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Thread: Connecticut Legislators Launch Unconstitutional Attack on the Catholic Church

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    Arena Senior Member Crazed Rabbit's Avatar
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    Default Connecticut Legislators Launch Unconstitutional Attack on the Catholic Church

    Two legislators from Connecticut have introduced a bill that would have the government dictating to the Church how it is run.

    Called a "preposterously unconstitutional attack" by a law professor in this blog.
    The only interesting question suggested by Bill 1098 is why the CT legislature would propose a bill that would serve only to provide some lucky lawyer with some section 1988 "prevailing party" fees during a lean period for the bar. What, in short, is the political function served by an obviously unconstitutional bill?
    It's currently been tabled after a wave of protest reached the incredibly moronic sponsors.

    But several law and religion professors signed this letter:
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Dear Sen. McDonald and Rep. Lawlor:

    We write in opposition to Raised Bill No. 1098, which would regulate the internal affairs of the Roman Catholic Church in Connecticut. This bill is flagrantly unconstitutional; it would prohibit the free exercise of religion, establish one form of church governance, and make a mockery of the separation of church and state.

    The bill would impose a Protestant form of organization on the Catholic Church. The largest outbreak of such bills in American history was introduced by the Know Nothings, a bigoted and vehemently anti-Catholic, anti-immigrant political party that peaked in 1854. The motivation appears to be different in 21st century Connecticut, but the effect is the same and the content of the bill is substantially the same.

    It has long been settled that religious associations may create their own organizational structures “for the ecclesiastical government of all the individual members, congregations, and officers within the general association.” Watson v. Jones, 80 U.S. 679, 729 (1872). The Court said that this right “is unquestioned,” and that “All who unite themselves to such a body do so with an implied consent to this government, and are bound to submit to it.” Id. Of course dissenters within the church can withdraw from membership, but they cannot turn to the legislature and have it reform the governance of their church to their own liking. That would transfer power to govern the church from the church to the legislature.

    Watson v. Jones was decided as a matter of common law, but the Court recognized the constitutional basis for Watson’s rule in Kedroff v. Saint Nicholas Cathedral, 344 U.S. 94, 116 (1952). Kedroff recognized that religious organizations have “freedom to decide for themselves, free of state interference, matters of church government as well as those of faith and doctrine.” Id.

    In Serbian Eastern Orthodox Diocese v. Milivojevich, 426 U.S. 696 (1976), the Court applied these cases to a decision purely about the structure of church governance—whether North America should be governed as one diocese or divided into three dioceses. The state could not interfere with this decision: “It suffices to note that the reorganization of the Diocese involves a matter of internal church government, an issue at the core of ecclesiastical affairs,” and in the Serbian Orthodox governing structure, “subject to the final province of the Holy Assembly.” Id. at 721. The Court quoted and applied its statement from Kedroff that churches are constitutionally guaranteed freedom in “matters of church government as well as those of faith and doctrine.” Id.
    at 721–22. One diocese or three is an important choice, but either way, each diocese would have been governed by a bishop; the state’s attempt to divide the diocese was not nearly so revolutionary as transferring authority from Catholic bishops to Catholic lay people.

    The Court reaffirmed these cases in Employment Division v. Smith, 494 U.S. 872 (1990). Smith is best known for reducing the scope of the Free Exercise Clause as applied to religiously motivated conduct. But the Court also restated a number of government actions that the Free Exercise Clause prohibits. One of these prohibitions was that “The government may not . . . lend its power to one or the other side in controversies over religious authority or dogma.” Id. at 877, citing Serbian, Kedroff, and another case in the same line, Presbyterian Church v. Mary Elizabeth Blue Hull Memorial Presbyterian Church, 393 U.S. 440, 445–52 (1969). The point of Raised Bill No. 1098 is precisely to lend the state’s power to a nascent controversy “over religious authority,” taking away part of the authority of Catholic bishops and granting that authority instead to committees of Catholic lay people.

    The federal courts of appeals have recognized that Smith did not change the constitutional law that protects internal church affairs from government regulation. The Free Exercise Clause protects a “church's right to decide matters of governance and internal organization.” Rweyemamu v. Cote, 520 F.3d 198, 208 (2d Cir. 2008), quoting Petruska v. Gannon University, 462 F.3d 306, 307 (3d Cir. 2006).



