In a bulletin insert delivered to parishioners around the nation, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops warned that the Supreme Court could be preparing to affirm marriage equality, and urged an outpouring of anti-LGBT sentiment and sermons to push back against the potential change.
“A broad negative ruling could redefine marriage in the law throughout the entire country, becoming the ‘Roe v. Wade’ of marriage,” the bulletin reads. “The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has joined with many other organizations in urging the Supreme Court to uphold both DOMA and Proposition 8 and thereby to recognize the essential, irreplaceable contribution that husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, make to society, and especially to children.”
It goes on to call for prayer, fasting and personal sacrifice to achieve the goal of keeping same sex couples from enjoying the same rights as other married couples, and urges parishioners join the church’s anti-LGBT “Fortnight for Freedom” events leading up to the 4th of July.
“Be a witness for the truth of marriage in word and action,” the conference ordered American Catholics. “Take advantage of opportunities to speak about marriage’s unique meaning in conversation with friends, family, neighbors or co-workers. Share the truth in love.“
The bulletin adds that, while “there are many ways to protect the basic human rights of all,” true Christians should oppose extending the rights of marriage to LGBT people because doing so “serves no one’s rights, least of all those of children.”
The bulletins are issued by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the conference and America’s highest-ranking Catholic, who gave both the closing prayer at former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s presidential nominating ceremony and the 2012 Democratic National Convention. The New York-based cardinal faced criticism from within the church last Easter when a board member of the New York Roman Catholic archdiocese abruptly resigned, citing Dolan’s mocking response to a pro-LGBT charity that sought help from the church on behalf of homeless youths.
This Easter, Dolan resorted to having a representative threaten a group of openly LGBT Catholic parishioners with arrest for trying to enter St. Patrick’s Cathedral, demanding they wash their hands to symbolically reject their sinful ways. Instead, the protesters coated their hands in ashes and attempted to enter the church, leading to police intervention.
The New Civil Rights Movement blog notes that Dolan’s latest bulletin, a call to arms against equality, comes amid a wave of anti-LGBT violence in New York City:
As of Friday night, New York City has been home to nine anti-LGBT violent hate crimes this month, and 27 this year — almost double the rate of last year, which saw a double-digit increase over the previous year.
While other stridently anti-LGBT groups like the Family Research Council and the National Organization for Marriage are denouncing the violence in New York, Dolan’s move in the opposite direction is puzzling. But by encouraging more anti-equality sermons in Catholic churches across the nation and more expressions of anti-LGBT sentiment by parishioners, the potential for conflict and by virtue of that, violence, only grows.
This document was published to Scribd on May 26, 2013.
[Photo: Flickr user photoactionusa, creative commons licensed.]