Sunday, April 23, 2006

RFK on Religion

I heard Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on the radio talking about Jesus. Would Jesus support tax cuts for the rich? Would Jesus support unprovoked war? Cuts in aid to the poor? Torturing prisoners? Would Jesus support discrimination against gay Americans?

RFK discussed the prohibition in Leviticus against homosexuality. the one often quoted by fervent right-wingers, saying that men who lie down with other men ought to be put to death. That Old Testament means business. However, Leviticus also said that those who work on the Sabbath, those who eat shellfish, and sons who disobey their fathers ought to face the same fate. Who volunteers to cast that first stone now?

What did Jesus say about homosexuality?

The same thing as our constitution. Nothing whatsoever.

Mike Winerip, NY Times education columnist, just wrote an inspirational true story about a pair of moms who brought their kid to a Catholic school and found kindness and support.

When questioned about it, school employees seemed embarrased: officials do not appear comfortable speaking publicly about the kindnesses to Jesse and his family. A Saint Clement coach said he would be happy to talk to a reporter, and a few minutes later called back, saying he couldn't. The Saint Clement principal, Robert Chevrier, did not return several calls.

They should be proud. Kennedy spoke of going to a Jesuit school where the teachers were activists in social causes, and advocates for helping the poor. He said that's what Jesus would have done.

I'm not very religious. But if you're going to be, you might as well support a God who wants to help those in need, rather than soulless corporations, two-faced talking heads and self-indulgent preachers.

Kennedy said discrimination against gay people was precisely the same as discrimination against black people. He's right. What a shame that people who practice kindness in GW Bush's America find themselves ashamed to speak of it.

What a shame that we, as a nation, haven't yet managed to understand gay people have been around forever, and will remain with us indefinitely. Laws against homosexuality are as ridiculous as laws against snowstorms.

How sad we choose to hold on so fervently to our idiotic and baseless prejudices.
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