Sunday, March 8, 2009

More Delicious Irony

Church: Florists Should Be Allowed To Say No To Gay Weddings
By DANIELA ALTIMARI The Hartford Courant March 7, 2009

Concerned that the state's new same-sex marriage law would infringe on religious liberties, the Connecticut Catholic Conference today proposed some broad exemptions which it believes are necessary to protect those rights.

The law does not require Catholic priests -- or any other clergy member -- to preside over same-sex weddings.

However, the church is seeking additional exemptions. For instance, it wants to ensure that a florist opposed to gay marriage on religious grounds not be forced to sell flowers to a same-sex couple.

"Same-sex couples have their liberties protected fully. Religious people are wondering 'how is this going to effect me?"' David Reynolds, lobbyist for the Catholic Church, told members of the legislature's judiciary committee.

"A situation has been created....where state policy seriously conflicts with the religious beliefs of a large number of the citizens of the state," Reynolds said. He cited examples in other states where businesspeople opposed to gay marriage have faced legal action because they declined to provide goods or services to gay couples.

In October, the state Supreme Court ruled that gay and lesbian couples had the right to marry and a month later, Connecticut became the second state to legally recognize same-sex marriage.

The legislature is now codifying the court's decision, adjusting existing statutes to make sure they comport with the court's ruling.

Anne Stanback, executive director of Love Makes a Family, said the bill before the committee simply makes sure the state's laws are in line with the court ruling. "Marriage equally is the law in Connecticut and this will not make it any more legal,' she said. The bill before the judiciary committee also strikes language on the state's books that gay activists consider offensive.


Oh to be a fly on the wall at the Connecticut legislature. This isn't the only bill which the Catholic Church is weighing in on. The other bill is SB 1098. The stated purpose of this bill is to:

"To revise the corporate governance provisions applicable to the Roman Catholic Church and provide for the investigation of the misappropriation of funds by religious corporations."

According to Senator Michael Lawlor who introduced the bill, he introduced it because parishioners asked him to:

"... the current state statutes governing Roman Catholic corporations ... were enacted in 1955. SB 1098 is a proposal to make changes in that law, which was suggested by parishioners who were the victims of theft of their funds in several parishes, and these parishioners feel that the state's existing Roman Catholic Corporate laws prevented them from dealing with the misuse and theft of funds.

I agree with you that the whole notion of having a statute governing the church seems like an intrusion on the separation of church and state, but the current law does that already. Perhaps we should repeal the whole thing, but if we are going to have a corporate law of this type, it probably should make sure there cannot be deception of parishioners."

I strongly suspect the anti gay florist thing is another smokescreen to deflect attention away from SB 1098 which will really hit home to bishops. More on the florist thing later, right now I want to deal with some thoughts about this bill.
One of the points Senator Lawlor makes is that it's hard to see this as separation of Church and State issue because existing law is on the books which regulate certain business aspects of Catholic dioceses and parishes. The principle of the state legislating in this area is already established. The bill itself makes certain the preclusion of state interference in the religious affairs of bishops and priests:

"Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit, restrict or derogate from any power, right, authority, duty or responsibility of the bishop or pastor in matters pertaining exclusively to religious tenets and practices."

There are dioceses with in the United States which are organized almost exactly along the lines this bill describes. Of course, in most cases the reorganization came about to protect diocesan and parish assets from being co opted in civil sexual abuse suits, not out of any sense of accountability and financial transparency. None the less, what SB1098 advocates is certainly not novel in today's Catholicism. Additionally, the bill would at least give some say in the issue of parish closures and consolidations, and input as to what should be done with the assets. SB 1098 is a major threat to business as usual in Connecticut dioceses and they are ramping up their request for the faithful to fight this bill.

As to the other matter, Bill Lyndsey on Bilgrimage has numerous posts which address the issue of gay marriage being used to take away the rights of gays in any other context in which it can be accomplished. Apparently it now extends to the rights of florists to discriminate against gay couples, and any other business who so desires. What's next bus drivers sending gay couples to the back of the bus on religious grounds?

Fine, my question is will the Bishops of Connecticut also include divorced and remarried Catholics who have not sought annulments, couples living together with out marriage, couples who use birth control, or any other sexually active person who just wants to celebrate an important evening. I doubt it. Most florists couldn't stay in business enforcing Catholic moral doctrine by this kind of blanket refusal.

So it's really all about those gays and how ontologically sinful they are in relationship to any other sexual sinner. Exactly like the ontologically different and special innocence of the unborn. Apparently even though we are all created equal from the moment of conception, there are some conspicuous exceptions. The seamless garment of life does indeed have rips.

Here's the delicious irony. Connecticut Senator Michael Lawlor is gay and an outspoken proponent of gay marriage. Certainly no flowers for him.


