Ruthie is the youngest cousin in a bumper crop of babies that have extended our family over the last few years. When she was adopted, we didn't pass out cigars, we passed out Baby Ruth bars.Still, as she goes on to point out, there's a movement afoot to keep children like Ruthie out of homes with two daddies or two mommies and in the revolving door of the Social Services foster program.
Did I mention that Ruthie has two daddies, something her toddler cousins take for granted? Did I mention that Ruthie's birth mother chose this couple to raise her, picking these two men from all the dossiers at the adoption agency?
Ruthie is why I take it personally when the Vatican calls gay adoptions ''gravely immoral" or says that such adoptions ''mean doing violence to these children." Ruthie is why I grimace when Russell Johnson, chairman of the Ohio Restoration Project, says, ''experimenting on children through gay adoption is a problem." Ruthie and her parents are not an experiment. They are a family. Part of my family.
This month, Catholic Charities in Boston was called on the Vatican carpet. For years the agency had operated a kind of ''don't ask, don't tell" policy. Over the course of two decades, Catholic social workers had placed 13 children with gay parents, saving most from the revolving door of foster care.So what's driving this renewed homophobic frenzy? Being used to looking at the world through a political lens, I've generally regarded it as a tool of the far Right wing to whip the base into a conservative, born-again lather - and make no mistake, it's definitely a powerful weapon in their arsenal. But it wouldn't work if a lot of people were not now predisposed to agreeing with such claptrap.
Now this issue is rolling out across the country, all the way to San Francisco. There, the new archbishop appears to be on a similar collision course with Catholic Charities and secular laws.
In Massachusetts, Governor Mitt Romney, nodding madly to conservatives in his bid for a presidential run, has filed a bill to grant a religious exemption to discrimination laws. But if you give one church permission to discriminate against gays, what's next? Permission to discriminate against blacks or Jews who want to adopt? Isn't that where we came from?
Lately, however, I've come to think that it's something more than that. I think there's a lot more fear involved than political pandering. The Right wing may have done a bit too good of a job in convincing Americans that we really are involved in a holy war with Islam. Add to that the shocking number of people who believe that the Rapture is close at hand and that Jesus himself is about to come lay the smackdown on all sinners and you've got a recipe for a lot of people trying to toe the fundamentalist line as closely as possible to avoid missing the last bus to the Pearly Gates.
Yes, someplace in Leviticus I believe that it says that a man laying down with another man is an abomination. (Never mind the teaching of tolerance in the New Testament... apparently that doesn't count anymore.) Of course, Leviticus is also the book that teaches us that we can sell our wives and daughters into slavery if they watch a Brad Pitt movie or stone our mother to death if she doesn't have the laundry done by the time we get home.
We have a massive surplus of children in the country, and thanks to the Right wing's abstinence only and no abortion plans, there's no drought of new, unwanted kids in sight. While our embattled Social Services and foster home programs doubtless do the best they can, doesn't it seem a bit contrary to logic to rule out a whole swath of people who might want to take children into good homes and care for them? While heterosexual couples still outnumber gay couples by a huge margin, the vast majority of straight partners have the option of conceiving a kid of their own naturally. Adoption is one of the only ways for gay couples to have a child. And we're shutting them out of the pool?
The answer to this seems to be education. Let's face it.... even if Jesus IS on his way down here this year to collect up the Righteous, don't you think He'd look kindly on anyone who cared for a homeless, innocent child? And don't you think He'd also cast a favorable eye on anyone who helped those people help the children?
If you're going to base your entire life on the rules set down in Leviticus, you'd probably do better as a Muslim anyway.