Hip-Gnosis: May 2008: Archives

May 29, 2008

The Vatican Monologues: No Vagina's Allowed genre: Hip-Gnosis & Six Degrees of Speculation

NoWomenAllowed.jpg

If you're ever seeking to understand the monolithic nature of misogyny, look no further than the Catholic Church. With classic institutional gobbledygook, the Vatican has made it clear that the ordination of female priests is unacceptable and grounds for immediate excommunication.

Pardon my disgust, but the utter idiocy of the Church's rationale is enough to make one hope for an afterlife...if for nothing more than the singular opportunity to kick the Grand Poobah in the keister for his part in enabling the wholly fallible interpretations of his head honcho's here on earth.

The decree was written by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and published in the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, giving it immediate effect.

A Vatican spokesman said the decree made the church's existing ban on female priests more explicit by clarifying that excommunication would follow all such ordinations.

Rev. Tom Reese, a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University, said he thought the decree was meant to send a warning to the growing number of Catholics who favor admitting women to the priesthood.

The church said it cannot change the rules banning women from the priesthood because Christ chose only men as his apostles. Church law states that only a baptized male can be made a priest.

Let's have some fun with the above logic. On the one hand, it seems that the Church is suggesting that God has decreed that woman have a lesser status in his holy hierarchy. In other words, when God elected to send Jesus to live amongst us...in order to redeem our sins and show us the path to salvation...he had no problem with women being relegated to subservient status.

That would have to mean that God believed that we humans had that piece of the life equation right all along. In fact, the inference is that Jesus wasn't conforming to the existing norms when he excluded women from being apostles...he was merely upholding God's belief that women were to be the equivalent of chattel.

I'm sorry, but that's a crock of crap and the fact that the Vatican is willing to cling to such an archaic argument is a testament to their intransigent ideology. It's also a demonstration of an unflinching arrogance to adapt God's intentions accordingly. Honestly, isn't this the same church that spent four decades concealing the serial molestation of underage children by the very men they seek to elevate to privileged status?

Crass as this may sound, I'm of the opinion that had there been a few vagina's in the monastery, there may have been a call for accountability and a demand for a demonstration of conscience - instead of a rallying around the rapists in order to retain an unearned reign of recalcitrant righteousness.

Then again, my experience tells me that the nuns have always done the lion's share of the heavy lifting while the priests have paraded about in their pretty gowns. Why would I expect the Vatican's vituperate monologue to change now?

Tagged as: Catholic Church, Equality, God, Infallibility, Jesus, Misogyny, Pope Benedict XVI, Priesthood, Vatican, Women

Daniel DiRito | May 29, 2008 | 4:57 PM | link | Comments (5)
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God Tube Gem: Get Thee Out Of The Club genre: Hip-Gnosis & Tongue-In-Cheek & Video-Philes

Oh the joys of GodTube! It really is a gold mine of God fearing goodies.

In the following video (over eight minutes long), you will hear all of the Biblical recitations that forbid us from participating in "clubbing". Yes, if you go to a club with your friends, you're almost certain to drink too much booze...and we all know that a liquored up lad or lass is the devil's playground.

On the contrary, if one follows the word of God and goes to church on Saturday night, all thoughts of debauchery will disappear from your mind. Of course there is an important caveat...you never know what might be on the mind of your minister...he may well have his sites set on tapping your mother or your sister...or God forbid...your father or brother. Worst case, he may even have you in mind...because he undoubtedly knows how effective it is to write ridiculous rules that lead young people to feel sinful, repressed, conflicted...and in need of "counseling and comforting". I hear that's their specialty...if you catch my drift.

Yes, the more I think about it, one can never be sure who is a disciple of the devil. Why I'm so concerned with the cunning nature of satan and sin that I just won't be able to force myself to attend Saturday night mass. It's just not safe enough for me. I know, I know...the Pope has forbidden gay men from the priesthood...but what's to say the devil can't turn a manly minister into a maniacal molester in a matter of moments?

After all, look what the devil was able to do to Pastor Ted Haggard and so many other god fearing Christians. If only someone would make a video on how to identify the devil at work in locations other than clubs. I'll just have to hope that this video is only the first of many more. Then again, what if the devil is the motivation behind this video?

Oh it's all too complicated...where is the Rapture when you need it? Come to think of it, I saw a few videos on God Tube that might be able to give me an exact ETA. I guess I'll put on some music, grab a beer, and head back over to "Club Christ". Care to join me? Call your friends and head on over. I hear the Jesus rave is still on for tonight.

Tagged as: Bible, Christian, Dancing, Drinking, God Tube, Humor, Morality, Rapture, Religion, Ted Haggard

Daniel DiRito | May 29, 2008 | 2:33 PM | link | Comments (2)
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NY Governor Paterson: Same-Sex Marriages To Be Recognized genre: Gaylingual & Hip-Gnosis & Uncivil Unions

In a move that is sure to keep same-sex marriage in the media spotlight, New York Governor David Paterson has issued a directive requiring the state of New York to recognize same-sex marriages from those states and countries where they have been allowed. The governor argues that the move is consistent with long standing New York law...law that has always required recognition of marriages from other jurisdictions.

From The New York Times:

ALBANY -- Gov. David A. Paterson has directed all state agencies to begin to revise their policies and regulations to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions, like Massachusetts, California and Canada.

The revisions are most likely to involve as many as 1,300 statutes and regulations in New York governing everything from joint filing of income tax returns to transferring fishing licenses between spouses.

The directive cited a Feb. 1 ruling by a State Appellate Court in Rochester that Patricia Martinez, who works at Monroe Community College and who married her partner in Canada, could not be denied health benefits by the college because of New York's longstanding policy of recognizing marriages performed elsewhere, even if they are not explicitly allowed under New York law. The appeals court said that New York must recognize marriages performed in other states that allow the practice and in countries that permit it, like Canada and Spain.

