Better Free Your Mind Instead

Last night, Pete and I were sitting on the couch talking over our day when the TV switched to a tease for the CBS 11:00 news featuring a bit about New York’s new archbishop.

Tata: I wish they would stop talking about this. I just don’t care.
Pete: It matters to a lot of people.
Tata: Is the news just for Catholics?
Pete: This is kind of a big deal.
Tata: It’s not general news. I don’t care whose religion is having a change of the top oppressor. Maybe mention it and move on, but no. This morning’s news was devoted to this bullshit, and I don’t care.
Pete: Well, a lot of people would say this matters to them.
Tata: I’d like to hear something detailed about the economy because that matters to EVERYONE.

You might say I’m in something of a mood about the assumptions and distortions of the newscasts on WNBC while I’m bicycling half-asleep first thing in the morning. Today’s thoughtlessly repeated beauty was that the tea party protests were a grassroots movement, which is simply a lie. The tea parties were organized and funded by Republican operatives and promoted by Fox News. That’s the exact opposite of grassroots which word you will see misused in connection with these events. Putting that aside for the moment, it was delightful to see a report about NY Governor Paterson’s proposal for a bill recognizing same-sex marriage.

Gov. David A. Paterson on Thursday will announce plans to introduce legislation to legalize same-sex marriage, according to people with knowledge of the governor’s plans.

Mr. Paterson’s move, which he first signaled last week after Vermont became the fourth state to allow gay and lesbian couples to wed, reflects the governor’s desire to press the issue with lawmakers in Albany as other states move ahead with efforts to grant more civil rights to homosexuals.

The action in Vermont, where state legislators overrode Gov. Jim Douglas’s veto of a bill legalizing same-sex marriage, came less than a week after the Iowa Supreme Court granted same-sex couples the right to marry.

HOORAY! We are on the road to equal protection under the law. Yippee! Enlightenment makes a comeback! But as if on cue, the new archbishop closes the segment with a promise to send us all back to the Dark Ages.

Archbishop Timothy Dolan today promised to oppose Gov. Paterson’s same-sex marriage, just one day before it will hit the floor of the Legislature.

“You can bet I would be active and present and, I hope, articulate in this particular position,” Dolan told reporters.

The question – one of many the new archbishop took from reporters at his first news conference in Midtown – came as state lawmakers prepared to begin debating the controversial issue.

“The topic you raise – other topics that are controversial that the church has a message to give – you’ll find that I don’t shy away from those things and I wouldn’t sidestep them,” said Dolan.

If he’s got a political opinion he’s invited to speak it as a private citizen, but if he’s marshalling his flock his church should lose its tax exempt status. I’d love to see that, actually. I don’t believe anyone will move to strip the Catholic Church of its tax exemption, which is sad. It would provide a great example for those fucking megachurches which have royally screwed with our separation of church and state. If this is now a fight between Paterson and the Archbishop, and not a civil rights issue for the people of the State of New York, I’d like to see it called for what it is.

This is why the archbishop’s arrival shouldn’t take up a half an hour on the morning news: the Catholic Church shouldn’t get this kind of influence over the lives of people who do not choose to follow its teachings.

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