky and ultimately damaging ploy.
We kind of wish the had invited Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson. We’re pretty sure that guy has a hotline to God.