Tag Archives: Catholicism

Politics, Religion and #Atheism

28 Jun

Last week in New York State, we watched as several State Senators considered the role of their personal faith while making a decision about public policy. Most notably Senator Mark Grisanti who often spoke of the conflict between his faith and his belief in equal rights under the law.

However, the issue isn’t just about marriage equality, it’s about what role faith should play in our government and public life.  Last week, I posted a video of John F. Kennedy explaining to a group of protestant ministers that his Catholic faith would not compromise his ability to create and support policy independent of the Vatican. Imagine that, a President having to inform the public that his faith would NOT be central to the discharge of his duties.

Fast forward to the Republican Presidential Candidates Debate that was broadcast on CNN earlier this month. This question was posed to the candidates by the debate moderator, John King.

Just what role does faith play in your political life? Are there decisions, certain issues where some might you just, let’s meet with my advisers, what does my gut say, and others where you might retreat and have a moment of private prayer?

The answers are immaterial, because each candidate has at different times interjected their personal faith into the public discourse in Congress, their statehouse or in their frequent media appearances. The Republican Party of 2011 is firmly rooted in the social conservative circles of evangelical churches, creationism, faith based initiatives, home schooling, and praying to the heavens for guidance on what to do with the budget deficit. Is this really the kind of country we wish to live in? Are you comfortable with a President who truly believes that the world was created just 3,000 years ago and believes beyond the shadow of a doubt that men rode on dinosaurs (if they even existed, that is). Because every single candidate on that stage believes those thing. Every. Single. One.

Do you have any concerns at all that those “Answers In Genesis” and faith teachings might not be the sturdiest foundation for a nation that includes tens of millions of people who don’t share those religious points of view?

After all, unless a candidate professes his faith loudly and proudly, he or she is not welcome inside the tent of the Republican Party. The Democratic Party also has strong roots in the faith community, however, it’s not central to the party platform. Aside from Rep. Pete Stark (D,CA), there isn’t one national level atheist Democrat in office.

Which begs the question, what if an atheist ran for President? Is it even possible? Can a man or woman who professes an absence of belief in a higher power even be considered for public office? If not, why not?

Would you vote for an atheist politician? Would you cast a vote for an atheist Mayor of Buffalo? An atheist County Executive? Member of Congress? President?

How important is the faith of a candidate to your final choice in the voting booth? Should someone’s faith be part of their decision making process in matters of public policy?

Paladinoporn.com (NSFW)

13 Oct

Over the past few weeks, Republican gubernatorial nominee Carl Paladino has staked out a position as a candidate whose values and morals are informed by his Catholic faith.  In a speech he delivered to a group of supporters on Sunday October 10th, specifically discussing homosexuality, he said, “we must stop pandering to the pornographers and the perverts who seek to target our children and destroy their lives.”

Back in April, WNYMedia.net posted 8 emails received from an anonymous source – each of those emails was either obscene or racist, and the emails were forwarded by candidate Paladino to large numbers of prominent western New York businessmen and politicians. Now that morality, religion, and pornography have been introduced to the gubernatorial race by Mr. Paladino, WNYMedia.net is releasing more – previously unreleased – emails that Paladino has forwarded to his friends and colleagues.  These emails coincide with the unveiling of the Paladino Porn website. They are wildly NSFW. These include:

1. October 2009 email including a video of a young woman in pigtails engaging in sexual acts. Mr. Paladino wrote that the video is “awesome”.

2. August 2009 email entitled, “Russian Beauty” showing a woman masturbating and expressing breast milk onto a glass window and table.

3. October 2009 email depicting two young women engaging in lesbian sex.  Mr. Paladino wrote that the video is “awesome”.

4. November 2009 email featuring softcore porn images of a nude woman posing.  Mr. Paladino wrote that the images were for “andy, this is better”, apparently referencing an earlier email.

5. January 2010 email showing a woman receiving a bikini wax, entitled, “I found my retirement job! xxx”

6. November 2008 email including a video from “fistflush.com” of a woman engaging in sex acts with a bunch of bananas, entitled, “Chiquita Bananas…xxx careful”.

7. November 2008 email entitled, “squirter” depicting a male and female engaging in sex acts.

As with the emails revealed in April, we have confirmed the authenticity of these emails and are positive that Mr. Paladino forwarded them to others.  Like the earlier emails, these are degrading to, and objectify, women.

The voters of the state of New York – especially the alleged “values” voters who support Paladino because he purports to share their traditional, orthodox views on sexuality – should be perfectly clear about whom they’re supporting.

In criticizing the very idea of marriage equality, Paladino inserted “pornography” and “perverts” into that discussion.  The next day, he went to great lengths to defend his statements before ultimately, uncharacteristically apologizing for them and blaming the media.

As Paladino claims what a friend he is to the gay community, we remind you that he is also neither enemy nor stranger to pornography and perversion.

You cannot claim that gay marriage will cheapen or harm the institution of marriage if you, yourself, have carried on an affair and fathered a child out of wedlock.

You cannot claim that you are opposed to pornography when you email inbox and outbox is so jam-packed with it.

You cannot claim the moral high ground whilst crawling through the gutter.

Because of his hypocrisy, his phony morals, his poor judgment, and his willingness to separate, rather than unite New Yorkers of every color, creed, religion, ethnicity, and sexual identity, we don’t think that Carl Paladino deserves to be the Governor of the State of New York.

#Paladino, Hasidim, and Homosexuals

13 Oct

The New York Post caught up with Carl Paladino’s nephew – the one Paladino cited as proof that he’s a “live and let live” guy when it comes to gays.

Carl Paladino’s openly gay nephew — whom the candidate points to as proof he’s no homophobe — said yesterday he was “very offended” by his uncle’s anti-gay rants.

Jeff Hannon, 23, a staffer for the Paladino campaign, also hasn’t shown up at work since the bomb-throwing GOP gubernatorial hopeful made his caustic comments about homosexuality, one of Hannon’s co-workers told The Post.

In a brief phone interview yesterday, Hannon, in his first public remarks on the incident, told The Post, “Obviously, I’m very offended by his comments.”

Hannon said he had no further comments “right now,” before hanging up.

The hunky, 6-foot-2 staffer hasn’t been seen at campaign headquarters in Buffalo since Sunday, one worker said.

“Everybody was talking about it today. They are worried about him,” said the worker. “They think he’s upset.”

Hannon graduated from SUNY-Buffalo in 2008 and majored in political science, according to his page on MySpace.com.

In April, he tweeted, “Finally some love 4 us gays!” and linked to a newspaper article about President Obama extending federal benefits to same-sex partners of government workers.

“Some of my best friends are gay” doesn’t make up for Paladino’s pandering to a miniscule, disproportionately influential, special interest group on Sunday.  It doesn’t make up for his doubling-down on Sunday’s insults to gays with Monday’s commentary on the Speedoism of gay pride parades. Paladino has made morality and values, including his Catholicism, an issue in this race over the course of the past 3 days.  Perhaps those alleged values need more challenging.

Supporters of gay rights protested outside Paladino’s HQ at Ellicott Square yesterday afternoon.  Tom Dolina was there, and estimates the crowd at about 100.

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Antoine Thompson spoke to the crowd. To his credit, he was the only WNY State Senator to have voted in favor of marriage equality when it came up for a vote last year:

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