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RELIGION: Referendum inspires Catholic bashing

Letter by Ronald Suarez, Spanaway on April 24, 2012 at 10:57 am with 62 Comments »
April 24, 2012 1:13 pm

It appears that Referendum 74 has evolved into a prime opportunity to disparage the Catholic Church.

It amazes me the number of people who are free with their suggestions for the reformation of the church, and those who relate their disappointing experiences with the church. They seem to forget that there are a number of other churches also opposed to Referendum 74 and also collecting petition signatures.

I believe that I have the right to at least vote on the issue instead of being dictated to by the governor. So I would suggest that all the reformers, the haters and The News Tribune lay off of the religion and focus more on the democratic process.

If the people of Washington want same-sex marriage, then let them vote. And if you don’t like the outcome of the vote, many roads lead out of the state.

Leave a comment Comments → 62
  1. The Catholic Church is, in violation of IRS regulations, actively politicking.

    This victim stance you have taken on doesn’t change that fact.

  2. sandblower says:

    Voting on what is a human right is the problem Ron. The fact that you did not acknowledge that in your letter tells us you have little understanding of the rights of individuals. The Catholic war on women and the gay minority is unconscionable.

  3. aislander says:

    Since state endorsement of same-sex relationships as “marriage” requires that the citizens of the state, who ARE the government, therefore endorse them, we damn well DO deserve the chance to vote on the question…

  4. I believe it is really scary that some people believe that a popular vote, not duly passed legislation by duly elected representatives of the people, should be the determining factor in whether citizens have equal rights. The concept is mind boggling. Rosa Parks would still be sitting in the back of the bus. Only more frightening is that some people believe their (narrow) religious beliefs should trump civil law in this state/country. If you want to live in a theocracy, by all means move to one, and don’t let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya.

  5. LornaDoone says:

    The Church wants to take a public stand and its parishioners want no one to say anything about it?

    Weren’t they the ones that recently were wailing about “First Amendment rights”?

  6. Theefrinker says:

    Also, to jump back to the letter topic, what’s wrong with bashing the Catholic Church? Bashing is a skill “it” has mastered, so it should be able to take some too.

  7. averageJoseph says:

    … how about we drop the hypocrisy and hold churches that have a left bent to the same standard.

  8. RLangdon says:

    How about you do a little research and reading before you jump to your bigoted and WRONG conclusions about The Catholic Church?

    Not ALL Catholic Churches in Washington are allowing petitions for Referendum 74 to be promoted on Catholic Church property.


    Some Catholics endorse Ref. 74 and some don’t. You can not ethically paint all Catholics with the same brush on this issue. If you insist on doing so it only shows your bigoted narrow-minded stupidity.

  9. aJo – find me a ‘liberal church’ that is using it’s power to impact the secular political system and I will join you in condiming that church’s action.

    RL – the problem is that the Archbishop has ordered all churches under his jurisdiction to violate the rules of chruch/state serperation to actively participate in the secular political process.

    By the way the Pope also admonished Amercian Nuns for not being active in the contraception/abortion issuses.

  10. Vox_clamantis_in_deserto says:

    The Catholic Church is, in violation of IRS regulations, actively politicking.

    Not true, bB, not even close. Under IRS tax code, 501C(c)(3)’s are allowed to advocate for or against issues, even from the pulpit – just not candidates; From the IRS guide:

    Issue Advocacy vs. Political Campaign Intervention

    Under federal tax law, section 501(c)(3) organizations may take positions on public policy issues, including issues that divide candidates in an election for public office. However, section 501(c)(3) organizations must avoid any issue advocacy that functions as political campaign intervention. Even if a statement does not expressly tell an audience to vote for or against a specific candidate, an organization delivering the statement is at risk of violating the political campaign intervention prohibition if there is any message favoring or opposing a candidate. A statement can identify a candidate not only by stating the candidate’s name but also by other means such as showing a picture of the candidate, referring to political party affiliations, or other distinctive features of a candidate’s platform or biography. All the facts and circumstances need to be considered to determine if the advocacy is political campaign intervention.

