I attended a Roman Catholic baptism about two weeks ago. A crowd of young parents and others of all ages stood in semi-circle around the font. The atmosphere was reverent yet festive. Toddlers squirmed. The church was exquisite. Blades of late-morning light slid down through colored glass. The priest exuded hope and delight as he kicked off the rites. As the two parents approached the font to offer their child to the church, I began to tear up. My 11-year-old daughter Grace, not unaccustomed to my poet's penchant for being capsized by moments so tender, saw my waterworks start up, rolled her eyes as adolescents do, smiled, and handed me a tissue. As I often do when my emotions get the best of me in the presence of my children, I get all pedagogical on them. I whispered sidebars to Grace: "That's litany of the saints, it's beautiful when sung in Latin... And that the part about Satan and the empty promises -- it's technically an exorcism!" Photo
I didn't have to explain that it was no ordinary baptism we were witnessing. She knew it was extraordinary, because I had taught her. The two parents at the font were bravely (or so I believe) demonstrating their desire not to throw the baby out with the baptismal water.
They were two gay dads asking a church governed by bullies to bless their child.
My daughter later asked how it was that gay people could have their children baptized in Catholic churches but not be married in them. Good question. I broke it down for her. I told her a far greater percentage of Catholics support gay marriage than support the Vatican. I characterized the failure of my church to offer gay Catholics marriage in the church as just that -- "a failure." And a sin. Photo - not the 2 dads in this article
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Poet Michele Madigan Somerville is the author of Black Irish and WISEGAL (2001). She has written about religion for the New York Times (online). She lives in Brooklyn.
there will exist a well-informed,
well considered and yet
fervent public conviction that the
most deadly of all possible
is the mutilation of
a child’s spirit.”
Gay bullying and Catholic responsibilities
by David Gibson, October 8, 2010
A striking aspect of the focus by many bishops on the battle against gay marriage, such as the DVD campaign by Minnesota’s Archbishop John Nienstedt, discussed below, is how out of synch it is with the tragic realities of bullying against gay youths, brought home so forcefully by the deaths of Tyler Clementi and many other teens.
Bishops who have been concerned about gay marriage have also been fighting against anti-bullying laws that include sexual orientation (along with religion and race, e.g.) as a targeted category, which studies show it often is. They argue that including sexual orientation to protect youths from harassment is the slippery slope to gay marriage and other gay rights. Photo
I have a story at PoliticsDaily.com today about some serious soul-searching by Christians, especially those of the conservative stripe, about their language and approach on gays in light of the rash of suicides and bullying that has come to light.
Suicide surge: Schools confront anti-gay bullying
by David Crary, AP,
October 9, 2010
Deaths prompt districts nationwide to rethink efforts, policy
NEW YORK — A spate of teen suicides linked to anti-gay harassment is prompting school officials nationwide to rethink their efforts against bullying — and in the process, risk entanglement in a bitter ideological debate.
The conflict: Gay-rights supporters insist that any effective anti-bullying program must include specific components addressing harassment of gay youth. But religious conservatives condemn that approach as an unnecessary and manipulative tactic to sway young people's views of homosexuality. Photo
It's a highly emotional topic. Witness the hate mail — from the left and right — directed at Minnesota's Anoka-Hennepin School District while it reviews its anti-bullying strategies in the aftermath of a gay student's suicide.
The invective is "some of the worst I've ever seen," Superintendent Dennis Carlson said. "We may invite the Department of Justice to come in and help us mediate this discussion between people who seem to want to go at each other."
…"Policies have to name the problem in order to have an impact," said GLSEN's executive director, Eliza Byard. "Only the ones that name it see an improvement."
According to a 2009 GLSEN survey of 7,261 students, only 18 percent said their schools had a comprehensive program addressing anti-gay bullying, while gay students in schools that had such programs were less likely to be victimized and more likely to report problems to staff…
…whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.
Important note: No disrespect meant to Pope Benedict XVI or the hierarchy, the one and only concern is the safety and well-being of children.
Kids Are Being Hurt !!!
The Trevor Project