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"Each individual should allow reason to guide his conduct, or like an animal, he will need to be led by a leash."
Diogenes of Sinope

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Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Catholic Church & gay marriage

On September 21, Pope Benedict gave a speech to French Catholic bishops, telling them that they must do everything in their power to resist the French government's moves to legalize gay marriage. Fine - the Catholic Church is a private organization so they can say and do whatever they like. However, if they are going to advocate policies that are in direct opposition to the secular authority of the state, they should voluntarily give up all state funding and tax-exempt charity status. The Pope's address to the bishops said
... marriage and the family “must be promoted and defended from every possible misrepresentation of their true nature, since whatever is injurious to them is in fact injurious to human coexistence as such.”
The family is the “foundation of social life” but it is “threatened in many places by a faulty conception of human nature,” the Pope said Sept. 21. The defense of the family and of human life promotes “values that allow the full development of the human person created in the image and likeness of God.” It is “not at all backward-looking but prophetic.”
His comment on the "full development of the human person" has been widely interpreted by gay pundits as implying that homosexuals are not fully-developed humans, which of course is extremely offensive. This  prompted none other than gay patron saint Lady Ga Ga herself to weigh in:
What the pope thinks of being gay does not matter. It doesn’t matter to the world. It matters to the people who like the pope and follow the pope. It’s not a reflection of all Christians. It is not a reflection of all religious people. It’s a point of view of one person.
I don't normally pay attention to what the Catholic Church has to say about homosexuality - I'm not a Catholic and I have no interest in belonging to a church that thinks I'm disordered or sinful by nature. The Catholic Church is a private organization and they are free to conduct their affairs as they see fit. No one is forced to belong to the Church, and they don't run around beheading apostates and non-believers. In a free society, people and groups are free to believe and say what they want. I don't believe that any church should be forced to support gay marriage or perform gay marriage ceremonies in their buildings.

However, the Catholic Church effectively receives massive state subsidies in the form of tax exemptions and deductions available to their supporters and donors by virtue of their status as a charitable organization. Furthermore, in Ontario the Catholic Church runs a huge religious separate school system that is funded by the provincial government. I presume they are teaching their students the Church's official policies on homosexuality and gay marriage, in direct contravention of the policies of the elected secular government. In effect, I am forced to support the Catholic Church with my tax dollars whether I like it or not.

If the Pope Benedict and the Catholic Church are going to meddle in secular affairs, they should voluntarily give up ALL state support and tax exempt status. When that happens, I'll be the first person to tell Pope Benedict to "preach away, brother."


Anonymous said...

"if they are going to advocate policies that are in direct opposition to the secular authority of the state"

Yes, we wouldn't want an organization to peacefully advocate the change of a law, especially when that law benifits the legal community's favourite little..."victim" group gays & lesbians.

You only advocate free speech & political activism when YOU agree with it.

onefineguy said...

The Pope with the red Prada shoes doth protest too much, methinks.

Eric said...


You've missed my point entirely. Free speech and political activism is an absolute right, but state subsidies to do so are NOT a right. Homosexuality and gay marriage are legal in Canada. If an organization wishes to challenge that, they shouldn't expect the taxpayers (including gay taxpayers) to pay for it. If the Catholic Church gave up all public subsidies, I would have no problem with their public advocacy, but I shouldn't have to pay for it.

BTW, I feel the same way about public subsidies for all political advocacy, whether I agree with it or not. I don't believe gay pride parades should receive public subsidies either.

Anonymous said...

You know, all you LGBT and whatever folks are getting on my nerves. I suppose that really bothers you. Har! In any case as I understand it, the RC church is no different than any other charity/non profit organization. They have tax exempt status because they are non profit, NOT because they are a religion. There are over 160,000 (2003) registered charities/ non profits in Canada. I am sure lots of them lobby the government from which they receive "subsidies". Some are even partially directly funded by the government. Get off the case of religious folks.
Another Eric

anonymous 1 said...

Thank you "Another Eric". THIS was the point I was trying to make.
Until you plan on revoking the tax fee status of ANY AND ALL non-profit groups that speak publically about politicl causes (no matter how valid or acceptable) you had better leave the Catholic church alone.

I too am getting very sick and tired of attacks on Christians by gay & lesbian lobbyists and activists and their sycophants boot lickers in the news and entertainment industries.

Ted Betts said...

Good post and don't be intimidated y the angry, anti-equality crowd of critics.

There is a fine line between subsidizing political speech and trying to control speech or suppress religion through financial incentives. It's such a long tradition of not taxing religions, that to suddenly take it away would be akin to or close to suppression. In the same way that Harper threatening environmental groups with being singled out, audited, taxed because of advocacy.

You are at least being consistent unlike many. You want to subsidies through tax exemptions.

However, religions, especially such a dominant social and political force as the Roman Catholic Church cannot be compared to ordinary charitable groups. Their power and influence over individuals and behaviours is intricate to every aspect of many peoples day-to-day lives. The harm that can be caused by their teachings is enormous and cannot be underestimated.

Laurier faced a similar and worse battle against his own church and we established once and for all then that we are a secular society and using religious power to exert political influence will, ultimately, backfire on the religious.

p.s. As an aside, you repeated a common misperception of the separate school board in Ontario. It is not run by the RC Church. It is run by the Province, or more specifically the provincial school boards. These are public schools and not private schools nor religious schools. The province is not "attacking religion" as some claim by trying to make them comply with the public curriculum, especially with respect to equal marriage and LGBT issues. By reiterating the false perception that separate schools are Roman Catholic run schools, you inadvertently re-inforce their desired impression of having the state interfere with religion.

Eric said...

Thanks for your comment, Ted.

I misspoke when I said the separate school system in Ontario is "run by the Catholic Church". However, there's no doubt that it is a Catholic school system. Its curriculum is approved by the Church and designed to reflect Catholic doctrine, its teachers are almost exclusively Catholic and are vetted by the Church (it's almost impossible to get hired at a separate school without a pastoral reference). It may be run by the province, but it's effectively a parallel Catholic school system, funded by taxpayers.

MrSocko said...

Government is God so if the Catholic Church disagrees with them they should pay taxes. Remember when the German Churches started to protest the killing of Jews Gypies Homosexuals et al? The Nazis took away their tax exempt status too, when they protested. Shut them up quick.