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Bishops call religious liberty a threat to religious liberty

Washington state’s four Catholic bishops have released a statement warning that if non-Christians are allowed to engage in non-Christian forms of marriage, religious liberty will suffer.

The bishops’ statement, issued Tuesday by the Washington State Catholic Conference, came as Washington-based Expedia became the latest major employer to come out in support of same-sex marriage.

In the most controversial passage of their pastoral statement, the Catholic bishops argue that passage of Referendum 74 would make THEM the objects of discrimination.

Really? And what kind of discrimination would that be?

“The legal separation of marriage from procreation would have a chilling effect on religious liberty and the right of conscience,” the bishops claim.  “Once marriage is redefined as a genderless contract, it will become legally discriminatory for public and private institutions such as schools to promote the unique value of children being raised by their biological mothers and fathers.

“No institution or individual could propose that married mothers and fathers provide a singular benefit to children without being accused of discrimination.  Recent attacks on churches, businesses and nonprofit organizations that express their conscientious objection to the redefinition of marriage underscore the danger.”

In other words, the “discrimination” consists of not being allowed to discriminate against gays under the disingenuous facade of merely “promoting” whatever you imagine as the “unique value” and “singular benefit” of having opposite-sex parents.  Though when you come right down to it, the main benefit of having opposite sex parents is that doing so avoids the persecution and discrimination you’d otherwise be getting from people like the four Catholic bishops.

You can tell they know they’re on the wrong side by the way they can’t bring themselves to admit what it is that they’re really after. The power to persecute others is the exact opposite of religious liberty. So they call themselves defenders of religious liberty, in order to cling to their power to persecute. They ought to just bow down and confess their sin, and repent.

While they’re at it, they should go the whole way and admit that their God is a lie too. It’s not like that’s not obvious too.

Comments

  1. Steve R says

    It’s odd that nobody calls out the god-hustlers on their use of the word “pastor.” It means “shepherd”, implying that they see their followers as sheep. Sheep exist to be fleeced, and sometimes slaughtered, for the profit of the shepherd.

    • Irreverend Bastard says

      … they see their followers as sheep. Sheep exist to be fleeced, and sometimes slaughtered, for the profit of the shepherd.

      I don’t think they see this as a bad thing. Life’s all about the shepherd (Jesus), anyway.

      Unquestioning obedience, automatic respect for authority, slavishly submitting to an unjust, jealous, temperamental master. This is apparently good, if you’re a Christian.

  2. says

    I hate the “intolerance of intolerance is intolerance” meme that’s spread around the religious world.

    “You can’t be critical of my discrimination because it’s part of my religion and therefore you’re discriminating against my religion and that makes you the bigot, not me!”

  3. anubisprime says

    “The legal separation of marriage from procreation would have a chilling effect on religious liberty and the right of conscience,”

    How does the procreation make or break a marriage vow?

    That means for many hetero marriages if they decide not to have children or delay pregnancy due to work commitment…financial…wish…they are affectively discriminating against religion?

    Some hetero couples actually plan a family..but apparently that plan can be viewed as discrimination of religion..WTF?

    What is more it is legal…one can say the crows wolf crying has already been established in some family units for many years.

    Stinks like the crows are only interested in stomping around and splashing like loons ensuring the muddy foetid pool of their morality becomes opaque except to the purveyors of ‘fistikated feelology’

    • says

      That too. I noticed that and it didn’t resonate with me quite until you pointed it out.

      In the paragraph quoted above, they throw several classes of family under the bus:

      The legal separation of marriage from procreation(1) would have a chilling effect on religious liberty and the right of conscience. Once marriage is redefined as a genderless contract(2), it will become legally discriminatory for public and private institutions such as schools to promote the unique value of children being raised by their biological mothers and fathers(3).

      1) Married couples who decide not to, or cannot, procreate.
      2) Same-sex couples.
      3) Married couples who adopt. Married couples who get divorced. Single parents.

