Minnesota’s Roman Catholic bishops recently launched a hateful campaign against marriage equality. In the last six weeks of the 2010 mid-term elections, Archbishop John Nienstedt of St. Paul and Minneapolis, organized a mail-out of over 400,000 DVDs to Catholics in Minnesota, apparently all paid for by an unnnamed donor, and endorsed by the Knights of Columbus. Though Nienstedt claims that the mailing is not a “political statement” it is obvious that it was done to influence the electorate to vote for the anti-equality candidate, Tom Emmer. Though not unexpected, this is particularly troubling because tax-exempt organizations, such as churches, are not allowed to donate to any particular candidate or political campaign.
The DVD contrasts Catholic weddings and same-sex couples marrying in states where its legal. The narrator asks, “What will happen to marriage, to children, and to Catholics and our institutions if judges and politicians are allowed to redefine marriage?”
In the video Niendtedt says “At best, so called same-sex marriage is an untested social experiment…And at worst, it poses a dangerous risk with potentially far-reaching consequences. An exercise of caution should be in order.” He then goes on to say that “there’s no discrimination when there isn’t a basic right to something,” completely failing to understand main principle of the fight for marriage equality – which is about basic rights. Marriage equality is about all citizens having the right to legal protections and responsibilities that come with state recognized marriage, and are denied to those people in civil unions or otherwise, not about the right to marry in the Catholic church.
Bigots from the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy and Joy-Filled Marriage say lots of ignorant and ridiculous things, even quoting Dr Martin Luther King Jr. out of context to give their ramblings legitimacy. Professor Robert P. George from Princeton University makes an appearance, to talk about how children are “blessings” that should be reared by one man and one woman, not “two moms, or three moms, or two moms, and two dads or anything like that.” Please email this idiot to complain at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or the Director of Graduate Studies at: email@example.com.
Many members of the congregation have spoken out against the actions of the Arch-bishop, who has said that LGBT allies are “cooperating in a grave evil,” by protesting with art pieces, demonstrations and public declarations of their disagreement. Nienstedt has written letters back to members of the congregation who have voiced their dissent saying that their opinions are “threatening their eternal salvation.” It is so important for LGBTQ Catholics and their allies to speak out and make it clear to their congregations, priests and Archbishops that they do not agree with the hateful campaigning and attempts to deny citizens their civil rights and equality.
If you want to watch the dvd sent out by the church you can see it here in two parts:
Fortunately for Minnesotans, and thankfully for LGBT people and their allies everywhere, Mark Dayton, Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, who supports full equality, was elected Governor, though by a slim margin. The automatic recount is taking place but Dayton appears to be leading by over 9,000 votes. Fingers crossed for the future of marriage equality in Minnesota.