It has been announced that one gay group called Out@NBC-Universal, a group of gay employees at NBC, will be allowed to march under their own banner for the first time in the New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade next year with more allowed to apply for 2016. Catholic cardinal Timothy Dolan, who will be the parade’s grand marshal next year, has said that he welcomes the move.
The Catholic church does not officially run the parade but, given the parade’s strong Catholic roots, it has strong influence on how it is run and who gets to take part.
The St. Patrick’s Day parade in New York began in 1762, predating the country’s founding, and it is one of the nation’s premier events to celebrate the pride and heritage of Irish-Americans. The parade is not, however, a Catholic-run event even though it is closely identified with Irish Catholicism: It is held on the Feast of St. Patrick, and it always pauses in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Fifth Avenue so that the grand marshal can meet the archbishop, who, by tradition, is of Irish heritage.
In the past the church has been adamant about not allowing LGBT groups to openly participate, so Dolan’s statement constitutes a significant shift that has not pleased some Catholics.
Meanwhile, several Catholic commentators in media outlets and blogs said the committee had capitulated to the gay agenda and effectively sold out the Catholic nature of an event dedicated to the patron saint of Ireland.
“It’s time to cancel the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the Al Smith Dinner and all the other ‘Catholic’ traditions that have been hijacked by the world,” Msgr. Charles Pope wrote Thursday in his blog on the Archdiocese of Washington’s website.
This move has put more-Catholic-than-the-pope Bill Donohue also in a quandary. He clearly hates the ideas of gays marching in the parade but at the same time Dolan’s support has caught him flat-footed. As usual, he is obsessed with sex.
Responding to the decision by organizers of New York’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade ending its ban and allowing for the first time an LGBT group to march behind its banner, Bill Donohue of Catholic League, a longtime opponent of allowing gays to march, asked, “Will the gays behave?”
“The reason I have to ask is that, unlike others,” he said in an interview with me on SiriusXM Progress, “they have a tendency to act up, [not keeping] their pants on.”
Of course, St. Patrick’s Day parades are hardly models of decorum with public displays of drunkenness and unruly behavior being the norm. But Donohue sees a crucial difference and it has to do with pants.
When told that in fact the St. Patrick’s Day Parade gets quite unruly, with reports of drunkenness, violence and police run-ins each year, with heterosexual people certainly not “behaving,” Donohue insisted that they still “keep our pants on,” though he acknowledged he’s never been to Mardi Gras in New Orleans where many heterosexuals certainly engage in sexual expression, sometimes unclothed.
Donohue seems obsessed with the idea that people want to take his pants off, saying ” “If I went to the gay pride parade,” he explained, “I insist on keeping my pants on. Why would you want me to take my pants off?”
Trust me, Bill, nobody wants to see you with your pants off.
I suspect that the reason for the shift in attitude is due to the boycott of last year’s parade by major beer sponsors like Sam Adams, Guinness, and Heineken as well as newly elected NYC mayor Bill de Blasio and other elected officials. It was clearly only going to get worse with time.
Meanwhile some gay groups are objecting to the limiting of participation to just one group, and a corporate one at that, saying that this is just a public relations stalling tactic, a way of getting the boycotts by beer sponsors lifted. They argue that other LGBT gay groups should be allowed to march as well and that the NBC group should not march unless other groups are also allowed.
Irish Catholic Stephen Colbert is not happy with the change and weighed in on the issue.
(This clip aired on September 4, 2014. To get suggestions on how to view clips of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report outside the US, please see this earlier post. If the videos autoplay, please see here for a diagnosis and possible solutions.)