  1. Michael Lawlor just has an ax to grind against the Church. Whether or not there is a current intrusion of the government into the affairs of the Catholic church, this bill would vastly increase that intrustion - in other words, it makes a past wrong much worse.

  2. Something i will never understand. . .Why is there so much sexual repression and suppression in Religion?

    What is the root of all these issues?

  3. FYI - New tune up entitled Return of Spring.

    ordinary sparrow - I think it is about control and power over others.

    word is cowers

  4. It is a transparent attack on the Catholic Church -nothing new from these two. Your Comment on the back of the bus was just more of the same.

    The purpose of all these types of laws (including F.O.C.A.)is to undermnine the religion that is so hated because it is a reminder that we are sinners. Messengers, it seems, must just be deestroyed, when the message they bear makes us uncomfortable. Haters err when they attack the Church because it only makes them stronger -Remember the Crucifixion?

  5. Yes anonymous, it is an attack on the church, the same way that prosecuting pedophile priests was an attack on the church, the same was that the damage awards are an attack on the church. You are correct, it is an attack on the church - but not the church of God, only on those who serve the god of this world.

  6. Remember the Crucifixion?

    Maybe the more appropriate focal would be the Resurrection. . .

    It seems to me when there is ONLY focus on the Crucifixion folks have more of a tendency to express in a lower level of spirituality with an all too often creation of other that focuses on condemnation, judgment, blame, shame, and unworthiness of those that do not interpret the scriptures as they do. . .

    I do not think Christ wants us to live all our day in His Crucifixion. . . For me one of the inexpressible graces of Christ Jesus is the supreme example of the progression of Crucifixion/Tomb Time/Resurrection.

    For me when i changed the focus from a Crucified Christ to a Risen Christ moved to entering a much deeper relationship with a LIVING Christ that is Here and Now rather than a crucified Christ that points to the past and all too often turns into; who did what and whom. . .

    i am most grateful for Christ's supreme sacrifice and teaching by way of His Crucifixion.

    But i live at the feet of the Risen Christ in His Oneness of Jesus, Father/Mother God and Holy Spirit in a deeply personal relationship, there i am loved, nurtured, disciplined,edified,guided,comforted,
    protected,sanctified, as well as experiencing such sweet communion, bliss. . .

    Thanks for suggestion we remember the Crucifixion. . .but the relationship with the Risen Christ is where i find Home. . Thanksgiving. . .Devotion. . .Praise. . and Peace. . .

    Do you know how to move from the focus of a crucified Christ to a RISEN Lord?

    It is my sincere prayer you do. .

  7. Thanks sparrow. I had started a similar response and then deleted it because I wasn't saying what I wanted to convey about the importance of the Risen Christ.

    Like you have written, when my own spiritual mind started focusing on the reality of the Risen Christ my life changed enormously and He became very real in both a mystical and real experiential sense.

    Interestingly, I didn't lose a sense of sin, but gained the understanding that I could move beyond my own imperfect nature into something more. It's much more hopeful and peaceful place.

  8. What a sad blog you run here.

  9. Oh dear Anonymous, put your hatred for others aside and you will see properly the things you were meant to see in proper context.

    A message that is delivered in faith, hope and love will be accepted in faith, hope and love. A message that is delivered with malice cannot be accepted and the messenger is not destroyed, but the message is revealed for what it contains in proper context.

  10. anonymous, spoken like a true hyprocrit. You would have fit right in as a pharisee.

  11. Colleen. .i like your point about sin. . .what changes with the Risen Christ is the finger gets pointed at self rather than other a lot more when it comes to sin for we are taken into the places where we have to see how we are missing the mark). . .

  12. Along those same lines Sparrow, life was a lot easier when I spent a lot of time trying to find loop holes in the sin laws--especially some of the sexual sins as the logic it's all based on leads one to find loopholes.

    It's funny how all that stops when you turn in and really look at yourself. Conforming to the Spirit of the Law is in many ways far less forgiving--at least in the sense of equivocation, than following the letter of the law. One is forced to deal with motivation as well as action, and movtivation all too often is the more egregious place of sin.

    To all the annonymous's. I'm well aware of the fact Michael Lawlor has an axe to grind. I'm also aware of the fact there are all kinds of parishoners who are scared to death they will lose their patrimony. I can certainly see where they might have chosen Michael Lawlor to champion their cause. He has nothing to lose in terms of credibility with the hierarchy. Other legislators might have a lot to lose.

  13. aColleen, normally, I wouldnt say anything, but due to the gravity of this topic and the importance of accuracy, I feel that I must ...

    the plural of anonymous is not
    --- anony-mouses

    it is
    --- anony-mooses


  14. Mouses leave little piles and little trails that are hard to see

    Mooses leave big piles and massive devestation in their wakes.