      Are those all illegitimate families in the eyes of the church?

      • Aliasalpha says

        I’m sure those families are illegitimate but I understand the church has a legitimacy subscription offer these days, as long as the subscription remains valid, you’re considered a real family.

      • E.A. Blair says

        Don’t forget to include couples in which the woman (or women) are past childbearing age.

        How about introducing a bill declaring all marriages which include a menopausal woman null and void regardless of their duration and order the couples to separate since procreation is no longer possible? Actually, I seem to remember reading about something like that being proposed as a counterexample to a gay marriage ban – it may even have been in Washington state – but I couldn’t come up with any links.

    • says

      It means you’re a threat to religious liberty everywhere. I guess I’ll have to remember that next time a Pagan or atheist complains about losing his religious freedom.

      • clsi says

        I’ve also been married 20 years without procreating (and with no intention to procreate in the future, either). What’s more, I got legally married in Washington State. If Washington’s Bishops see my happy, heterosexual-but-nonprocreative marriage as a threat to their religious liberty, that’s their problem, not mine. The same, I should think, would be true of any gay marriages that might someday be permitted in Washington State.

        They worry that, if gay marriage is permitted, “No institution or individual could propose that married mothers and fathers provide a singular benefit to children without being accused of discrimination.” Well, if it’s demonstrably false, what other reason is there to assert such a thing than discrimination?

  4. says

    “The legal separation of marriage from procreation would have a chilling effect on religious liberty and the right of conscience,” the bishops claim.

    So allowing people to marry, and then not have kids — or to stay married after their kids have grown up and they don’t choose to crank out any more — is a threat to religious liberty? Who knew?

    Here’s a news flash for the good Catholics who apparently never got a sex-ed class: marriage isn’t about MAKING babies (unmarried people do that every day); it’s about RAISING babies. If you can’t remember or understand that distinction, then you don’t get to lecture anyone about either procreation or religious liberty.

    • San Ban says

      I don’t agree that “marriage is …about … RAISING babies!” My heterosexual marriage and many others have not been about babies at all, as we chose not to procreate, nor adopt. Our marriage has been about having a lover, friend and kin to make love with, play and work and laugh and cry and live and learn with, about being there for each other for ever.

  5. says

    In 2007, I proposed what became Initiative 957. It was in response to the 2006 Washington Supreme Court ruling which upheld the state’s Denial of Marriage Act because:

    1. The purpose of marriage is procreation.
    2. There exists a legitimate state interest in preserving marriage for that purpose.
    3. Same sex couples cannot procreate, therefore it is within the state’s legitimate interest to ban them from marriage.

    It seemed perfectly reasonable, to take the bigotry of the state Supreme Court and carry it to its logical conclusion. We got international attention, and the measure was mentioned in several amici briefs filed in the California and Iowa Supreme Court cases that led to overturning same-sex marriage bans in those states. Alas, we only got 40,000 of the 280,000 signatures we needed to make the ballot.

    Now that the Church has signed on, maybe we should try again. I would dearly love for them to again try and say that they had never, ever said that the purpose of marriage is procreation.

    • gwen says

      You should have added the absurd requirement that married couples unable to produce children after 5 years must divorce and find other, more fertile spouses.

      • says

        Except that would have meant adding a mandatory requirement to be married. We wished to make marriage, as the state Supreme Court had ruled, a priviledge open only to those willing and able to procreate.

        When our group, the Washington Defense of Marriage Alliance (WA-DOMA) formed, this was going to be our first initiative. Two and three would have made having a child together an automatic marriage, and banned divorce in the event that a married couple (either by intent or by “accident”) had mutual offspring.

  6. eric says

    it will become legally discriminatory for public and private institutions such as schools to promote the unique value of children being raised by their biological mothers and fathers.

    I don’t remember school classes ever teaching that, and I’m an old fogie. Even before the gay rights movement became mainstream, there were enough kids in schools who were adopted, living with (non-birth-parent) relatives, or being raised by single parents that public schools wouldn’t say anything that insensitive (at least in my experience).

