The majority of Minnesotans simply do not believe in church-state separation. Many of the same individuals will scream at you if you even begin to discuss 2nd amendment issues. Most of them think there is a privacy amendment and most of them prefer positions of appeasement over strict constitutionality … when it is convenient. In other words, Minnesotans are much like the rest of America, but with more corn.
So, I do not expect the citizens of the North Star State to rise up in rebellion or even to get mildly indignant over the fact that the Minnesota Catholic Conference is engaging in clearly illegal campaign and political activities. It is, after all, the church, what could they be dong wrong? Their heart is in the right place, so what if there’s a gray area in this church-state separation thing? I mean, churches do good work, don’t they?
Well, not really.
The Catholic Conference has mailed out nearly one half million DVD’s to catholic homes . The videos feature John Nienstedt, Archbishop of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, and in the video the Archbishop calls for Catholics to take political action to work towards an amendment to the Minnesota State Constitutoin to restrict marriage to opposite sex couples.
During the month preceding a major election in which marriage equality is a major issue. Hmmm.. From the Minnesota Atheists:
Archbishop Nienstedt asserts that the videos are educational, rather than political, but the timing of the mailing belies this claim. Catholics will receive this video less than 5 weeks before the November 2 elections, just in time to boost the campaign of Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer, the only major party candidate who opposes same-sex marriage. The identity of the donor who funded the mailing is being withheld, raising suspicion of a political connection.
The videos are reportedly similar in content to others mailed out by Catholic dioceses during the campaign for California’s Proposition 8. Those campaign videos conveyed to voters that same-sex relationships are inferior to opposite-sex relationships and dangerous to children. These contentions were found by Judge Vaughn Walker, in his meticulously documented decision reaffirming the right of same sex couples to marry under California law, to be baseless.
“Without such a booster shot of hateful indoctrination, Catholics might lapse and treat their gay and lesbian family members, friends, and coworkers as people deserving of equal treatment under the law,” said August Berkshire, president of Minnesota Atheists.