Thursday, June 30, 2011

Concrete, Local Issues (in San Diego) Where Religion Caused Suffering

The Catholic Church in San Diego has stumbled in its decision on whether to allow a gay Catholic man's funeral to take place at its facilities. It was initially denied, then the Church clumsily reversed its earlier decision. A priest has apparently complained that the church was "set up" by gay activists. What, into revealing the fact of their discrimination against gay people? When have they ever hid that before? How is that a set-up?

This has obviously been hurtful for the deceased's family and loved ones. Many of us (including me) can't help but wonder what kind of complex relationship people must have with an organization that treats them this way in order to stay in it. This is an example of religion causing concrete, local suffering, which is a good way to look at the problems caused by religion. (I challenge atheists to try to think about and phrase as many things as possible this way. What we're debating becomes less about fancy epistemology and more about real people's lives.)

It's worth pointing out that the Church is a private organization and is absolutely within its legal rights to refuse to perform services to someone not in a protected minority group - which, by the way, gay people are not, at least not yet. At the same time this doesn't stop the decision from being absolutely asinine and immoral. Imagine a secular funeral home (of which there are many) decided to arbitrarily stop holding services for people over six foot two. Now imagine that a groundskeeper who had worked there for years died, and when his family called to set up his funeral at his old employer, they were rudely told "sorry, can't do the funeral here - he was too tall".

Want to show your support for the gay community and have a great time doing it? Come out - pun intended - with the San Diego Coalition of Reason to the Gay Pride Parade! Click here for details - see you there!

No comments: