CV NEWS FEED // A few Catholic commentators and a left-wing Catholic publication have come out in support of attacks on the U.S. bishops for their opposition to a radical marriage bill backed by Democrats in Congress.
After the Senate passed the so-called Respect for Marriage Act, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops warned that the bill represents a threat to the religious freedom and conscience rights of Americans who adhere to the Church’s teachings on sexuality and marriage.
Far-left commentators attacked the bishops for their statement. Significantly, however, some Catholics added their own voices to the chorus of largely anti-Catholic rhetoric as well.
Fr. James Martin, editor of the Jesuit publication America, suggested that “nearly all” defenses of religious freedom “focus on denying LGBTQ people things that most other people can get: a website designed, a cake baked, a job offered….”
Martin then critiqued the Supreme Court cases that have come about since the 2015 Obergefell decision that imposed a redefinition of marriage throughout the U.S., including a case currently before the high court in which the state of Colorado claims a Christian web designer cannot refuse to create websites for same-sex “weddings” despite her deeply-held objections.
America’s bishops and other Catholic leaders warned that Obergefell would lead to such cases, in which secular authorities continually challenge Christians’ religious freedom based on their adherence to the Church’s teachings on marriage.
Martin claimed that in cases involving “designing websites, baking cakes and … perhaps most critically, employing people, the religious liberty argument is raised” simply because American Christians’ “tolerance dries up” when it comes to “LGBTQ people and their lives.”
Martin concluded that religious freedom “should not be used [as] a fig leaf for homophobia.”
The National Catholic Reporter’s Brian Fraga, who described the Respect for Marriage Act (RFMA) as a “bill to protect same-sex marriage,” claimed that America’s Catholic bishops are at odds with other religious leaders. Fraga cited University of Virginia law professor Douglas Laycock, who said of the bishops: “They are far too absolutist for their own good.”
When pressed, Fraga went further to defend opponents of the bishops, who he wrote are “not above being critiqued or criticized in the context of specific legislative matters they choose to get involved in.”
“The smear campaign by the Catholic Left against American bishops is so silly,” said CatholicVote President Brian Burch, who reminded readers that “the official, consistent, and clear position of the universal Catholic Church—yes, Pope Francis included—is opposition to same-sex ‘marriage.’”
“Brian Fraga tried to frame our bishops as ‘outliers’ against a consensus of religious authorities who back secular attacks on marriage, Church teaching, and religious freedom,” added CatholicVote Communications Director Joshua Mercer. “But when you look at the universal teachings of the Church throughout the ages and around the whole world today, it’s clear who the real outliers are. Here’s a hint: they’re the Catholics attacking bishops for doing their jobs.”