    This bill would be unconstitutional even under the less protective part of Smith. Smith held that, outside the context of internal church governance, neutral and generally applicable laws may be applied to regulate religiously motivated conduct without any special justification. But this bill is not neutral, and it is not generally applicable. It applies only to religion, not to all non-profit corporations, and within religion, it applies only to Roman Catholic churches, not to all religious organizations. It is a naked attempt to interfere with a particular faith and to change one of that faith’s fundamental tenets.

    This bill is not saved by the provision in subsection (h), purporting to preserve the authority of the bishop and pastor “in matters pertaining exclusively to religious tenets and practices.” That provision must be read in light of the rest of the bill, and especially in light of the provision in subsection (f), requiring the pastor to report to the board of directors “with respect to administrative and financial matters.” The bill plainly contemplates that the allocation of authority over “administrative and financial matters” is not one of the “religious tenets or practices” protected by subsection (h). But that characterization of these matters is false.

    The bill’s attempt to divide the internal governance of a church into religious and secular domains is in defiance of the Supreme Court cases guaranteeing religious liberty with respect to “matters of church government as well as those of faith and doctrine.” Serbian, 426 U.S. at 722; Kedroff, 344 U.S. at 116. It is also false to history and false to the religious self-understanding of American churches. Forms of church governance represent religious choices with deep theological roots; in the age of religious warfare, men and women on both sides fought and died and were martyred in disputes over the authority of bishops.

    Some churches vest authority in bishops, believing them to be the successors of the Apostles through an unbroken series of ordinations. Other churches vest authority in local congregations, believing each congregation to be the nearest approximation of the isolated and self-governing Christian churches of the first century. In these congregational churches, the majority in each congregation generally rules either directly or through an elected board. Still other churches vest authority in elected assemblies that are chosen by local congregations but are empowered to exercise authority over those congregations. Still others have elected assemblies and bishops, with rules for allocating authority between them. Some churches believe in checks and balances and separation of powers; some believe in closely held hierarchical authority. These allocations of authority necessarily extend not only to faith and doctrine, but to control and administration of church property and finances. The two are inseparable, for in any dispute over faith and doctrine, the side that controlled the church property would have a strategic advantage. Churches have been well aware of that potential advantage as they allocated authority over property and finance in their various forms of governance.

    All churches, with all these different forms of governances, tend to believe that their own preferred form reflects the best interpretation of scripture. They also tend to believe that their own preferred form works best. Churches with bishops and claims of apostolic succession tend to believe that this structure preserves the faith intact from generation to generation, and that church elections and shared governance leads to doctrinal drift, errors of faith, and eventually, schisms and heresies. Churches with elected assemblies and checks and balances, and churches managed by a majority of each local congregation, tend to believe that unshared hierarchical control leads to clerical abuses and corruption. If these disagreements have lost some of their ability to inflame emotions, it is only because a long period of religious liberty has guaranteed to each religious organization in America
    the right to govern itself in its own way.

    Raised Bill 1098 squarely takes sides in this longstanding theological dispute within Christianity. Apparently based on a single story of clerical corruption, it proposes to congregationalize the Roman Catholic Church. Authority over the property and finances of each parish would be vested in a board with a majority elected by the local parish. The bill concludes that the congregational faiths are right, at least with respect to church property and finances, and that the claims of apostolic succession and episcopal control are wrong.

    The bill is unconstitutional as a matter of first principle; it is unconstitutional under repeated decisions of the Supreme Court. It is a flagrant interference with a contested matter of faith. It is worthy of the anti-Catholic bigots of 1854; it is unworthy of Connecticut in the age of religious liberty and mutual respect among faiths.

    Additional biographical information about the signers is attached. Of course the universities that employ the signers take no position on this or any other bill.



    Very truly yours,

    [Douglas Laycock, Thomas C. Berg, Alan E. Brownstein, Angela C. Carmella, Daniel O. Conkle, Carl H. Esbeck, Richard W. Garnett, Ira C. Lupu, Steven D. Smith, Kate Stith, Robert Tuttle, Eugene Volokh].