    Key factors in determining whether a communication results in political campaign intervention include the following:
    • Whether the statement identifies one or more candidates for a given public office;
    • Whether the statement expresses approval or disapproval for one or more candidates’ positions and/or actions;
    • Whether the statement is delivered close in time to the election;
    • Whether the statement makes reference to voting or an election;
    • Whether the issue addressed in the communication has been raised as an issue distinguishing candidates for a given office;
    • Whether the communication is part of an ongoing series of communications by the organization on the same issue that are made independent of the timing of any election; and
    • Whether the timing of the communication and identification of the candidate are related to a non-electoral event such as a scheduled vote on specific legislation by an officeholder who also happens to be a candidate for public office.

    A communication is particularly at risk of political campaign intervention when it makes reference to candidates or voting in a specific upcoming election. Nevertheless, the communication must still be considered in context before arriving at any conclusions.



  11. Candles16 says:

    Its not all Catholics by any means, but there are conservative elements (many of the reactionary American Catholic Bishops) using the Catholic Church as a prop politically when it suits them, picking a choosing Catholic positions to suit there narrow agenda, like going along with the narrow aims of this state’s homophobes.

    Agreed with RLangdon, can’t broad brush all Catholics as there are big splits between Catholics and the church hierarchy. Yet there is some using the Catholic Church for spreading hate and bigotry, and its wrong, immoral and unchristian.

    How come conservative Catholics don’t support the Pope who says health care is a “inalienable right” and that its the “moral responsibility of nations to guarantee access to health care for all of their citizens.” Or where were the true Catholics when the previous Pope opposed the optional US wars of the last decade that have bankrupted this country.

  12. bobcat1a says:

    Looks like Ronald has never heard of the concept of a Democratic Republic. The Governor has dictated NOTHING.

  13. LornaDoone says:

    “However, section 501(c)(3) organizations must avoid any issue advocacy that functions as political campaign intervention.”

    Can’t get much more clear than THAT.

    Thanks for the assist.

  14. averageJoseph says:

    xring… Trinity United Church of Christ


    The first one that popped up on a google search. If you don’t think it’s politics from the pulpit, then there’s no point in further discussion with you. May I add racist and inciteful?

  15. aJo – a good example. and it cost the Reverend Wright his position as the Presidents personal spiritural advisor.


    Vox – you should follow your own advice.

  16. Hey Ron if your pedophile priest stayed out of politics your ‘church’ wouldn’t get ‘bashed’.

  17. averageJoseph says:

    Thanks xring… how about Rev. Michael Pfleger ???


    These are just the tip of the iceburg.

  18. Vox_clamantis_in_deserto says:

    x, the comparison of Wright and Pfleger to Dennis is only apropos so long as one realizes the distinction between an outspoken clergyman being a close friend (Pfleger) and confidant (Wright) in whose church one sat for 20 years (Wright), and who also conducted your wedding ceremony (Wright), as opposed to someone (Dennis) who merely introduced you at a campaign rally.

    But the truth is that neither Phleger or Wright likely violated IRS provisions of their 501c3 status… at least as far as I can remember.

    But we’re getting waaay off base here. It seems you, bB, and Larry don’t understand the law so I’ll put it in simpler terms; under the IRS tax code I linked, churches/ clergymen (along with any other 501c3 organization) are very clearly allowed to advocate for issues like Referendum 74 – even from the pulpit – so long as their positions are not deemed to be an intervention in a political campaign:

    Definition for political campaign:

    Noun 1 Political Campaign - a race between candidates for elective office; “I managed his campaign for governor”; “he is raising money for a Senate run

    Political Campaign - the campaign of a candidate to be elected


    In short, churches and other 501c3 organizations most certainly can advocate for issues like Referendum 74, but they may not endorse a candidate for any office.


  19. vox, I don’t agree with what the Catholic Church is doing on this issue, but you and I agree that it is within their rights to do so.

    However, the Catholic Church, at least several of its bishops and priests have gone over the line, and the FEC is looking into alleged violations through their speaking against Obama and telling parishoners that he should not be president.

  20. aJo – so we can agree that this happens on both sides, and unlike vox we believe it is wrong.

    vox – where is your law degree from?

  21. Attempting to outlaw two people’s right to marry is no different than attempting to outlaw someone’s right to practice Catholicism. The Catholic Church has the right to dictate to it’s members how they should behave but the rest of us have the right to live our lives outside the confines of their religious beliefs.

    “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:21).

  22. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

    If the above doesn’t apply to congregations it doesn’t apply to Unions . . .

