Thursday, September 23, 2010

What To Do With the MN Bishops' DVD

As I’ve noted previously, Archbishop John Nienstedt is one of a number of Minnesota Roman Catholic bishops instigating and promoting a campaign opposing marriage equality for same-sex couples.

A major component of this campaign has been the producing and distributing of a DVD to 400,000 Catholic households throughout the state. This DVD features a segment produced by the Knights of Columbus and comprised of various talking heads disseminating falsehoods about how gay marriage harms straight marriage and threatens the well-being of children. The DVD also features a segment in which Archbishop Nienstedt shares his Tea Party-like disdain for the role of government in protecting the rights of minorities, and for what he calls the “ruling elites.” Of course, the grim irony is that within the sphere of Roman Catholicism, Nienstedt himself is the head of a “ruling elite” that does not allow “the people,” i.e., the laity, a say in decision-making.

Thankfully, such hypocrisy is not lost on people in this day and age - nor are the scandalously misguided priorities of the bishops' overall campaign. As a result, I've been receiving phone calls from fellow Catholics wanting to know if there is some organized response plan regarding the mailing of the bishops' DVD.

These Catholics know and love LGBT people, and they want to work to ensure their full equality in civil society. What then, are they to do when this DVD containing such a rabidly anti-gay and anti-marriage equality message arrives on their doorstep?

Well, as I’ve noted in a previous post, OutFront Minnesota is recommending people simply return it unopened to the Archdiocese. “Return to Sender,” in other words.

And here’s Eric Celeste’s thoughts on the issue and her suggestion for what to do with the DVD:

Our Archbishop is telling us to make a decision based on a single fringe issue when it could cost us the opportunity to care for the most fragile and vulnerable in our society. Is this really what the gospel calls you to do?

I don’t really care to convince you one way or the other right now about the election . . . but I do want to convince you to stand up and tell the Archbishop that this is an offensive use of his pulpit. Return the DVD.

Here’s what I suggest. If you get this DVD in the mail, take it to church and put it in the basket at collection time instead of a financial contribution. . . . Make a contribution that really says something this week.

By far the most creative idea is that of local artist Lucinda Naylor. Here’s what she says on the Facebook page she’s established for her project:

I have a button that says “Art Changes Everything.” Let’s use the Archbishop’s DVD to change the message from one of division and fear into a piece of art about inclusion and the joyful Spirit that moves among us.

Please spread the word among your friends. The more DVDs we can collect, the larger the piece of art, and the bigger the statement the art makes.

I need volunteers to help collect the DVDs. Would you be willing to collect DVDs from your fellow parishioners? Or stand with boxes (on the public sidewalks/streets) near your church before mass to collect the DVDs (this Sunday [September 26] and/or next Sunday – depending on when the mailing arrives in your zip code)?

For this to work, people need to hear about it first – so, again, spread the word!

In addition, I will post a location where people can drop off or mail DVDs.

What a wonderfully creative idea! If you'd like to help with Lucinda's project, e-mail

UPDATE: The word about Lucinda's idea is getting out there! See, for instance, this article by Andy Birkey in The Minnesota Independent.

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
The Minnesota Bishops' Last Ditch Effort
Return to Sender
It's a Scandal
Misplaced Priorities

Recommended Off-site Link:
American Catholic Support for Gay Equality is On the Rise (September 14, 2010).

1 comment:

Maura Lynch said...

I'd thought about that idea of putting it in the collection basket, too. But then the parish is in the position of having to do something with them...
I like the idea of making them into an artistic expression of love.