Catholic bishops in New Jersey have begun a campaign against same-sex marriage in anticipation of a possible vote on the issue by state legislators sometime after the November election.
The bishops directed Catholic priests throughout the state to distribute in parish bulletins last Sunday a 2,300-word letter opposing same-sex marriage. The priests are also expected to speak about the issue from the altar after Labor Day.
This politicking is legal, unfortunately. However, I believe the polls in NJ are largely pro-marriage--including the Catholics
Official Catholic teachings against same-sex marriage are widely known, although polls indicate U.S. Catholics don't collectively heed church teachings. In a Washington Post/ABC poll this spring, 46 percent of white Catholics favored legalizing same-sex marriage, compared with 49 percent of the general population.
The Catholic bishops have decided to make gay marriage their big thing. In Maine, they are closing parishes but sending money to the hate campaign. In Washington State, they oppose domestic partnerships. In WashingtonDC , they refuse to lend their weight to immigration reform because it dares to give same sex couples benefits. Internationally, the Catholic church would rather see people killed lest any rights for gays lead to marriage: the better dead than wed policy.
Let's see this for what it is: institutionalized bigotry. Catholics of good will need to be vocal against the BIshops, who are leading their church into injustice and hatred.
Update: The DC Bishop is in on the act. From the Advocate:
Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl has increased the Catholic Church's involvement in opposition to marriage equality in the nation's capital.....Wuerl has joined forces with Baptists, mainly African-American preachers, in pressuring D.C. officials to allow public voting on the legalization of same-sex marriage.If the hierarchy of the Catholic church really wants to pick a war with the GLBT community, they better realize they are picking it with their own congregations. I don't think that will be very pretty.
David A. Catania, the openly gay city council member who introduced the bill to legalize same-sex marriage in D.C. this fall, is undaunted by the Catholic Church's participation in the debate. "We have a long tradition in this city of evolving toward equality and a better, more expansive view of human rights, and in 2009 this includes marriage equality for same-sex couples," said Catania. "I respect the bishop for his view…but we live in a representative democracy where there is a separation of church and state. We do not live in a theocracy."