Italy’s new government is raising worries in many parts of Europe. For us humanists, of special concern is the nomination of Lorenzo Fontana, a fiercely anti-choice politician who is openly homophobic and anti-abortion.
We asked our members from Unione degli Atei e degli Agnostici Razionalisti (also know as UAAR) to tell us a bit more about who this person is. We wholeheartedly thank Adele Orioli and Massimo Radaelli for sharing their thoughts below.
Quite a few days after the elections, Italy finally has an executive government.
It is supported by two parties that, after an electoral campaign during which they were ferociouly at each other’s throats, now seem to have reached an agreement, formalized in a so-called “government contract.”
On the one hand there’s Lega, formerly Lega Nord, whose strong point is the fight against immigration. This party went from trying to bring back the Celtic-pagan worship of the God Po (a river in Northern Italy) to watching its leader Matteo Salvini speak to the crowds holding the rosary, and swearing on the Bible that he would respect his electoral commitments.
On the other hand, Movimento 5stelle, founded by former comedian Beppe Grillo and currently headed by Neapolitan Luigi Di Maio who, as his first act after such a lofty appointment, proceeded to kiss the ampoule cointaining (?) the blood of San Gennaro.
With such premises it is not surprising that the government has a strong clerical connotation, starting with the very Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte: a university teacher deeply devoted to Padre Pio.
But the one to arouse immediate (and well-deserved) costernation is that of the minister of the newly created dicastery of Family (in the singular) and disability. Lorenzo Fontana, 38 years old, member of Lega, was formerly an active member of the European Parliament, authoring resolutions for the defense of Christians in Muslim countries, on Christianophobia and cultural protection of Christian cultural heritage in Europe and on the need for specific assistance for Christian refugees person
Ferociously anti-abortionist and close to the Pro Lide fundamentalist movements, he was against the civil unions that Italy finally and painstakingly obtained in 2016 because “then they will ask to marry dogs.”
The path towards the recognition of fundamental rights has suddenly become steeper.
– Unione degli Atei e degli Agnostici Razionalisti
And what better way to remind us of his ideas than to declare, right after being sworn in, that “rainbow families do not exist” (and one can only grudginly recognize the logical coherence of that singular mentioned above). He then proceeded to be offended by the ensuing controversy, to declare himself “discriminated against because a Catholic”, and to write a heartfelt missive (signed as minister), addressed to and published by a well-known conservative newspaper, in which he states that the hate of the elites (?) doesn’t scare him. And that we will fight without fear against the relativistic fury in defence of the only possible family: the one with mom and dad. He goes on to quote Pius X in support of his self-declared fundamentalism and concludes with the bitter realization that in these times “fighting for normality has become a heroic act”.
In the face of a situation that is still precarious for the LGBT community (no stepchild adoption, with daily episodes of homophobic intolerance that are not yet punishable with a specific crime), and on the fortieth anniversary of the legalization of abortion, which is however practially impossible in many regions due to conscientious objection, and finally with a widespread and systematic discrimination against the non-believers or those with different beliefs, one is justified in feeling discouraged.
It is little consolation to be told that abortions and civil unions are not in the “government contract”, and as such will not be reformed. Especially if the ones telling take pains to point out that they agree with Fontana.
The path towards the recognition of fundamental rights has suddenly become steeper. We will see – but we will not just stand and wait.