Friday, October 2, 2015

ACTUALLY Pope Francis Totally DOES Endorse Kim Davis

Update October 3rd:  I've changed this essay a bit to add examples and citations as well as account for new information about Kim Davis's visit with Pope Francis.  The underlying theme is still the same.

Alright fellow queer people... I'm getting really tired of this.

I tried to avoid talking about Kim Davis.  The thing is, the reaction to her gives me a lot of very nasty mixed feelings, especially regarding the abysmal way the mainstream LGBT community has chosen to handle it.  The "still did their job" memes?  Deplorable.  The intense love people seemed to have for somebody going to jail?  Disgusting.  That in addition to the fact that marriage just isn't my movement.  Kim Davis isn't my favorite subject.  She has brought out some really disturbing behavior.  But this Pope Francis thing... well, you all know railing on the Pope is one of my favorite subjects.  And you all seem to be defending the shit out of him yet again.  So I'll talk.

The short story is this:
  • Kim Davis is in charge of handing out marriage registrations.  She refused to hand out marriage registrations because she's homophobic.  She gets put in jail.
  • Somebody asks the Pope how he feels about the subject and he waxes poetical about how important conscientious objection is.
  • She meets with the Pope and suddenly acts like they have matching half-heart necklaces.
  • People freak out and whine and cry that Pope Francis would do such a thing even though he has solidly confirmed he's a total bigot since way before his reign even started.
  • The Vatican goes all "wait wait this isn't what it looks like what did you think it was an endorsement?"
  • LGBT people breathe a sigh of relief and start broken-record chanting that the meeting wasn't an endorsement, I mean the Pope meets with a lot of people, he even met with a gay couple, didn't you know that?
I'm sitting here scratching my head yet again because we've been through this before.  It's like every time there's a lull in the Pope's obvious homophobia people just totally forget all the things he did before that.  And this time people are just totally swallowing this line the Vatican is feeding that the Pope's meeting doesn't mean he endorses Kim Davis, which somehow has turned into him overall not endorsing Kim Davis.

And people are really jumping through hoops to justify it, like in this article where a gay friend of Pope Francis talks about how he's "never condemned his sexuality" and he "believes the Pope was 'misled'" into meeting Kim Davis, or in this article--insultingly titled "Pope Francis Rejects Kim Davis’s Account Of Meeting And Refuses To Endorse Her Bigotry"--where people laugh and mock the fact that Kim Davis was merely a member of a group that met the Pope and that he didn't even know who she was.  Complete with a bunch of people apologizing for "throwing the Pope under the bus" because I mean how could we ever believe that the super 100%-never-wrong Pope Francis doesn't support The Gays?  I mean he hugged a trans person and has a gay friend who he also hugged.  Hugs are magic!!!  No oppressor has ever hugged a person they actively oppress before!

Well, you know what?  Pope Francis totally does endorse Kim Davis and her bigotry.

It also has pretty much nothing to do with the meeting between them, nor even his "conscientious objector" comments--not entirely, anyway.  People are focusing on whether or not these two actions constitute an endorsement of Kim Davis, and the answer to that isn't that cut and dry.  The Pope hangs out with a lot of people, including queer people, and he certainly doesn't "endorse" us.  The Vatican has basically said he didn't know who she was, and her story about their meeting is mostly a lie.  And if we're talking a generic discussion on conscientious objection, well, what the Pope said is absolutely right (even if the example given was a "totally hypothetical" person refusing to give out marriage licenses).  I don't agree with the way people are spinning these events, but they're not the worst arguments I've ever seen made by LGBT people, although to be fair the mainstream LGBT movement has crafted a more-than-fair share of asinine arguments.

So why does Pope Francis endorse Kim Davis?  Because he endorses the exact same beliefs she does.  And very publicly so.

There's a really bizarre, really kind of insulting double standard going on when we talk about Pope Francis compared to other bigots.  Both Kim Davis and Pope Francis are staunchly against same-sex marriage.  But there's a huge power differential that people are entirely ignoring when they talk about this subject, all wrapped in a big blanket of misogyny and tone arguments.

Kim Davis is a county clerk, and while she may have rallied some already-present supporters, her influence is otherwise limited to her office.  While this certainly may be a big deal for those people whose licenses she denied, overall she is a small-time bigot without a whole lot of actual power, and where she did exercise her authority improperly she has been punished for it, even going to jail for a few days over it.  She's largely a laughingstock, subject to insensitive memes somehow coming to the conclusion that you should always do your job no matter what it is as if no employer has ever insisted somebody do something immoral ever.  To make matters worse, the reaction to her has really brought out some of the absolute worst among LGBT people, who have been churning out misogynistic humor about her appearance and a nice chunk of prison rape and sexual harassment jokes to go along with it.

Pope Francis is a career bigot.  He has spoken out against pretty much every important LGBT issue, aggressively lobbying against adoption (like, he literally said gay couples don't love their children as much as straight ones), same-sex marriage (going way back to when he was still a Cardinal, calling it an attempt to destroy God's plan), and gender transition (basically any difference in gender expression is somehow comparable to nuclear weapons).  His beliefs are the same as Kim Davis's if not worse.  But while Kim Davis's power and appeal are both limited to people who already would have listened to her, Pope Francis leads the largest Christian denomination in the world.  Even where he doesn't have explicit legal power he still retains a lot of social power.  People listen to this guy.  There are people out there who literally worship him.  When he dies there will be people who literally have shrines to him, if they don't already.  He has his own country!  He's an extremely powerful person whose opinions can make or break somebody's liberties depending on where they live and who their family is.  But rather than vilify him, he has been put on a pedestal by the mainstream LGBT movement.  The Advocate actually gave this guy a fricking award despite having been very consistent in his opinion that LGBT people do not deserve equal rights.  People constantly talk about that "who am I to judge?" comment, even though it explicitly referred to Catholic priests, a group of people expected to be celibate their whole lives.  They squee with glee whenever he is in the near vicinity of a gay person, and basically act like he's the best thing that happened to queer people since the strap-on harness.

That's honestly really disturbing.  I'm getting sick of this double-standard and I'm getting sick of the amnesia that apparently befalls the entire LGBT community right after every one of his many transgressions against us.  And I'm getting sick of people gasping with shock when I say I do not support or believe in the lovey-dovey hippie crap version of Pope Francis people keep promoting.  If you can't even handle that maybe not every queer person is enthusiastic about what crumbs the Pope throws us, you have absolutely no business trashing Kim Davis.  She's hardly a threat on her own let alone in comparison to the behemoth of bigotry Pope Francis I.  He may be kinder about his bigotry, but he's ultimately far more powerful and therefore more dangerous than she ever will be.