Monroe County filed an appeal with the state's highest court, the Court of Appeals, but it was rejected on technical grounds. The county has not decided whether to file another appeal, a county spokesman said on Wednesday. The Court of Appeals has previously ruled that the state's Constitution did not compel the recognition of same-sex marriages and that it was up to the Legislature to decide whether do so.

In the larger picture, the move may be part and parcel of a tipping point in the battle over same-sex marriage. At the very least, this action coupled with the ruling of the California Supreme Court, may lead opponents of same-sex marriage to reconsider their opposition to the granting of any of the same rights that are currently afforded to heterosexual marriages.

Until now, opponents of same-sex marriage have been able to ignore the granting of reasonable rights to same-sex couples by placing their focus on same-sex marriage as a threat to the institution and the family. The latest polling in California seems to suggest that more and more citizens are shifting their views on same-sex unions. That shift, assisted by the Supreme Court ruling, may indicate that the issue of equality is beginning to eclipse the fomenting of fear that has been the cornerstone of the religious right's efforts to deny any recognitions that might legitimize homosexuality.

I've long argued that a majority of Americans are ultimately fair minded...though they are frequently slow to shed fears that can prevent them from making objective conclusions. In the case of homosexuality, the religious right has sought to cloak their hatred and bigotry as a simple adherence to morality. Unfortunately, more and more citizens are able to recognize the true agenda of those opposed to same-sex marriage...which is actually an effort to prevent the codifying of any gay rights.

The fact that gays have sought the full array of rights has, to a degree, allowed the religious right the leeway to disguise their agenda as well as distort the agenda of the gay community. That dynamic has served to heighten fears and relegate a rational discussion of basic rights to the back burner.

While I'm concerned that the California ruling has the potential to initiate a backsliding or a backlash against gays, the ruling of the court, coupled with Governor Paterson's clearly articulated justification for granting basic rights and recognitions to same-sex couples, may be the point at which fair Americans realize that they can't allow their reservations about homosexuality to be the impetus to deny rights to their fellow citizens.

The following video is today's announcement by the Governor detailing the directive and the rationale by which it has been issued.

Tagged as: California, Civil Unions, Equality, Gay Marriage, Governor Paterson, LGBT, Massachusetts, New York, Same-Sex Marriage

Daniel DiRito | May 29, 2008 | 10:49 AM | link | Comments (3)
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May 28, 2008

John Safran: Puttin' The Missionary To The Mormon genre: Hip-Gnosis & Tongue-In-Cheek & Video-Philes

In the following video, John Safran, an Australian television personality known for edgy stunts and television segments on sensitive subjects, decides to head to Salt Lake City and have some fun giving members of the Latter Day Saints a taste of their own missionary medicine.

Once Safran and his director arrive in Utah, they gather up their atheist literature and propaganda, don white shirts and dark ties, put on name tags, jump on their bicycles, and set out on an early morning mission to the homes of unsuspecting Mormons.

Unfortunately, Safran and his pal encounter some rather indignant and intolerant folks while attempting to share their beliefs on atheism and evolution. It seems that many of these Mormons believe it is better to be on the giving end of a missionary message than it is to be in the unenviable position of receiving one.

I guess their training is only about puttin' it to the non-believer. Perhaps that's why the Mormons who knock on our doors have no compunction to keep sticking their pamphlets in our faces and looking for any possible opening to inject their ideology.

Needless to say, I couldn't help but enjoy watching my Mormon friends doing their best to avoid getting "stuck". Let's hope some of them now understand why Safran and many others like him aren't interested in "taking it" anymore.

Tagged as: Humor, John Safran, LDS, Missionaries, Mormonism, Mormons, Proselytizing, Religion

Daniel DiRito | May 28, 2008 | 9:48 PM | link | Comments (0)
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Oy Vey: Donuts, Dogma, & A Damn Scarf genre: Hip-Gnosis & Just Jihad

If you haven't figured out the topic of this posting from the above title, let me be the first to tell you that the right leaning blogosphere is in an uproar over a scarf worn by Rachael Ray in a Dunkin' Donuts advertisement.

Here's the gist of the objection - the scarf looks similar to a "keffiyeh"...which is the type of scarf "polularized by Yassir Arafat and a regular adornment of Muslim Terrorists." Hence, blogs like Little Green Footballs, Atlas Shrugs, and Michelle Malkin...amongst others...decided to bring the offense to the attention of Dunkin' Donuts and ask for the advertisement to be pulled. Dunkin' obliged the request and explained that nothing malicious was intended by the inclusion of the scarf.

Look, had the scarf been utilized to make a political statement, one could argue that it was offensive and inappropriate. Clearly Dunkin' Donuts is in the business of making a profit and anything that might offend portions of their customer base isn't apt to be selected to appear in their marketing materials. Hence, inferring Dunkin' is guilty of anything more than an insensitivity to the diversity of their customer base would be, in my opinion, unreasonable.

I have no reason to doubt Dunkin's sincerity so I'll move on to the rhetoric of those who view the scarf as an opportunity to launch a veiled assault upon those who object to some of the actions of the Bush administration in the aftermath of 9/11.

Pardon my skepticism, but when I realized who was behind the protestations, the first thought that crossed my mind was that this was part of an endless effort to link every possible event with terrorism in the hopes that they will invoke the fear of a threat to our national security. No doubt much of the GOP's political success under George Bush results from efforts of this very nature.

In light of the fact that the GOP brand isn't highly regarded at the moment, my cynical side tells me that invoking terrorism and fear is evidence of some level of desperation...especially when it involves nothing more than donuts, a domestic diva, and a damn scarf.

