Bigoted legislators, including some who claim to be nominally or formerly "Catholic," are thankfully uncommon. Most lawmakers, whatever their convictions, sincerely seek to serve the common good. But prejudice against the Catholic Church has a long pedigree in the United States. And rarely has belligerence toward the Church been so perfectly and nakedly captured as in Connecticut's pending Senate Bill 1098, which, in the words of Hartford's Archbishop Henry Mansell, "directly attacks the Roman Catholic Church and our Faith."Notice the word "bigot"? That's what this bill is. Bigoted against the Catholic Church.
In effect, SB 1098 would give the state of Connecticut the power to forcibly reorganize the internal civil life of the Catholic community. This is bad public policy in every sense: imprudent; unjust; dismissive of First Amendment concerns, and contemptuous of the right of the Catholic Church to be who she is as a public entity. If Catholics want Caesar telling them how they're allowed to live their civil life as a community, this is exactly the kind of legislation to make it happen.
The legislative coercion directed against the Catholic community in one state has implications for Catholics in every other state. If bigots in one state succeed in coercive laws like SB 1098, bigots in other states will try the same.
I strongly encourage Catholics across the archdiocese to show their support for the bishops and faithful Catholic people of Connecticut by writing the Connecticut lawmakers behind SB 1098 and letting them know - respectfully and firmly - that this kind of prejudicial lawmaking violates common sense, damages the common good and offends Catholics around the country. One lesson we should learn from American history is this: If Catholics don't defend their Church, nobody else will.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Abp Chaput on CT Bill
~from the Archdiocesan website: