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Posts Tagged ‘Minnesota’

Minnesota Catholics Still Split by Vote on Gay Marriage

In Marriage and family on December 17, 2012 at 5:39 pm

More than a month after Minnesota became the first state to defeat a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, some Catholics say it’s time to acknowledge how divisive that effort was within the church.

Among them is Kathleen Nuccio, a cantor and choir member for St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Grand Rapids.

Nuccio sings during Mass each Sunday, as she has done for half a century. But when it came to her opposition to the marriage amendment, she couldn’t make her voice heard.

“There was no dialogue,” she said. “The only way people had to express themselves … (was) by withdrawing donations, walking out of sermons — which happened — and leaving the church altogether. Many people still have not returned.”

Catholic bishops put significant financial and spiritual resources behind the amendment, which would have defined marriage as being only between a man and a woman, reinforcing a provision against same-sex marriage in state law. The church’s official position alienated some parishioners and may have contributed to the amendment’s defeat in November.

There is no exit-poll data on how Catholics in Minnesota voted on the amendment. Although the Associated Press asked voters if they attended religious services and if they were evangelicals, it did not ask if they were Catholic. National polls find Catholics are among churchgoers most supportive of same-sex marriage.

-more at  Winona Daily News

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Catholic Group Wants Answers on Archdiocese Spending

In Marriage and family on November 21, 2012 at 2:55 pm

EAGAN, Minn. — A group of nearly 100 Catholics is calling for accountability and transparency in the church’s finances.

At a meeting in the Twin Cities suburb of Eagan Thursday night, Martha Turner of Catholic Coalition for Church Reform said she hopes to start a conversation with the Archdiocese for St. Paul and Minneapolis.

“We would like to hear your stories,” Turner said. “We want to hear from you, we want to hear your experiences and your concerns about how the money is used that you donate to your parishes and that some of which ends up in the archdiocese.”

The archdiocese spent $650,000 in a failed attempt to pass a proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

Michael Anderson, one of the leaders of the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform, asked the audience if the archdiocese’s spending was improper.

“How would we feel if the archdiocese had invested a million dollars saying ‘vote no’ in opposition to the marriage amendment?” Anderson asked. “Would we be complaining about that? I don’t know. I think it’s an honest question.”

Several people at the event said the church’s stance made them feel like they had to choose between going to Mass and supporting gay friends and family. They said they wanted to have more of a say in the way the church spends its money. A few said they had reduced their donations or stopped going to church.

via The Progressive Catholic Voice

 

Two Stories Beg the Question: What Would Jesus Do?

In Homophobia and bullying, Marriage and family on October 11, 2012 at 3:28 pm

Two stories out of Minnesota this week, where the struggle over a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage is in full heat,  beg the proverbial question:  What Would Jesus Do?

Archbishop John Nienstedt

In the first case, it was revealed this week that Archbishop John Nienstedt of St. Paul had earlier this year sent a letter to the mother of a gay son in which he stated his position that marriage be defined as only between a man and a woman.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports the story as saying that Nienstedt’s warning was in response to the mother’s support of her gay son:

“To a mother who pleaded for acceptance for her gay child, he wrote: ‘I urge you to reconsider the position that you expressed. … Your eternal salvation may well depend upon a conversation of heart on this topic.’ “

In all fairness, without a text of her original letter, it is difficult to say what it was Nienstedt was responding to.  Regardless of what she said, however, it makes one wonder if this is how Jesus would have responded to the woman.

Nienstedt makes it clear that he believes he is following Jesus’ example:

“Indeed some might find this a hard saying but many of Jesus’ teachings were likewise received as such.”

Fr. Michael Tegeder

The second story is about a St. Paul priest, Fr. Michael Tegeder, who has been an outspoken defender of marriage equality, even in the face of reprimands from Nienstedt.  In a Star Tribune column by Jon Tevlin, Tegeder described being ostracized at a seminar on marriage because of his known view on marriage equality:

“Like other priests, Tegeder had been invited to the [marriage seminar] event. Unlike other priests, he was given a warning: Sit where we tell you to. Don’t ask questions. Don’t disturb.

“The Catholic Conference ended the warning letter with the words ‘Best wishes,’ to which Tegeder responded: ‘You obviously do not mean to send me your best wishes. In fact, you want me to go quietly away with your demeaning E-mail.’

“Tegeder was not allowed to sit in the main part of the hall, but was relegated to a ‘detention pen’ where he could be seen but not heard.”

-continue reading at  « Bondings 2.0.

Fired Minnesota Catholic School Teacher Calls for Dialogue on Marriage Equality

In Marriage and family on June 28, 2012 at 3:07 pm

A 46-year old Catholic school teacher in Moorehead, Minnesota, has lost her job because of her personal conviction in favor of marriage equality.

Trish Cameron

Trish Cameron, who taught at St. Joseph’s Catholic School, says she is now praying for a healthier dialogue in the church on the issue of marriage.

Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) reports:

“After 11 years teaching fifth graders at St. Joseph’s Catholic school in Moorhead, the same-sex marriage issue was on Cameron’s mind as she filled out her annual self-evaluation form this spring.

“Part of the evaluation asked teachers to rate how well they support the teachings of the church. In the comment box, Cameron wrote, ‘I do not agree with all church teachings on a personal level, but I do not bring my own opinions into religion classes.’

“That comment led to a meeting with her principal and superintendent where she explained her break with the church on the issue of same-sex marriage. One week later, they asked her to resign.