Moving on, I decided to have some fun and highlight the hyperbole and the hysteria being broadcast on this particular topic by one of the blogosphere's biggest bloviators...Michelle Malkin. Always righteous and perpetually pedantic, Malkin is dogmatic in directing her derision towards all those who ignore her ideological incantations. As such, it only seemed appropriate to rename Dunkin' Donuts in deference to her defiant demagoguery.

With that said, I'm introducing Dogma's Donuts. They're divinely delectable, faithfully flavorful, and religiously ready at the crack of dawn. Stop by soon...Michelle is on standby to stuff you full of her Christian confections.

DunkinDonutsMalkin.jpg

Tagged as: 9/11, Atlas Shrugs, Christianity, Dogma, Dunkin' Donuts, Faith, Fear, GOP, Ideology, Intolerance, Islam, Keffiyeh, Little Green Footballs, Michelle Malkin, Muslim, Rachael Ray, Religion, Terrorism, Yassir Arafat

Daniel DiRito | May 28, 2008 | 4:45 PM | link | Comments (3)
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Flock Of Dodos: The Evolution-Intelligent Design Circus genre: Hip-Gnosis

The following video, Flock Of Dodos, is a documentary on the debate between those who accept evolution and those who argue in favor of an intelligent designer. I could be wrong, but it is arguably one of the best I've seen on the subject.

While the filmmaker is an avowed evolutionist, the treatment of the subject is an even handed and thoughtful exploration of the issues. Rather than add to the already large body of rhetoric and propaganda, this documentary is refreshingly unbiased.

The documentary exposes the crux of the intelligent design argument...that evolution and Darwinian Theory are not necessarily one and the same. Hence, they contend their disagreement isn't necessarily with the general notion of an evolutionary process but with the fundamentals of the origin of life as elaborated by Darwin. That provides the necessary opening for the introduction of an intelligent designer (creator).

While it is possible to understand the contentions of those supporting intelligent design, I suspect their approach is more about creating a difference without a distinction in order to find an opening for the introduction of their religious ideology...albeit repackaged and disguised to look like a simple scientific disagreement.

The problem I have with those who push the intelligent design angle is their endless energy and ability to impose an absolutist bent when confronted with the volumes of evidence for evolution. While I understand their position, I cant get around the contradictions that exist in their other applications of their absolutism.

On the one hand, they suggest that the fossil record lacks enough transitional creatures to conclusively support Darwin's contentions. On the other hand, they believe virtually every word written by numerous authors over a number of years in the Bible. This includes a belief in Jesus based primarily upon the written accounts of those followers who embraced his ideology. When Kansas school board member Kathy Martin states her disbelief in the fossil record...and argues that no one was there to see a lung fish walk out of water...the selective application of evidence becomes apparent.

Regardless, the filmmaker, Dr. Randy Olson, argues that the successes of those who favor intelligent design comes from their ability to approach the debate with a seemingly reasonable and unemotional demeanor...a demeanor that has the potential to be viewed as distinctly less dogged than the outrage that is coming from the scientific community. Olson contends the anger coming from the scientific community isn't all that advantageous to succeeding in squelching the quasi-creationists.

Olson's treatment is beneficial because he's able to think about outcome without becoming overwhelmed by his own understandings of the scientific evidence. In other words, he's kept his eye on the dynamics that may well determine the end result of the debate. Olson's awareness of voter sentiment...and the predisposition towards religious beliefs that has dominated American politics for the last thirty years...assists Olson in remembering that those supporting evolution must win the public relations discussion as well as the scientific debate.

In the end, Olson's documentary should instruct us that this battle will be about far more than a arrogant and erudite recitation of the scientific evidence. Winning hearts and minds remains a relevant endeavor...one that the scientific community and those who support it must not ignore.

Tagged as: Creationism, Darwin, Evolution, God, Intelligent Design, Politics, Randy Olson, Religion, Science

Daniel DiRito | May 28, 2008 | 10:37 AM | link | Comments (1)
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The Colbert Report: On Gay Marriage With Tony Perkins genre: Gaylingual & Hip-Gnosis & Uncivil Unions & Video-Philes

In the following video segment, Stephen discusses the Bible and the recent ruling of the California Supreme Court on gay marriage with Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council. Perkins and his organization are rabidly anti-gay and it's obvious that he's uncomfortable throughout his conversation with Colbert (unfortunately many of these right wingers have no sense of humor).

I always enjoy watching the holier than thou squirm when confronted with some of the inconsistencies found in their dogma...and Colbert is one of the best at exposing them. I'm sure Perkins couldn't wait for the segment to end.

Tagged as: Bible, Colbert Report, Faith, Family Research Council, Gay marriage, LGBT, Religion, Same-Sex Marriage, Stephen Colbert, Tony Perkins

Daniel DiRito | May 28, 2008 | 9:04 AM | link | Comments (1)
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May 27, 2008

Science vs. Faith - Going With The Flow genre: Hip-Gnosis & Snapshot Thoughts

In many ways, people of faith begin with a conclusion they derive from their interpretation of the Bible and then their subsequent observations are tailored to support their established beliefs. Science, on the other hand, attempts to look at the evidence as it is revealed in order to determine if it can be utilized to support a plausible hypothesis.

All too often, people of faith reject evidence that contradicts their beliefs while scientists hope the evidence will refine the prevailing theory in order to more closely approximate a fact based finding. The former seeks to support a singular truth while the latter accepts the probability of a progression towards more truth.

One can offer lengthy explanations to describe the differences in the practice of science and faith...or one can rely upon a very basic flow chart. Since I'm having a tough time getting wound up today, I decided to keep it simple. This is one of those times when I'm happy to allow a visual to effectively communicate an important distinction.

