St. Paddy’s in Beantown
Boston’s newish Mayor Martin Walsh has committed the equivalent of farting in a Catholic church by stating that he will boycott the City’s famed St. Patrick Day’s Parade unless “gay groups are allowed to participate.”
The NYT reports that John “Wacko” Hurley, a parade organizer, says “it’s final”: no gay groups. Hurley has a unanimous 1995 US Supreme Court decision backing him up. This implies that while the odd queer may be just fine, two or more, especially marching, is clearly problematic.
St. Patrick is of course, a Catholic religious figure. While some may see St. Patrick’s Day as an opportunity to fulfill the Irish stereotype of pissed-pants drunken carousing, others see as it an obligation to celebrate the Prelate’s Christian accomplishments.
For sure, the Catholic church is schizophrenic on the subject of homosexuality, condemning gay sex while incompetently failing to protect their own flock from pedophilic gay (and straight) priests on the prowl.
Condemning priests, gay or straight, to a life of sexual abstinence has clearly led some of them down a road of preying on children (and others) who could be marginalized and victimized in pursuit of sexual pleasure. Or, perhaps the church, self-confined to recruiting priests from a pool of applicants pledging abstinence is being fooled by priests and then attempting to fool others when the awful results become public.
It’s hard not to conclude that a St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Boston is actually an opportunity to engage in ugly acts of discrimination while reinforcing conflicted church doctrine.
Somewhat cleverly, “Wacko” Hurley has been put in the position of saying “no” to a group of gay veterans wishing to march. The symbolic implied message is that these men and women can fight to preserve American Democracy but are exempted from enjoying the rights of citizenship.
Black combat veterans returning from both World Wars also faced massive oppression but the use of veterans as “saintly surrogates” in the present case is dismissive of the struggle for black civil rights.
Black veterans had indeed fought and died to save America and their returning comrades were lynched in the streets and treated not much better than slaves. Equating their perilous voyage with not being allowed to march in a quasi-religious parade masquerading as an opportunity to become riotously drunk is unfortunate.
Irish-catholic bigots and the elements of the church that coddle and reinforce them are on the way to becoming religious snake-handlers: performers of bizarre religious rituals viewed with pity.
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s veto yesterday of a legislative initiative that was gay bigotry hiding behind religious freedom is further proof that hiding hate is tough to do.
But, as the Pope would say, “Who am I to judge?”