Congress, Catholic Church spark debate
I am deeply disappointed by the decision of the Minnesota bishops to send out DVDs to the Catholic faithful regarding the issue of same-sex marriage ("Catholics to get DVDs opposing gay marriage," Sept. 22).
Catholics are well aware of what the church teaches on this issue. Especially given the timing of this mailing, it is obvious that it is another attempt to whittle down an upcoming election to one issue so that the bishops get the candidate they most want to see in office.
As a faithful Catholic, I am calling the bishops to a higher standard in fulfilling their role as leaders of the church. They should strive to bring the faithful to a higher level of consciousness on a wide range of issues, not just one or two.
Where are the DVDs that educate on issues like welcoming the stranger among us, or taking care of the "least of these?" You know, things Jesus actually talked about? Sure, there are plenty of good resources on those issues out there, but it does seem curious that those aren't being mailed into people's homes a few weeks before the election.
Evidently, this DVD mailing is being paid for by a private donation. I think it is fair to ask exactly who made this donation, so that questions of what political agenda is being pushed can be addressed.
I would also like to make an additional request of the bishops: Please do not send this DVD to my home. Instead, take that money and donate it to something that actually benefits the most vulnerable in society. And if you do go ahead and send it to me, please do not be surprised to receive it back in a few days marked "return to sender."
SCOTT BRAZIL, Belle Plaine, Minn.
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What a contrast! On Sept. 18, our Lutheran church, with a huge crowd of witnesses, celebrated the acceptance of Anita Hill, Ruth Frost and Phyllis Zillhart as pastors of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America ("ELCA opens its arms to three lesbian ministers," Sept. 19). Now we have the Catholic Church spending a million or more, private donor notwithstanding, to influence the public policy in our state to turn back attempts to allow gay and lesbian persons to be in legally recognized relationships.
How maddening. How sad. What a misuse of money in a day of unemployment, home foreclosures, homelessness and poverty. Catholic friends: Send the DVDs back.
PAUL A. TIDEMANN, RETIRED ELCA PASTOR, ST. PAUL
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Reading about the Catholic bishops sending out DVDs to the homes of Minnesota Catholics gave rise to a couple of questions: Since they are trying to influence the November elections, do they still have their tax-exempt status? And couldn't that money have been put to a better use?
I do not pretend to be looking at this activity without prejudice. I am a gay Minnesotan. But more importantly, I am a Minnesotan. Minnesota is going through some very rough times. Couldn't the more than a million dollars used for this activity be used elsewhere? That million would have gone a long way in feeding the hungry and sheltering the homeless. Jesus said that when we feed the hungry and shelter the homeless, we are doing it to him as well. I couldn't find any quotations from Jesus that ask us to protect him from same-gender marriage.
If the Catholic Church wants to be involved in politics, maybe it's time for it to be contributing to the tax base.
MICHAEL BRADY, GOLDEN VALLEY
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This is from an organization whose own committee at last count recorded 14,000 kids who had been molested by priests -- acts covered up by bishops. I would suggest that the church has a full-time job getting its own house in order without harassing others on social issues.
RUTH KELLER, BAYPORT
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The front-page story about how the Catholic bishops in Minnesota was followed on Page Two by a story about a Montana man, Walter Breuning, born in Minnesota. Breuning is now believed to be the world's oldest man at 114 years old.
When he was asked his advice, his simply stated message was "Tolerance: With all the hatred in this world, in this good world, let us be kind to one another."
This gentleman, born in 1896, is old and very wise.
The Catholic bishops would be wise as well to heed his advice.
Show some tolerance. Surely the money spent on this campaign could certainly be better spent in other constructive ways.
STEVE SITKOFF, MINNEAPOLIS
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On Sept. 22 the headline read "No vote on 'don't ask, don't tell.'"
How sad that religion-fueled hate and ignorance triumph over equality.
The canard about "morale" and "readiness" is so laughable as to be absurd.
The integration of the military in the 1950s, allowing black servicemen to serve side by side with whites, was certainly a morale-killer for southern white segregationists and like-minded racists in the north. Time was when the military was at the forefront of civil rights. The spectacle of pathetic old men like Sen. John McCain, R.-Ariz., pandering to the religious right and obstructing progress is truly nauseating.
CHARLES HOROWITZ, Hopkins
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The repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" was included in a bill that included raises for the military, among other things.
It was defeated, largely by the Republicans.
I support the repeal. But I also think that one of the reasons that nothing gets done in Washington is the aggregation of several disparate issues in a single bill. Issues that have wide support get held up by partisan add-ons.
Legislators: Move the things upon which we all agree forward.
Separate the issues which are debatable.
Get something done!
MARY MCFetridge, New Hope