ScienceVsFaith.jpg

Tagged as: Creationism, Evolution, Faith, God, Religion, Science, Scientific Method

Daniel DiRito | May 27, 2008 | 12:28 PM | link | Comments (1)
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May 25, 2008

A Primer On Evolution - Part One & Two genre: Hip-Gnosis & Video-Philes

In light of the ongoing efforts of creationists (now packaged as Intelligent Design) to discredit the theory of evolution, it seems appropriate for us to first have a clear understanding of what evolution is and what it isn't. The following two videos are the first offerings in a series designed to give us the basics on the theory of evolution.

Those who are insistent upon nothing less than divine creation have a seemingly limitless energy to craft clever (though contrived) rationales to explain away evolution or to distort its meaning in order to appeal to those of faith. Time and again, they ignore the basic premise of the scientific method...and therefore seek to establish this as an all or nothing debate.

The truth is that many scientists concede that they cannot disprove the existence of God. At the same time, they point out that the scientific method is compelling in its ability to support the theory of evolution. On the other hand, for many creationists, there can be no overlap or compatibility. They can only find comfort if God created everything in its final form at the moment of its origin. Anything short of a literal understanding of the Biblical version of creation will suffice...and that means that each and every component of evolutionary evidence must be undermined and rejected.

Hence, those who support Intelligent Design are engaged in a propaganda war designed to pit science against religion in order to suggest that it is impossible to believe in both. They do this because they want to force people of faith to fall on the side of religion and their arguments are designed to assist in characterizing science as the antithesis of religion. Sadly, this is simply the nature of literalism and the intransigence that it facilitates.

How Evolution Works - Part One

How Evolution Works - Part Two

Tagged as: Bible, Creationism, Evolution, Faith, Intelligent Design, Religion, Science, Theory Of Evolution

Daniel DiRito | May 25, 2008 | 10:02 AM | link | Comments (0)
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May 22, 2008

Bad Day To Be A Climate Change Denying Christian Creationist? genre: Do Not Resuscitate & Hip-Gnosis

rapture.jpg

Try as they might to undermine science, those who reject evolution and downplay the impact of man-made climate change will have to work overtime to deny newly revealed evidence of both.

Time and again, creationist's contend that the fossil record lacks the transitional forms of life to support the theory of evolution. Unfortunately, time isn't on their side since each passing day seems to reveal another piece of the evolutionary puzzle. With the discovery of a creature that seems to be a combination of a frog and a salamander (frogmander), creationists will have another formidable hurdle to overcome.

From Yahoo News:

CHICAGO (Reuters) - The discovery of a "frogamander," a 290 million-year-old fossil that links modern frogs and salamanders, may resolve a longstanding debate about amphibian ancestry, Canadian scientists said on Wednesday.

Modern amphibians -- frogs, salamanders and earthworm-like caecilians -- have been a bit slippery about divulging their evolutionary ancestry. Gaps in the fossil record showing the transformation of one form into another have led to a lot of scientific debate.

The fossil Gerobatrachus hottoni or elderly frog, described in the journal Nature, may help set the record straight.

"It's a missing link that falls right between where the fossil record of the extinct form and the fossil record for the modern form begins," said Jason Anderson of the University of Calgary, who led the study.

The fossil suggests that modern amphibians may have come from two groups, with frogs and salamanders related to an ancient amphibian known as a temnospondyl, and worm-like caecilians more closely related to the lepospondyls, another group of ancient amphibians.

Many of these same individuals have also taken to denying the existence of man-made climate change ...arguing that God is in charge and has a plan for his creation and that means we needn't spend time and money fretting about carbon emissions or minor shifts in temperature that scientists consider significant. With the finding that western oceans have a rapidly expanding acidity as a result of greenhouse gas pollution, these deniers may want to consider the possibility that God, in granting us free will, expects us to use our brains to preserve the planet on which we live.

From Wired:

Greenhouse gas pollution has acidified the coastal waters of western North America more rapidly than scientists expected, says a study published today in Science.

In a survey of waters stretching from central Canada to northern Mexico, researchers led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Richard Feely found cold, unexpectedly low-pH water "upwelling onto large portions of the continental shelf." In some locations, the degree of acidification observed had not been expected to occur until 2050.

Ocean acidification is a side effect of excessive atmospheric carbon dioxide, lesser-known but no less troubling than climate change.

In September of 2005, Feely was among the authors of a Nature article predicting that acidication would claim Antarctic Ocean waters by 2050, spreading into the subarctic Pacific by 2100. "Our findings indicate that conditions detrimental to high-latitude ecosystems could develop within decades, not centuries as suggested previously," they wrote.

"Water already in transit to upwelling centers is carrying increasing anthropogenic CO2 and more corrosive conditions to the coastal oceans of the future," write the authors. Ocean acidification "could affect some of the most fundamental biological and geochemical processes of the sea in the coming decades." If anything, the clinical language of science only makes their words more disturbing.

No doubt these two findings are part and parcel of the march towards science fully eclipsing the validity of Bible based beliefs that often form the basis of religious doctrine. Regardless, each discovery appears to generate a new rationalization intended to preserve the literal interpretations that have proven so effective in granting and maintaining the authority of religious leaders and the institutions they promote.

I suspect these two items will simply give fuel to those religious leaders who suggest that we are entering the period that will culminate in the Rapture...the final piece of an end of days prophecy that is also derived from the Bible. Nothing like bending each and every fact to fit a faith based fallacy.

Unfortunately, I'm not yet convinced that the manipulated masses will be willing to follow these zealots into their vision of the fatalistic abyss...even if they promise to deliver the lot of them into the perpetual happiness they guarantee is just beyond the horizon. In the end, I expect most mortals will choose the surety of science over the abstract assertion of an after life.

