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SF Catholic Archbishop Compares Prop. 8 Supporters to Abolitionists & Civil Rights Marchers

San Francisco Catholic Archbishop George Niederauer, widely credited with drawing in the Mormon Church to the California Proposition 8 battle, issued a statement yesterday talking about his role in the Prop 8. battle that argues that’s big on the martyr complexes and short on the mea culpa‘s.

At one point, the Archbishop compares himself and Prop 8. supporters to abolitionists and civil rights activists:

“Some would say that, in light of the separation of church and state, churches should remain silent about any political matter. However, religious leaders in America have the constitutional right to speak out on issues of public policy. Catholic bishops, specifically, also have a responsibility to teach the faith, and our beliefs about marriage and family are part of this faith.

Indeed, to insist that citizens be silent about their religious beliefs when they are participating in the public square is to go against the constant American political tradition. Such a gag order would have silenced many abolitionists in the nineteenth century and many civil rights advocates in the twentieth.”

The statement goes to great lengths to explain both the Church’s stance on Prop 8 and Niederauer’s support of it. He argues that the Church has every right to dip its hands into political sphere “because of their belief that the traditional understanding and definition of marriage is in need of defense and support” and takes full responsibility for inviting the LDS to get involved in California, saying:

“Last May the staff of the Conference office informed me that leaders and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons) had given their support to the campaign for Proposition 22 in the year 2000, and were already considering an involvement in connection with Proposition 8. Accordingly, I was asked to contact leaders of the LDS Church whom I had come to know during my eleven years as Bishop of Salt Lake City, to ask them to cooperate again, in this election cycle. I did write to them and they urged the members of their Church, especially those in California, to become involved.”

But Niederauer tows the line offered during the campaign that Proposition 8, designed solely to deny a specific group of people rights they already had, is not in any way a homophobic attack on the gay community and a deprivation of civil rights, saying:

“Whatever others may say, the proponents of Proposition 8 supported it as a defense of the traditional understanding and definition of marriage, not as an attack on any group, or as an attempt to deprive others of their civil rights.”

The Archbishop is looking for reconciliation and a way forward now that angry homosexuals are peacefully protesting his Church. In what would be a funny rhetorical inner monologue were it not being presented seriously by the Archbishop of San Francisco, Niederauer frets about what to do now:

“What is the way forward for all of us together? Even though we supporters of Proposition 8 did not intend to hurt or offend our opponents, still many of them, especially in the gay community, feel hurt and offended. What is to be done?

Tolerance, respect, and trust are always two-way streets, and tolerance respect and trust often do not include agreement, or even approval. We need to be able to disagree without being disagreeable. We need to stop talking as if we are experts on the real motives of people with whom we have never even spoken. We need to stop hurling names like “bigot” and “pervert” at each other. And we need to stop it now.”

What is to be done? Here’s the unpleasant truth Archbishop George Niederauer needs to face: If his church has the right to interfere in the basic political civil rights of the gay and lesbian community, marriage equality advocates have every right to speak up against them. Niederauer is bothered by all the mean words being hurled around, but because his bigotry and intolerance were presented with a smiling, benevolent face makes it no less hateful or injurious. Religious leaders seem confounded by our anger, blind to the fact that in California they have successfully stripped a minority of its established civil rights.

“Now that we’ve made you second class citizens can’t we all just get along?”

Actually, no.

Archbishop George Niederauer sees himself in the same vein as abolitionists and civil rights leaders, but when the story of marriage equality is told one day in a more fair and just America, he will be remembered as a bigot and a homophobe. We may not have scriptural prophecy to tell us its so, but we know it’s the Truth.

By:           Japhy Grant
On:           Dec 4, 2008
Tagged: ,

    • Joe Moag
      Joe Moag

      You know, if wanted to, you could post a new piece of ridiculous gay-bashing bullshit from the Catholic Church every hour on the hour. There’s no shortage of supply.

      At some point, you just gotta understand these idiots for who they are.

      Dec 4, 2008 at 10:24 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jon

      “Whatever others may say, the proponents of Proposition 8 supported it as a defense of the traditional understanding and definition of marriage, not as an attack on any group, or as an attempt to deprive others of their civil rights.”

      It doesnt matter why you supported it, maybe you liked the number eight, maybe you always vote yes on everything, mybe it was a dare from your friends, or maybe you are hateful and discrimnatory and bigoted, the effect was to strip civil rights from a minority. God may know the intent of your heart, but the citizens of california know your voting record.

      Dec 4, 2008 at 10:29 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Phil

      Such a gag order would have silenced many abolitionists in the nineteenth century and many civil rights advocates in the twentieth.

      And then I stopped listening. (That isn’t to say I stopped reading.)

      Are we not civil rights advocates? Are we, instead, homosexual fascists aiming to push our lifestyle unto others? And should we, then, be silenced?

      Dec 4, 2008 at 10:35 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ChicagoJimmy

      The bible was actually used to support slavery. It tacitly condones it throughout with instructions on how to properly treat your slaves and how your daughters should best be sold into slavery.

      It’s very difficult to listen to someone who so strongly believes he is right because he knows the mind of his god.

      The Aztec god demanded human sacrifice. I’m glad we don’t listen to him anymore!

      Dec 4, 2008 at 10:56 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian

      If the church thinks they have the constitutional right to makes statements on public policy they can volunteer to start paying taxes on everything from their income (donations) to their business and property.

