Father Gerald Murray

I'm on a diet. That means you're attacking my freedom and undermining my beliefs each time -you- eat a doughnut.

I'm serious, you're doing me harm. OK not actual harm, try metaphysical harm. By eating that doughnut you're not harming me personally, but you're sure making my imagination hurt. It's really very selfish of you. It's probably a terrific sin.

I think you should put the doughnut down and examine your conscience instead.

This, sadly, is the level of logic you'll hear nightly on Fox News when it comes to justifying a ban on marriage equality for the gays. It's so bluntly stupid it's depressing to watch adults still indulge in it (and pundits listen to it).

As America waits for the Supreme Court ruling in late June it seems that some of the last, lousy vestiges of an ancient hatred have been reduced to this repellent dumb show.

But where does an ancient hatred go when it finds itself homeless? What happens when the nation (and the world) begins to treat a despised minority with compassion and long-delayed justice?

Well, some people's heads explode, that's what happens. Take Father Gerald Murray, pastor of the  Church of the Holy Family near the United Nations.

Father Murray joined Megyn Kelly on Fox earlier this week to insist that the gays are the real bigots, and that their real intent is to oppress and victimize Catholics (and Christians generally):

'You can caricature Christian teaching and call it bigotry and that's reasonable speech on the left these days. This nonsense that we want to disadvantage blacks, when we say that homosexual activity is sinful, to call that equivalent to denying them their basic rights — no, we're telling them if you want to live a good life, you have to follow what Jesus said.'

Jesus said nothing about gay people, Father Murray. Not one word. I'm no student of the Bible but even I know that.

Undaunted, Father Murray continued:  'Basically, this is an attack on our freedom to preach what we believe.'

Is it, though? I can't recall a single gay rights leader calling for the censoring of a church. Theology and the law make uncomfortable bedfellows I grant you Father Murray, but I fail to see how Adam and Steve getting happily hitched attacks the Church, your freedom of speech or even you personally. It's the old thier doughnut is making you fat problem, isn't it?

It appears Father Murray will not be placated, however:

'They used to want to debate the merits of gay marriage. Now, they simply want to assert that this is the only rational and Christian thing to do, and historic Christianity and the Catholic Church says absolutely not…'

But for the record Father Murray, same sex marriage equality is the pursuit of equality under federal law, as promised in the Constitution. It is a civic right, one that need have nothing whosoever to do with any religion.

Father Murray has no time for the complicating claims of reality though, adding: 'There's no such thing as gay marriage.'

Well, in point of fact there is, but go ahead and have your say Father Murray:

'You can name something marriage. It's not that.'

To Father Murray it's not a full-fat marriage, it's the famous skimmed milk marriage that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg referred to last week during the oral hearings on DOMA. 'If same sex marriage doesn't confer the same legal rights and entitlements of opposite sex marriage then what kind of marriages are these,' she wondered?

Once again Father Murray has the answer: 'Instead of debating me on that, they want to say, 'You're a bigot. You're equal to a racist. You're equal to an anti-feminist' and all the rest, and I say, hold on, that's not the reality at all. We love everyone, including sinners of all types, but we don't tell the sinner, well, you'd like to have a legal recognition for your relationship, go ahead and have it. We don't do that.'

It's instructive to watch representatives of the institution that gave us the biggest sex scandals in history (and the biggest cover ups) still pointing the finger, rather than turning the other cheek.

But is this how the church shows its love to gays, by denying them their own agency, by insulting their personhood, by calling them sinners and then insisting they're attacking the church, the family and the nation? What kind of love is that, I wonder?

The ease with which Father Murray calls others sinners contrasts sharply with his displeasure at being called a bigot, doesn't it?

Father Murray's claims are baseless. He is quite free to say what he likes and associate with whom he likes. He claims he wants to protect his free speech, but he seems to have no appetite to accept the consequences of his speech when others take a different view.

The Catholic Church is two millennia old, fabulously wealthy, and internationally influential. It's insupportable nonsense to claim it or any other denomination is under threat from gay people. Father Murray's paranoiac rantings give the lie to Cardinal Dolan's recent claim that the Church will amend it's outreach to gays so that they know they are loved.