Saturday, October 02, 2010

Fear No DVDs

Special DVDs from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis mailed this week. Their purpose is to communicate to the faithful the Church's beliefs on the sanctity of that sacred old institution of marriage, now under siege.

In these morally confused times, no doubt many Catholics haven't gotten the word on what the Church has believed for about the last 2,000 years or so. And others may be forgetting that in a democracy they have the power to vote for their interests. Those who care about the issue may want to support candidates who agree with them. This seems like a common sense and non-controversial message. Yet, inevitably, to the Left, freedom of speech and religious conscience on this matter is an unacceptable outrage. You have to respect Archbishop Neinstedt for forging ahead anyway and bravely asserting the Church's right to be heard in the public square on this, or any, matter.

The City Pages is, predictably, all over the organized protest movement. Quoted in their latest article is the leader of the group "Return the DVD". No, that's not a group of radical loss prevention specialists from Netflix. They're a group of six intrepid souls attempting to round up and return the subversive DVDs, before they get a chance to be seen. Here's a word from their leader:

With more poverty and sickness than ever all around these days, ReturnTheDVD spokesman Paul Lipetz said he believes Nienstedt is getting lost in politics.

"The church does good work" through Catholic Charities and other organizations, he told us today. "But it has never taken such a public stand" against poverty, hunger or homelessness the way it has with gay marriage."

If he's unsure of the Church's stand on these other issues, I'm guessing he isn't exactly keeping his commitment to regular Sunday Mass attendance. I suppose it's fair to say the Church hasn't produced a DVD condemning these issues lately. But maybe they would if there was a well-funded, organized campaign to promote the benefits of these practices and to coerce the government into sanctioning and actively defending their proliferation.

Bonus unsolicited strategic advice to ReturntheDVD, it's best not to equate the practice your promoting as on a par with poverty, hunger, and homelessness.

More insight into the minds of the DVD dissidents from that ring of hell known as the City Pages comments section:

Look at the picture of [Nienstedt]. He's gay. It couldn't be more obvious. The old queen hates himself or is miserable and wants everyone else to be miserable. I'm hetero and a Christian, and I am not saying he is gay as an insult. I am saying it because it is obvious.

Sure you are buddy, we believe you. But if criticizing gay marriage is a sign of gayness, then criticizing the people criticizing gay marriage is doubly gay. Paraphrasing Bill Shakespeare, methinks the dude doth protest to much.

By the way, criticizing the people who criticize the people who criticize gay marriage is TOTALLY hetero. Especially when you do it using the term "methinks".

Back to the comments:

Why do Catholics, a religious institution, think they have anything to say about CIVIL marriage laws? Civil laws are based on the constitution, not the Bible. To me, this entire campaign smacks of hate-driven theocratic politics.

The standard call for censorship from liberals who are at risk of losing an argument. We're used to that by now. But where was this shrill demand for an orthodox separation of church and state when we needed it? A couple of years ago Archbishop Flynn was the darling of the Left for writing editorials in support of raising taxes for social programs and testifying before the MN legislature in favor of an increase in the minimum wage. Why do Catholics think they have anything to say about CIVIL labor laws and tax policy? Hate driven theocratic politics, it was.

Finally, the most common theme, repeatedly showing up in the comments from this heard of open-minded, free-thinking individualists:

Revoke the organizations tax-exempt status immediately. By calling for a constitutional amendment, they have violated the terms of their exemption. At the very least they should be heavily fined. I'm sick of churches doing this sh*t and getting away with it without consequence.


Is it me or is the Catholic Church telling people how to vote....which means they should lose their tax exempt status since they are now lobbying?!?


The church needs to worry more about doing charitable works and helping mankind and less about throwing ton of money away getting into politics. They should have their tax exempt status revoked.

A variation of the censorship argument. Stop disagreeing with me or prepare to have vast proportions of your gross revenues appropriated by the government.

In a series of non-award winning posts a couple of years ago, we discussed the the speech limitations applied to 501c3 (non-profit and charitable) organizations. The propriety of these laws is debatable. What is not debatable is the inconsistency of how this standard is applied.

In the case of the controversial DVDs, I'm sure the Church avoided any compliance violations by not endorsing any specific candidates. (In the regulatory Kabuki dance, it's OK to advocate for issues, but illegal to endorse or condemn specific candidates based on their position on these issues). Yet the cry goes up to convict them and strip away their tax protected status.

On the other hand, you have Garrison Keillor, the most prominent representative of MPR, a tax subsidized 501c3 organization, appearing in campaign fundraising appeals for a specific candidate and being quoted as condemning her opposing candidate. And not a peep out of the defenders of non-partisanship.

If double standards were tax exempt I'd be hitting the City Pages comments section now calling for sweet revenge! But they're not. People have a right to express their opinions on the role of the Catholic Church. Just like the Catholic Church has a right to express its opinion on gay marriage. If you don't like it, stop trying to shut them up and create your own DVD.

UPDATE, the controversial video from Nienstedt below. Liberals may want to cover their eyes and ears:

Part 1

Part 2