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.
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.
If it’s on the ballot, it’s in the classroom… It has to be. You can’t do a good social studies class without bringing this up right now.
Julie Blaha, teachers union president, Anoka-Hennepin District
Interesting article that looks at the debate around the marriage amendment that is taking place in schools all throughout Minnesota.
Some educators at public and private schools see the amendment as a prime teachable moment; others say hot-button issues might be best reserved for parents. By all accounts, students find the issue compelling.
“Students are more engaged by this issue than even the presidential election,” said Eric Erickson, a social studies teacher at St. Paul’s Como Park Senior High. “It’s something they can relate to. It’s about relationships.”
The article references the national media attention the Minnesota Archdiocese received for sending a priest and married couple into local schools to talk about the sanctity of marriage. The talks at DeLaSalle highlighted the fact that talking about marriage and amendments in highschools can be a dangerous thing for the Catholic Church as school-aged children are less likely to agree with what the presenters have to say.
Check out the full article on Twincities.com.
Most Lutherans supportive of natural marriage are less vocal than the handful of activists calling for a radical redefinition of the time-tested institution upon which every human society has been founded. Lutherans usually are a modest and quiet bunch. I ought to know: My wife and I had a potluck for our Lutheran wedding reception.
But even modest and quiet people vote, and I foresee a good number of Lutherans joining me in checking “Yes” for a constitutional protection of natural marriage.
Ryan C. MacPherson, founding president, Hausvater Project
Source: MPR News
MacPherson argues that, despite what you may read in the daily news, many Lutherans support the divisive marriage amendment on ballots this fall.
Unfortunately, even though polling in recent days has show a swing in the Vote No direction, I do worry that what MacPherson says is true. Voters are less likely to voice an unpopular opinion when polled than when they are in the voting booth. This is why it is so important that in these final days up until November 6th, each and every one of us is out telling stories, talking to friends, family, neighbors and even volunteering to talk to strangers with Minnesotans United.
The fight for equality is just too important – we must never give up. Let’s show the world that Minnesotans stand up for each other, no matter what.
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?
I believe very strongly that the Civil Rights Movement extends out to [LGBT] individuals… We all should have equal rights. We are on the wrong side of history on November 6 by voting for the amendment. It is going to cause barriers and walls to be built up around a segment of our society that is truly deserving of a right to share a piece of the American Dream. I do not agree nor do I support the amendment. And as a Black clergy person, I know that I am…in the minority of Black clergy, but I find it appalling that people that have suffered the way African Americans have suffered in this country, that we can come out against any segment of our society.
Reverend Jacson Moody, Holsey Memorial Christian Methodist Episcopal Church
Source: TC Daily Planet
Moody is quoted in an article that speaks to how the marriage amendment is dividing African American Christians and clergy.
From Rochester to Duluth, there continue to be an increase in the number of articles around the mean-spirited marriage amendment. This one, from WXOW.com, in La Crosse, Wisconsin, speaks to the divide between voters in the state.
Perhaps the most striking visual presented in the article is this one:
Driving by homes in Rochester, a yard sign reads say Yes to the marriage amendment… Yet the next yard’s sign reads the opposite, “Vote No… Don’t Limit the Freedom to Marry.” It’s an example of how split Minnesotans are on the issue.
Quotes from both sides of the issue are included in the article. Colette Sweeney makes a great point:
If people can discuss it then they are able to talk about their fears, talk about their concerns in an open way and in that way they become better informed instead of being told there’s only one way to think.
Each of us needs to remember that conversations change minds. We’ve made tremendous progress this past year and now we’re in our final push. Regardless of where you live in the great state of Minnesota, your help is needed now, more than ever, to help Minnesotans understand the importance of voting NO.
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?