Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Responding to Whiny Catholic Bishops Who Cry Victim

Jason Adkins (right), executive director of the Minnesota Catholic Conference of Bishops, has a truly embarrassing op-ed in today’s Star Tribune.

Speaking on behalf of the MN bishops, Adkins declares in his op-ed, entitled “Catholic Leaders Will Not Be Silenced,” that a previous Star Tribune
editorial was an “attack on the Catholic Church's participation in the public debate” on marriage equality, and that the newspaper was thus among those forces “eager to silence the church's voice.”

Let’s be clear: At no point did the editorial in question say that the clerical leadership of the Church should be denied the opportunity to speak out on the issue of civil marriage rights for same-sex couples. But it was critical, and rightly so, of what the clerical leadership has been saying when speaking out on this particular issue, and of its efforts to impose what it says on civil society.

Okay, now that that's sorted out, here's a compilation of what I consider the best informed and articulated responses from Star Tribune online readers to Adkins’ (and the bishops’) embarrassing whinefest.

teguzco writes: The editorial in question did not attack the Roman Catholic Church for participating in the debate. It said: “But church doctrine and federal laws are two separate considerations. In a country with free religion and speech, any religious group can adopt its own rules. It cannot, however, impose those rules on civil society.” The essential point of the editorial, in my view, was that religious doctrine is not a basis for public law. Certainly, it may frame the views of members of a given sect, but that is a far different matter than arguing a law should be passed in order to satisfy religious dogma, which, ultimately, is the Church’s position. Compliance with religious dogma is, and always should be, irrelevant to the enactment of laws in our country.

mpls70 writes: [Adkins states that] “The public should be aware that those who seek to both redefine marriage and silence those who object are the ones imposing a truly intolerant new orthodoxy.” Having your position on marriage challenged isn't “silencing.” Because there is no evidence whatsoever that gay marriage causes any harm to society, your position is simply one of bigotry. Quit playing the victim when the Catholic Church is the victimizer.

olszewskip writes: The problem with the Catholic church is that whenever they want to affect secular laws, they hide behind free speech and the right – as a congregation of citizens – to influence the country's legal system. Whenever the church is under scrutiny and should be cooperating with law enforcement agencies (e.g. the never ending pedophile scandal), the clergy immediately hide behind religious rules and laws and say they should be immune from consequences because they are governed by those special religious laws. So there is clear hypocrisy in this approach: they want to establish the law and they they want to be above the law.

orpheus90 writes: [According to Adkins] those who seek to both redefine marriage and silence those who object are the ones imposing a truly intolerant new orthodoxy: an illiberal dictatorship of relativism that is contrary to our Constitution and venerated traditions of civil discourse. So, good old fashioned self-righteous Catholic bigotry toned up with a little third-rate Tea Party style rhetoric. Jason, your piece is smug and dishonest to the core. The upholstery on your moral code is fraying badly – and the demagogic political code beneath is peering through.

Glumps writes: The progress of civilization has always been about extinguishing ignorance and blind allegiance. Civilization marches on despite all the forces – for whatever motive, nefarious or not – [that try] to hold it back. Mindless discrimination has always been one of the most powerful of these forces. It's part of human nature, a vestige of our savage evolution. The challenge is to rise above it.

RickNotch writes: Why do anti-gay critics always talk of this issue as if gay marriage will abolish man-woman marriage in America? A gay couple being married in no way affects the lives of other people.

minnjrj writes: [Adkins’ op-ed] is disingenuous. The original editorial did NOT condemn the Church for speaking out, nor did it insist that the Church be silent. Rather, the editorial criticized the position that the Church is taking. Catholic leaders absolutely have the right to speak out on issues of the day, and the editorial never questioned this right. At the same time, the rest of us have the right to speak our agreement with or opposition to the comments from Catholic leaders. Citing Dr. King is a red herring, and a shameful appeal. His message, like the message of Catholic leaders, is accepted or rejected based on its substance, not the religious nature of its source. The bishops are free to speak their peace. The rest of us are free to question their motives, their authority, their fidelity to the Gospel, and anything else. That is the nature of political discourse.

J_Dubya writes: As soon as this author used Martin Luther King Jr. to support his bigoted stance, I stopped reading. Get a clue, Mr. Adkins. Get a clue.

Bfly writes: Hey, Jason: The distinguished Dr. King would never preach to limit rights for those you disagree with in the name of protecting an institution. It is shameful and this is what pushes me away from my own church. I’m a happily married person from the Catholic Church. But I won't support limiting others rights to protect my marriage. It's just not logical.

BABloom writes: As a faithful practicing Catholic I am appalled that church officials are wasting their time and that of all of Minnesota over such a trivial matter. Marriage and family-building truly enrich our state. Let’s give more people the opportunity to love and be loved in stable marriages and family. The gender of the loving couple matters so much less than the love.

Recommended Off-site Link:
Catholics for Marriage Equality MN

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Catholic Attitudes on Gay and Lesbian Issues: An Overview
Responding to Bishop Tobin's Remarks on Gay Marriage
A Catholic Statement of Support for Same-Sex Marriage
Tips on Speaking as a Catholic in Support of Same-Sex Marriage
Photo of the Day – September 29, 2011


bobfett11 said...

Thank you for posting these. Good comments. I think the leaders of the Catholic Church in Minnesota need to realize that most Catholics do not think that gay people should be discriminated against. If they are so pro-family why don't they speak out more for the poor, unemployed and the struggling in the middle class? Mark

Rick said...

12 more months of whiny Catholic bishops. 12!