Catholic bishops continue to get their vestments in a twist over marriage equality. The latest examples: Honolulu Bishop Larry Silva and Chicago’s Cardinal George, It’s a toss up as to who is the more offensive of the two, but Silva may win by a nose.
Silva is upset because marriage equality is on a fast-track for passage in Hawaii. Democrats are counting votes for passage of an equality measure, and if they’re there (and they seem to be), Gov. Neil Abercrombie will call a special session of the legislature to make marriage equality legal. In response, Silva has issued an “urgent” appeal to the governor, arguing that not all discrimination is bad. In fact, Silva thinks some of it is pretty good.
“Unjust discrimination against them [gays and lesbians] is not acceptable,” Silva kindly concedes. “However, not all discrimination — that is, making distinctions — is unjust… To discriminate between heterosexual and same-sex couples regarding marriage is not, despite the hype on the streets, unjust discrimination.”
As if that wasn’t offensive enough, Silva decides to go all Santorum (though stopping short of “man on dog”). “Why would there be discrimination against those who decide to marry their mother or father, brother or sister, so they can gain spousal benefits for them?” Silva asks rhetorically. And (gasp!) it might even affect the prom: “When schools have dances, boys will have the choice of inviting a girl on a date, or another boy on a date.”
The Catholic Church isn’t a political powerhouse in Hawaii the way it is in Chicago, but the stench of desperation attached to a losing cause is just as strong in the Windy City. There, Cardinal Francis George is hoping against hope that marriage equality will fade away in the state legislature and the earth will change the direction of the rotation on its axis.
“If they had the votes, they would have passed it already. There’s nothing inevitable about social trends,” George said in an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times. “They do change. They reverse themselves.”
George also defended his decision to strip charitable groups of funding because they were connected with an organization that supports marriage equality. When public officials wrote a letter telling him to reconsider, he responded angrily: “Jesus is merciful, but he is not stupid; he knows the difference between right and wrong.”
In the interview, George denied he was threatening the officials, who are Catholic, with hell, and then proceeded to threaten them with hell. “They claim to be Catholics, so I’m their bishop. It’s my job to remind them of certain eternal verities. One of them is judgment at death,” he said.
Instead of claiming a pipeline to the Almighty, why don’t we let God sort that out?