  23. Vox_clamantis_in_deserto says:

    Tuddo, I don’t think the FEC would have any jurisdiction in the scenario you describe. The IRS may, but it would depend on when the events you described occurred… or whether the comments were made against a sitting president (probably legal under 501c3) or a candidate – as in candidate 0bama.

    Since as far as I can tell, 0bama hasn’t spent a waking moment in the last 15 years not campaigning, I’d say he’s a perpetual “candidate for political office” and thus off-limits to criticism from any 501c3.

  24. “Since state endorsement of same-sex relationships as “marriage” requires that the citizens of the state, who ARE the government, therefore endorse them”

    That doesn’t even make sense.

  25. Additionally, xring, I invite you to do a little online spelunking into various denominations. If you do you will find them quite active politically, some advocating for gay marriage, some advocating for sanctions against Israel, etc. Are you honestly NOT familiar with what’s going on in the PCUSA at this time?

    Those of you who actually believe you can paint a bold, black line between religion and politics are naive. Yes there are rules churches must follow, and I believe it’s been made clear here that the RC church is within the guidelines, but please, get real…politics and religion are both about people, relationships, societal laws. This reminds me of the absurd statement that one cannot legislate morality when morality is clearly at the heart of the law.

    Seems to me the real story on this thread is that some of you just don’t like it when conservative religious leaders speak out and you don’t notice it when liberal religious leaders use the pulpit to influence the people in their congregation.

  26. stradivari says:

    Let’s have a vote to determine whether the Catholic Church has a right to exist in Washington State.

  27. Nanook – unions are not churches.

    Vox – and Mittens only campaigns 15 minutes every other blue moon. LOL

    Sozo – it may be a broad fuzzy gray line but churches on both sides have transgressed, more so now by the catholic, evangelicals and fundamentalists than by the social liberals.

    What you fail to notice is that liberal religious leaders who speak out get condemned for their political views and activities, while the non-liberals get praised as standing up for religious freedom and free speech.

  28. aislander says:

    xring writes: “…unions are not churches.”

    Right. Unions are not explicitly protected in the Constitution…

  29. No xring, your conclusion is faulty. It seems that way to you because of where you stand. Trust me, evangelicals feel that the opposite is true. None of us can be truly objective about this; we are ALL affected by our personal frame of reference. Trust me, religious liberals, though I’ll grant you they are usually more covert than overt about it, are busily at work within their demonimations to affect social and political change.

  30. “you just don’t like it when conservative religious leaders speak out and you don’t notice it when liberal religious leaders use the pulpit to influence the people in their congregation.”

    Today’s hypocrisy moment is brought to you by soso and far right wing of the conservative party.

  31. I think some here fail to grasp that there is a huge difference between individual churches or individual Pastors who preach politics from the pulpit (and have been chastised for it) vs systemic, diocese-wide or nation-wide, accepted patterns of preaching politics, endorsing candidates, telling people how God wants them to vote, circulating political petitions, and the like. For every isolated Rev. Wright there is someone like the Catholic Arch Bishop of WA or a Pat Robertson inappropriately politicking to the masses, statewide and nationwide.

  32. LornaDoone says:

    “Unions are not explicitly protected in the Constitution…”

    REALLY???? Right to assemble isn’t part of the Constitution anymore? When did the conservatives eliminate that?

    Then there is “Freedom of association is the individual right to come together with other individuals and collectively express, promote, pursue and defend common interests.”

    Now lets READ EXACTLY WHAT the constitution says about religion:

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”

    The Constitution DOES NOT SAY that the Catholic Church has the right to tell the government how to run a health care legislative issue, nor does it provide the Catholic Church with the right to promote political issues. The Constitution says the Catholic Church can do business in the United States and has the same freedom of EXERCISE – having church services, gatherings and such. as all other citizens, including UNION WORKERS.

    As I’ve mentioned before, the conservatives are reading the First Amendment the way the read the Second Amendment. Neither is accurate.

  33. sozo – you seem to be stereotyping all evangelicals as conservatives – not true.

  34. Vox_clamantis_in_deserto says:

    The Constitution DOES NOT SAY that the Catholic Church has the right to tell the government how to run a health care legislative issue, nor does it provide the Catholic Church with the right to promote political issues.

    Wow. And you claim to understand the First Amendment better than “conservatives”?

    Larry has a whole ‘nother interpretation of freedom of speech and freedom of religion. And only he could conflate tax law with Constitutional Law/ rights without so much as a stammer.

