Thursday, September 10, 2009
The Catholic Church of Maine has stepped up its efforts to fight the state's new marriage equality law by announcing through the Bishop of Maine that it will request all parishes to pass a special collection plate next weekend to raise funds for the Yes on 1/Stand for Marriage Maine campaign, which is fighting to ban same-sex marriage. This despite the fact that the church faces bankruptcy and has been forced to close five churches in the state as of late.
Yes, you read that right - a special collection plate.
Stand for Marriage also is planning a rally next Saturday at the Augusta Civic Center, but parishioners can get free tickets through the church.
This is another step towards blurring the line of legality with the Roman Catholic Church's deep involvement with politics. A couple weeks ago 300 priests in New Jersey were contacted through a letter from the bishop, urging them to speak to their members about supporting the same-sex marriage ban.
Michael Jones of Change.org writes about the Diocese of Portland: "This collection should be illegal. There's no way the Catholic Church should be able to hold this kind of political collection, be able to give thousands upon thousands of dollars for an anti-LGBT organization, and not have to report who the donors are. It's an anonymous collection meant to shield the identity of haters, and it's bogus."
I couldn't agree more. With the church holding a tax-exempt status, holding a "special collection" for a political matter is a violation of this status and the church should be stripped of it. It's also a blatant attempt to keep donor identities anonymous, a violation of election laws. (Might I remind you that public affairs official for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, Marc Mutty, has taken leave to chair the campaign in opposition to the marriage law.)
But even more detrimental, the church is violating its own beliefs of feeding the hungry and sheltering the poor by deciding to close its own parishes and use its money instead to strip rights away of Maine's LGBT population.
It saddens me to see that the Church is losing its way and setting such a hateful example, going against the core of its beliefs.
Get involved in Maine by supporting the NO on 1/Protect Maine Equality campaign. No matter where you live, there's an opportunity to protect marriage equality.