      Dec 4, 2008 at 11:22 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • rae

      somehow i think bayard rustin and james baldwin (and while we’re at it mrs. coretta scott king) would disagree with that statement.

      Dec 4, 2008 at 11:31 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Charles J. Mueller
      Charles J. Mueller

      Would someone please hold this Bishop’s mouth open….So I can take a piss in it!!!

      Hey, fair is fair. If he and the Church is free to take a shit on us whenever and wherever then they he deserves it.

      Dec 4, 2008 at 12:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Robert71350

      Since when is marriage a public policy matter? Last time I checked, its a basic civil right. Who is this idiot kidding? I propose forming a national movement both gay and straight for those of us who want tax-exempt status removed from every religious cult or business supporting and advocating for discrimination against us. We should also publish their names just as they published the names of those who supported our right to marry. We must keep the momentum going, no letup, ever. They want to bash us, then we should bash back, only harder by hitting them in their pockets. They can’t have it both ways. The IRS code on tax-exemption clearly states that no religious entity or business may interfere in the political process or influence the outcome of legislation. These busy bodies are already in violation of their tax status, therefore, we should demand its removal and they need to be put on notice, NOW!

      Dec 4, 2008 at 1:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • james ii
      james ii

      so where are all the boycotts and protests against the catholic church? why haven’t any of the marches ended at or included the mansions where the cardinals and bishops in the U.S. live (yeah, i mean you, francis)?

      the catholic church is so hypocritical, considering that the great art and music and liturgy produced for them has largely been made by gay men, from michelangelo on to today, not to mention the great majority of priests over time who have been gay, practicing or not. kind of like living in a catholic family — we know about you, we’ll tolerate you as long as you benefit us, but we’re not to acknowledge who you are, so you’d better keep your lips buttoned up, lest you offend the more sensitive parishioners/family members. i’m so sick of them.

      Dec 4, 2008 at 1:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Carsen T.
      Carsen T.

      Yeah….I am going to be one of the chaperones they are sending to youth congress. I have to go to the archdiocese today…Oh God, I wish they I had one day were I didn’t have something to bitch to them about…plus they are still fucking patting themselves on the back for prop 8…smug jerks. And they say they suffered for their work now. Come on, the worst those guys got may have been a couple of rose gardens screwed, and they say they suffered.

      Dec 4, 2008 at 1:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Rudy

      This is why the Vatican wants to make Pius XII a saint – collaborate with Nazis ands fascvists and pass themselves off as victims.

      They made Thomas Moore a saint in 1948 – a man who burned Protestants alive!

      So much for their concern for human rights.

      Dec 4, 2008 at 2:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Leland Frances
      Leland Frances

      Go James II, GO!

      Someone please tell me again why the San Francisco “Impact” demo was at City Hall and not at:

      The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco
      One Peter Yorke Way
      San Francisco 94109?

      The report that he had literally conspired with Mormom leaders to pass Prop H8TE was published a few days before so THAT’S where [in addition to the Mormon Tabernacle in Oakland] demonstrations and nonviolent civil disobedience should have been and should continue to be occuring in order to NAME the Bigots for all to understand [and not fantasizing about changing their minds].

      NOT at SF City Hall, and, for fuck’s sake, NOT in the middle of 18th & Castro. Those places, repeat, THEY are not the center of the problem!

      Until someone does stop wasting our time finger fucking themselves with retarded ideas like “A Day Without A Gay” and organizes disruptions of the business as usual of the sources of our oppression [as the black civil rights movement did, hint hint], here’s the ReichArchbishop’s office phone number and e-mail address:

      (415) 614-5500

      Harvey 2008 would be shouting:



      Dec 4, 2008 at 5:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • BobP

      He’d be singing a different tune if the largest pedophile ring in the history of the world, oops, I mean the catholic church lost its tax exempt status and he actually had to work for a living.

      Dec 4, 2008 at 6:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • alan brickman
      alan brickman

      it’s always the ugly (closeted) guys that tell us to ban gay rights..coincidence?

      Dec 4, 2008 at 7:38 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David

      I think the clergy and the church goers are both at fault: when they both trade out factual knowledge for woo woo faith, trouble is bound to ensue.

      Dec 5, 2008 at 10:23 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Boycott Utah
      Boycott Utah

      Chapman University Law School Dean John Eastman was an avid Prop 8 supporter.

      Here is their website information http://www.chapman.edu/LAW/ Here is his contact information: Email: jeastman@chapman.edu
      Phone: (714) 628-2587

      Dec 5, 2008 at 3:11 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Boycott Utah
      Boycott Utah

      According to the Orange County Register, Chapman University Law School Dean John Eastman was an avid Prop 8 supporter.

      Here is their website information http://www.chapman.edu/LAW/

      Here is his contact information: Email: jeastman@chapman.edu
      Phone: (714) 628-2587

      Chapman is ranked at the bottom of the Fourth Tier according to US News and World Reports. It is known as “Crapman Law” by many across the state of California.

      Dec 5, 2008 at 3:35 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Robert

      This is very sad. I went to Catholic high school in SLC and I shook his hand when I received my diploma. Until now, I had relative respect for the guy — he was promoted to San Francisco because of his more progressive and diplomatic views — but now I’m sick that he would not only voice his support for such hate, but also do so with numbskull logic.

      Dec 5, 2008 at 8:26 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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