  35. aislander says:

    Jim Wallace NEVER indulges in “systemic, diocese-wide or nation-wide, accepted patterns of preaching politics, endorsing candidates, telling people how God wants them to vote, circulating political petitions, and the like.”

    I’m shocked–SHOCKED–that there is politicking going on in lefty religious circles…

  36. I slipped into the accepted stereotype of evangelicals as conservative in their politics, but there are certainly evangelical liberals out there. All of these labels make me uncomfortable. I cautiously identify myself as a conservative, but the moment we pigeon-hole ourselves or others, we forget that we are complex beings who may seem “liberal” in the eyes of one person and appear to be very “conservative” to another. Or even that we may take a more liberal stance on some things, as I have done on capital punishment while following a more conservative line on others.

  37. As I have posted elsewhere, the RC Church is conservative on sexual matters but liberal on social justice issues – oftentimes far to the left of so-called liberal politicians.

    Consider John Paul II’s American tour – he chastised America for capital punishment and then chastised Cuba for their restrictions on religion.

  38. Is Jim Wallis the Pastor of a church, a Bishop presiding over a Diocese? a Reverend on Phoney Church TV, anything?

    nope, he is the CEO of a magazine and a political and spiritual writer.

  39. RLangdon says:

    All Republicans are redneck teabaggers who don’t want to pay their fair share of taxes and hate Obama!

    All Democrats are liberal tree-huggers who just want government to give them stuff and love Obama.

    All Catholics are (whatever equally stupid stereotypical comments you want to put here) and want to take over the US government as the American Taliban.

    The real truth is that ALL of you people who rely exclusively on stereotypical one-dimensional descriptions of groups of people being all exactly the same as each other, all of you are nothing more than uneducated bigots.

    There are Good Catholics, Good Republicans, and Good Democrats, and Good People of all the various groupings and entities that make up a world. Usually those who deviate from the rest get the ink, and then you bigots paint all of that group with the same brush used on the deviates. That is bigotry.

  40. aislander – unions are not banned so check out the 9th Amendment.

    sozo – an your conclusion is not baised by your beliefs?

  41. aislander says:

    Jim Wallace may not be the titular leader of a church or group of churches but he DOES have influence on the religious left, and he is providing material for social-justice churches to use for political purposes…

  42. aislander says:

    xring: So what?

  43. All that is not banned is allowed.

  44. aislander says:

    So…unions are allowed to exist, but they don’t have the same protections that religious institutions do and the press does. Unions can be regulated through a simple legislative act…

  45. From cracked.com, 7 Things from Pop Culture that Apparently Piss Jesus Off.

  46. It’s based on my beliefs AND factual knowledge about some of the political activity that occurs within church denominations at a national level.

    What do YOU (and others here) think of a church that makes a decision to divest all financial interest in Israel as protest to their policies re Palestine?

  47. RLangdon says:


    “sozo – an your conclusion is not baised by your beliefs?”

    Do you see now what I was referring to in my explanation in the Zimmerman topic?

    “an” should be “and” and “baised” should be “based”

    You will find errors such as these, in almost every comment posted, because these are not thoughtful comments but simply regurgitated reactions.

  48. RLangdon says:

    Oops, I now believe he meant “biased” rather than “baised”!

    I think sozo might have missed that too, given her reply to his originally misspelled comment. A little proofreading could really help here.

  49. so aislander the point is that the discussion is whether the CHURCH or pastors preaching from the pulpit of CHURCHES are blurring the line of what is permitted for a CHURCH regarding politicking.

    Throwing Jim Wallis (NOT a Pastor or even working for a CHURCH) in to try to make a point is apples and oranges and just furthers what is already crystal clear, even to a newbie here: regardless of the topic or whether you have facts on topic you simply dredge up something you think will bash the left. Nice try, but it ain’t flying with me.

    You don’t even know who he is but you hate him, and you hate everything he represents even though you don’t really know what he represents or even know his name. Got it. SSDD from the right.

  50. RLangdon – like a gnat you annoy with useless buzzing about nothing of substance.

  51. beerBoy – the proverbial pot calling the kettle!!!

  52. aislander says:

    I know that preaching collective salvation is both unchristian and un-American, and that WallIS is influencing left-wing, untaxed, churches to politick.


    And yes: I DO despise the left.

