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01/02/2012

The Bishop as political pundit: NH edition

by Jeremy Hooper

Screen Shot 2012-01-02 At 3.03.28 PmAdd the Bishop of Manchester, NH, Peter Libasci, to the ever-growing list of Catholic leaders who think that their personal faith views on religious marriage should stop *CIVIL* marriage equality:

Plea to Strengthen Marriage and Family

“Jesus, Mary, and Joseph,” I do now add to this prayer: help us to rediscover and strengthen the bonds of marriage and family. Human attempts to replace or redefine marriage do not respond adequately to the present situation of isolation, grief, and confusion. The wisdom of many millennia of human experience is not to cast aside truth, but to uphold it if society is to prosper and find peace.

In this regard, I am encouraged that the New Hampshire General Court will have the opportunity in this coming year to vote to restore the traditional understanding of marriage, and I sincerely hope that the General Court will accomplish this important task. And if such will be the case, then we must, as a people dedicated to the common good, “be there” as our young people say, for married couples and their family bond. May the year 2012 be a year in which we recapture the age-old knowledge of the place of marriage and the family as the foundations of society.
On the Occasion of the Feast of the Holy Family For Family and Marriage [Catholic NH]

This is someone who never has to perform a same-sex marriage. He doesn't even have to personally accept that there are legally married same-sex couples in his state. He simply has to acknowledge that there are people in his state who do not subscribe to his personally-held faith views, who have fairly earned a crucial legal right by virtue of a robust debate on the nature and application of constitutional law, and who want to keep the *CIVIL* law as is. But the Bishop can't do that. Or won't. So instead, we have a person of theology telling a body of government to reopen a closed debate, even though he cannot, in good conscience, point to any real way that he or his church has been harmed (and no, stifled desire to discriminate doesn't work).

These folks can use the word "restore" all they want. What they are trying to do in New Hampshire is rob certain citizens of a right -- an action that, by extension, robs every LGBT person everywhere (and their allies) of an overall sense of peace. It is nasty politicking, regardless of profession. But for a RELIGIOUS LEADER to carry water for such cynical, largely partisan game-playing? Forgive me father, but that seems pretty darn ill-advised, at best.

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