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March 30, 2004

Spontaneous Planned Reactions

Diogenes reacts to a homosexual Catholic journalist who spontaneously disrupted a mass that he had gone out of his way to attend:

[Chuck] Colbert, who has degrees from Notre Dame University and, more recently, the Weston Jesuit School of Theology, frequently writes news stories for the National Catholic Reporter. Several reports on the clergy abuse crisis in the Boston area have appeared in the NCR under his byline. Well, does the Rosenthal Rule apply here? He might still pen opinion-essays as an advocate, but are we supposed to pretend that Colbert -- who plants himself in a parish he doesn't belong to, who claims he couldn't "sit there and take it" when the video he went out of his way to see is shown, who then stages a bit of calculated agit-prop to further the cause of gay rights -- is a neutral and objective observer of the situation?

I'll admit that the video is a bit over the top in its use of imagery; in fact, it's almost funny at times. But it's hardly "misinformation," as Colbert called it. It simply makes the case as starkly as it can in a few minutes.

A larger story, however, considering that the video hasn't exactly been shown in parishes around Massachusetts, let alone around the country, is the media-event character of Colbert's action. As Diogenes notes, the story hit the AP wire just before 4:00 p.m. on the same day that Colbert attended a 9:00 a.m. Mass. (That's what the story says, but Diogenes found that the church's Masses are at 7:30 and 9:30.) Considering the additional research and quote gathering, that's quite a turnaround time.

To suggestions that the "sit there and take it" line is curious considering that it wasn't his parish, Colbert says that he's free to visit any church and "wanted to see how [the video] was presented." That's curious, too, considering that it seems Colbert might have been aware that the video was online, which would suggest that he'd already seen it. The whole thing seems pretty well organized, to me — right up to the major-media coverage.

Anybody still believe that civil marriage will be the stopping point for many in this movement?

Posted by Justin Katz at March 30, 2004 12:27 AM
News Media

Colbert admitted he didn't belong to that parish, and that he had heard about the video. He was there to comment on a video which went around spreadling lies that civil unions would cause old women to die. Isn't that his right? Is that a conspiracy? And how does this prove your nebulous claim that this is about more than marriage? Do you think that gays are going to go crashing into churches every day or something? Are you honestly trying to claim that one person represents an entire community of people?

When Bush supporters crash Kerry rallies, do you have the same reaction to them? What about when Christian activists go to gay events (like Gay Days) and start screaming and yelling at people to find Jesus or burn in Hell?

As for the link, I wonder why anti-gay zealots still rail about the New York Times when NYT recently fired a reporter solely because he once worked for ACT-UP. Does that seem like pro-gay bias to you?

Posted by: Bill at April 4, 2004 4:42 PM


Actually, it isn't his right to disrupt a Mass because he disagrees with the Church's position on homosexuality. As for my "nebulous claim," it's just my conclusion based on various incidents as well as undercurrents to many of the arguments for same-sex marriage. To believe that disruptions and attacks on the Church — during Mass, in court, regarding its tax exempt status, and so on — wouldn't escalate if the government relents on the marriage issue would strike me as dangerously naive.

As for your counter-examples, there are certainly people on whose side I find myself on this issue with whom I don't agree either on degree or strategy. However, I should note that the political world isn't really a comparable arena.

Posted by: Justin Katz at April 4, 2004 8:05 PM