Yesterday, a visitor to the site sent me an email with a simple request: Please pass along the following message to Father Mike Tegeder.
Jesus Christ is very proud of you today. The letter you wrote to the StarTribune encouraging the bishop to resign took the kind of courage, conviction and love that Christ himself exhibited. The bishop is a bully and you stood up to him in Christ’s name. I have been disenfranchised with the Church. Your words have given me hope.
While I don’t know that this comment will ever reach its intended recipient, I at least wanted to give it a fighting chance. I’m so proud of the courage that Tegeder displayed through this campaign; he provides a reminder that many Christians supported equality in Minnesota.
It’s also a reminder for all gay Christians: God and gay can co-exist and you are welcome in houses of worship across this great state.
It’s no surprise to see complaints rolling in from both sides of the amendment fight about election materials being too close to polling places. Turns out the Catholic Church left up banners and prayers supporting the amendment in at least two locations. According to SFGate:
A spokesman for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis says signs supporting the proposed amendment to ban gay marriage in Minnesota were left up at two churches by mistake.
In another case, a banner supporting the amendment was up at Saint John Vianney Catholic Church in South St. Paul. Accurso says staff tried to remove it before polls opened, but it wouldn’t come down.
Both signs are now removed.
On the other side of the amendment fight, amendments supporters filed a whistle blower report on the Star Tribune because a vehicle that had been “wrapped” with Vote No was parked near a polling place.
A truck for Minnesota Families United has been parked directly in front of the front entrance to the polling place all day.
According to the Star Tribune article, the van was no longer parked at that location as of 3pm.
Minnesota law prohibits campaign materials from being displayed within 100 feet of a polling location.
Source: Star Tribune
Image by: Steve Sack
Rather fitting, considering everything the Catholic Church in Minnesota is doing to ensure the mean-spirited marriage amendment gets passed.
In an article from September, the Star Tribune shared that Minnesota Catholics would receive a letter from the church urging them to donate to amendment supporters.
The Trib quotes a political science professor John Green, who says the act is “unusual” compared to what the church has done in other states:
“I can’t think of anything as direct and as explicit,” Green said. “I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with it legally, but certainly I’m sure it’s very controversial. Catholic leaders have been involved in fundraising. I know of examples where they have reached out to parishioners, but I’ve never heard of anything quite this comprehensive.”
Jason Adkins, executive director of Minnesota Catholic Conference, shares:
The mailing “gives Catholics an opportunity to support the passage of the amendment and asks them to send a contribution to where it will be most effective,” Adkins’ letter states. In an interview Monday, Adkins said the mailing is being coordinated and paid for by his group and will cost close to $100,000.
Another $100,000 the church is spending just to send out letters asking for more money! When will this insanity stop?
The Trib article goes on to highlight to continued significant role the Catholic Church has played in funding amendment supporters here in Minnesota.
However, not all Catholics believe that limiting the rights and freedoms of some citizens is in the best interest of the Church. According to Diane Haugesag:
The church has other things it should be spending its money on … feeding the hungry, providing homes for the homeless.
I see this focus on one issue and it’s extremely divisive, which I don’t think serves the church no matter what side you’re on.
How very true. When all is said and done, the Catholic Church will have spent millions of dollars in an attempt to enshrine inequality into the state constitution in Minnesota. That’s just sad.
If you’re wondering why the Catholic Church is sending out letters to parishioners asking for money, it’s because amendment supporters already spent all of their money – even before purchasing TV air time to run their ads!
MinnPost provides some great insight into how the ‘vote yes’ side has been spending their money. The most expensive expenditure?
Since January, Minnesota for Marriage has paid $332,000 for campaign-management services to strategist Frank Schubert and his new firm, Mission Public Affairs.
Yes, that Frank Schubert. The guy behind the strategy Minnesota for Marriage is using to push this mean-spirited amendment.
While these groups provide very little insight into their donors (which seems to defy donation disclosure rules and laws), MinnPost provides some interesting nuggets.
Last week, Herbert Chilstrom, former presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, penned an open letter to Catholic Archbishop, John Niensedt.
Truly, it’s a letter you don’t want to miss. I’ve included just a small excerpt to get you intrigued…
I recognize your authority in formulating positions for your own flock in Minnesota. That is one thing. But for you and others to campaign for an amendment that imposes your stance on all citizens in Minnesota, including other Christians, believers of other faith groups and nonbelievers, is overstepping your bounds.
Chilstrom then goes on to share how time and time again, the church has failed when attempting to force a stand in political waters. He also educates Niensedt on the definition of “republic” and why the separate of church and state is “genius” for America.
Don’t miss out; read Chilstrom’s open letter in its entirety. Then reblog if you think its as awesome.
As many of my blog followers know, Minnesota is one of four states facing a vote on same-sex marriage this NOvember.
