I don’t like to write about or discuss politics or religion. My philosophy is “to each his own,” and as long as you’re not hurting anyone else, I’m not in the business of trying to convince you that your opinion is incorrect or idiotic, or that mine is right, even if I know it is.
That said, I’m making a rare exception to freak out for a moment on an article I read in the Star Tribune this morning. I’m a cradle Catholic, and I’ve been a card-carrying Republican since I was 19 years old, but this makes me want to renounce allegiance to both.
The article, Bishops begin fight for marriage vote, details Twin Cities Archbishop John Nienstedt’s obsession with passing an amendment to the Minnesota State Constitution that will prohibit gay marriage. He’s calling for parish priests to set up “grass-roots” committees to encourage Catholics to vote yes to this amendment next year.
It was the idiot Republican-led state legislature that put this issue on the ballot in the first place. First Republican majority legislature in Minnesota in eons and THIS is what they focus on? With unemployment at a record high, education funding being cut at the state level, gas prices that haven’t been below $3.00 per gallon for four years, military families being stretched to the limit because of multiple deployments, North Korea, Iran, Libya, Egypt, Venezuela, Syria all batshit crazy, and they are worried that if two guys in top hats, tails, and maybe a boa if it’s really fabulous, have a state-sanctioned ceremony in Loring Park it’s going to upset the delicate balance of the world?
Now put aside whatever thoughts you have on the subject, and let’s examine a few things.
- Minnesota law already defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman. So the amendment is completely redundant.
- The Church has the right to state their position on the issue. They deal in moral absolutes, which is fine. However, they have no business being so deeply involved in something that is completely a political matter. This is not the same as abortion or the death penalty, where the protection of life is at issue. No one’s life is at risk if the amendment does not pass.
- The phrase I keep seeing is that there will be “profound consequences” if marriage is redefined. Like what? I have yet to see any examples. How does two people professing a committment to each other possibly have a negative impact on anyone else?
- We’re on a slippery slope here. What if other religious organizations follow the example set by the Catholic Church? I’m being extreme, but there are religions that view alcohol as a sin, or restrict the rights of women, or practice ancient customs that are viewed by modern society as barbaric. Do Minnesotans want to fight against a unified lobby from other faiths who want to impose their values on the rest of the population?
- Over $10 million may be spent on both sides of the fight to pass or defeat the amendment. How many other ways could the Church put that to better use? Increasing salaries of teachers in Catholic schools? Missionary work in the inner city or abroad? Scholarships to Catholic universities? Fighting poverty within individual parishes? Bingo nights? Conversely, opposition groups could have put their resources into HIV or anti-bullying awareness campaigns, legal aid funding, or just a kick-ass party. All joking aside, what a colossal waste of funds, beginning with the ridiculous DVD all about the sanctity of marriage the Archbishop mailed out to all parishioners last fall. What a piece of bullshit propaganda that was.
Reverend Mike Tegeder has been outspoken about his opposition to the aggressive approach the Archdiocese has taken. He was quoted in the Star Tribune article as saying, “There’s all kinds of wonderful ways to promote marriage, which I do on a regular basis and other churches are doing. You don’t promote marriage by taking away the rights of a small segment of the population, many of whom are not Catholic or have no connection to the Catholic Church.”
Barry and I knew Fr. Mike when we attended St. Edward’s in Bloomington. He baptized David and Cameron. I appreciate his message. I’m sure it’s not easy to be such a contrary voice.
I’m not telling anyone what to do on November 6, 2012, but I will be voting “NO.”
© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2011