In order to avoid giving “the wrong message,” the bishop of Portland, Maine, chooses not to oppose a gay rights bill. Rather than uphold his duty as a guardian of the Church’s teaching, Bishop Richard Malone has capitulated to the fear-mongering and smearing of Christians as homophobes.
Bishop Richard Malone embraced his roles as keeper of the culture of the Roman Catholic community and its reactions, and as spokesman for the position of his religion on homosexuality. In this time when religion has become a part of secular, political positioning for power, the bishop stood down instead of making a statement against L.D. 1196, despite his concern that it is leading to support for same sex marriage.
“I think I read in your paper that 38 percent of all hate crimes were committed against homosexual people,” he told the Press Herald. “That is just outrageous. That goes against everything that our faith stands for as well. I was afraid that in that climate, my decision here could give the wrong message.”
Rather than surrender, the bishop could have instead made sure to articulate the message that while we don’t condone immorality, we also don’t condone violence against those we say are living immoral lifestyles. By capitulating, the bishop has as much put the stamp of admission on the claims of the author of the op-ed that those who oppose gay rights bills are slack-jawed, rednecks; backward, unsophisticated hatemongers.
He quotes the paper as saying that 38 percent of all hate crimes are committed against homosexuals? According to whose accounting? Who defines what a hate crime is? Is it any crime committed against homosexuals? Did they include crimes committed against conservatives? whites? heterosexuals?Christians? The thing about statistics is that without context they are meaningless.
But Bishop Malone eagerly leapt into the trap, surrendering the ship without a shot being fired. Wonderful the fearless leaders we have.