Father Tony

US Catholic Bishops Threaten Obama Over DOMA

Filed By Father Tony | September 29, 2011 8:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Archbishop Timothy Dolan, Catholic church, DOMA, Don't Ask Don't Tell, gay adoption, president obama

The Roman Catholic bishops of the United States have uniformly emphasized the notion that a marriage must always and only involve one man and one woman. They claim that same-sex marriage is an attack on traditional marriage, and Thumbnail image for Dolan.jpgon the traditional family God intended. On the local level and with each bishop in his own diocese, they reliably express horror whenever same-sex marriage is proposed in their backyards, delivering words that echo the sentiments of their boss, Pope Benedict XVI.

Their opposition to same-sex marriage took a significant and startling turn on September 20th with the issuance of a letter from New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to President Obama in which Dolan urges the President to end his administration's "campaign against DOMA, the institution of marriage it protects, and religious freedom."

In the course of the letter, Dolan emphasizes that he is not alone in his disappointment with the President. He writes, "The content of this letter reflects the strong sentiment expressed at a recent meeting by more than thirty of my brother Bishops who serve on the Administrative Committee of our episcopal conference. I know they are joined by hundreds of additional Catholic bishops throughout our nation." His implication is that if the President does not reverse his stance regarding DOMA, he can expect the bishops to campaign against him when he is up for re-election. There are 430 bishops who lead 195 dioceses, or districts, in the US.

With 70 million registered members, the Roman Catholic Church is the largest single religious denomination in the United States, representing 22% of the US population. The number of Roman Catholics who actually practice their religion is much smaller, with recent surveys indicating that Roman Catholics hold beliefs about same-sex marriage that match those of the general US population rather than those of their bishops.

The USCCB letter reached the President with an attached internally prepared legal analysis that Dolan hopes will show the President the extreme gravity of the situation and the huge consequences if the President does not bow to the bishops' pressure. He writes, "The Administration's failure to change course on this matter will, as the attached analysis indicates, precipitate a national conflict between Church and State of enormous proportions and to the detriment of both institutions."

The analysis begins with a condemnation of the anti-DOMA actions of the Administration's Justice Department. "This new, more aggressive position poses a threat reaching well beyond the elimination of the federal DOMA. ... Also at risk would be any other federal or state policy that applies unique incentives for households where children are raised by a father and a mother who are legally married to each other.

"The Justice Department's position also denigrates the considered judgment of the American people. ... It falsely imputes the same supposed bigotry and hostility to the substantial, bi-partisan majorities in Congress--and to President Clinton--who were responsible for the passage of DOMA only fifteen years ago."

At the end of its legal analysis, the USCCB finally makes clear that its overriding concern about the repeal of DOMA, about the repeal of DADT, and about the Administration's support for gay adoption rights is a diminished revenue stream. "We will face an additional layer of government punishments, such as the cessation of long-standing and successful contracts for the provision of social services, and other forms of withdrawn government cooperation."

In the context of this letter, the suddenly thunderous saber-rattling of the US Catholic bishops appears to be rooted in the prospect of lost funding rather than in the imaginary moral outrage of its flock.

(This article also appears in the current edition of 10thousandcouples.com where you will find the link to the entire USCCB letter and analysis.)


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.... At the end of its legal analysis, the USCCB finally makes clear that its overriding concern about the repeal of DOMA, about the repeal of DADT, and about the Administration's support for gay adoption rights is a diminished revenue stream. "We will face an additional layer of government punishments, such as the cessation of long-standing and successful contracts for the provision of social services, and other forms of withdrawn government cooperation." .....

And undoubtedly the taxpayer should indulge organizations that reject adoption by interracial couples or by couples of different religious faiths???

Awww... to remember the days when The Church was concerned about out parishioners "souls" watching the movie The Exorcist. The good old days... the good old days.

1. The Vatican is a foreign country, so the bishop is a foreign agent under US law. He is lobbying government officials without registering as a foreign agent. He's breaking the law.

2. Enacting Catholic Canon law in our secular law inhibits the free exercise of religion by other religious groups. Because of the first amendment, if he is making his statement in his capacity of an official of one of our many religious groups, all of whom are legally peers, his statement is irrelevant.

3. The Catholic Church definitely has experience in sexual morality, but not the kind that confers expertise. The Catholic Church can't follow its own teachings, so he is speaking as a hypocrite.

His statement is either illegal, irrelevant, or hypocritical. Or all of the above.

Great, well thought out response.

Boys talking to boys talking to boys.

The Catholic church should stop raping children and stop telling everyone else what to do.

Oh, and start paying taxes if you are going to speak up in political affairs.