In Washington state, they are voting to uphold a law that was passed earlier this year legalizing gay marriage. Similar to Minnesota, same-sex opponents have started to run commercials and they’re using similar scare tactics to what we’re seeing here.
The Seattle PI dug into the claims and found out that, like here in Minnesota, opponents are intentionally misleading voters.
In one of the anti-same sex marriage commercials running in Washington state, a narrator shares:
“Religious groups such as Catholic Charities, in Boston and Washington, D.C., have had to choose between fulfilling their social mission — based on their religious beliefs — or accepting this new definition of marriage. As a result, they had to close their adoption program.”
However, that’s not really the truth. In fact, the chairman of the board of directors for Catholic Charities of Boston, Peter Mead, has this to say:
“Opponents of the freedom to marry ignore the truth and distort history when they talk about Catholic Charities of Boston and its decision to shut down its adoption services. I’m shocked and amazed that so many years later, they are making the false claim that Catholic Charities’ decision had anything to do with allowing committed gay and lesbian couples to marry.”
As the Boston Globe has documented, Catholic Charities placed 13 children with gay couples BEFORE the Massachusetts Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage. The children were largely from difficult backgrounds and among those “harder to place,” in Meade’s words.
Stopping the adoptions didn’t come about because of the fact that same-sex marriage was legal:
The orders came from above — and from across the Atlantic. ”In 2005, tragically and out of the blue, the Vatican ordered our diocese to cease using the single criteria of ‘best interest of the children,’” writes Meade. ”They ordered us to stop facilitating adoptions to qualified gay and lesbian households. “I objected strenuously for two reasons. First and foremost, the Church hierarchy was telling us to violate the best interests of the children who were in our care. It was an arbitrary edict that, to many of us, had nothing to do with what was best for these kids and undermined our moral priority of helping vulnerable children find loving homes.”
Meade goes on to talk about how the 42 directors of the Catholic Charties of Boston voted unanimously not to exclude gay and lesbian couples as they believed the Vatican edict was wrong.
“When the hierarchy insisted, the organization had no choice but to end Catholic Charities’ adoption services. To me, and seven other board members, that forced our hand. We could no longer serve on the board so we resigned.”
Meade concludes with:
“As a Catholic, my faith continues to call me to treat every person as a child of God. What happened in Massachusetts should not have happened. “But what’s made it even worse is twisting a tough and sad outcome of one Catholic Charities into a fear-baiting talking point by opponents of the freedom to marry. It’s not truthful and it only takes us further from loving our neighbor as God commands.
It is clear that certain organizations will do whatever it takes to ensure that same-sex couples cannot celebrate the love they have for one another. Hopefully, posts like this help provide additional education for those that may not be fully aware.
Note: Excerpts above from SeattlePI.com. Read the article in it’s entirety here.
If you can’t stand up for what you believe, you are not a minister, you are not a priest.
Reverend Mike Tegeder
Source: Star Tribune
A great article from the Star Tribune on Catholic priest, Mike Tegeder. I’ve written about Tegeder several times on this blog. He has continued to take a public stand against the marriage amendment, despite direction from the Catholic Church not to do so.
Jon Tevlin of the Star Tribune digs deeper in this piece on Tegeder and shares several moving quotes, similar to the one I’ve shared here. Tegeder had this to say about Archbishop John Nienstedt:
He’s in over his head. We don’t deserve him, and he doesn’t deserve us.
I’ve also blogged many times about Nienstedt, however, he is on the opposite end of the equality spectrum, doing whatever is in his power to see this mean-spirited amendment pass.
Spend 2 minutes to check out the article on Tegeder. While I’ve appreciated him taking a stand against the amendment, after reading this article, I have a new found respect for the man and I think you will too.
So I lied to you when I said I’d stop posting so much about Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe. I mean, I don’t want to turn this blog into the Chris Kluwe fan club, but man, I certainly would sign up!
This time, Kluwe has written an open letter to Archbishop Nienstedt and Pope Benedict XVI. In the letter, he asks several questions:
I read your views on gay marriage in the Star Tribune, Archbishop Nienstedt, and it fills me with great sadness and regret that a steward of the Catholic Church on this Earth feels the need to take a stance of oppression, intolerance, and fear. Surely, is this not what Jesus spoke of when he said, “Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt; for the tree is known by his fruit”?
How can we reconcile our version of the Catholic Church as salvation to the sick, the needy, the poor, when we must also bear witness to the Catholic Church as oppressor, tormentor, and executioner? Where, in all of Jesus’ teachings, did he ever say to deny the humanity of other human beings; where did the Son of God proclaim that mortal Man knew God’s will; where, pray tell, did Jesus ever say to harden your heart against those who may not be exactly the same as you?
