In the American religious realm, though, many of our institutions continue to be staffed by the same cranks. Oh well; in America, you have the perfect freedom to be a bigot, right?
Cardinal Timothy Dolan today used the NYPD to prohibit from Sunday worship services gay Catholics and their allies by barring their entry into NYC’s historic St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the iconic home of the Roman Catholic Church in New York.Dolan and his immediate group have been on a bit of a tear, of late, making sure the members of his church (my old church, etc.) know-thine-place and so forth. This particular incident arose from Dolan telling an anecdote about how washing your hands before sitting down for dinner is reasonable, and so gay people are welcome at the dinner table too so long as they wash their hands of all that regrettable gayness, and—oh, never mind, everyone got the point. So a small group of gay Catholics makes it a point to show up for Mass on Sunday with (literally, as Biden would say) dirty hands, as form of silent protest, and there you have it.
The small group of silent Catholic protestors were threatened with arrest by a New York City Police detective — unless they first washed their hands.
The recounting of the incident by one of the protestors is a bit depressing, but I'm going to keep my mouth shut on the spiritual matters involved—except to say that the protesters may have been a bit naive to think the most authority-obsessed religious institution in the nation (oh, do I have stories) would put up with their single little hour of silent opinion-having.
As I've said before, the political implications behind these individual intra-church fights are hardly difficult to spot. Hard-right religious conservatives are the guiding force behind the new push to declare everything from birth control to women's rights to gay rights to whatever else has transpired in the country since the 1960s as illegitimate. We're fighting for universal healthcare; they're fighting to make sure business owners don't have to provide insurance that goes against their "religious beliefs," where "religious beliefs" now consists of a staggering array of supposed new sins. The Catholic Church (my old church, blah-blah-freaking-blah) is the most prominent example, as the disconnect between the Authority and the people in the pews has never been greater. Something's going to give.
I couldn't care less about what happens—except for the oversized power that the Religious Authorities have in deciding what rights our own government dare grant us, and their new obsession with enforcing it on the rest of us. As the rest of us continue to, say, recognize gay Americans and the womenfolk as people, that conflict is only going to get angrier and more bitter. Oh, how I wish we could demand the Religious Authorities wash their hands every time they exit their churches and walk the same streets as the rest of us. But I dream.