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Equality - In our Faiths - Catholic Bishops of bigotry at the tax trough

September 28, 2004

Catholic bishops of bigotry at the tax trough
Church fears gay marriage will lead to income loss

We both left the Catholic Church when we were teenagers, conscious that the Vatican's faith-based bigotry was a toxin in our young gay lives. At the time, we both believed that if we left the Catholic Church, the Church would leave us alone. We were wrong.

Decades later, the Catholic Bishops are still meddling in our lives on a most personal level. It became personal in 2000 when the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto announced plans to marry us. Soon-after, the Canadian Catholic Bishops issued a statement that objected to the plans.

When Canada's Governor General sent us a reply to our wedding invitation, the Catholic Bishops of Canada fired off letters of complaint to the Prime Minister and the Governor General. How dare the Queen's representative send a gay couple a polite form response!

After our 2001 marriage, the Canadian Catholic Bishops fought us in Ontario court (as they have done in British Columbia and Quebec). We won, they lost.

They launched an appeal of the legal recognition of our marriage at the Supreme Court of Canada, and they were turned away .

Canadian Catholics Bishops have, among other things, threatened our Prime Minister with hell and damnation, issued sermons and newsletters to Catholic voters, and still they have failed to impose their hateful views on the rest of Canada.

They are trying again at the Supreme Court of Canada on Oct. 6 - 8 when the court listens to arguments for and against the proposed same-sex marriage legislation. Why is it so important to the Catholic Bishops that the rest of Canada look at gays the same way they do?

The Inquisition targets same-sex marriage - Document promotes hate

The Vatican says countries like Canada, where same-sex marriage is legal, are inhabited by people with "profoundly disordered minds". The Canadian Catholic Bishops are trying to convince Canadians that same-sex couples are "an anomaly", "a serious depravity", "intrinsically disordered", and "objectively disordered". The Vatican and the Bishops say that our Ontario marriage represents a "legalization of evil" and "allowing children to be adopted by persons living in such unions would actually mean doing violence to these children."

The answer can be found in a scattered, shotgun approach argument that the Canadian Catholic Bishops have filed for the Supreme Court Reference ("Factum of the Intervener - The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops"). The Bishops know what we know: gay marriage leads to greater tolerance and acceptance of non- heterosexuals.

"If established," the Bishops' legal argument says, "this norm would provide formal legitimacy to the proposition, which is already being advanced by some, that all those who believe and publicly espouse the view that homosexual conduct is immoral are anti-gay, homophobic, intolerant and equivalent to racists."

Believing someone is moral or immoral is one thing. Few people would care what the Catholic Bishops believed, if they did not try to force their beliefs on everyone. The Catholic church doesn't want anyone to marry gays anywhere. Why?

If they lose their battle against same-sex marriage, the Vatican fears that their threats against politicians, their attempts to influence election results, and their hateful campaign against homosexuals, will turn tax payers off. Canadian tax payers might begin to question why their government gives a huge amount of money to a religious group that targets a minority for discrimination, actively working against basic human rights and the law of the land.

"Once this social and moral orthodoxy is established," the Bishops reveal in their court argument, "it would be a small step to remove charitable status and other public benefits from individuals, religious groups, or affiliated charities who publicly teach or espouse views contrary to this claimed orthodoxy."

Well lets be clear. The orthodoxy that is in violation (in the remaining provinces that still prohibit equal marriage) is the Canadian Charter . The Bishops are trying to prevent a just remedy to a human rights violation in the secular world, outside the Catholic Church. We're all for reviewing and perhaps stopping tax hand-outs and government funding of Catholic institutions, if the Catholic Bishops continue their ways.

Catholic Bishops in Spain, where gay marriage may soon become legal, have used tactics similar to their Canadian counterparts. The official spokesperson for the Spanish Bishops, Juan Antonio Martinez Camino, recently said (Guardian, Sep 28, 2004) that marriage equality "is imposing a virus on society".

The Spanish government has quickly responded to the Bishops' propagation of prejudice: the Spanish government is planning to rearrange the church-state relationship in this former Catholic Church stronghold. Like Canada, many of Spain's Catholic schools are subsidized by the government. The Spanish deputy justice minister, Luise Lopez Guerra has said the government is looking at a "road map" to adjust the public income flowing to the Catholic Church.

The Catholic Bishops have earned similar attention from the Canadian public and our government. It's a small step, say the Canadian Catholic Bishops, and one that our country should explore. Then perhaps Canadians will have addressed the real concern at the center of the Bishops' Supreme Court of Canada argument against equal marriage for same-sex couples: money.

What you can do

  • Write to, or phone, Canada's Prime Minister and Justice Minister, and Members of Parliament in support of ending the charitable status of the Catholic Church.
  • Write to the Catholic Bishop in your area denouncing the Vatican's interference in secular life.
  • Write to the Vatican to express your outrage at their promotion of hatred.
  • If you are Catholic, withhold your financial support. Instead of dropping money in the collection plate, leave a note explaining your position.
  • Support organizations and faith communities that welcome homosexuals.

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