Catholics call for govt. suppression of religious freedom

Here’s an interesting development. Archbishop Timothy Broglio says that the federal government is not only allowed, but is required to dictate to certain clergy members precisely which religious ceremonies they are and are not allowed to perform.

The head of the U.S. Military Archdiocese says that a new set of rules, allowing chaplains to perform same-sex “marriages” on military property, seems to disregard federal law.

“The Pentagon’s new policy, as outlined in these two memos, appears to ignore the Defense of Marriage Act, which was signed into law 15 years ago and remains in effect,” said Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio in a Sept. 30 statement provided to CNA.

Did you catch that? There may be a conflict between religious conscience and government policy, and in such cases the Archbishop is clearly telling us that government dictates take precedence over the clergy member’s religious freedom.

We should mark that one down for future reference.

The Archbishop has a magnificent entry for the “Unwitting Irony” contest, too.

“The women and men I am privileged to serve place their lives on the line every day to defend the Country whose government is of the people, by the people, and for the people,” he stated. “Let us pray that the millions who have died to ensure those liberties did not die in vain.”

Yes, that’s right. Let’s just pray that we honor those liberties—by passing and enforcing laws that tell Christians and other clergy what religious functions they are and are not allowed to perform. Because nothing says liberty like dividing the country into those who are allowed to practice their sexuality, and those who are not.


  1. The Lorax says

    I’m really confused by this.. I thought “marriage” and “civil union” were two distinct entities? If a religious individual doesn’t want to marry two people in a way that violates their religious beliefs, I think that’s fine; that sort of stuff is protected by our Constitution. However, civil unions are not religious in nature, as far as I know. They’re the government form of “marriage” and they don’t involve religion or religious ceremonies, so by definition allowing homosexuals to be “civil-ally unioned” not only does not befoul the sanctity of marriage, but it doesn’t at all infringe on the rights of religious leaders to refuse to perform a ceremony for people they don’t see fit to be joined in said ceremony. The two things are completely and entirely distinct.

    Did I miss something, or are these people complaining about something that doesn’t actually exist?

    • Deacon Duncan says

      No, the good archbishop is complaining about the fact that chaplains are allowed to perform gay weddings on military installations. He does not want them to have that freedom. The government is supposed to step in and take that liberty away from them—to defend liberty (!), of course.

      Come to think of it, the DOMA forbids federal recognition of gay marriages, but I’ll be very surprised if it mentions gay weddings. So the good archbishop is probably going beyond the law itself when he demands suppression of the clergy’s religious freedoms on that basis.

    • Len says

      If a religious individual doesn’t want to marry two people in a way that violates their religious beliefs, I think that’s fine; that sort of stuff is protected by our Constitution.

      No, it’s not (fine or covered by the constitution).

      If someone is in a position to marry two people, then they are acting as a representative of whatever authority gives them that power. As such, they must follow the rules of that authority – which they have probably sworn an oath to do anyway. They perform the procedure in the name of the authority, not their own name.

      There was an interesting discussion over at Unreasonable Faith on this a little while ago.

  2. F says

    Zyeeooowooop! Whap! Thud thump thump thump.

    OK, Wha?

    I’m just so glad I gave up Catholicism for Lent that one year. Never looked back.

    I need to get the forceps to get these bits of desk out of my forehead now.

  3. frankb says

    I wonder how all this fits in with Archbishop Timothy (Hey, that sounds like a foreign name) Broglio’s Christian Persecution Complex. Those people at the US Military Archdiocese are being so mean to Christians allowing those private ceremonies that no one will hear about unless they go digging for it. Oh, won’t you think of the children?

  4. San Ban says

    I’m no legal nor Constitutional scholar, but the Archbiship may actually be correct about what DOMA requires, which is exactly why it’s a bad law and ought to be challenged and struck down.

  5. Erp says

    Agreed, the Federal government could possibly legally prohibit the civil part of weddings taking place on federal military bases given DOMA though it would be hard placed to legally prohibit (a) military chaplains conducting weddings off-base or (b) military chaplains giving religious blessings on-base to newlyweds whose legal marriage took place at the courthouse.

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