Who owns the Nativity Scene? What's Political?
There are a couple of ideas floating around here that I'm entirely comfortable challenging--that, in fact, need challenging.
One is that the Nativity Scene is somehow the exclusive property of the Roman Catholic Church or any other church. It is not. The Nativity Scene belongs to me as much as anyone else. The Nativity Scene at the center of this "Italian Furor" is not even owned by a Church of any kind. It is entirely the property of the Italian Parliament from what I can tell from the news reports we are relying on for information.
So when did the Italian Parliament become "not political."? Is a parliament putting up a Nativity Scene not a political act? Is excluding members of the parliament who happen to be LGBT from participation in the nativity scene a political act? Or is it a religious act of a political body? Even in the U.S. the Supreme Court seems unable to figure out whether the Nativity Scene is religious or merely cultural--and, there can be no doubt, folks left, right and middle are making it political all the time.
Where do we get the idea that the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God is not political? Read Luke's version of the nativity and tell me there's no politics involved--seems to me most of the major political figures of the day get mentioned--the Emperor (who also had the political title "Son of God"), the Roman Governor and King Herod.
Does the Roman Catholic Church get a free pass "to play politics" and tell us how we are to vote on the question of same gender marriage (as they did in my state), and then get to hide behind "Religion" when the LGBT people they exclude from church and equal rights in society object?
Listen, I think it was plain wrong when ACT-UP in New York went into Mass and desecrated the communion host several years ago. I just have seen no evidence, so far, to convince me that what these Italian parliamentarians did was anything like that.
Also, in this thread, please note that a couple examples have been raised about the Nativity scene being parodied to disparage LGBT people--I have yet to read in the paper about "furor" over that. Where's the Roman Catholic Bishop who's out denouncing that sacrilege?
I'm not saying that everyone who's spoken up so far in this thread doesn't have a piece of the "truth" about all these issues--I'm just not convinced that anyone has it absolutely right. In particular--I still don't think we really know what really happened in Italy and whether what the Italian parliamentarians did was good, bad or indifferent.
If it's a sacrilege for a gay couple to be in a nativity scene, then it's a sacrilege for a gay couple to go to church--and that I will not accept.
I don't think the Roman Catholic Church (and most other churches) are showing LGBT people so much respect that they could hold themselves up for examples to emulate.
Now, if these particular Italian parliamentarians intended to disrespect Jesus Christ, or intended merely to hurt religious people out of spite, I agree that is wrong. But if what they intended was to assert the equality of LGBT persons before God and the State, more power to them. I'm not at all surprised that equality and the inclusiveness of God offends some folks--too bad for them--they will just have to put up with being offended from time to time.