I say to you – nowhere. Nowhere does Jesus preach hate, or intolerance, or loathing. Nowhere does Jesus say, “You shall deny the humanity of gay people because it makes you feel uncomfortable”. Nowhere does Jesus say, “And the mortal men of the Church shall be the sole conduits of the Word of God, for they are perfect and infallible.” Nowhere, in all of the recorded teachings of Jesus, does it say anything about discrimination or prejudice.
Seriously. The above excerpt is just Kluwe warming up before his kick to win the game! I strongly encourage you to read the letter in its entirety on his Out of Bounds blog.
Chris, if you ever stumble upon this blog, you’ll have to let me know when your next fan club meeting is taking place! ;)
On Monday, October 8, Minnesota for Marriage and the Minnesota Catholic Conference brought together a panel to discuss the potential ramifications if same-sex marriage were made legal. The panel, which took place at the University of St. Thomas law school in Minneapolis, included a Canadian Archbishop who helped paint a picture of all of the supposed things that have happened in Canada since legalizing gay marriage.
A couple things.
- The so-called marriage “protection” amendment, if defeated, does not make same-sex marriage legal in Minnesota. It simply keeps this limiting text out of our state constitution and allows for future conversations to be had on this topic
- Minnesota for Marriage has already been actively misleading voters as to what has actually happened in Canada. Check out my previous blog post on this very topic. Be forewarned, you will not be happy
- Canada’s laws on gay marriage protect clergy from having to marry gay couples based on religious grounds. However, other tax-exempt organizations (e.g., Knights of Columbus) cannot exclude same-sex couples the ability to use facilities, etc.
Reverend Mike Tegeder, a Catholic Priest in Minnesota, RSVP’ed to the event and received the following note from the organizers according to the Star Tribune:
You will sit where I tell you to sit, and if you refuse, you will be escorted out by UST security… If you disrupt the event in any way, or speak out of turn, I will direct University [of St. Thomas] security to remove you.
Tegeder has publicly opposed the marriage amendment, despite the church instructing priests to be quiet on the matter.
Another example of the lengths amendment supporters will go to in order to pass this mean-spirited amendment.
Note: You can find additional information about the event on TwinCities.com.
I’m going to start this post off with a question: Why is no one investigating the Catholic Church in Minnesota for continuously abusing their power and violating federal laws related to tax-exempt status? Last month, I shared example after example of how the church has played an active role in the political system – attempting to actually sway voters and the results of this election.
Now, the church has mailed out letters to more than 400,000 Catholic households asking for money to fund Minnesota for Marriage (to help ensure the commercials I shared earlier are able to be run right up until election day):
We ask that you prayerfully consider making a financial donation to Minnesota for Marriage of whatever amount is right for you and your family. No amount is too small.
There has been dissent among Minnesota Catholics. According to the article linked above, Catholics for Marriage Equality have already handed out more than 1,000 “Another Catholic voting no” signs.
What do you think? Did you receive a letter in the mail from the Catholic Church asking for money to spend on political campaigns (if so, please scan a copy or take a picture and send it my way)?
I wonder how we would react if other religious groups tried to influence the outcome of an election?
Ok, at some point I’ve got to ask: When does the Catholic Church lose their tax-exempt status?
And before you start saying that I’m discriminating against the church, let the record show that I have been very supportive of all views, including those from Catholic leaders, on this blog (here, here, here and here). However, when Archbishop John Nienstedt speaks out publicly at our state Capitol on this issue, I’ve got to challenge it. Here’s what Nienstedt had to say:
I ask all Minnesotans to join us to vote yes on November 6th… This is wonderful sight, to see clergy from … so many different churches, come together and show their support for our basic understanding of marriage as a union between one man and one woman.
According to IRS publication 1828: Tax Guide for Churches and Religions Organizations:
Churches and religious organizations, like many other charitable organizations, qualify for exemption from federal income tax under IRC section 501(c)(3) and are generally eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions. To qualify for tax-exempt status, such an organization must meet the following requirements (covered in greater detail throughout this publication):
- the organization must be organized and operated exclusively for religious, educational, scientific, or other charitable purposes,
- net earnings may not inure to the benefit of any private individual or shareholder,
- no substantial part of its activity may be attempting to influence legislation,
- the organization may not intervene in political campaigns, and
- the organization’s purposes and activities may not be illegal or violate fundamental public policy
Check out bullets three and four. If Nienstedt’s speaking out publicly in support of the amendment isn’t enough to convince you that the church is violating these bullets, consider the fact that the Catholic Church has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars shipping out DVDs to Catholics how to vote, gone to high schools to talk about why same-sex marriage is “dangerous to society,” told priests not to speak out against the church’s support of the amendment, and they’ve donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to amendment supporters.
