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Monday, November 25, 2013

Comm'r defends "Catholic" Vote Against Same Sex Benefits

The first time that Lehigh County Commissioner Vic Mazziotti voted against same sex benefits, it was supposedly because Pennsylvania law does not yet recognize same sex marriages. Not only does it increasingly appear that Mazziotti will be proven wrong on that point, but same sex benefits and same sex marriage are two different animals. I suspected then that what really prompted Mazziotti was intolerance.

That suspicion was confirmed the second time Mazziotti voted against same sex benefits. This time, he was supposedly prompted by his religious beliefs. "I'm a Catholic, and in the Catholic Church individual members of the church aren't permitted to determine what is appropriate and not appropriate. ... The church's position on same-sex marriage is clear. They do not support it. Were I to vote for this, I would be cooperating with behavior that my church does not condone. … No faithful Catholic could vote for this amendment." That's bullshit, too. Mazziotti was now hiding behind the black robes of his pastor to justify intolerance.

A bit thin skinned when he's criticized, Mazziotti has decided to let me have it at my Lehigh Valley Discource blog entry. He thinks I'm calling him names. I think he's intolerant and a bit hypocritical to discuss same sex benefits with his pastor without bothering to discuss other important issues like feeding the hungry and sheltering the homeless. Under his thinking, admission at Cedarbrook should be denied to every gay resident. His logic would require that benefits be denied to any couple who has experienced infidelity. After all, that's a sin, too.

The Allentown Diocese has already staked out a position on this matter, and did so during the debate leading up to the Human Relations Commission in Bethlehem. It is only concerned about laws that directly affect religious institutions.

Here's part of our exchange:

Mazziotti: "Bernie: I discussed this issue with my pastor before I voted. My vote reflects the Catholic position. To say that it does not reflect the Catholic position is not the truth. Vic Mazziotti"

O'Hare: "The pope reflects the Catholic position, not you. While homosexuality is regarded as a sin [if practiced], the Church would never [back] a governmental decision that [doesn't treat] all of us the same. In fact, the church treats all of us the same. You are a sinner. Under your logic, you should be denying benefits to anyone who is in a state of sin. That's just sheer nonsense. What you are really promoting is intolerance, and are invoking religion to justify it."

Mazziotti: "Bernie: as I said, I talked to my pastor before I voted. What is your source for your comment that my vote did not represent the Catholic position? Did you ever consider doing some research before you started calling people names? Or would that be sheer nonsense too? Vic Mazziotti"

O'Hare: "Vic, I don't believe I called you any name. If you want me to do so, I can, but I did not. I pointed out that you never mentioned any religious dissent the first time you voted against this. I also add that someone so concerned about religion, as you now pretend to be, would be so willing to support a man [Scott Ott] who was more than willing to cut off funding for our impoverished elderly. Did you discuss that with your pastor? Therein lies your hypocrisy.

I said you are wrong, that your Pastor is wrong (if he really said what you claim he said) and your thinking is intolerant. Finally, it is logically inconsistent.

The source I am relying on is Pope Francis, as well as the New Testamant. Even the Catholic Conference of Bishops has begun to relax in response to Pope Francis. And if the New Testament teaches anything, it is that love trumps sin. You may hate the sin, but you love the sinner.

It is one thing to say that a person who engages in homosexual acts is committing a sin. I understand that. I also understand that a Catholic Church should not be forced into taking positions in its own workplace or at its schools that will allow that sin.

This secular proposal does nothing of the sort. The same sex benefits principle simply means we are all equal in the eyes of the law. Just as in the eyes of the Catholic Church, we are all equal.

Under your thinking, the County would have to look at whether the benefits plan in question violates your tender Catholic sensibilities. If a man cheats on his wife, then she must be denied benefits under your thinking. After all, that goes against the Catholic grain. It is a slippery slope, and you are riding it to logico ad absurdum.

So let me summarize. Your argument is anti-Catholic. It is intolerant. You are using your faith to hide your intolerance. Your thinking is contrary to the sentiments of the Pope and New Testament. For someone who prides himself on logical thinking, it is incredibly illogical.

How interesting that you would hide behind your pastor's black robes to justify intolerance. But you don't bother speaking to the Church when it comes to cutting off food to the needy.

This is not Catholic thinking. It is not Thomas More. I am disappointed in your thinking and in you as a person.

On top of everything else, you have now opened the doors to those who hate Catholics.

Well done.

Last time you spoke to me, you told me to go to Hell and that you did not want to talk to me anymore. So why are you even here?