Tagged as: Bible, Climate Change, Creationism, Evolution, Fossil, Frogmander, Global Warming, God, Intelligent Design, Rapture, Religion, Transitional

Daniel DiRito | May 22, 2008 | 6:35 PM | link | Comments (0)
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May 20, 2008

Papal Infallibility: No More Homosexuals, No More Pedophiles? genre: Gaylingual & Hip-Gnosis

Vatican.jpg

The Vatican, through its Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, has confirmed that homosexuals must not be granted admission into a seminary. The letter restates the instruction previously offered in 2005. I suspect the inference is that a ban on homosexuals will serve to halt the molestation of children. I think the issue is far more complex and I'll elaborate below.

In a brief letter to the world's bishops, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican Secretary of State, underlined that a November 2005 policy statement from the Congregation for Catholic Education is "valid for all formation houses for the priesthood," including those administered by religious orders, the Eastern Catholic churches, and missionary territories.

Cardinal Bertone's letter -- which, he noted, was specifically approved by Pope Benedict XVI -- refers to the Instruction released by the Congregation for Catholic Education in November 2005, saying that neither active homosexuals nor celibate men with "profoundly deep-rooted homosexual tendencies" should be ordained to the priesthood or allowed to begin seminary training.

That Vatican document, which has now been reinforced, instructed bishops and religious superiors to use "painstaking discernment" in appraising the candidates for priestly training. Candidates who are identifiably homosexual are not qualified for ordination, the Vatican said. "In the case of a serious doubt in this respect, they must not admit him to ordination," the document added.

Since the release of the Instruction in November 2005, some bishops and religious superiors had questioned whether the policy was to be applied universally throughout the Church. Cardinal Bertone's letter, which he wrote to all the world's bishops and religious superiors in response "to numerous requests for clarification," answers those questions in the affirmative.

The letter removes a number of uncertainties that resulted from the prior instruction. Many felt the instruction didn't specifically prohibit homosexuals from entering the seminary or the priesthood so long as they didn't act upon their inclinations and remained celibate. The letter makes it clear that the determining factor is the simple existence of homosexual tendencies.

When the instruction was first issued, it drew both praise and criticism in light of the church's long history of hiding and harboring those who had engaged in numerous instances of child molestation. At the time, many who criticized the instruction suspected that homosexuals were apt to bear the brunt of the Vatican's response to the scandal. Regardless, the decision to single out homosexuals was anticipated despite the fact that a number of the molestation's involved children of the opposite sex. In fact, this action is being carried out despite the fact that pedophilia is not an adjunct to homosexuality any more than it is to heterosexuality.

Rather than explore the fact that a system of celibacy may be an innately flawed construct, the church has chosen to place the blame and the responsibility on homosexuals. It's not that simple. I've long contended that the construct of celibacy is apt to appeal to those who feel their sexual desires are inappropriate. The concept of remaining celibate as an act of religious devotion may well lead these individuals to assume that it can be a viable means to suppress the desires they fear.

Choosing religious service may also appear to present a reasonable method to compensate for the guilt that would result from an awareness of the unacceptable nature of desires directed towards children. While this is clearly flawed logic, entering the seminary may appear to be their only palatable means to address the problem.

The fact that many of these individuals engaged in multiple instances of child molestation is evidence that they were in deep denial about their capacity to control their inappropriate desires. At the same time, it is difficult to ignore the flaws in a system that promotes celibacy and then participates in covering up the criminal acts of its own members for forty years without ever exploring the degree to which its own structure contributed to the problem by attracting and enabling perpetrators.

Logic tells us that well-adjusted homosexuals have the same capacity to commit to celibacy as their heterosexual counterparts. The fact that the Church has chosen to address the scandal by concluding that the mere presence of homosexuality should disqualifying candidates from consideration is absurd. Rejecting or removing homosexuals will not put an end to pedophilia any more than it will insure celibacy.

My own experience with the Catholic Church includes numerous instances of priests and nuns engaging in affairs with opposite sex partners and subsequently leaving their positions in the church. Many of these individuals subsequently married and lived normal, productive lives. For years, I've argued that this exodus merely represented the departure of those individuals who were well-adjusted. When this happened, the sexual escapades of countless heterosexual priests and nuns didn't result in an instruction to ban any individual deemed to possess "profoundly deep-rooted" heterosexual tendencies...tendencies they might be prone to act upon. When this occurred, it left behind numerous other clergymen who couldn't come to terms with their sexual orientation and/or sought and needed the cover of the church to enable their criminal actions (pedophilia).

Look, the bottom line is that the Church has always had an obligation to protect children from predators...whether the perpetrators be heterosexually or homosexually inclined. Presumably, they also have a compelling interest in insuring that their members honor their vows of celibacy. Exclusively intertwining homosexuality with the former without any consideration for one's adherence to the latter is clearly an inconsistent application of responsibility and blame. It also ignores reality.

Creating a policy to ban homosexuals is simply the means by which inequitable treatment is being codified. I suspect it is also intended to infer that the Church's forty years of complicity in failing to halt the molestation of children can and should be attributed to the homosexuals they allowed to serve...insinuating that homosexuals are inherently flawed and unfit to serve...regardless of their ability and willingness to remain celibate.

Let me be clear. The Catholic Church isn't bound by the same standards of equality found in civil society. Hence, it is their prerogative to apply church doctrine as they deem appropriate. The position of the church has long been that simply being oriented towards homosexuality isn't wrong in and of itself. At the same time, the Church states that it is always morally wrong to act upon that inclination. Hence salvation is available to gays so long as they never act upon it.