    The message they are complaining gay marriage will stifle was abandoned by state schools as insensitive and retrograde 40+ years ago.

  7. Martin says

    “…the unique value of children being raised by their biological mothers and fathers….”

    This must come as a surprise to Catholic-operated adoption agencies everywhere.

  8. says

    No institution or individual could propose that married mothers and fathers provide a singular benefit to children without being accused of discrimination.

    Sure they could. After all, they wouldn’t make such a claim without firm evidence to support it, right?

    • Randomfactor says

      It’s true enough, Naked Bunny. And it’s true whether the married parents are of different sexes or not. Single parents have it rough in so many ways.

      IOW, it’s an argument in FAVOR of marriage equality.

  9. Red-Green in Blue says

    …it will become legally discriminatory for public and private institutions such as schools to promote the unique value of children being raised by their biological mothers and fathers.

    So apparently these four bishops haven’t heard of child protection services, fostering or adoption? Which exist to give many unfortunate children from chaotic or violent households the chance of a stable upbringing despite their biological mothers and fathers.

    This is not particularly convincing when the RCC itself has been involved in numerous scandals involving forced separation of children from their biological mothers, with those children ending up as indentured servants by another name (e.g. the “Magdalene Laundries”) or being farmed out to well-off Catholic couples (e.g. in Church-run hospitals in Franco’s Spain). But then, in both cases, the Church made money. Who cares about the sanctity of the biological family anyway?

    </snark>

  10. smrnda says

    First off, from the legal standpoint marriage has nothing to do with procreation. You don’t get asked if you intend to procreate when you get married, nor is it illegal to procreate without being married, and from the legal perspective of issues like child support it doesn’t seem that having ever been married actually makes much of a legal difference when it comes to issues related to children.

    Second, any jackass is free to believe that a particular vision of marriage is best. However, they don’t get force everybody to live by that vision any more than they can force the rest of us to go to their churches.

    I can’t figure out the idea that permitting and recognizing other marriages is a threat to anyone’s particular vision, but I don’t think that these people arguing from the religious angle really want logic, reason, or fairness – they want there to be a clear ‘this is the right way when it comes to marriage’ message on marriage. It seems like they can’t stand living in a world where people don’t have to respect their opinions.

  11. E.A. Blair says

    I grew up in a Catholic family and had twelve years of Catholic education (my father wanted to make that sixteen, but he couldn’t afford to send me to a private Catholic university, for which I am thankful). High school wasn’t so bad, but for eight years of elementary school, I was told not only that anyone who was not Catholic was going to hell, but also to avoid people who weren’t Catholic. Eight years of institutionalized discrimination, yet the school was never called out on it.

    All religions discriminate to one degree or another against non-members. A church is more or less equivalent to a private club (despite being publicly assisted by its tax-exempt status), and is allowed to define its membership criteria, in this case a body of beliefs, is allowed to expel members who violate those criteria and is allowed to deny benefits of membership to anyone who is not a member.

    There isn’t a court in the country that would tell a church-run school, be it Catholic, Lutheran or Pastafarian, that teaching a particular opinion of marriage is illegal. What the churches are afraid of is that their narrow-minded definitions wouldn’t be taught in the majority of schools that are nonparochial. That means that, in time, their definition of marriage becomes a minority opinion, and that society rather than the law would run against them.

    • Corvus illustris says

      The evident anthropological gap here is amusing. Pre=Vatican 2, I grew up in a Catholic family (6 kids) and had twelve years of 1-12 Catholic education. I couldn’t afford to go to the fairly respectable state university, so I attended the local RC college which featured a compulsory theology minor. (Systematic theology and some grasp of logic form a great exit route.) While my elementary school and the first three years of HS were ok, the last year of HS was served in a large metropolitan RC HS which was one of Bush’s faith-based prisons avant le lettre. The notion that anyone who was not Catholic was going to hell was condemned as “Feeneyism”; otherwise-good people were held to have baptism of desire, or some more nebulous thing, but in any event not to be automatically reprobate. People who weren’t Catholic avoided us, so there was a general embattled-minority mentality that really didn’t require cultivation. (This is something the bishops evidently count on when they get called out on their own bigotry.)

