U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

Pluralism & Prejudice: Catholic Bishops, Mormons, Evangelicals Unite To Oppose Equality

On Monday, five religious organizations filed an amicus brief urging the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold bans on same-sex couples getting married in Utah and Oklahoma. According to the Associated Press, the brief was written by lawyers for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and was joined by the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention and the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod.

The thrust of the brief is to argue that there are sound social policy reasons to oppose marriage equality, and to attack the notion that opposition to gay couples getting married is grounded in anti-gay prejudice, or “animus.” Says the brief, “The accusation is false and offensive.”

“Our faith communities bear no ill will toward same-sex couples, but rather have marriage-affirming religious beliefs that merge with both practical experience and sociological fact to convince us that retaining the husband-wife marriage definition is essential.”

No ill will toward same-sex couples?  Let’s review.

We can start with the Southern Baptists, who have officially declared that “homosexual conduct is always a gross moral and spiritual abomination for any person, whether male or female, under any circumstance, without exception” and that they even oppose businesses extending benefits to domestic partners.  OK, to be fair, that was 1997. The SBC voted in 2003 to “call upon all judges and public officials to resist and oppose the legalization of same-sex unions,” and in 2008 called for constitutional amendment to prevent same-sex couples from getting married anywhere in the U.S.

Richard Land, who was for 25 years the voice of the Southern Baptists’ Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission until his retirement last fall, has said the Devil takes pleasure in the destructive homosexual lifestyle.  In 2012, Land said, “God is already judging America and will judge her more harshly as we continue to move down this path toward sexual paganization.” A year earlier he accused gay rights activists of “child abuse” for “recruiting” children in elementary school.

Land’s retirement was expected to shift the ERLC’s tone; but the group still opposes ENDA, a proposed federal law to protect LGBT people from discrimination on the job.

Let’s see, who else opposes ENDA, domestic partnerships, civil unions, and marriage equality? That would be the US Conference of Catholic bishops. The bishops have said they oppose “unjust discrimination” against people with same-sex attractions, but they define the term “unjust” in a way that applies only to people who remain celibate. So if you are a gay couple and you are having sex, workplace discrimination against you is justified, as is a refusal to legally recognize your relationship.

A number of prominent U.S. bishops signed, and urged other Catholics to sign, the Manhattan Declaration, which compared liberals to Nazis. It declares conservatives’ positions on marriage to be "inviolable and non-negotiable," and pledges that conservatives will engage in civil disobedience, and may even need to prepare for martyrdom, in order to avoid recognizing legally married same-sex couples.

Let’s not forget Bishop Thomas Paprocki, from Springfield, Illinois, who told Catholics in 2012 that voting for the equality-supporting Democratic Party would put their eternal souls in jeopardy, and who responded to the passage of marriage equality in Illinois by conducting an exorcism.

The Mormon Church was a driving force in opposition to early marriage equality moves in Hawaii and Alaska and was crucial to the success of California’s Prop 8, providing tens of thousands of volunteers and a flood of cash. After a post-Prop-8 backlash from both inside and outside the church, LDS officials seemed to have abandoned the anti-marriage-equality crusade. The church says it supported Salt Lake City ordinances banning discrimination in housing and employment and has supported same-sex couples’ rights regarding “hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights, or probate rights” – sounds good – “so long as those do not infringe of the integrity of the traditional family or the constitutional rights of churches.” Hmm.

How about the National Association of Evangelicals?  In 2008, Richard Cizik, the longtime public policy face of the NAE, was forced to resign after he publicly expressed support for civil unions.

Unlike the more progressive Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA), the more conservative Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod (LCMS) strongly opposes LGBT equality. In a statement after the Supreme Court overturned the Defense of Marriage Act, the church insisted, “Same-sex unions are contrary to God’s will, and gay marriage is, in the eyes of God, no marriage at all… no matter what the courts or legislatures may say.” The conservative Lutherans have backed HJR 6 in Indiana, which is attempting to add a ban on marriage equality to the state constitution.

In January, the LCMS announced it was entering formal discussions with the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Makane Yesus, which cut its longstanding ties with the ELCA last year over sexuality issues. The Ethiopian church was so disturbed by the ELCA’s pro-equality positions that it has declared its members may not share communion with ELCA members.  Ethiopia’s churches and government, with the encouragement of American missionaries, have, in the words of a recent disturbing Newsweek article, “declared war on gay men.”

So, maybe it depends what you mean by “ill will.”