The Church's new position prohibiting homosexuals from entering a seminary is a further step towards negatively distinguishing gays apart from their heterosexual counterparts. In effect, this instruction concludes that gays are unsuitable to serve in the clergy. In doing so, the Church has clearly altered its position. Unfortunately, the assumption that doing so sufficiently addresses the issue of pedophilia cannot be sustained. It also allows the Church to ignore any meaningful discussion of the merits of celibacy or an exploration of whether it was a contributing factor in the child molestation scandal.

Parents taking comfort that this ruling will resolve the long standing child molestation scandal may want to reconsider...especially if their motivation is to insure the safety of their children. The fact that the Church has elected to throw gays under the bus won't insure that the same bus isn't the means by which one's children are being delivered to those who would do them harm.

Tagged as: Cardinal Bertone, Catholic Church, Celibacy, Child Molestation, Gay, Homosexuality, LGBT, Papal Infallibility, Pedophilia, Pope Benedict XVI, Priesthood, Sexual Orientation, Vatican

Daniel DiRito | May 20, 2008 | 10:13 AM | link | Comments (5)
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May 19, 2008

Earth To Pastor Hagee: Closets Are For Clothes genre: Gaylingual & Hip-Gnosis & Video-Philes

In the following video, Pastor Hagee seems to lament that times have changed. In that recognition, it appears that he yearns to return to the world as he used to know it...a world before television and a world where closets were for clothes (a reference to gays that he expands upon in the video).

From my perspective, I support his journey...so long as he returns to the past and the rest of us get to stay here in the present. If he did so, he wouldn't have the opportunity to spew his nonsense on television and those of us who came out of the closet could enjoy a world absent the bloviating and bigotry demonstrated by men of his ilk..

Unfortunately, I don't believe Hagee has any interest in returning to the past; rather he wants to meld the narrow mentality of yesteryear with an intransigent mindset similar to his own...one that seeks to force today's government to adopt his Biblical interpretation of morality.

Regardless, I know I wont be planning a return to the past. Further, if Pastor Hagee believes he can push the gay community back into the closet, he's probably going to be very disappointed.

Perhaps he should ask God to help him build a time machine so that he and his followers can travel as far back in time as they desire. I'll happily spring for the bon voyage party.

Tagged as: Bible, Constitutional Amendment, Gay, God, John Hagee, LGBT, Morality, Religion, Same-Sex Marriage, Values

Daniel DiRito | May 19, 2008 | 5:36 PM | link | Comments (1)
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Richard Dawkins: TV Ontario Interview genre: Hip-Gnosis & Video-Philes

In the following video clips, Richard Dawkins shares his views on a wide range of topics surrounding his agnostic beliefs. He offers his opinions on the source of morality for non-believers and dispels the commonly held view that religion is the primary source of morality in our modern world. Dawkins also suggests that atheists have assumed the societal position homosexuals held fifty years ago...meaning that they are often the most reviled or rejected segment of society.

Dawkins also offers his opinion that science and religion are incompatible. In his defense of Darwinian theory, he contends that there is no need to interject notions that a divine being was also involved in the process. Dawkins argues that the beauty of the Darwinian theory is that it explains how we got from a place of simplicity to one of immense complexity without a designer.

One of the more compelling portions of the interview occurs in part four wherein Dawkins explains his harsh criticism of the God that appears in the old Testament. I note this portion because it demonstrates the blind willingness of many individuals to ignore the actual words found in the Bible.

In fact, the interviewer proves Dawkins' point when he insists that Dawkins' views may be too harsh or disrespectful. Unfortunately, the interviewer makes his admonition regardless of the evidence found in the Bible. This inclination to afford blind respect and erroneous attributions to religion is one of the primary criticisms Dawkins voices in his writings.

Richard Dawkins Interview - Part One

Richard Dawkins Interview - Part Two

Richard Dawkins Interview - Part Three

Richard Dawkins Interview - Part Four

Tagged as: Atheism, God, God Delusion, Morality, Religion, Richard Dawkins, Values

Daniel DiRito | May 19, 2008 | 11:27 AM | link | Comments (1)
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May 18, 2008

Family Research Council: Black & White Is As Clear As Mud genre: Gaylingual & Hip-Gnosis & Video-Philes

The Family Research Council has followed in the footsteps of Focus on the Family with the introduction a new video segment on their web site. FRC calls their program The Truth in Black & White, and it features Tony Perkins, the president of FRC, and Bishop Harry Jackson.

I've included two of their videos below. In the first, Perkins and Jackson tackle stewardship of the earth and global warming. In the second, they take on the recent ruling of the California Supreme Court to overturn the ban on same-sex marriage.

The contrast found in the logic of these two videos is notable and indicative of the hypocrisy that is so often demonstrated by the religious right. Note that in the first video, Perkins and Jackson suggest that global warming hysteria is fear mongering and a fabrication of men like Al Gore. Apparently the God that speaks to Al Gore is a fraud...and men like Perkins and Jackson are here to tell us which God is real...and which problems the real God wants us to address.

They suggest that while we need to be good stewards of the earth, God knows what he is doing with his creation (the earth and its people) and he will sustain them according to his own plan. In fact, Perkins states that we shouldn't "surrender national autonomy nor do we need to sacrifice the family budget and the income that families are making" when addressing that stewardship. Little did I know that God finds it acceptable for us to put the interests of the United States above those of the rest of the world and that he doesn't expect us to give up any of our wealth in order to preserve his creation. Apparently God intends to subsidize this particular issue.