The tax code provides for tax exemption for several kinds of non-profit groups, such as political advocacy groups (such as the HRC), charities (such as the United Way), and religious groups (such as the United Methodist Church). Non-profits make no profit, therefore they'd have nothing to tax, and this IRS regulation saves the government the cost of processing returns that never produce revenue.

Donations to religious groups and charities are deductible by the donors, but donations to political advocacy groups are not. Religious groups can engage in political advocacy if they limit themselves to a specific percentage of their operations, if they go over that, they are political advocacy groups so far as the tax code is concerned.

Taxing the Catholic Church would require major revisions to the tax code, and that in turn requires massive changes in the law. The result would be no revenue to the government.

Under existing regulations, the Catholic Church could be found to be a political advocacy group. If that happens, they still pay no tax, but donations would become taxable. Anyone who donates to the Catholic Church would all have to redo their income taxes, possibly retroactively. That would generate revenue for the government and would reduce donations. It would have the effect you are looking for.

File a complaint with the IRS. If it's credible, they are supposed to investigate.

Ken, how about local real estate taxes on church property?

Archbishop Dolan is still trying to earn his Cardinal's hat; gaybashing is usually one of the more successful means to do so. We have to enact HIS religious beliefs into law, even though Pagans, Unitarians, Lutherans, Episcopalians and others have beliefs that do not coincide with is, let alone the science that the Good Bishop is variously twisting or ignoring(what is it with Catholics and science?)
Obama might cave in to His Excessivency, though....no country outside of the Philipines and the Islamic nations seems as subservient to religion as the United States.

Maura, you're exactly right. He will be made a Cardinal within the next few months, and the gay bashing will make his makers happy. Your observation "no country outside of the Philipines and the Islamic nations seems as subservient to religion as the United States." is of interest to me. The reasons for this need to be explored.

My dear Fr Tony;
I truly believe that he was sent to New York precisely to make war upon gay people; so far his success rate is fairly poor, hence one consistory has passed him by already.

Why is America so beholden to extremist chuches? Because, since the year that the Establishment Clause was being debated(the debate is fascinating, some states wanting to hold out for recognition of Jesus) the Churches have been trying to evangelicalise the Constitution and the Government. John Jay was forced from his position as US Chief Justice over his campaign to have America delcared a "Christian" nation and deny rights and citizenship to "non-Christians"(he was referring to Catholics) Later he was governor of NY State.
I suspect it is partially the Congregationalist Roots of the nation, coupled with the influx of Catholics from Ireland and Eastern Europe, and also partly the rural religious revival movements. However, a sociologist I am not, as my old professor, Rev Dr Hahn would attest to were he alive.

Maura, Dolan was not made a cardinal in the last consistory because of a policy: there should never be more than one Cardinal of voting age in any diocese. Until Egan is too old to vote in a papal election, Dolan, his successor, will not be made a cardinal. Egan loses his voting rghts by dint of age either this month or next month or very soon.

Thanks Tony, obviously one of my weaknesses is Church Bureaucracy.
and typing and spelling--my best always to you, dear man

I think a few words were left out of your last paragraph, Ms Hennessey.

I hope that, as others also have noted, with this coming election year, the Internal Revenue Service "reminds" all 501(c)(3) organizations that partisan politicking for or against particular candidates can result in the organization's contributors losing their ability to deduct contributions.

It's sadly interesting, isn't it, that a group that believes that marriage is between one man and at least one woman should get a group that doesn't really believe in marriage, except for procreation, to front for it in their attacks on civil marriage by people who do not adhere to the beliefs of either group. One of the head bigots of the largest and probably most vicious of the fundamentalist Christianists, the Southern Baptist Convention, also doesn't like gay people, calls the Church of Latter Day Saints a cult, and calls Catholicism a "counterfeit religion" devised by Satan.

http://www.rightwingwatch.org/category/individuals/robert-jeffress

It comes as no surprise, therefore, that this psychopath doesn't like Jews either.

http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/jeffress-jews-mormons-muslims-and-gays-are-going-hell

Perhaps there's a reason why the ancestors of today's fundamentalist Christianists insisted on a First Amendment before agreeing to ratify the Constitution? Perhaps there's a reason why Congregationalists and Puritans from New England, Quakers and Mennonites from Pennsylvania, Catholics from Maryland felt pretty strongly against mixing government and religion?

I do hope that someone gets the chance to ask Archbigot Dolan whether he feels that divorced people should also be barred civilly from getting married again, even if they are not Catholic. And it would be interesting to know how much money the Church diverted from performing the social services and religious services that it has been known for for centuries in order to pay victims of statutory rape and the fact that the members of the US Council of Catholic Bishops have condoned statutory rape for at least a couple of generations.