Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz
The fact that Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz thinks he can get by with outrageous falsehoods is more galling than his distortions

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville (and president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops) doesn’t understand that Martin Luther King was opposed to discrimination of all kinds. If his late wife is to be believed, King would be in the forefront of the battle for LGBT equality. With equal measures of hypocrisy, fabrication and chutzpah, Archbishop Kurtz explains why he is a proponent of the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA).

As we remember the life and tragic death of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we should take time to reflect on the role of faith in influencing the public life of our country. King was motivated by his Christian faith to stand for the dignity of every human person.

In the Catholic faith, we believe that because each person is made in the image and likeness of God, Jesus calls upon us to uphold the dignity of every person and to guard against all forms of unjust discrimination. …

Martin Luther King would be appalled by the use of his name to justify discrimination.

If we take Kurtz at his word then, whenever a Catholic school discharges an employee for being gay (often when they get married), that constitutes just discrimination regardless of the individual’s job performance. And that is a perfect example of how the Church “upholds the dignity of every person;” by making them unemployed.

These prelates do not receive sufficient criticism. It emboldens them to offer the flimsiest arguments that have no basis in logic:

In a pluralistic society, we understand that not everyone will agree with our way of life, nor we theirs. But disagreement does not diminish the inherent dignity of every life. We all stand equal before God and are in need of his mercy and love.

Way of life? Is that what this is all about? Lifestyle? He is suggesting that this has something to do with disagreements. So when a florist refuses to sell flowers to a same-sex couple, that’s not discrimination. Oh, no. That’s just disagreement. Right?

We are at a point in our country where the time-honored meaning of marriage as the union of one man and one woman is not shared by all people. The Supreme Court’s decision by Obergefell, by which a slim majority of the Court supported the redefinition of marriage in the law, has left many unresolved issues. One such issue is whether people who believe marriage can only be between a man and a woman have the freedom and space to hold and share those views without fear of government retaliation or discrimination.

First of all, the margin of the vote tally is irrelevant. It is the law of the land that gay couples have a constitutional right to marry. Furthermore, I hate to say that an archbishop is full of crap but that is the case. People have the absolute right to hold and share the belief that same-sex marriage is invalid. Belief is not, and never has been, in jeopardy. We have never sought — and most certainly do not require — the approval of the Catholic Church to marry.

Reasonable people can and should be able to disagree and still respect one another.

What we seek, and what the First Amendment Defense Act would uphold, is an ability to pass our faith and moral convictions down to our children and to serve our sisters and brothers as Jesus would expect of us.

Kurtz has the amazing temerity to assert that FADA is necessary in order for people to respectfully disagree, continuing his previous disingenuous theme. He then further claims that FADA is necessary for his faith to be passed on to children and to serve others. I think that Jesus would be equally appalled. This is not just deceptive. These are lies and they are being offered by a symbol of Catholic authority.

The first requirement of showing respect for the dignity of others is not to insult their intelligence. It continues:

…The freedom of religion is enshrined in our Constitution and in the hearts of millions of Americans. There is room for all of us in the public life of this nation.

Yes it is and for 140 years we have embraced the concept that the government cannot regulate belief but it can regulate conduct. These folks want to change all that. They want a guarantee that the federal government will not ensure that gay couples might be free from discrimination. They are seeking what amounts to Christian privilege and one of those privileges is to be able to discriminate.

The next Democratic president is likely to issue executive orders reinstating federal workplace equality. If some Christian has a problem with that then they need to find other employment. Donald Trump and Jefferson Sessions need to find other employment.

As for the archbishop, if he wants to further an honest argument then it can be evaluated and even respected. However, to assault us with dishonesty demonstrates what kind of man Kurtz is. The Church puts him on a pedestal. I call him an outrageous liar and I do so without the slightest hesitation.

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.