Friday, February 27, 2009

The Intolerance Institute

Thankfully, I left the Catholic Church many years ago, so I don't have to witness first hand the sadness that is emanating from the destruction of the Church wroth by the likes of Bishop Martino of Scranton.

Having been born & raised in Scranton (accompanied by a Catholic School education from Kindergarten through Law School), I did think that there was one major advantage to my education. The benefit of spending grade school with the sisters would permit me to tell funny stories of having been taught by the nuns -- and Lord knows, there are many of those to tell. No More Patent Leather Shoes. In fact, my colleagues in the LLWL Gang, who are religiously diverse, got to hear the Catholic girls explain Pagan Babies at lunch the other day.

Yet, the Church of today, ruled by scolding dictators with vanity, intolerance and charity for none has superseded those fond memories, leaving a vile taste behind.

Once again, the Bishop of Scranton, Joseph Martino, has reared his ugly head to cause dissension, anger & pain among his flock. I have written of him many times of late, chronicling his dastardly deeds "in God's name." One of those dealt with his displeasure with a local Catholic University who permitted a civil rights activist, who happens to be gay, to speak at it's annual Black History event. See Sinful in Scranton. As the Scranton Times reports, Bishop Martino targets Misericordia University Diversity Institute:

Bishop Joseph F. Martino is calling on Misericordia University to “seriously consider discontinuing its Diversity Institute,” which hosted a gay-rights speaker earlier this month.

The bishop has publicly criticized the appearance of Keith Boykin, a best-selling author, television commentator and founder of the National Black Justice Coalition. Now Bishop Martino wants to ensure other speakers like Mr. Boykin do not receive a platform at Misericordia again.
Boykin, who is black as well as gay, was there as part of the school's Black History Month celebration and his focus was on black history, not on gay rights.

Lest there be any misunderstanding about Martino's intention, he wants it to be clear that he does not believe in diversity, if it does not comport with his view of the Church's teachings:
In a statement released by the Diocese of Scranton on Tuesday, the bishop conveyed that students should learn respect for all races and cultures, but viewpoints in opposition to Catholic teaching should not be presented “under the guise of ‘diversity.’ ”

“Doing so within a formal structure sanctioned by the institution gives the impression that these viewpoints are acceptable, or that all morality is relative,” the statement read.

The bishop is “asking Misericordia to seriously consider discontinuing its Diversity Institute” and also wants the school to prove its efforts in teaching Catholic morality regarding sexuality and homosexuality — including naming courses, content and catalog numbers.
Let the Inquisition begin! Martino also chose to issue his edict to the school by means of a press release, rather than by notifying the college first:
In a statement released by Misericordia on Tuesday afternoon, the university said it has “been committed deeply to its Catholic mission and the teachings of the Catholic Church for 85 years” and that it “welcomes the opportunity to discuss these matters with the bishop and his delegates at their convenience.” No further public comment was made.

Misericordia, located in Dallas, is a Catholic-affiliated school founded in 1924 by the Religious Sisters of Mercy. It is funded independently and not run by the diocese.
I have it on good authority (unlike me, I come from a religious family) that Martino never discussed any of his concerns with Misericordia or the Institute before he issued his attack through the media. Not a meeting. Not a letter. Not a call. No need, since Martino doesn't believe in discussion. He speaks, others obey.

And what about this radical Institute that obviously needs to be reigned in, according to the Bishop? What incendiary things has this organization done in the past? The Wilkes Barre paper describes the mission, Institute has long track record of promoting diversity:
Since 1993, the Diversity Institute at Misericordia University has provided programming and seminars for institutions in Northeastern Pennsylvania to encourage people in the region to be educated about diversity issues.

Its director, Linda Trompetter, Ph.D., had no comment Tuesday about the Diversity Institute at Misericordia University or Bishop Joseph F. Martino’s call to shut down the program. Through the years, though, the Diversity Institute has spurred larger initiatives that have addressed diversity issues throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania.

The Diversity Institute has presented at area businesses, government agencies, schools, universities and hospitals on issues ranging from sexual harassment, prejudice reduction and culture competence.

They’ve also presented programs on gender, religion, sexual orientation and class.

Each summer, the Diversity Institute hosts a multicultural summer camp for kids who live in and out of the area. The camp always ends with a picnic co-sponsored by the Wilkes-Barre chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
I have mentioned before that my hometown, and the surrounding area, was not exactly a beacon for harmonious racial relations. See, e.g., Oh, Dear Me and Can't Be Topped. So, one would think that an Institute that works to overcome those sentiments might be just what the region could use.

Yet Martino wants to do away with it? I guess his credo is a faith based upon Intolerance. Which Commandment was that?

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