The following open letter to John C. Nienstedt, the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis, was published in today's online edition of the Star Tribune. It's written by Kevin Winge, the executive director of Open Arms of Minnesota. To read responses to this letter from Star Tribune readers, click here.
Dear Archbishop Nienstedt:
I do believe, that you believe, it is your responsibility as the Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis, to help ensure that the amendment to change our state’s Constitution to ban gay marriage is passed by voters in next year’s election. I also believe that it is critically important that we speak truth to power. You, sir, have a tremendous amount of power. And on this issue, Archbishop Nienstedt, you are wrong.
You are spearheading a statewide effort to get parish priests to organize efforts in their communities to get out the vote to change our Constitution. If you are successful, this change will harm individuals. It will harm families. It will harm our state.
I’m not a member of the clergy and I’m not a theologian, but I know you’re wrong because I know what’s in my heart; and what is in my heart is love.
I love my partner. I could no more change who I love than I could change the color of my skin. Like my straight friends, my gay and lesbian friends love their partners, too. And those who have children, love their children. None of us are a threat to the institution of marriage. How can loving people who want to be married do anything but enhance an institution like marriage?
Archbishop Nienstedt, your efforts will not only divide congregations, it will divide communities and families. You are driving a wedge between people and those divisions will not be forgotten with the passing of the election in November of 2012. You say this is about preserving the sanctity of marriage, but it’s not. It is about intentionally harming a group of people that wants nothing more than to have their loving relationships acknowledged and respected.
Humans want to love and be loved, but few of us are in positions of power that can actually lead us to become more loving people. Archbishop Nienstedt, you are one of those people. Please stop the divisive and hurtful actions you are taking regarding the amendment to ban same-sex marriage. Please use your position to help us all become a more tolerant and loving community.
Kevin Winge is a native of Minnesota. He has lived in New York, Boston, and Cape Town, South Africa. He is the executive director of Open Arms of Minnesota, a non-profit organization that provides nutritious meals to people living with diseases.
See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
The Minneapolis (and Online) Premiere of Catholics for Marriage Equality
Progressive Perspectives on Archbishop Nienstedt's Anti-Gay Activism
Responding to Whiny Catholic Bishops Who Cry Victim
Responding to Bishop Tobin's Remarks on Gay Marriage
Catholic Attitudes on Gay and Lesbian Issues: An Overview
A Catholic Statement of Support for Same-Sex Marriage
Tips on Speaking as a Catholic in Support of Marriage Equality
Recommended Off-site Link:
Catholics for Marriage Equality MN
Image: Michael J. Bayly (October 2007).