While you shouldn't need to have the smallest brain among Roman Catholic clergy to be bishop in our smallest state, Rhode Island's The Most Reverend Thomas J. Tobin may well have both attributes.
His arrogance and ignorance all too often evident in modern clergy of almost any religion, fill the diocese's web pages, audio, video, text links and Facebook entry. There's no doubt he's The Man around Providence. He even entitles his regular RC-paper column (not walking humbly with your God) WITHOUT A DOUBT.
That's a trenchant pun playing on his not-yet-papal doctrinal infallibility pretensions.
This Bishop is infamous for his anti-LGBT rhetoric. He has a special compartment in his nasty heart for marriage equality, a compartment best described as a dungeon.
Witness his latest column, "Five Problems with Homosexual 'Marriage.'" He uses and abuses the stereotypical set of loaded slurs and irrational claims of the worst of anti-gay hate groups. Those include:
- Of course, marriage in quotes, denying simultaneously legality and compassion and civil rights, as though feigning that church rites supersede reality and law
- Of course the big lie of "The proposal to legalize homosexual marriage is an attempt to redefine the institution of marriage as it has existed from the very beginning of human history." Marriage equality most definitely does not change man/woman church marriage in the slightest, which itself is a relatively recent institution that finally took its place in the ages-old patterns of polygamy, fornication, extramarital relations, and women as property (and ideally with property).
- Sadly too, he wants to mandate his particular doctrine of homosexual couples as being involved in "immoral activity" as policy and law. He's welcome to be a judgmental alter kaker, but that has no place in statute.
- He lugs out the wheezer that marriage equality is "a social experiment with unpredictable results." That's crap. The anti-equality folk promised a collapse of MA when we legalized same-sex marriage (including mass exodus of moral and wealthy citizens). With our lowest-in-the-nation divorce rate and zero related problems, we see the Tobin types reduced to oh-just-you-wait-long-enough (keep waiting, keep waiting).
- Alas, he falls on the straw man of legislative distraction, the last refuse of the political liar. Claiming that Rhode Island has more important things to do than offer equal rights to its citizens is beneath contempt and shows a profound lack of, well, Christianity as well as knowledge of civics.
Honestly though, despite the oft repeated cliché that people never change, Tobin may, through introspection or observation, have an enlightenment. Not only is he a politician, as any cleric risen to his level, but he busies himself with a serious to-do list. If he gets ahead of that or gets more sensible about his goals, he might have time for some prayers that aren't too egocentric.
His self-assigned duties include stocking up the new-priest pool, which he is doing OK at so far. He has an educational effort related to the every-sperm-is-sacred, life-begins-as-conception conceit. That's another personal decision that speaks to a fixed, limited audience. Also, he has an advertising-heavy campaign to put more lapsed-Catholic butts back in the pews — again, with limited success. These and other big items keep him busy.
Looking at the list, he likely can count his greatest accomplishments in the combo-teaching/Tobin promo. His SHARING CHURCH TEACHINGS to-do is embarrassingly all-Tobin all-the-time. He's everywhere as the longest description in the list indicates. Tobin. Tobin. Tobin. He even concludes with a link to his vain, commissioned coat of arms. His epithets in the uninspiring artwork, the words he uses to describe himself, are strong, loving, wise.
We're the same age. I don't know whether I could out-lift or out-armwrestle him, but I can see plainly that the other two are hooey.
Tags: massmarrier, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, same sex marriage, equality, Tobin,