Gagging The Catholic Church

UPDATE: Proposed Connecticut Bill 1098 is dead for the remainder of this legislative session. My original posting concerning this is below the fold.

Courant.com

The Democratic co-chairs of the legislature’s judiciary committee, Rep. Michael P. Lawlor of East Haven and Sen. Andrew McDonald of Stamford, just released the following statement:

"For reasons that are unclear, Connecticut has had generations-old laws on the books singling out particular religions and treating them differently from other religions in our statutes.  That doesn’t seem right.  In fact, many of our existing corporate laws dealing with particular religious groups appear to us to be unconstitutional under the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. If that is correct, any changes to that law would likely also be unconstitutional.

"With that in mind, it would serve no useful purpose to have a conversation about changing the laws that govern existing Roman Catholic corporations until we know if any of these existing laws are constitutional.  At the request of the proponents who are advocating this legislation, we have decided to cancel the public hearing for tomorrow, table any further consideration of this bill for the duration of this session, and ask the Attorney General his opinion regarding the constitutionality of the existing law that sets different rules for five named separate religions.

"We think it would be more appropriate to invite representatives from all religious denominations around the state together with legal scholars on this topic to participate in a forum regarding the current law.  Such a conversation would be more appropriate to have when the legislature is not in session and other more important issues, such as the current fiscal crisis, are resolved.  We intend to do that once we
have the benefit of the Attorney General’s opinion.

"In the meantime, we think it would be most beneficial if the proponents who requested these changes and church officials meet together privately to see if they can come to a resolution on their own.  Open and honest communication between these two groups could only help.  For our part, we intend to reach out to representatives of the Catholic Conference and continue the discussion that began in 2008 on this issue.  We hope they will agree to meet with us."

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We’ve watched the Federal government become involved in businesses which accepted bailout money and suggesting that they [the government] can dictate salary.

Now in the state of Connecticut  we see the attempt by the State government to dictate how the Catholic church in Connecticut must be organized and effectively removing control of church finances from pastors and bishops.

The Proposed Bill 1098 can be viewed in PDF here.

A public hearing is to be held March 11th at 12:00 noon.

This is an obvious attempt to rescind from the Catholic church, their First Amendment rights.

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.

The Catholic church is being singled out in this bill as the bill mentions by name “The Roman Catholic Church”, no other religious organization is made mention of.

Seemingly from news reports I’ve read the two sponsors of this bill (who’s names appear no where on the bill itself) have a legislative history of attacking the Catholic church.

It would then seem this bill is personal for these two persons.

For those who live in the state of Connecticut, no matter if you are Catholic, Protestant, Muslim… it would be in your own best interest to contact these two men and express some righteous outrage.

For those of us who reside in other states, I suggest we also contact these two men.

Don’t think if this works in Connecticut that it won’t be attempted in other states and that other religious organizations beyond the catholic church won’t also be targeted.

Their contact information is:

Senator Andrew McDonald:
Capitol phone: 860-240-8600; Home phone: (203) 348-7439
E-mail:
McDonald@senatedems.ct.gov

Representative Michael Lawlor:
Capitol phone: 860-240-0001; Home phone: (203) 469-9725
E-mail:
Michael.Lawlor@cga.ct.gov

Judiciary Committee:
Capitol phone: 860-240-0530
Clerk E-mail:
Sarah.Kolb@cga.ct.gov

From The Catholic League

“Bishop Lori is correct to say that the bill ‘is a thinly-veiled attempt to silence the Catholic Church on the important issues of the day, such as same-sex marriage.’ Indeed, it is payback: this brutal act of revenge by Lawlor and McDonald, two champions of gay marriage, is designed to muzzle the voice of the Catholic Church.

“By singling out the Catholic Church—no other religion has been targeted—Lawlor and McDonald have demonstrated that they are ethically unfit to continue as lawmakers. They have evinced a bias so strong, and so malicious, that it compromises their ability to serve the public good. They should therefore be expelled by their colleagues. Reprimand and censure suggest that the offender can be rehabilitated. It is painfully obvious in this instance that neither lawmaker is prepared to accept such a sanction. Expulsion is the only rational response. We are contacting House leader Christopher Donovan and Senate leader Martin Looney to explore this action.”

From The Diocese of Bridgeport

The State has no right to interfere in the internal affairs and structure of the Catholic Church. This bill is directed only at the Catholic Church but could someday be forced on other denominations. The State has no business controlling religion.

The Pastors of our Diocese are doing an exemplary job of sound stewardship and financial accountability, in full cooperation with their parishioners.

For the State Legislature — which has not reversed a $1 billion deficit in this fiscal year — to try to manage the Catholic Church makes no sense. The Catholic Church not only lives within her means but stretches her resources to provide more social, charitable, and educational services than any other private institution in the State. This bill threatens those services at a time when the State is cutting services. The Catholic Church is needed now more than ever.

We reject this irrational, unlawful, and bigoted bill that jeopardizes the religious liberty of our Church.

 

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