Oh, Vatican, what is up? This week, a Vatican official openly fussed to a United Nations body, saying that people who object to homosexual behavior are actually at risk of losing their human rights when they are vilified or stigmatized for these beliefs.
Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi, the Vatican's representative to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, said:
When they express their moral beliefs or beliefs about human nature, which may also be expressions of religious convictions, or state opinions about scientific claims, they are stigmatized, and worse -- they are vilified, and prosecuted.
That's right. Those poor, poor individuals who openly express their opinions in an effort to negatively affect the lives, livelihoods, and human rights of gays and lesbians are crying out, "But we're the victims!" I think, dear people of the Vatican, you are mistaken.
People who are openly anti-gay and voice their opinions are not losing human rights, but openly practicing them -- it's called freedom of speech. They may be criticized -- even harshly criticized -- but that is a direct consequence of practicing freedom of speech. People are going to call foul if they don't agree with another person's opinion, especially when that opinion advocates the actual removal of other people's basic human rights.
Friends at the Vatican, you can't throw "human rights" around like that. It is not a human right to stand uncriticized for one's opinion. The fact that I write here in this post that I am horrified and disgusted by your discriminatory views about who other people love does not touch a hair on your human rights.
Here are some actual examples of assaults on a person's human rights:.
- Being denied basic freedoms and protections guaranteed by our nation's Constitution.
- Being denied personal liberty.
- Being denied the right to vote.
- Being denied the right to marry.
- Being assaulted, tortured, or murdered.
These are all ways in which LGBT individuals and communities have been or continue to be discriminated against, in mass numbers. And it does not even touch on how many gays have been denied employment or housing or lost their jobs due to their sexual orientation. There is no worldwide Catholic crisis, no rampant cases where the church is being oppressed in this way. I can't even think of one case where this is true. The fact that this claim is coming from the world's largest and most financially powerful Christian church makes it a complete joke of great proportions. This is a case of the bully getting his feelings hurt when someone finally says, "You're a bully!"
I say if the church wants to do the truly moral thing, they should work to give equal rights -- RIGHTS -- to all people, regardless of their sexual orientation, et. al. Catholics don't have to give up their own religious or moral values to do this. They can continue to go on and on about homosexuality being immoral without revoking anyone's basic human rights.
What do you think? Does the church have a case here?
Image via xiquinhosilva/Flickr