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09/28/2012

Maine's Catholic bishops politicize their bulletins. Again.

by Jeremy Hooper

Ah, autumn in Maine. Leaves begin to fall. Pumpkin beer replaces those glasses of summer rosé. A charming chill falls over the harbor, exponentially increasing one's yearning for warm cider, hot fires, and equally soothing conversation. Heaven, New England style.

Oh, and in election years, there's one more expectation. Namely: Local Catholic dioceses who begin treating their church bulletins like Super PAC press releases. For instance, this one appeared in Portland area churches this past weekend:

Screen Shot 2012-09-28 At 3.20.07 Pm

Civil marriage equality is a "proposal to 'redefine' the human person"? Really? Because I'm married, legally, and yet as best I can tell, both I and my neighbors have maintained our DNA makeup. In fact, my human person has been quite strengthened by the easy peace that comes from enjoying a marriage rather than fighting to obtain that right. My human person has been enhanced by the love that my husband brought into my life nearly ten years ago. My human person, if redefined at all, has been redefined for the better. Stronger. For life.

But regardless of all that, the larger point is that my human person is not a member of the Catholic church. This being the reality, my human person is not asking the Catholic church to recognize my marriage, if said church doesn't see fit to do so. Couldn't care less, in fact. However, my human person does care about civil government. And constitutions. And fairness in a non-theocracy. So that being so, my human person will not sit back and let a tax-exempt church routinely overstep its mission in order to shape public policy in a way that deeply affects the C-I-V-I-L rights of people like me. Because my human person is also an American taxpayer—one who is not going to help subsidize tax breaks for a church that is so hellbent on breaking my, well—human person.

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