Saturday, February 4, 2012

Courting Catholics

In the wake of the passing Senate Bill 6239 which is expected to go to the Washington State House of Representatives this week, it appears that opponents of marriage equality have wasted no time in getting their demonstrations started. As early as Friday morning, members of a Catholic charitable organization known as the Knights of Columbus already showed their presence on the Capitol steps carrying a sign stating “Knights of Columbus Support Marriage Exclusively Between One Man & One Woman”.

It's okay, guys, the Knights didn't get the memo that Jesus is cool with you too.

The Knights of Columbus, whose ability to help raise $1M along with the Catholic Church and other anti-marriage organizations during the 2008 California Proposition 8 battle, seem to be in a bit of a bind themselves these days with most of their money and donations going to anti-gay marriage as opposed to relief work right on the heels of their 130th anniversary, as Nicole Sotelo reports in the National Catholic Reporter:

“On the surface this sounds benign, but “family life” is the Knights’ terminology for predominantly anti-gay initiatives, whereas “community projects” represents soup kitchens and food pantries… Additionally, in 2009 and 2010, Knights officials contributed $200,000 as noted in annual reports to Vox Clara, the bishops’ committee responsible for turning back the clock on the liturgy and implementing the recent controversial language changes in the Mass. They have been a significant funder of the committee since 2006. Over the same time period, the Knights donated almost $1.2 million to fund the bishops’ newly created committee that works against equal protection for gays and lesbians and dubbed it “charity” in their annual report.”

Although Washington has historically been considered one of the most non-religious states, the Catholic Church represents the largest religious organization in this state with 1,058,721 members, inclusive of the Archdiocese of Seattle and the Diocese of Spokane. While many Washington Catholics such as Governor Christine Gregoire (D) - who helped to endorse this bill – are split on the issue of same-sex marriage, they can also be great allies in the fight for greater civil rights.

As same-sex marriage becomes a closer reality for residents of Washington State, it will be increasingly important for members of equal rights groups to garner increasing support religious communities in raising money and awareness about the facts of marriage equality and help to assuage concerns about the negative impact of allowing gay marriage and in speaking out, as I have in my own personal blog, about addressing the fundamental dissonance in fighting against marriage when monies raised could be going toward more constructive ends.

1 comment:

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