Bishop: Democrats Endorse 'Intrinsic Evils' and Supporters put their 'Soul in Serious Jeopardy'

The Roman Catholic Bishop of Springfield, Illinois, is warning that the Democratic Party has endorsed “intrinsic evils” and consequently, voters who back Democratic candidates have put their eternal salvation at risk. In the Catholic Times, the official newspaper of the Springfield diocese, Bishop Thomas John Paprocki uses the manufactured controversy about mentioning “God” in the Democratic Platform to argue that the Democrats are hostile to faith, and went on to attack Democrats for endorsing gay rights and opposing the criminalization of abortion. He said those two planks demonstrate that the Democrats “explicitly endorse intrinsic evils,” while noting that he has “read the Republican Party Platform and there is nothing in it that supports or promotes an intrinsic evil or a serious sin.”

Paprocki concludes with a warning that while he is “not telling you which party or which candidates to vote for or against,” backing the Democratic Party may put your eternal salvation at risk: “a vote for a candidate who promotes actions or behaviors that are intrinsically evil and gravely sinful makes you morally complicit and places the eternal salvation of your own soul in serious jeopardy.”

Watch:

There are many positive and beneficial planks in the Democratic Party Platform, but I am pointing out those that explicitly endorse intrinsic evils. My job is not to tell you for whom you should vote. But I do have a duty to speak out on moral issues. I would be abdicating this duty if I remained silent out of fear of sounding "political" and didn't say anything about the morality of these issues. People of faith object to these platform positions that promote serious sins. I know that the Democratic Party's official "unequivocal" support for abortion is deeply troubling to pro-life Democrats.



Certainly there are "pro-choice" Republicans who support abortion rights and "Log Cabin Republicans" who promote same-sex marriage, and they are equally as wrong as their Democratic counterparts. But these positions do not have the official support of their party.

Again, I am not telling you which party or which candidates to vote for or against, but I am saying that you need to think and pray very carefully about your vote, because a vote for a candidate who promotes actions or behaviors that are intrinsically evil and gravely sinful makes you morally complicit and places the eternal salvation of your own soul in serious jeopardy.

Anti-Defamation League Says Bishop who Likened Obama to Hitler 'Needs a History Lesson'

On Tuesday we reported that Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria, Illinois, used his Sunday Homily to compare President Obama to Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin, and described the Catholic Church as in a “war” similar to the struggles against “barbarian invasion,” “jihads,” and “Nazism and Communism.”

Yesterday, the Anti-Defamation League told the Chicago Tribune that his comments were “completely over the top”:

A homily delivered Sunday by Peoria's Roman Catholic Bishop Daniel Jenky has angered the Anti-Defamation League, a watchdog for anti-Semitism.



On Wednesday, Lonnie Nasatir, the regional director of Chicago's Anti-Defamation League, demanded an apology from Jenky, calling his remarks "outrageous, offensive and completely over the top."

"Clearly, Bishop Jenky needs a history lesson," Nasatir said.

"There are few, if any, parallels in history to the religious intolerance and anti-Semitism fostered in society by Stalin, and especially Hitler, who under his regime perpetuated the open persecution and ultimate genocide of Jews, Catholics and many other minorities."

Faithful America is also calling for an apology, writing members that “this kind of hateful and incendiary rhetoric is inappropriate coming from anyone”:

As pastors and teachers, Catholic bishops are supposed to lead their flock in sharing the love of God with our neighbors. So why did a Catholic bishop just use his Sunday homily to compare President Obama to Hitler and Stalin?

Bishop Daniel R. Jenky of Peoria, Illinois, launched a vicious tirade against politicians who disagree with the bishops' views on health care reform, culminating in the outrageous claim that "Barack Obama seems intent on following a similar path" to Hitler and Stalin, who "would just barely tolerate some churches remaining open."

This kind of hateful and incendiary rhetoric is inappropriate coming from anyone -- but it's simply outrageous coming from a religious leader in a position of public trust. Bishop Jenky needs to hear immediately that reasonable people of faith are appalled by his remarks. [emphasis theirs]

There's no excuse for comparing the President of the United States to Hitler and Stalin. Please offer an immediate apology for your offensive remarks and refrain from using such hateful rhetoric in the future.