So let me see if I've got this straight. Men like Perkins and Jackson don't think Americans should sacrifice any of their income to protect the planet...at least not in accordance with Kyoto or any of the plans put forward by the likes of Al Gore. On the other hand, these are the same people who routinely expect their followers to open their wallets and contribute generously to the FRC and the causes they deem to be necessary and in need of immediate attention.

That brings us to the second video which is on the subject of same-sex marriage. In this instance, apparently Perkins and Jackson don't think God has a sufficient plan for addressing the issue of homosexuality...even though God would had to have known it would exist (and had a plan to address it) just like they contend he would have known that fears about the climate of the planet would eventually trouble some of its inhabitants.

Here's where we begin to see the inconsistency and the hypocrisy. Perkins and Jackson conclude that the FRC and the religious right need to step in and take an activist role in preventing gays from obtaining the rights afforded to their heterosexual counterparts. Is this because God's plan is lacking when it comes to gays? Funny how, in this instance, families are routinely asked to dig deep into their budgets to fund the FRC and their efforts to pass amendments in California and other states to ban same-sex marriage. Far be it for me to know what God deems a justified financial sacrifice...though Perkins and Jackson seem convinced they know.

In other words, with regards to global warming, God wants us to be good stewards but we need not and should not do anything drastic because he knows what he's doing and he doesn't expect us to crimp our budgets. On the other hand, he needs us to do everything we can to stop the gays. Is that because he doesn't have a plan or because gays have somehow figured out how to outsmart God? Apparently Perkins and Jackson have concluded that God needs his hetero human subjects to become his proxy warriors in addressing homosexuality because he just can't go it alone.

Perkins and Jackson seem to think all of this is completely black and white...but I contend it is merely more of the same cut and paste pontificating that has come to define their inane ideology. Talking in circles may suffice for those who are willing to suspend rational thought and ignore reasoned analysis...but I find it to be the equivalent of washing the windows with a bucket of dirty water.

Yes, the effort might make one feel better but it sure as hell does nothing to enhance one's view and one's understanding of what lies on the other side. Rather, it serves to preclude those on one side from ever having to consider arguments that might undermine the absolute ideology they embrace and the fears that endear them to it.

In the end, it's obvious that Perkins and Jackson believe that personal faith should intervene in public policy...but only when doing so furthers the issues of faith they have conveniently chosen to cherry pick. Perhaps they think that's black and white. I think it's about as clear as mud.

On Stewardship & Global Warming Hysteria

On The California Supreme Court Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Tagged as: Al Gore, Bible, California Supreme Court, Family Research Council, Gay Marriage, Global Warming, God, Harry Jackson, LGBT, Religion, Religious Right, Same-Sex Marriage, The Truth in Black & White, Tony Perkins

Daniel DiRito | May 18, 2008 | 10:00 AM | link | Comments (1)
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May 14, 2008

Focus On The Family - Married To The Money genre: Econ-Recon & Gaylingual & Hip-Gnosis

Focus on the Family, the empire of demagogue James Dobson, has launched a new video feature that gives outsiders an insight into the values they embrace...and they undoubtedly place a lot of value on the acquisition of cash...especially if it can be used to further their fundamentalist agenda.

The Colorado Springs based organization now produces two video segments - one is called Stoplight and the other Turn Signal...catchy metaphors for their desire to put a "stop" to anything they deem in conflict with their Bible based bloviations and to direct people to "turn" away from secular sensibility and accept the dogma they deem to have been sent to them from the divine director.

In the following segment of Stoplight, Stuart Shepard muses on the government's economic stimulus checks and how the money, unjustly taken from voters to fund a flawed government, could be put to better purposes. Of course those purposes include items like banning same-sex marriage and appointing more right leaning judges as well as eliminating a woman's right to choose.

And don't forget the most important purpose...donating more money to Focus on the Family so that Dobson and his disciples can lead lavish lives that support the contention that God rewards good people...with material wealth (prosperity theology). Yes, God thinks the best way to nurture the soul is to stuff a load of cash into the checking account.

You see, the folks at Focus on the Family are strong proponents of marriage...especially the one that unites them with money and the intoxicating power it brings. Apparently they have an updated understanding of the expression, "Charity begins at home". Yes, Jesus was a nice guy...but he could have been far more effective if he had been a well-heeled snappy dresser with a stable of lawyers and lobbyists. After all, apostles and the downtrodden are so passe.

Tagged as: Abortion, Bible, Economic Stimulus Checks, Evangelicals, Focus On The Family, God, Government, James Dobson, Jesus, LGBT, Marriage, Religion, Religious Right, Same-Sex Marriage, Stuart Shepard, Taxes

Daniel DiRito | May 14, 2008 | 11:50 AM | link | Comments (0)
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May 14, 2008

An Experiment In Critical Thinking: Is Religion Battered Woman's Syndrome? genre: Do Not Resuscitate & Hip-Gnosis & Uncivil Unions

The following video asks an interesting question - Is religion battered woman's syndrome? While provocative on its surface, the creator of the video makes a number of thoughtful observations. More than an effort to connect religion with battered woman's...

Tagged as: Battered Women, Critical Thinking, Death, Domestic Abuse, Faith, Fear, God, Religion

Daniel DiRito | May 14, 2008 | 10:53 AM | link | Comments (3)
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Maybe This Is What's Wrong With The GOP? genre: Gaylingual & Hip-Gnosis & Polispeak

No doubt there is a fine line between fact and fantasy. What we know for sure today is that the GOP is in trouble following losses in three congressional districts that by any measure should have been safe Republican...

Tagged as: Abortion, Alan Keyes, Choice, Democrats, Gay, God, GOP, LGBT, Religion, Right To Life

Daniel DiRito | May 14, 2008 | 9:02 AM | link | Comments (0)
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May 13, 2008

Hagee, Whores, Homos, & Holy Unions genre: Gaylingual & Hip-Gnosis & Uncivil Unions

While John McCain has chosen to avoid a repudiation of Pastor Hagee's endorsement of the presumed GOP nominee, it appears that the damage control has commenced. Today, Hagee issued a written apology to Catholics and the apology was accepted by...

