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Washington Catholic Bishop Urges Civil Debate, No Tolerance for Hate or Hostility

August 7, 2012, 11:33 am | Posted by Nick Sementelli

U.S. BISHOP BLASE J. CUPICHThis weekend, all Catholic parishes in the diocese of Spokane, Washington read a letter from Bishop Blase Cupich about the state’s current debate on Referendum 74, a ballot initiative that would extend marriage rights to same-sex couples in the state.

While Bishop Cupich notes that the Catholic Church’s official position urges voters to reject the initiative, he urges parishioners to view the debate in the broader context of the experiences of their LGBT neighbors.

First, Cupich acknowledges the history of discrimination and oppression that motivates many supporters of the law:

Proponents of the redefinition of marriage are often motivated by compassion for those who have shown courage in refusing to live in the fear of being rejected for their sexual orientation. It is a compassion that is very personal, for those who have suffered and continue to suffer are close and beloved friends and family members. It is also a compassion forged in reaction to tragic national stories of violence against homosexuals, of verbal attacks that demean their human dignity, and of suicides by teens who have struggled with their sexual identity or have been bullied because of it.

Then, urging that the debate be conducted with respect and civility, he issues a stern warning to those who would do otherwise:

I also want to be very clear that in stating our position the Catholic Church has no tolerance for the misuse of this moment to incite hostility towards homosexual persons or promote an agenda that is hateful and disrespectful of their human dignity.

Bishop Cupich demonstrated a similar sensibility earlier this year when he ignored a right-wing campaign to block Archbishop Desmond Tutu from speaking at the commencement ceremonies of Spokane’s Gonzaga University in part because of Tutu’s views on LGBT issues.

It’s a shame that comments such as these  are so rare from Catholic bishops. While same-sex marriage is still a hotly contested issue among people of faith, there should be no controversy about Bishop Cupich’s basic acknowledgment that all people deserve respect and dignity and that this issue should not be used to incite bigotry and intolerance.

H/T Michael Sean Winters

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2 Responses to “Washington Catholic Bishop Urges Civil Debate, No Tolerance for Hate or Hostility”

  1. Paul Crawford says:

    Bigotry and Intolerance is horrible and should not be part of any Public Discussion in all forms and forums. But I do have a concern when one does not agree with another’s opinion that difference and dispute is called bigotry or intolerence.
    Isn’t that the same thing as what is done by people of alot of Faith as well as people with a piece of Faith in this forum. Sometimes, we do not listen to what someone is saying because we feel that we are i the right in the discussion. Sounds more like Politics to me and not so much a discussion of Faith.

  2. Mary Canning says:

    My father was this kind of Catholic ~ that’s why I’m such a rebel. Like Jesus was. RADICAL. Thank you, Dad!