Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Fine, I'll weigh in

Persuasive writing is not my forte, but here goes. You were perhaps intrigued as I was when you saw the story of the Catholic priest Geoff Farrow. As you may know, Father Geoff has lost his priesthood in Fresno because he refused to toe the church's line and urge his congregation to vote yes on Proposition 8 in California. If you don't know about this story, read it starting here. I don't really like how this battle in California has become fodder for the rest of the country and since Californians should be voting for themselves I hate the fact that the Mormon and Catholic churches (based in Utah and Italy respectively) are trying to influence the outcome. These organizations should not be influencing the media exposure on this issue (by funding numerous ads). On the other hand, I want to believe people are adults and can decide for themselves rationally. You know, like you and I would. Would you, as an adult, let even your parents dictate to you who you must vote for? Of course not. So in a way, it's no harm no foul. Anyway, back to the father. He has been defrocked even though he's really doing what Jesus would do, and everybody knows it. (If indeed there was a Jesus.)

I have deep and immense admiration for father Geoff, what he has done is stand up for what's right even though the consequences have been predictably swift and harsh. 50 years old and immediately the church has yanked his health care. Those are some nice open-hearted people right there. It truly boggles my mind and makes me realize my refusal to be confirmed all those years ago was the right decision.

Back to prop 8. Look, I was born and raised in California. It's my home even though I've settled here. I've settled here to make a life with a partner in a society that does not say, "your kind of relationship is invalid." Here, we are married, and maybe it's just the city mentality, but it's no big deal, no one bats an eye. Au contraire, we make life interesting. In many circles we are revered. If there is anyplace in America that could turn out to be truly all inclusive, it would be California (or NYC or Key West but these are merely cities). I urge Californians to defeat Proposition 8, a proposition that if passed essentially enshrines a second class citizenry into the constitution. If the state is involved in issuing marriage licenses and church and state are separate institutions, then the church should have no say on the matter. If Prop 8 is passed, California will be in the business of discrimination. Please don't let that happen.

Update: Donate to the cause.


Anonymous said...

As they drove the nails into His hands Jesus said, "Father Forgive them". As the pelted Stephen with stones and beat out his life he said, "Lay not this sin to their charge". Father Geoff is a martyr along these same lines. Hate is strong and mocks the song of Peace on Earth good will toward men. ed

Doug said...

We can hope Father Geoff's message got out before he got canned. And that he will find a more loving home. I don't know much about religious denominations and switching between them (is it like a baseball player being traded?), but hopefully another congregation will support him.

David said...

I get what you are saying about outside influences on the Prop 8 issue, but lots of gay groups are sending money from out of state, so we have to be careful about demonizing out of state support for the opposition. But I agree that religious groups that are funding support for Prop 8 should step back as they have no business meddling in political issues.

Of course, if the Pope made a statement urging all Catholics to vote No on Prop 8, would we be just as outraged? I have to wonder.

Lemuel said...

I, too, have a great admiration for Fr. Geoff. Among other things, he helps restore my faith that there are people who take the life and teachings of Jesus seriously and seek to live them. The actions taken by the institution, although not at all surprising to me, only reaffirm my rejection of the institution(s).

I recently saw an ad that Ihope is runnign in CA that attempts to emphasize that to vote no is to legislate discrimination. It was a take-off of the PC/Mac ads and I thought that it was fairly well done.

Greg said...

Oh, poo (since you hadn't mentioned any) on your not being a strong writer--this was wonderfully and thoughtfully written. I'm glad you weighed in.

Father Geoff is in my thoughts and prayers and I hope the blessings that return to him as a result of this are many, as they should be. I hope they vote down this foolishness.

Roxrocks said...

Don't even get me started on the church this early in the morning!

franck said...

Hear, hear!

GayProf said...

I have no problem with the Catholic or Mormon Church promoting their ideas (free speech and all). I do have a problem, however, when individuals vote to impose their religion on others. It suggests that they don't really value freedom at all.

You forgot Massachusetts in your list of inclusive U.S. places. It was the first state to provide real marriage, not "separate but equal."

em said...

The main problem with all the money that those bigots are pouring into the state is that the voters were against the prop until they started broadcasting their well funded lies.

Of course this doesn't excuse the voters who seem willing to let their minds be overtaken.

Did you see the latest family values candidate who turned out to be a pedophile?

afod said...

Well put, Torn. I thought tax-exempt institutions couldn't get involved in politics by endorsing political "items"? Or risk losing that status. Despite Father's defrocking, I imagine there will be thousands of MCC and UCC congregations asking him to become a minister in their church.

Dennis & Doug said...

excellent post, as always. maybe your could ask your sizeable readership to consider a donation to "no on 8" - we're way behind in fundraising, and that could make all the difference. here's the link

Laverne said...

See, now there's a Christian who is truly standing up for his beliefs (right, em?). He's putting it on the line.

The house down the street has a "no on prop 8" sign, and when I saw it, my gut reaction was to get my scissors and cut the thing to bits. Not a very mature response, I know, but still.

I'm not allowed to discuss politics with my students, but God... it is so hard with this one.

Part of me just scratches my head... What's the big deal? Protect marriage? Whose marriage? What the hell? You're being married to Serge doesn't make any difference in my life. The big ad here is a little girl coming home and telling her mom she learned that she could marry a princess and a boy could grow up and marry a prince. The mother looks horrified. "They will teach gay marriage in the schools!"

As if that's the worst that could happen.

I hate ignorance.

Birdie said...

I think the gay marriage issue is an imminent civil victory, especially when posts like yours spread the word. It can also be a spiritual victory because of people like Father Geoff. May all of you out there continue to tell people about this story.

(Psst: the second link in the post doesn't work for me.)

Anonymous said...

Nice point of view -- and I hate the fact that religious leadership has to get involved and not really speak for the group - but in some narrow minded point of view or thinking. Sometimes they are missing the real message that should be spreading and end up going down the path of the Pharisees from before. Being intently focused on the nitty gritty does not all you to see the bigger picture and the message you they are sending.

Accept people as who they are and stop trying to define them in categories or "boxes" -- and allow the rights to be equal to everyone

Great post - keep it up - Aaron

Mark in DE said...

Since I can't vote in CA either, all I can do is trust that CA residents will make the correct decision when they vote on Prop 8.

So sad about Father Geoff. But then part of me asks why a person would willingly associate himself with a religion that considers him an abomination.

Mark :-)

Butch said...

Perhaps the Mormon and Catholic church should lose their exempt tax status.

don said...

At this point in my life, I want to ensure that I maintain my right to samesex divorce. That dumbass keeps coming back year after year asking for more stuff. It's over already!!

Adam said...

Hello All,
New Torontonian here - moved from San Francisco in August. My partner and I have no intention of moving back...however...we are here on Work Permits and, thus, the move is considered "temporary". Now, despite the fact that I will be applying for Permanent Residence soon, I still have the right to vote in California State elections. Needless to say, I voted against Prop 8. And congratulations to Connecticut for ruling to make same-sex marriage legal. Gay couples in Canada are FULL citizens. We can worry about the day to day minutia of life instead of overwhelming stuff like whether or not we can visit our partners at hospital(for example). Anyway, GREAT blog. I am glad I stumbled upon it. Cheers, Adam