      Post J2P2-statements like

      Once marriage is redefined as a genderless contract, it will become legally discriminatory for public and private institutions such as schools to promote the unique value of children being raised by their biological mothers and fathers.

      No institution or individual could propose that married mothers and fathers provide a singular benefit to children without being accused of discrimination.

      demonstrate that they have figured out how dangerous logic is (put this next to the first amendment and see what you get–but of course their parochial schools are either bankrupt or unaffordable), and have fallen back on memorizing catechism (even at the undergrad level!), so the sheep don’t think and just bleat. Polling shows that this isn’t working to keep the sheep in line, so they have a tactical alliance with the Protestants, their former oppressors. It would be fun to watch if it weren’t so dangerous (cf. CA Prop. 8)

  12. Jet says

    Pretty sure that the typical marriage vows don’t mention children at all? I thought it was more about living together in harmony and mutual respect and all of that..

    • Deacon Duncan says

      That’s a terrible thing to say, even in jest. I hope the next time a wingnut with guns goes crazy, he’s subdued and disarmed before he can hurt anyone, believer or not. There’s never a circumstance when it’s appropriate to wish for innocent people to be murdered.

      • says

        If they are innocent why are they doing something we are trying to stop?

        No, I am not wishing death to befall people specifically, I rather see them correct themselves. I am simply expressing a preference of who I rather see die, if it is inevitable.

        So for example, I wish the gunman who shot those Sikh devotees had rather done so in Saddleback Church. Do I want him to have killed anyone? No.

      • Deacon Duncan says

        The word “inevitable” cannot apply to wishes, because wishes are not limited by the constraints of reality. When we express our wishes, we declare our values, we don’t actually change anything about the real world. If we value human life, then the only wish we need is the wish that violent men would be unsuccessful in their attacks on others. That’s it. That covers all the bases. To express a preference that someone else die instead is to express a value system in which our preferred victims are less deserving of human rights than those we wish had been protected. And that’s a terrible value system.

        I understand the frustration we all feel at all the stupid stuff that happens through sheer human cussedness, but no, it is never appropriate to wish that anyone else had died instead.

      • E.A. Blair says

        I’m not taking sides here, but I’d just like to point out that whenever there are political considerations involved in a public shooting or other act of violence, the targets are almost exclusively liberal and the perpetrators presumably right-wing or conservative sympathizers. However, the political spin that gets put on this is that the wingnut shooters (James Adkisson, Shelly Shannon, Scott Roeder, J.T. Ready, Shawna Ford, James von Brunn, Jared Loughner, and, though his weapon of choice was not a gun, Timothy McVeigh) are all crazy people acting alone. When a Floyd Corkins shows up, it’s part of a vast left wing conspiracy.

        So if somebody mowed down attendees on a CPAC, megachurch or got shot after opening fire at a gun rally, the blame would be laid directly at the feet of President Obama (the shooter was part of his commie commando squad, you know), the Democratic Party and the gays, feminists, Pagans and Atheists (after all, they’re the ones responsible for hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes).

    • Corvus illustris says

      The wings on both sides of the airplane come equipped with nuts. When the ones given to mass murder are in political office, the conventional term is “leaders” rather than “wingnuts”. The ones on the right typically get the revulsion they deserve. Yet Clinton’s Sec. of State said publicly that she thought it perfectly acceptable that half a million kids in Irag die as a result of sanctions. Our current maximum leader uses unmanned aircraft; results are comparable in quality if not quantity, but the toll probably exceeds that of Colorado mass murders inclusive from Columbine on. Because of geography, the dead were probably Muslims rather than Christians (if any were atheists they would have been deeply closeted). Good enough?

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