Catholics across CT mobilize to fight bigoted bill
On Thursday, March 5, a bill was introduced in the Connecticut state legislature, and immediately referred to the Joint Committee on the Judiciary. It targets one – and only one – church in the state, the Catholic Church, and would strip the bishops and priests of the state of any power to exercise administrative authority over their parishes.
Raised Bill No. 1098 is a committee bill and does not bear the names of any individual sponsors. Both co-chairmen of the committee, State Sen. Andrew McDonald and State Rep. Michael Lawlor, are outspoken proponents of same-sex marriage in Connecticut and have been critical of the Catholic Church’s opposition to both civil unions and same-sex marriage.
The stated purpose of the bill is to “provide for the investigation of the misappropriation of funds by religious corporations,” but it deals only with the corporate structure of the Catholic Church. No other church is mentioned, or would be subject to the bill’s requirements.
The measure has been put on a legislative fast track, with hearings scheduled for Wednesday, March 11, less than a week after its introduction. Knights of Columbus, and all concerned Connecticut Catholics, are encouraged to attend the hearing that day and express their opposition to the bill. They may also call or write the committee co-chairmen, State Sen. Andrew McDonald (800-842-1420 or McDonald@senatedems.ct.gov), and State Rep. Michael Lawlor (800-842-8267 or MLawlor99@juno.com.
Bill 1098 is clearly unconstitutional. For more than 200 years, federal courts have consistently held that the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution bars the government from interfering in the internal affairs of churches. This legislation not only violates that fundamental principle, but also would single out the Catholic Church for discriminatory treatment applied to no other religious organization.
Via American Papist: If you can make it to Hartford, CT at 9AM on March 11th for the public demonstration – please do. Bishop Lori is hoping for 1,500-2,000 people … well, let’s smash that and turn out 5,000 for him!