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.


  1. #1 Pete Moulton
    October 5, 2010

    I say if churches want to engage in politics, let ’em, Greg. Then pull their tax exemptions.

  2. #2 Navin
    October 5, 2010

    The majority of Minnesotans simply do not believe in church-state separation.

    Citation needed? Not because I doubt it, but because I’d like to see the figures for myself.

  3. #3 Greg Laden
    October 5, 2010

    Navin, it is simply based on my experience. Almost everyone I know who is religious has yet become indignant in any way about any breed of church-state separation, and I’m constantly hearing appeasement and “it’s good works so leave them alone” arguments.

    I say the burden of proof is different than you are suggesting. I do not see two distant peaks and suggest one may be taller than the other even though they look the same. I see a mountain and a molehill and suggest that the mountain is bigger. Perhaps some study will demonstrate that I’m wrong but it would be a very unlikely and surprising conclusion.

    Let me know if you find something that refutes/supports my suggestion!

  4. #4 sailor
    October 5, 2010

    Couldn’t someone write the attorney general and demand action? (removal of tax exempt status) Or do referendums not count as politics?

  5. #5 Choir Boy
    October 5, 2010

    How could churches pay taxes anyway? They are not a business, therefore they make no profits that are taxable. But then again is marxist liberals could tax the bananas that mokey pick off of trees everyday, they would. Marxists love to tax people for some weird reason. Must be a coin fetish or something. We all need significanlty reduced taxes and even more reduced spending. I wish the government would make it a priority to cut taxes in half and spending by 65% so we could get out of debt. I hate socialist bullcrap too. All that talk of “tax cuts for the rich” is a big pile of bull. I make less than $25,000 a year. i not rich by no means. If I could stop paying into medicare and social security I could make my own wealth and retire early but the fascist assholes in washington won’t hear of it. They like me being their little slave and toy to play with while they use MY money to take golf trips. At least when corporate CEOs take expensive trips it’s not on taxpayer money. Well, it is now since the government bailed the little whiny ass babies out. We should charge them 75% interest on that bailout.

    One other thing is that we should ditch the Infernal Revenue Service and banish the income tax and just add a small national sales tax. That way everyone, including illegal aliens would have ot pay taxes. Is that not fair?

    Churches ae not taxpayer funded. They also do not make profits, therefore they are not taxable.

  6. #6 Origuy
    October 5, 2010

    Choir Boy: You are forgetting (or maybe ignoring) property tax. Churches own billions of dollars worth of property, for which they do not pay taxes to the local government that supply their services. Some of that property is not even used for religious purposes.

    The tax issues involved in non-profit organizations are also more complicated than you believe, but I don’t want to go into that. Based on your rant, you probably wouldn’t believe it anyway.

  7. #7 MadScientist
    October 5, 2010

    I wish the AU would take such a case to court and have the privileges of some church revoked for violation of their special agreement with the government. Although many AU members may agree with what the bishop is promoting, they need to remember that if the catholics can get away with this one, who knows what religious rules some other cult will try to push into law.

  8. #8 Choir boy
    October 5, 2010

    It is only complicated becuase of the idiots who write the tax codes. Thety copuld simplify things if they chose to. Property taxes? I wonder if George Soros pays his property taxes. I wonder how many people in congress try to avoid paying their taxes? Hmmm. Several democrat names come to mind. The same one who want tax hikes by the way. Remember John Kerry hiding his private boat in another country to avoid taxes on it? It should be law taht any congresman or senator who is caught trying to not pay their taxes constitutes an immediate removal of that person from their position – for life, and then a $25,000 fine for defrauding themselves (the government).

    What ever happened to the democrap senaor who hid over $80,000 in his freezer at home that he swindled. The lamestream media barely even mentioned it. If he had been a republican it would have been a scandal that would have made front page news for 6 months. The lamestream media sucks and that is why their ratings are down. The deserve it for their bias.

    I’ll tell you one thing. If some criminal from the Infernal Revenue Service ever tries to streal my money, my response would be simple. Make congress pay their taxes, then I’ll pay mine. Fair? The IRS never goes after people like congress though. I wonder of the infamous satan face George Soros has ever been investigated. If he crashes the dollar like he did the pound, he should be locked up in solitary 50 years and his money take from him and give to pay down the national debt. Better yet. Give it to me and I’ll mkae sure Answers in Genesis really annoys liberals. What would over 300 conservative “right wing” organizations do with 300 billion dollars? Destroy liberalism/satanism, that’s what.

  9. #9 Stubby56
    October 6, 2010

    Choir boy, do you live under a rock? William Jefferson was sentenced on Nov. 13, 2009, to 13 years in prison. That’s the longest sentence ever given to a congressman for bribery. He is appealing the sentence. Believe it or not, it is being covered by the mainstream media ( but since it is primarily a LA issue, I’m not surprised that you missed any coverage of it on Fox “News.”

  10. #10 Choir Boy
    October 6, 2010


    Yes I do live under a rock. it’s safer there from government x ray machines and thermal imaging. (I use velostat in layers).

    13 years is what he was sentenced. He will serve maybe two. He should serv all 13. I haven’t seen any coverege except about 12 seconds one night on NBC last year. If he had been a conservative, the media would still have him on the front page.

  11. #11 GrandmaNana
    October 7, 2010

    Separation of church and state only meant that an “established state religion” e.g. Anglican in England could not be “established” in this country. They fled countries because of this reason. It was never meant to ban religious bodies from having a voice about political affairs.

  12. #12 Stephanie Z
    October 7, 2010

    Actually, GrandmaNana, the colonists had very good reason, on this side of the Atlantic, to block the participation of religious bodies in politics. It is a big step from how the colonies were set up by those fleeing religious persecution to the separation provided by the First Amendment. Also a necessary step.

  13. #13 Greg Laden
    October 7, 2010

    GrandmaNana: What Stephanie said is correct, but I’ll add as well: There is almost nothing in the constitution that is not interpreted in an evolved way owing to the fact that it is nearly 300 years old. If you want to take the Establishment Clause back to “No Anglican Church” than the Second Amendment has to be “No blunderbusses or flint lock pistols,” and the Fifth Amendment means “the accused gets to speak at their trial.”

  14. #14 Greg Laden
    October 7, 2010

    Sorry, I meant “No restrictions on blunderbusses…”