by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Activists for same-sex marriage are targeting the Catholic Church in Maine to revenge the role it played in repealing a gay marriage law on Tuesday.
According to a report by Thomas Peters of the popular blog, American Papist, gay activists are targeting the Church for the critical role it played in raising money and educating the public about the value of traditional marriage. Their efforts contributed to a stunning victory for traditional marriage when 53 percent of voters opted on Tuesday to overturn a law allowing gay marriage that was passed by the state legislature last spring.
Under the leadership of Bishop Richard Malone of the Diocese of Portland, the Church took an active role in fighting for marriage by educating the state’s 200,000 Catholics about the value of traditional marriage and in raising nearly $500,000 to defend it.
Much like they did last year when the Mormon church helped defeat a similar gay marriage law, the gay community is now targeting the Catholic Church.
Andrew Sullivan, a prominent writer for The Atlantic who is openly gay and still claims to be Catholic, wrote: “It is time to acknowledge that the Catholic church hierarchy can no longer pretend that it isn’t the active enemy of gay people and our families. That this church hierarchy – especially in its more conservative wing – is disproportionately gay itself and waging war against their fellow gays through the cowardly veil of the closet, is not new. But it is, as we flinch with the sting of defeat, harder to take than ever.”
The gay blogosphere is also humming with anti-Catholic screeds.
“[Maine voters] have bowed their heads to the nameless, faceless financiers of campaigns which continue to sew bigotry, hatred, and suspicion of their fellows,” wrote one gay blogger on lezgetreal.com. “They have bowed their knees to potentates in the Catholic and Mormon Churches and claimed that this was about their freedom of religion.
”. . . The day will come very soon when Maine will regret turning its back on equality. It is time that the legislature of Maine strip the Catholic Church of all its exemptions. . . . It is time to purge their dens of iniquity and shame and to force them into the light. It is time to dismantle those who seek through deception and fraud to repress others.”
Another angry blogger writing at americablog.com said “ The Bishop of Maine, Richard Malone, must be quite pleased with himself. He ran a campaign of lies, hate and distortions — and convinced enough Maine voters to vote with him. It’s going to take me a couple days (or more) to get my head around this one. But, for now, suffice it so say: HATE was the winner in Maine. Hate and the Catholic Bishop. But, this isn’t over. Time and justice really are on our side.”
All this is especially ironic when one considers how the gay marriage movement tries to cast itself as one that is seeking tolerance and acceptance of all, Peters says, and urges Catholics to be vigilant in the coming days and weeks for attacks on the Church.
“Don’t be surprised if a lot of damning stories about the Church are published in the short term,” he warns. “Even if the issue of gay marriage isn’t mentioned, you can bet reporters who have something against the Church are dusting off their old file folders right now.”
In contrast, Bishop Malone released a statement saying the past few months have been a valuable teaching opportunity for parishioners and the wider community to learn about how and why the Church views and values marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
“It has also been an opportunity for listening, and I trust that those who voted for such a radical change did so out of concern for our gay brothers and sisters. Respect and acceptance of all people regardless of sexual orientation is not a point of controversy — indeed, it is a teaching of the Church. While the Catholic Church will continue its commitment to work for the basic human rights to which all people are entitled, it remains devoted to preserving and strengthening the precious gift of marriage.”
This is a far cry from the kind of hate speech coming out of the gay community since Tuesday’s vote.
“For our part, meanwhile, we have to be charitable and confident in the teaching of the Church and be consistent in our own witness to it,” Peters says. “Defining marriage as between one man and one woman is not to treat gays as inferior or unequal. This definition has overwhelming historical, cultural, sociological, and religious support.”
He adds: “Such anger and retaliation from the gay community are a sad indicator that they have no more arguments. Nonetheless, whenever the Church is attacked, we must defend ourselves and the Church we love, continuing to articulate the truths of the human person which reason reveals and faith confirms.”
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