They're already slaves; what's the problem? (
by Steve Timmer
Sep 2, 2012, 4:30 PM

But they’re already slaves!

Every time Archbishop John Nienstedt pens another epistle to the flock, he alienates more people. He did it again last Sunday. Here’s a gem from this latest letter:

[I]t is important to know that the effort to ensure that the definition of marriage remains as between one man and one woman does not take away anyone’s existing rights or legal protections.

But they’re already slaves! But they can’t get married now! There isn’t a nickel’s worth of logical difference between the two statements. They are different in degree, but not in essential kind. It’s like saying the 13th Amendment wasn’t necessary because slaves weren’t citizens, anyway.

It is admitted hyperbole to make the comparison to slavery, but sometimes hyperbole is offered in service of a point. It is facile and mendacious — to put it charitably — to claim that no one will be harmed by the marriage discrimination amendment.

If this goes on long enough, Nienstedt is going to be talking to an empty chair. Apparently, people walked out as the letter was read in several parishes, and it wasn’t read at all in some, including the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis.

But the archbishop is so misunderstood:

In the letter, Nienstedt asserts that the purpose of the ballot initiative has been misconstrued. “Our effort to support God’s unchanging plan for marriage is not a campaign against anyone, but rather a positive effort to promote the truth about marriage as a union between one man and one woman,” he writes.

“But the reality is that marriage is not ours to redefine, just as another human life is not ours to take,” the archbishop continues. “God is both the author of life and the author of marriage. It is this most fundamental understanding of the natural order that animates who we are as Catholics. … It is also why we fight to defend God’s plan for marriage, because his providence is as clear for what marriage is as it is for the dignity of each human life. …

What about all the polygamy, concubines, marrying your brother’s widow (even if you have a wife), and the rest in the Bible, Archbishop? Come on, Archbishop you, or the Catholic church, anyway, is making this up. Or at minimum, you’re picking and choosing.

If the archbishop really had a case for God’s authorship, he’d lay it out in a debate with a theologian who disagrees with him. But he’ll never do that.

The poisonous cynicism of one of Minnesota’s great campaign contribution bundlers (over a million dollars out of the pews so far) is more apparent with each stroke of his pen.

Update: “God made me do it,” has a familiar ring to it, doesn’t it?

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