Mazziotti: "You hate to deal with facts, don't you Bernie. Saying that I am hiding behind my pastor, and suggesting that I made it up, is typical Bernie low class behavior. So, let's see who is telling the truth. I suggest that we go see my pastor and you can ask him if the position I took reflects the position of the Catholic Church. If he tells you I am wrong, I will write a check to Meals on Wheels for $500. But, if he tells you I am right, you write a check to Meals on Wheels for $500. Deal? Put your money where you mouth is Bernie! Or are you all talk? Vic Mazziotti 

O'Hare: "I am not saying that you are hiding behind your pastor. That is objectively what you have done. The first time you voted against this measure, you hid behind the law, though it increasingly is apparent that you are wrong on that point. The second time you voted against this measure, you hid behind your religion and your pastor. In both votes, what really motivated you is obviously intolerance. The law and religion are just convenient excuses.

I do not deny that you spoke to your Pastor. I do question what he told you, or whether you made clear what you were asking him. In any event, he is not the elected representative of Lehigh county. You are. You used religion as a cover.

I do not dispute that you spoke to your Pastor, so why would I bet you on that point? I do dispute what you told him, and what he told you. I dispute this because you are wrong to claim that an across the board denial of same sex benefits by a public employer is contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church. It is actually your vote, which does not treat us all as children of God, that is contrary to Catholic thinking.

Did you ask your pastor whether you should deprive Meals on Wheels? Is the Allentown Diocese ready to actually do its job and feed the hungry? Or are you too busy ferreting out queers?


Anonymous said...

This is the same Mazziotti who bullshitted his way through Northampton County budgets. The guy is a bullheaded egomaniac.

Anonymous said...

wow...did all those folks who voted for Vic know they were actually voting for his pastor? maybe next time, they should run as a ticket

Chris Casey said...

So since Vic kind of decided he wasn't running for a second term, Now he has decided to not even bother hiding that he is a biased, intolerant nut job? That's nice.

Anonymous said...


Bernie O'Hare said...

Vic gave good fiscal advice, and you really should drop that bullshit because you are just as misinformed as he is on politics.

Anonymous said...

Vic and his pastor should really listen to their pope:

“A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: ‘Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?’ We must always consider the person. "

Shame on Vic and his pastor for not considering the person and using his vote as a Commissioner to condemn them. I'd hate to have to answer to that when judgment comes.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I question specifically what Vic's pastor was asked and how he responded. i tend to think he was totally unaware that Mazziotti intended to use him as a foil.

Anonymous said...

You could be right about the pastor Bernie, but some more conservative churches take this tone because of their pastor. St. Anne's parish in Bethlehem has taken this conservative tone. They even have huge abortion banners that hang outside their building.

So while Vic may be using his pastor as a foil here, it would not surprise me if this advise would be regularly given by more conservative clergy.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute, where no Catholic prelate would tell the president (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote; where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference; and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the president who might appoint him or the people who might elect him.

I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish; where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source; where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials; and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all.

For while this year it may be a Catholic against whom the finger of suspicion is pointed, in other years it has been, and may someday be again, a Jew— or a Quaker or a Unitarian or a Baptist. It was Virginia's harassment of Baptist preachers, for example, that helped lead to Jefferson's statute of religious freedom. Today I may be the victim, but tomorrow it may be you — until the whole fabric of our harmonious society is ripped at a time of great national peril.

Finally, I believe in an America where religious intolerance will someday end; where all men and all churches are treated as equal; where every man has the same right to attend or not attend the church of his choice; where there is no Catholic vote, no anti-Catholic vote, no bloc voting of any kind; and where Catholics, Protestants and Jews, at both the lay and pastoral level, will refrain from those attitudes of disdain and division which have so often marred their works in the past, and promote instead the American ideal of brotherhood."

JFK, 9/12/60

michael molovinsky said...

bernie @9:13, let us not forget that these eloquent words, most likely by a speech writer, were created because kennedy was running to be the first catholic president. however, 50 years later, the public still had great hesitation about a mormon in office.

Anonymous said...

JFK .... right before he banged three whores in the Oval Office before going to church with Jackie .....

Bernie O'Hare said...

Them all the more reason for him to go to Church. Church is for sinners, not for saints. It's why I no longer go.

Bernie O'Hare said...

MM, I agree. I was very put off this election cycle by the anti Mormon prejudice, I.e. Religious intolerance of two people. One of them is Jim Fiorentino, who chairs the Berhlehem Planning Comm'n. The other is Dominic Buscemi, who was elected to the Easton School Board. Both of these religious bigots should resign.

Anonymous said...

How thing shave changed. Now if you are a Republican you better kneel tot he ultra-conservative Christian right if you want a chance to win it all.