Sadly, these are just a few of the many examples of how the Catholic Church has inserted itself into this election as a way to influence voters and legislation. According to the tax code, here’s what should happen to the Catholic Church:
Consequences of Political Campaign Activity
When it participates in political campaign activity, a church or religious organization jeopardizes both its tax-exempt status under IRC section 501(c)(3) and its eligibility to receive tax-deductible contributions. In addition, it may become subject to an excise tax on its political expenditures. This excise tax may be imposed in addition to revocation, or it may be imposed instead of revocation. Also, the church or religious organization should correct the violation
How about we ask the church to spend their money on paying for excise taxes instead of attempting to forever change the Minnesota state constitution and limit the rights of thousands of committed same-sex couples?
Note: To my Catholic family and friends, this is a must-watch video.
Minnesota priest, Bob Pierson speaks out against the Minnesota marriage amendment. In June, Father Pierson celebrated his 28th anniversary of ordination with the church and shares why he became a priest:
I became a priest because I felt called to share the good news that God loves each and every one of us, unconditionally. Too many of us have been taught to think of god in terms of God’s judgement rather than God’s tremendous love and mercy.
Pierson goes on to share that he’s taken a stand before with the church and that he’s taking a stand again now when it comes to the marriage amendment (to which he receives a round of applause):
I believe this amendment violates an important principle of Catholic teaching and that as Catholics, we can vote no.
The most interesting part of the video is where Pierson shares the church teaching on following one’s conscience. According to the Catholic Catechism, one must follow their own conscience, even if it conflicts with church teachings – especially when it comes to religious matters. In fact, a man who would later become Pope of the church once shared that conscience is so important that Catholics must follow it, even if it conflicts with the Pope’s message.
Pierson goes on to share:
As Catholics we must follow our own conscience in making decisions such as how to vote. My conscience tells me to vote no on the amendment because I have yet to hear a convincing reason why we need such an amendment to our state constitution. In fact, I believe the church does not have the right to force its moral teaching on others outside our fold.
In the latter part of the video, Pierson shares three examples of where the church is “fudging the facts” trying to get Catholics to support the amendment. He then has this to say about marriage:
In any faith, marriage is about love, commitment and responsibility. In our faith, marriage is a sacrament, a commitment to God to live with your partner, to raise a family together and most of all, to live the word of God. We know that gay and lesbian couples want to get married for the same reasons as everyone else and I believe it’s important that we as Catholics help to ensure that people in our community have the same freedoms, whether it’s the freedom to worship or the freedom to marry. My conscience tells me I have no right to limit someone else’s freedom.
While I realize that not everyone who follows this blog is religious, I found this video very moving. Regardless of your beliefs, Father Pierson’s overarching message throughout the 10-minute sermon is about love – which, by the way, is the same message that Jesus taught all those years ago.
In June, the Good Samaritan United Methodist Church welcomed Catholics from across the state for a kickoff event for Catholics that oppose the marriage amendment. Several hundred people gathered to understand what they could do to help defeat this mean-spirited amendment.
Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis, had this to say at the event:
A lot of statements have come from the archdiocese to the contrary, but we were raised as Catholics with a sense of social conscience to stand up for those who are struggling—for full rights, for equality, for recognition.
It’s great to see people of all religious backgrounds coming together in opposition to this amendment. Hopefully, these folks will be able to have many conversations leading up to this fall and help others understand that love is love.
Note: Minnesotans United for All Families has added a “Catholics Vote No” bumper sticker to their online store.
Neat post from MPR that talks about various priests in Minnesota speaking out against the marriage amendment. With over 1,000 years of service to the Catholic Church, the article captures thoughts and a couple good quotes from these retired priests. Additionally, MPR has reposted a letter that was submitted to the Star Tribune by Fr. John F. Brandes, Fr. Thomas J. Garvey and Fr. J. Timothy Power. The letter concludes with:
We write now to say that there is not just one way for Catholics tovote in November. We ask you to consider voting “No” this November on the Marriage Amendment. We feel that our church is stronger when both sides of an issue are part of the public dialogue. Thank you for your consideration.
Progress. It may be slow, but every day, we move forward bit by bit.
Well, on the opposite end of the spectrum of the Lutheran church are the Catholics. Several additional churches in Richfield will be urging members and non-members alike to vote yes on the marriage amendment this fall.
The linked article talks about how the Catholic Church will be organizing rallies in Minneapolis (and I would assume other cities) to garner support for the mean-spirited amendment. Also included in the article is some commentary around dissent in the church and how leadership has responded that “…the Catholic Church is abundantly clear that we’re not a democracy… the church has authority.”
Reminds one of the “agree with us or shut up” post I shared a couple months back. One thing is very clear: The Catholic Church of Minnesota will do everything in its power to ensure this amendment passes. Considering the size and the dollars in this organization, that’s a very scary thing.