By Rika Christensen | 2 April 2015
Cardinal Timothy Dolan weighed in on Indiana’s pro-bigotry law on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” While he called for civility and temperance in discussions about it, and denounced the anger, he also said that he supports Indiana Governor Mike Pence’s decision, once again proving that the Catholic Church is not about loving thy neighbor.
According to NBC News, Dolan said:
“It’s tough to balance religious conviction, but it’s easier to ignore religious freedom than it is today the more popular issues, all right? So in a way, I appreciate the fact that we have political leaders like Governor Pence who are saying, ‘Whoa, wait a minute, without questioning the rights of the gay community, we also have to make sure that the rights of the religious community are protected.’ I just wish we could do that in a temperate, civil way, instead of screaming at each other.”
Calling for civility in this controversy is all well and good, but Dolan needs to understand the reasons behind it, and he clearly doesn’t. Dolan, however, is also one of the many, many religious leaders who think that marriage equality is a massive trampling of religious rights.
Dolan said, in 2013, that the Catholic Church had been wrongly branded as “anti-gay.” Then he went and said that the battle on marriage equality wasn’t over, after saying that the argument was hard to win when Hollywood, politicians and “some opinion molders are on the other side.” He believed that it was a matter of “marketing,” and “the other side” was doing a better job of marketing their stance on the issue.
That isn’t the case, though. Dolan said that the church is pro-marriage and pro-family, but not anti-anybody. The problem is that it is anti-gay, because it keeps the LGBT community down. It relegates them to second-class citizens, because they can’t change who they are. If Christianity is about love, then why are they fighting this so hard?
In the end, the church, and religious leaders like Dolan, need to actually explain who is hurt if two people of the same gender decide to marry each other. They also need to spell it out in plain terms just how it violates anybody’s religious freedom, and why their religious beliefs should trump everyone else’s beliefs. What of the denominations that want to recognize and perform same-sex marriages? What about their religious freedom?
Fortunately, CNN reports that Pence and Indiana have decided they need to add a stipulation to Indiana’s pro-bigotry law that prevents businesses from discriminating against anybody. They’ve seriously angered social conservatives, who saw the law as a means of insulating themselves from lawsuits brought by the LGBT community, but it doesn’t actually make the LGBT community a protected class in the state (which they need to do).
Dolan believes that they can turn the tide of the conversation back toward the church’s favor, the way he thinks they have with abortion. Fat chance, though; this issue is not like the abortion issue.
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