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09/23/2010

Minnesota Archbishop: 'There is no difference between the civil and religious definition of marriage...'

by Jeremy Hooper

Minnesota Catholics' aggressively anti-gay DVD campaign is currently traversing the state, mailbox to mailbox, marking the biggest waste of postage since the time its publishers mistakenly sent Guns & Ammo magazine to the Illiterate Pacifist Society's entire mailing list. But regardless of how wasteful, cruel, unprovoked, and unnecessary this anti-civil rights campaign may be, it is now out of the proverbial barn, hoping to lay the same kind of groundwork that the Catholic community, egged on by the National Organization For Marriage, has built in several other states prior to putting gays' basic equality to a public vote. So that means we have to deal with it.

That being the reality, we're now going to ask you to listen to a man who's already proving himself to be the Catholic figurehead of any potential anti-equality campaign that may arise, St. Paul Archbishop John Nienstedt. Here he walks to Minnesota Public Radio's Tom Crann about why, exactly, he thinks that he and his fellow followers of the Catholic faith have a right to define the CIVIL marriage contract for everyone else:


*Full Transcript: Archbishop John Nienstedt on Catholic Church's opposition to same-sex marriage [MPR]

No no -- this attempt to stop civil marriage licensing based on the ancillary component of religious ceremony is not political. Except, of course, for the fact that it TOTALLY IS!

Seriously -- How can this man sit here and act like this, a push for a referendum in a largely partisan fight that attempts to misguide citizens on the proper role of the legislature and/or judiciary and that always relies on political consultants and strategists for its fear-mongery "success" at the polls, is not a political action!? You don't hear this writer, focused almost exclusively as I am on civil law and politics, trying to have it both ways by saying that I'm part of the Catholic Church, since every time I eat saltines with grape juice I take a de facto Holy Communion. If Nienstedt is gonna have his wafer and his conference calls with Maggie Gallagher too, then the least the Archbishop could do for all us gay folk is to honestly assess his own faith-based AND poll-based actions!

***

*This part, edited out of the above audio but included in the transcript, certainly piqued our interest:

Crann: Your position at the end of your statement on the DVD is remarkably like an email I received today telling me about an ad that's been released by the National Organization for Marriage supporting Republican candidate Tom Emmer and his position. And so I'm wondering how is this position not partisan politics, especially timed as it is, six weeks before the election?

Nienstedt: Well, we, and I'm particularly, are very scrupulous about not endorsing any candidate of any party. That's not our position. That's not our right. We would certainly never tell people who to vote for, but the issues themselves are critical issues. And as a religious leader in this state, as a pastoral leader, I have a right to raise the issues and bring that to the attention of my people.

Interesting that Crann notes the similar language, because we'd be willing to bet considerable money that whatever "anonymous person" financed this DVD campaign has extremely cozy or even direct ties with NOM. We all know that NOM, already with a shocking number of ethics investigations surrounding them, will be nothing but cagey about whatever ties they might have. It's up to us to pry.

***

*NOTE: If anyone has a connection to the Minnesota Catholic church, please get us a copy of the DVD, pronto!

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