Tagged as: 2008 Election, Barack Obama, Bill Donahue, Catholic League, Catholicism, Confession, Evangelicals, Gay Marriage, Gays, God, Jeremiah Wright, John Hagee, John McCain, Katrina, LGBT, New Orleans, Pat Robertson, Prostitution, Religion, Same-Sex Marriage

Daniel DiRito | May 13, 2008 | 11:35 AM | link | Comments (0)
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May 11, 2008

Tax Exemption Without Limitation - Now That's Christianity genre: Gaylingual & Hip-Gnosis & Uncivil Unions

The gall of the religious right never ceases to amaze. Time and again, they demonstrate that hypocrisy is an essential element of their ideology. While many of these zealots frequently demonstrate their willingness to preach one thing and do...

Tagged as: Abortion, Alliance Defense Fund, Amendment, Christ, Christianity, Church & State, Constitution, Embryonic Stem Cell, Gay, George W. Bush, IRS, Jesus, LGBT, Marriage, Religion, Religious Right, Same_Sex Marriage, Secularism, Supreme Court, Tax Exemption

Daniel DiRito | May 11, 2008 | 9:45 AM | link | Comments (0)
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May 9, 2008

Having More Babies Makes You A Better Mommy? genre: Hip-Gnosis & Six Degrees of Speculation & Uncivil Unions

OK, forgive my disdain for the content of the video below, but how does the story of a 41 year old woman whose pregnant with her eighteenth child merit being a Mother's Day story on The Today Show? When...

Tagged as: Chain Letter Society, Children, God, Jesus, Mother's Day, Motherhood, Parenting, Religion, Sacrifice, The Today Show

Daniel DiRito | May 9, 2008 | 2:49 PM | link | Comments (0)
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May 7, 2008

Oops, That Ban On Gay Marriage Took Away Other Rights genre: Gaylingual & Hip-Gnosis & Polispeak

Don't be fooled by the religious right's assertion that they simply want to protect marriage and the family. Implicit in their efforts to pass legislation and constitutional amendments to ban same-sex marriage is an intention to slam the door...

Tagged as: Amendment 2, Bible, Bigotry, Christian, Colorado, Discrimination, Evangelical, Gay, God, LGBT, Marriage Amendment, Michigan, Morals, Religious Right, Same-Sex Marriage, Supreme Court, Values

Daniel DiRito | May 7, 2008 | 11:19 AM | link | Comments (0)
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May 6, 2008

The WorkOUT: Using Homoeroticism To "Repair" Gays? genre: Gaylingual & Hip-Gnosis & Tongue-In-Cheek & Video-Philes

This is priceless. The following video is apparently a legitimate advertisement for men seeking to overcome their homosexuality. The fact that it is filled with homoeroticism only reinforces my belief that many of these men are tortured Christians with...

Tagged as: Christian, David Pickup, Gay, Homoeroticism, Homosexuality, Humor, LGBT, Religion, Reparative Therapy, Values, WorkOUT

Daniel DiRito | May 6, 2008 | 3:10 PM | link | Comments (1)
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48 Hours: The Lord's Boot Camp genre: Hip-Gnosis & Video-Philes

The following series of videos comprise the 48 Hours special title The Lord's Boot Camp. Much like the previous documentary, Jesus Camp, the piece chronicles a group of teen aged children; including their attendance at a Christian boot camp...

Tagged as: 48 Hours, Bible, Creationism, Evangelism, Evolution, Faith, God, Jesus, Jesus Camp, Religion

Daniel DiRito | May 6, 2008 | 10:07 AM | link | Comments (3)
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May 3, 2008

Why Yes, God Put That Banana In My Pocket genre: Hip-Gnosis & Snapshot Thoughts & Video-Philes

We've all heard about the images of Jesus, Mary, or some other godly persons face being found in the strangest of places...whether it be on a pancake, a potato chip, a section of tree bark, or the reflection on...

Tagged as: Bible, Creationism, Darwin, Evolution, Faith, God, God Tube, Humor, Intelligent Design, Miracles, Religion, Science

Daniel DiRito | May 3, 2008 | 9:38 AM | link | Comments (1)
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May 2, 2008

Musings On Prudes, Perverts, Photographs, & Polygamists genre: Hip-Gnosis & Six Degrees of Speculation & Tongue-In-Cheek & Video-Philes

Two recent news items led me to today's musing. The first is the Texas polygamists and the second is the Vanity Fair photo of Miley Cyrus. Both serve to demonstrate the fact that numerous American's have yet to resolve...

Tagged as: Annie Leibvitz, Culture, Disney, Fashion, Hannah Montana, Humor, Miley Cyrus, Mo Rocca, Morals, Polygamist Sect, Polygamy, Psychology, Religion, Sexuality, Texas, Tim Gunn, Values, Vanity Fair

Daniel DiRito | May 2, 2008 | 1:22 PM | link | Comments (0)
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May 1, 2008

Radical Religious Right: As If It Were Only About Marriage genre: Gaylingual & Hip-Gnosis

The religious right likes to be seen as the moral compass of the country...though they rarely want the country to fully understand that their focus on denying any rights to gays is their primary objective. Yes, they talk incessantly...

Tagged as: Bible, Civil Rights, Discrimination, ENDA, Equality, God, LGBT, Pro Vita Advisors, Religion, Religious Right, Wells Fargo

Daniel DiRito | May 1, 2008 | 8:46 AM | link | Comments (0)
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