  53. not even close. Wallis is not standing in a church pulpit or forcing anyone to read his books or to repeat what he writes from the church pulpit. furthermore, if you actually were to read one of his books you would find he has some issues with “liberal” church, not just with “conservative’ church

    your hatred is obvious, and, your posts are uninformed stereotypical bashing, and, thus, meaningless to any rational discussion.

  54. Kindly answer MY question Tate…about the church’s policies re Israel.

  55. Speaking of Israel and Christians:

    According to most recent estimations, there is only 2-3% Christians out of the entire population of Israel. More than 80% of these Christians being Arabs while the non-Arab Christian comprises of the people hailed as a result of immigration of 1980s and 1990s from Russia and Ethiopia. Members of the Messianic congregations, evangelical Christians and Jehovah’s Witnesses are the three most active missionary movements in Israel among others. However, the followers of these groups have faced continuous protests and objections from Yad LeAchim, a Haredi anti-missionary group. Other following groups like Scientology and Hare Krishna has also seen similar insinuation and record-keeping for their activities by the Jews. There are also events where Messianic Jews have tried to evangelize other Jews and have attempted arsons on the messianic congregations. The extent goes to as much as burning hundreds of copies of the New Testament. Missionary activities have been regarded illegal in Israel and attempts have also been made to ban all missionary activities altogether.

    Christian minorities in the terrain has been observed to be the victims of violence and the orthodox Jewish sects have spread negative image about the missionaries and their activities. A meeting was also held between Christian leaders in Israel, members of the Jerusalem municipality, Haredi community and Israeli Foreign Ministry to discuss the growing issue of interfaith assaults. Such incidents of violence and discretion towards the Christian community have damaged the relations between Jews and Christians. A small but radical group of Jews objected on the presence of Christians and this state is prevalent even before the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine. One example is the discretion of Christian churches on May 13, 1948, two days before Israel was founded. According to a Catholic Priest, Father Deleque:

    “Jewish soldiers broke down the doors of my church and robbed many precious and sacred objects. Then they threw the statues of Christ down into a nearby garden.”


  56. RLangdon says:

    You could also Google “Mexican Jews” to find some interesting history concerning religious minorities.

  57. sozo, your question, “What do YOU (and others here) think of a church that makes a decision to divest all financial interest in Israel as protest to their policies re Palestine?” is ambiguous and would take me several essays to answer. Maybe that is why poeple are avoiding it.

    If you are asking from a religious side, look at bBoy’s post that shed some light on one tiny part of the controversy and also the schizophrenia our nation has with Israel. They are one of the most anti-Christian nations on earth in their behavior toward any other religion.

    If you are asking from a political side – should a church be able to make a political statement about a foreiggn country? The answer to that from me is, “yes”. The examples are numerous, including the anti-USSR and anti-communist films I had to watch almost every Sunday during the late 1950’s and 1960’s in my Baptist church.

    I also heard numerous missionary stories bashing China and other countries and urging the (early, unrepentant) Goldwater solution of bombing them to smithereens. That’s about as unChristian and political as you can get.

    I think Israel is a terrorist nation when it comes to the Palestinian people. Do I think Israel has a right to exist within secure borders – yes. Do I support Israel over most of the other Middle East nations – yes. It still does not excuse their mass killings and inhumane treatment of innocent civilians.

    Do I agree that the largest amount of the foreign aid the US provides to any nation goes to Israel? That one would take me another essay to describe my concerns.

  58. I didn’t see any question (addressed to me or anyone else) about Israel so I do not know the context or the question you speak of sozo. and, even if I did, what relevance to my comments or to this topic does Israel have?…I was talking about Jim Wallis and the topic of preaching from the pulpit…. when did Israel come up? it didn’t with me…..

  59. I believe tuddo was addressing a question I posed upthread?

  60. RLangdon says:

    sozo, I think you might be correct, since the first line of tuddo’s comments is”

    “sozo, your question, “What do YOU (and others here) think of a church that makes a decision to divest all financial interest in Israel as protest to their policies re Palestine?””

    tate, tuddo addressed his comment to sozo. Check it out!

  61. I think Israel is a terrorist nation when it comes to the Palestinian people.

    Whether Muslim or Christian….

  62. no thanks langdon. I am not interested in entering a conversation between 2 others on a topic I have no interest in on this ‘thread’ (Israel), nor in being chastised for not answering a question that was not addressed to me in the first place. someone obviously got some names mixed up and I am not involved.

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