Bishop Compares Obama to Hitler and Stalin

Bishop Daniel R. Jenky of the Catholic diocese of Peoria, Illinois, likened President Obama to Adolf Hilter and Joseph Stalin, along with past French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau and German chancellor Otto von Bismarck, on Sunday while condemning Obama’s “radical, pro-abortion and extreme secularist agenda.” He said that Catholics in America are in a “war” as a result of the administration’s mandate for religiously-based institutions to cover contraceptives, and compared politicians who back the mandate to Judas Iscariot.

Listen:

For 2,000 years the enemies of Christ have certainly tried their best. But think about it. The Church survived and even flourished during centuries of terrible persecution, during the days of the Roman Empire.

The Church survived barbarian invasions. The Church survived wave after wave of Jihads. The Church survived the age of revolution. The Church survived Nazism and Communism. And in the power of the resurrection, the Church will survive the hatred of Hollywood, the malice of the media, and the mendacious wickedness of the abortion industry.

The Church will survive the entrenched corruption and sheer incompetence of our Illinois state government, and even the calculated disdain of the President of the United States, his appointed bureaucrats in HHS, and of the current majority of the federal Senate.

May God have mercy especially on the souls of those politicians who pretend to be Catholic in church, but in their public lives, rather like Judas Iscariot, betray Jesus Christ by how they vote and how they willingly cooperate with intrinsic evil.

As Christians we must love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us, but as Christians we must also stand up for what we believe and be ready to fight to defend our faith. The days in which we live now require heroic Catholicism, not casual Catholicism. We can no longer be Catholics by accident, but instead be Catholics by conviction.

In our own families, in our parishes, where we live and where we work – like that very first apostolic generation – we must be bold witnesses to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. We must be a fearless army of Catholic men, ready to give everything we have for the Lord, who gave everything for our salvation.

Remember that in past history other governments have tried to force Christians to huddle and hide only within the confines of their churches like those first disciples before the Resurrection locked together in the Upper Room.

In the late 19th century, Bismark waged his “Kulturkamf,” a culture war against the Roman Catholic Church, closing down every Catholic school and hospital, convent and monastery in Imperial Germany. Clemenceau, nicknamed “the priest eater,” tried the same thing in France in the first decade of the 20th Century.

Hitler and Stalin, at their better moments, would just barely tolerate some churches remaining open, but would not tolerate any competition with the state in education, social services, and health care.

In clear violation of our First Amendment rights, President Obama – with his radical, pro-abortion and extreme secularist agenda, now seems intent on following a similar path.

Now things have come to such a pass in our beloved country that this is a battle that we could lose, but before the awesome judgement seat of Almighty God this is not a war where any believing Catholic may remain neutral.
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U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Posts Archive

Peter Montgomery, Wednesday 02/12/2014, 6:11pm
On Monday, five religious organizations filed an amicus brief urging the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold bans on same-sex couples getting married in Utah and Oklahoma. According to the Associated Press, the brief was written by lawyers for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and was joined by the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention and the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod. The thrust of the brief is to argue that there are sound social policy reasons to oppose marriage equality, and... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 09/26/2012, 3:45pm
The Roman Catholic Bishop of Springfield, Illinois, is warning that the Democratic Party has endorsed “intrinsic evils” and consequently, voters who back Democratic candidates have put their eternal salvation at risk. In the Catholic Times, the official newspaper of the Springfield diocese, Bishop Thomas John Paprocki uses the manufactured controversy about mentioning “God” in the Democratic Platform to argue that the Democrats are hostile to faith, and went on to attack Democrats for endorsing gay rights and opposing the criminalization of abortion. He said those two... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Thursday 04/19/2012, 3:25pm
On Tuesday we reported that Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria, Illinois, used his Sunday Homily to compare President Obama to Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin, and described the Catholic Church as in a “war” similar to the struggles against “barbarian invasion,” “jihads,” and “Nazism and Communism.” Yesterday, the Anti-Defamation League told the Chicago Tribune that his comments were “completely over the top”: A homily delivered Sunday by Peoria's Roman Catholic Bishop Daniel Jenky has angered the Anti-Defamation League, a watchdog for... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 04/17/2012, 1:50pm
Bishop Daniel R. Jenky of the Catholic diocese of Peoria, Illinois, likened President Obama to Adolf Hilter and Joseph Stalin, along with past French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau and German chancellor Otto von Bismarck, on Sunday while condemning Obama’s “radical, pro-abortion and extreme secularist agenda.” He said that Catholics in America are in a “war” as a result of the administration’s mandate for religiously-based institutions to cover contraceptives, and compared politicians who back the mandate to Judas Iscariot. Listen: For 2,000 years the... MORE >