” ‘I don’t think there was any hiding my feelings, but along the way at the moments of dialogue was I thinking, “gee I’m jeopardizing my employment?” No,’ she said. ‘That never crossed my mind.’ “

-more at  Bondings/New Ways Ministry

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Archbishop John Nienstedt crusades against gay marriage

In Marriage and family on June 20, 2012 at 8:51 am

But increasingly, his flock of Minnesota Catholics isn’t following

“The greatest threats to marriage are the economy, joblessness, alcoholism, drug abuse — there are a lot of threats to marriage, but it has very little to do with homosexuals having a committed relationship,” says (Father Mike) Tegeder, who’s also a pastor at the Church of Gichitwaa Kateri. “I know committed same-sex people who are doing God’s work.”

Tegeder knows what the Bible dictates on homosexuality — along with what it dictates about shellfish, and mixed-cloth clothing, and all those other Bronze Age concerns. And he knows there’s no single person responsible for the shame his church lifts from these passages.

But there is one person who could single-handedly end it all in the Twin Cities: His Excellency, the Most Reverend Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis John C. Nienstedt.

“Nienstedt is just so rigid about these things,” Tegeder continues, growing animated. “But, you know — just let go of it. What are we trying to defend? Marriage? Has the Catholic Church protected marriage? I mean, [Nienstedt] has a priest who impregnated one of his staff members, broke up their marriage, and the guy’s still functioning! … Why don’t we take care of our own issues before we start imposing views onto other people who don’t have the same religious beliefs?”

(Excerpted from a 5 – page analysis at City Pages.  For a more extensive selection of excerpts, with some annotation by Michael Bayly, who is one of the prominent Catholic opponents of the amendment featured in the report, see Bayly’s post at The Wild Reed )

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Local Churches Front And Center In Gay Marriage Movie

In Uncategorized on June 16, 2012 at 9:23 am

It’s one of the most shopworn cliches of the gay rights movement—the angry religious leader, usually Christian, denoucing LGBT people as “perverts” or a danger to the stability of society.

Even in Minnesota, that trope has continued to play itself out with the state’s Catholic bishops helping lead the charge to pass a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. The state already has a similar law on the books, but the amendment would make it hard for a future legislature to reverse it or for a court to find the law unconstitutional.

One local filmmaker, though, wants to change that.

“The religious right owns faith when it comes to issues like this,” Matt Peiken  told Patch. “There’s an imbalance here that I wanted to correct.”

SW Minneapolis Patch

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Gay marriage vote divides Minnesota clergy

In Marriage and family on June 8, 2012 at 11:28 pm

Members of Minnesota’s clergy are increasingly taking sides on the push for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, a political battle that’s pitting certain denominations against others and, in some cases, splitting believers from the same faith.

This Sunday, a group of Catholic churchgoers opposed to the amendment are kicking off the “Catholics Vote NO!” campaign, flying in the face of the church’s local hierarchy, which supports the measure.

It’s just the latest in a lengthy list of recent organizing efforts by the faithful — from a recent “pastor’s summit” of church leaders who support a ban to a gathering this past week of more than 100 Christian and Jewish ministers opposed to it.

Among the latter was the Rev. Kelly Chatman, lead pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Minneapolis. He took a public stand against the amendment, he said Friday, “because I don’t want that other voice to be the only voice, I don’t want same-sex people to see all churches that way.

-full report at sctimes

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Minnesota moving against marriage ban

In Marriage and family on June 5, 2012 at 6:01 pm

Minnesota moving ainst marriage ban

Minnesota’s constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage now appears to be in serious danger of failing, a reversal from a PPP poll four months ago when it led for passage by a 48/44 margin.

Now only 43% of voters support the proposed amendment, with 49% of voters opposed to it. The shift since then has come with independent voters. After previously supporting the amendment by a 50/40 spread, they’re now opposing it 54/37. Republicans continue to strongly favor the amendment (74/21) while Democrats are almost equally strong in their opposition (71/22).

Independents coming a lot closer to Democrats than Republicans on gay rights is becoming something of a constant in our polling. The GOP seriously risks antagonizing voters in the middle if it continues to pursue a far right social agenda.

 – Public Policy Polling.

Minnesota sees the same massive generational gap on this issue that we’ve found in other states. Voters over 45 support the proposed amendment by a 50/42 spread. But those under 45 oppose it by an even greater 60/34 margin.

Voters in the state think gay marriage should be legal by a 47/42 margin, closely matching the numbers on the amendment. And when you expand the discussion to civil unions 75% of voters support some form of legal recognition for gay couples to only 21% who think there should be none. That includes even 55% of Republicans.

Republicans are headed for better news with their proposed amendment to require voters to show a photo identification when they go to cast their ballots. 58% of voters support that with 34% opposed. Republicans (84/10) are almost unanimously supportive of it and independents (58/35) strongly favor it as well. Democrats are opposed (36/54) but not to a large enough extent to come anywhere close to defeating the amendment.

Mark Dayton’s still winning the battle of public opinion when it comes to state politics. He has a solid 49/36 approval rating. Meanwhile the Republicans in the legislature have just a 21% approval rating, with 61% of voters disapproving of them. That includes a 12/66 spread with independents. Democrats are strongly positioned to make major gains in legislative seats this fall, as they lead the generic ballot 48-36 thanks in large part to a 13 point advantage with independents.
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Catholics engaged in gay marriage battle

In Marriage and family on May 15, 2012 at 12:47 pm

With more than 1 million members, Catholics comprise the single largest religious denomination in Minnesota.

Their numbers, and their financial contributions, make them a powerful force in the debate over a constitutional amendment that would only allow marriage between men and women. If approved by voters this fall, the amendment would effectively write a ban on gay marriage into the state constitution.

Minnesota law already prohibits gay marriage. But Catholic bishops have made passage of the amendment a top political priority this year, so much so that the Catholic Church is putting a lot of money and prayers into the effort to pass the marriage amendment.

– full report at Winona Daily News