It was just revealed in a NYT report that in 2007, Rep. Patrick Kennedy was told to stop receiving Communion by a Rhode Island bishop because of the congressman's public stance on "moral issues."
Bishop Thomas Tobin divulged details of his confidential exchange with Kennedy after the Democratic lawmaker told The Providence Journal in a story published Sunday that Tobin had instructed him not to receive Communion. The two men have clashed repeatedly in the past few weeks over abortion.
...''The bishop instructed me not to take Communion and said that he has instructed the diocesan priests not to give me Communion,'' Kennedy told the paper in an interview conducted Friday.
Kennedy said the bishop had explained the penalty by telling him ''that I am not a good practicing Catholic because of the positions that I've taken as a public official,'' particularly on abortion.
Now faith is supposed to be, in my mind, a private matter, and once church crosses over into state, as the Church has, all bets are off.
''While I greatly respect the Catholic Church and its leaders, like many Rhode Islanders, the fact that I disagree with the hierarchy of the church on some issues does not make me any less of a Catholic,'' Kennedy wrote in a letter to Tobin, agreeing to a sitdown. ''I embrace my faith which acknowledges the existence of an imperfect humanity.''
Dovetailing with the above news is an email I received from a reader yesterday. It shows you how the Catholic Church's alliance with religious anti-gay denominations has brought many of the faithful flock to this turning point.
Cutting the head off the snake:
The time has come to cut the head from the snake. We all have friends and relatives who attend churches and organizations who are opposed to LGBT Equality. I think the best way we can combat these groups is to take away the money.
My 90 year old Grandmother has been a practicing Catholic all her life. We have a very good relationship and she is very supportive of my partner and me. She attends Mass every Sunday. I would not dream of asking her stop.
She has decided that she will still attend Mass every Sunday but will no longer financially support the Catholic Church. When the collection plate is passed she now puts in an envelope that contains a message that due to the "church's" inhumane views regarding LGBT Equality and Civil Rights, that the money she would have contributed to the church has been sent instead to a LGBT Equality organization. You see, she would not dream of supporting groups like the Klu Klux Klan, the Aryan Brotherhood, or the Westboro Baptist Church run by Fred Phelps. In that regard, I spoke to her that supporting the Catholic Diocese is, in my opinion, similar to providing monetary support to those organizations. I explained that I personally found that the Catholic church, by their intolerance of LGBT Equality and huge donations to groups like the NOM, is essentially similar to providing monetary support to a group that supports the KKK, et al.
Now, I understand that many would say that we don't have the right to tell friends and family how to live their lives or for that matter what to believe theologically. That said, personally, I believe that THEY neither own the right to tell us whom to love.
I do feel we have the right to ask them not to contribute to Churches and Organizations who would deny us our Civil Rights or Equality. By explaining our position, opening a dialogue, sharing our concerns, do we bring the opportunity to change a mind one person at a time. By explaining in withholding financial support, we find that we can 'cut the head off the snake.
The homegrown holy war is picking up more steam...if this is where the church wants to go, it's risking $upport and rekindling outright hostility as it beds down with evangelicals who only a short time ago didn't consider them Christians. Down the dark path we go. Madness -- and grief -- for those who have pushed faith into the public square to claim victimhood even as it funds bigotry.