I was on with Bill O’Reilly defending students at my alma matter George Washington University who are protesting the school’s Catholic center leader for saying that being gay is “unnatural and immoral” and counseling gay students to repress their desires and feel ashamed of themselves.
I argue the larger issue is the need for the Catholic Church to get with the times — and address the fact that a strong majority of lay Catholics are more pro-gay than the Church and this is causing many to flee from the faith, especially young people.
Here’s our exchange:
O’Reilly seemed a bit confused, claiming he supports the rights of the students to protest while at the same time calling them fascist. Later in the show, Bill criticized progressives for “incivility” in calling Margaret Thatcher a fascist. Anyway…
Here’s Mediaite’s coverage of our exchange.
In my latest column for Fox News’s opinion page, I write the bold, full-throated speech that I *wish* President Obama would make in support of same-sex marriage. Here’s an excerpt:
Too many young people in our nation are told they are worth less than their peers because of their sexual orientation. If one more young gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered teen commits suicide while I’m president, that’s one too many. I can’t do everything to make them feel whole and confident, but I can ensure that the laws of our land send a clear message that a loving, committed relationship between a man and a man or a woman and a woman is legally and morally indistinguishable from my own marriage.
I realize that in many states in our union, voters have gone to the polls to strike down marriage equality, going so far as to amend state constitutions to enshrine inequality. But we should never, we must never put fundamental rights up for a vote. This invites the very tyranny of the majority that our Founders warned against. Our constitutions and governing laws must be shining beacons of justice, not weapons to wielded otherwise. As a nation, we write our laws not to codify our ugliest instincts but to safeguard against them, to ensure that whatever private impulses we might have whether toward violence or discrimination are not amplified in the public square but tempered, our general welfare and common good protected. As president, I will always strive to reflect the collective spirit of America at its best, not succumb to the divisiveness and fear mongering that lurk in our darkest moments.
Please read the full “speech” here and share it — hopefully someday we’ll hear one like it.
Pretty much everyone is happy with President Obama’s “accommodation” yet Republicans want to keep the debate going. Fine with me — the majority of Americans (including Catholics) side with the President on this one.
Looks like it’s “uh, oh” for the GOP if they keep pushing this…
Most of the major faith-based hospital and university associations that would be affected by the Obama Administration health insurance contraception mandate have endorsed the “compromise” as addressing their concerns. So why is the GOP still making a big fuss?
Here’s a clip from my appearance on Feb 15 on America Live with Megyn Kelly on the Fox News Channel.
In my latest essay for the American Prospect, I argue that the Catholic Church is fueling the anti-contraception debate in a desperate attempt to revive its influence over its lapsed flock.
Before Archbishop Timothy Dolan becomes a cardinal next weekend, he will deliver a speech to the Pope and other Vatican luminaries regarding “evangelization and lapsed Catholics.” … Dolan’s choice of speech topics in Rome suggests what may really be motivating his decision back home is to stir the contraception controversy. At a time when the scale and influence of the Catholic Church in America is in rapid decline, there’s nothing like a “war on religion” to rally your troops.
And then I suggest the Church focus its energies elsewhere:
Maybe instead of preparing a speech lecturing lapsed Catholics about their spiritual infidelity, Archbishop Dolan should examine his faith’s lack of fidelity to the modern needs of its followers. A religion that seems more interested in protecting abstract beliefs about conception than the very real health and well-being of women, that seems far more faithful to doctrine than science, that protects abusive priests while preaching against the sexual freedom of others, might feel marginalized not by any presidential administration but rather by its own narrow theology.
You can read the full piece here, and post a comment.
On Fox News recently, I debated the right of women everywhere — including employees of public purpose, religiously-affiliated institutions — to have access to contraception.
“Conservatives are always interested in individual choice, until it comes to individual choices that they don’t seem to like. Look, 98 percent of American women in this country, including Catholic women of reproductive age, use contraception.”
Here’s the video clip:
Now when someone insists Islam is the only religion with fringe whack jobs, we can all reply, “Not true! Look at those Christian whack jobs burning Korans in Florida!”
As if somehow the “God Hates Fags” Fred Phelps folks protesting veterans’ funerals and the “who gives a crap about inequality and injustice on Earth ‘cuz we’re preparing for the end of days” crowds weren’t enough proof that Christianity also has a few lunatic fringe clinging to the cross.
We should, thusly, bear in mind the source when we hear claims that all Muslims are extreme fundamentalists. This assertion, coming from extreme fundamentalist Christians, would be funny if it weren’t eroding the core values of our nation.
Imagine the thought process at work! “Uh, those Muslims are total crazy violent radicals! I mean they’re blowing up the Twin Tower and lobbing missiles in the Middle East. We just kill abortion doctors, lynch gay folks and implicitly endorse segregation and racial hatred… But those Muslim fanatics are such barbarians!”
I think this whole episode calls for new religious categorizations. Rather than lumping all Christians together, all Jews together, all Muslims together, etc., let’s establish three new cross-denominational groupings: the mainstream, the reformers, and the crazies.
For instance, as a Jew, I’d rather not be associated with the fundamentalist Israeli settlers in Palestinian territory. They can join the crazies. If they object to that classification — well, that’s an encouragement to re-think how out-of-step their religious interpretation is with the mainstream of Judaism and faith and humanity in general.
The majority of Americans and people around the world would join the proud ranks of “the mainstream” — good people who mean to do well by their God but also see that their connection to other human beings cuts across religion. I still believe that most people are decent and loving and should be represented accordingly, as opposed to lumped in with adherents of the supposedly-same religion who preach hate instead of love.
Meanwhile, folks like Imam Feisel Abdul Rauf would be a reformer. He has written and spoken extensively about a more open and liberal interpretation of Islam and is a voice for transforming mainstream interpretations. In that sense, as a secular Jew who sees religion as a means to inspiring a sense of community and a collective pursuit of justice versus being strictly doctrinaire — and who thinks religions must evolve over time — I’d be a reformer too. Not only would I be honored to be in the same grouping with Imam Rauf, I’d be thrilled to no longer be grouped with the Lubovitches (who might have me stoned for writing on Rosh Hoshanah).
On the other hand, the Right wing fear mongerers like Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin could no longer hide behind the generic moniker of Christianity. For cheering on Islamophobia nationwide, they would join the crazy branch. It’s time we recognize that Right wing Christian hate speech, Zionist hate speech and al Qaeda hate speech may have different targets but are driven by the same narrow, jingoistic, elitist and inhumane spirit. No more hate masquerading as religious beliefs.
So if Terry Jones and his Dove World “Church” want to burn sacred religious texts and, along with them, burn any lingering doubt that Jones and those like him represent an extreme and out-of-touch fundamentalist fringe, I say, “Burn, baby, burn!”
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