No Discrimination Against the Discriminators: The Compassionate Christianity of Papa Ratz

This is not exactly the freshest news in the world: For at least two years, France has been considering a proposal to the United Nations requiring the decriminalization of homosexuality in member countries. As early as November 2006, French activist Louis-George Tin announced his intention to present the UN with a draft resolution to that effect.

In September 2008, just slightly less than two years later, the French Junior Human Rights Minister, Rama Yade, told a conference of NGOs at UNESCO that she would submit such a resolution to the UN General Assembly in December, with the aim of effecting universal decriminalization of homosexuality. In the meantime, every single country in the European Union has signed on to France’s draft declaration, which will be presented officially on December 10, the sixtieth anniversary of the UN’s Declaration of Human Rights.

Let’s be clear: We’re not talking anti-discrimination legislation, gay marriage, adoptions, or anything else. All we’re talking about is: In those countries—more than 80 of them, including Iran (currently the world leader in the execution by stoning or hanging of gay people); most of Africa; India; and the U.S., on its military bases throughout the world; see “Homosexuality Laws of the World” for a complete list)—where you can be fined, arrested, jailed, tortured, and/or executed simply for being gay or for having a relationship with someone of your same sex, homosexuality per se would be decriminalized.

Who could have a problem with that? It seems sort of obvious, really, like taking those laws off the books in towns where it’s illegal to water your cattle on the public streets or wear spurs in the courthouse.

Now, I know this will shock you, but it turns out that one of those people who has a big problem with that is God’s man in the Vatican, that bastion of Christ-like love and human kindness, Pope Benedict XVI, Joseph Ratzinger.

The Vatican opposes the resolution because … okay, let me try to work this out for you, though I warn you that the logic is Kafkaesque. The Catholic Church is against discrimination, including discrimination against homosexuals. But since the Catholic Church is against discrimination, it’s also against discriminating against countries that discriminate.

According to the Vatican, the UN resolution would “pillory” countries where homosexuality is illegal and punishable by law, forcing them to create “new categories protected from discrimination,” even while failing to take into account the fact that such laws “would create new and implacable acts of discrimination…. States where same-sex unions are not recognized as ‘marriages,’ for example, would be subject to international pressure.”

I am not making this up. Mons. Celestino Migliore, the Vatican’s permanent pit bull (um, observer) at the U.N. said it yesterday in an interview with the French media.

This, by the way, is the same Vatican that brought you nearly a decade of pretending that the Holocaust wasn’t happening. Evidently, the Pope didn’t want to discriminate against Nazis, either.

I leave you with a short comment written by an Italian friend and translated by me. She sums things up pretty well:

Lord, Give Me Courage
by Isabella Zani
(Or, read it in Italian: Voglio il coraggio)————————–

There are countries in this world – lots of them, too many in fact (when even just one would be more than enough) – where gay men and women, as the result of a personal predisposition that they didn’t chose any more than a person chooses to have blue eyes, black skin, or a Roman nose, are persecuted by law, by the authorities, and by the official actions and pronouncements of those in power, as well as by the ignorance, fear, and derision of their fellow citizens. Harassed by State violence, that is, in addition to the violence perpetrated by “normal” people.

This is not right. This is wrong. And there’s really nothing else to say about it. If we’re talking about shit, you know it when you see it.

Okay, so apparently the Pope, or whoever it is who speaks for him, doesn’t see things the way I do. Or, to put it another way: he doesn’t say, loudly and clearly, that the situation I’ve described is wrong. But if he won’t say it’s wrong, then he should have the guts to say it’s right. It’s simple, really: something is either right or it’s wrong. He should have the nerve to say: I refuse to condemn the countries where they treat homosexuals that way. I, and what I represent, we support those countries. We don’t believe what they’re doing is wrong. Ergo, we believe it’s right.

If you can’t find any compassion in your heart, Holy Father, see if you can find a little courage.


Posted on 2 December 2008, in Queer ... Plus All Those Acronyms, You Can Always Count on a Little Homophobia and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. >Rai 2’s TG2 last night reported this with the comment that the countries in which homosexuality was a criminal offence were Islamic. This is news to me. Off the top of my head I can think of Barbados, Jamaica, India, Zimbabwe, where gays are punished with imprisonment at the very least. But why miss up on a chance to have a dig at Islam while defending the Vatican?

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