    Which begins:
    Dear Sen. McDonald and Rep. Lawlor:

    We write in opposition to Raised Bill No. 1098, which would regulate the internal affairs of the Roman Catholic Church in Connecticut. This bill is flagrantly unconstitutional; it would prohibit the free exercise of religion, establish one form of church governance, and make a mockery of the separation of church and state.


    Shows how laughable the idea that our representatives are some sort of class of intelligent people really is.

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    Upstanding Member rvg's Avatar
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    Default Re: Connecticut Legislators Launch Unconstitutional Attack on the Catholic Church

    2 more years. 2 more years of this neo-liberal trash. Gah.
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    Nobody expects the Senior Member Lemur's Avatar
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    Default Re: Connecticut Legislators Launch Unconstitutional Attack on the Catholic Church

    State Legislatures often pass outrageous, unconstitutional laws. They all get the booty-smack when the judiciary get ahold of them. Excuse me, when the activist judges get ahold of them.

    Just look at the miserable history of States attempting to outlaw various forms of video games.
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    Default Re: Connecticut Legislators Launch Unconstitutional Attack on the Catholic Church

    It is my understanding (as yet unconfirmed) that the legislators sponsoring this effort are openly gay, and quite upset with The Church's ardent opposition to same sex marriage. The well-publicized money troubles that spurred this legislation may be, as much as anything, a chance for a little political vengeance. Even if they know it won't pass muster constitutionally, The Church must spend money to fight it in court if it passes.
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    The Black Senior Member Papewaio's Avatar
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    Thumbs down Re: Connecticut Legislators Launch Unconstitutional Attack on the Catholic Church

    Separation of Church and State. Pure and Simple.

    I think the judges will and then the bill to pieces.

    No point being vindictive when you are only going to put people off. Even people who support gay marriage do not like seeing their politicians waste time or be childish in a tit for tat manner.
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    TexMec Senior Member Louis VI the Fat's Avatar
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    Default Re : Connecticut Legislators Launch Unconstitutional Attack on the Catholic Church

    Yay! It's Total War: US culture war II!

    The origin and goal of this proposed bill are extremely complex, and both obscured by and part of the usual culture war. For one, it involves recent scandals about mass rape and their institutional cover-ups by the Catholic clergy, and, especially, plunder of parish money by the clergy.

    Despite what the conservatively biased media would want you to believe, with their foaming about freedom of religion and revenge from teh gays, the origin and the staunchest proponents of this proposed bill can be found within the Connecticut Catholics themselves. For example, and this will interest certain members, the Knights of Columbus.


    "Senate Bill 1098, as introduced by the co-chairs of the Judiciary Committee, is nothing less than a direct assault on religious freedoms of people in the state of Connecticut," said Sen. John McKinney (R-Minority Leader)

    But the loyal Catholics who approached lawmakers about this proposal said today there is nothing further from the truth. They clearly responded to members of the Catholic clergy who have attempted to portray this as a political vendetta.

    "To suggest that this earnest attempt to improve Catholic parishes is somehow related to gay marriage is simply inaccurate and unfortunate," said Tom Gallagher of Greenwich.

    Gallagher, who is a member of the Knights of Columbus, was joined by Catholic scholar Paul Lakeland in saying that their effort was in response to the well publicized embezzlement cases in Catholic parishes.

    "This is an issue that has been debated increasingly in the Catholic Church...because of...mismanagement of funds and because of financial problems of the American Catholic Church as a result of the extraordinary costs of the sex abuse scandal," said Dr. Paul Lakeland, Fairfield University.
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    Iron Fist Senior Member Husar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Connecticut Legislators Launch Unconstitutional Attack on the Catholic Church

    I hereby declare Louis the winner of this thread.


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    Jillian & Allison's Daddy Senior Member Don Corleone's Avatar
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    Default Re: Connecticut Legislators Launch Unconstitutional Attack on the Catholic Church

    Puh-leezee. Isn't Louis' quote the effective equivalent of when conservative pundits trot out Camille Paglia to give a "leading feminists agree" endorsement of some policy they espouse? I don't know who that clown is, but if you want to know what the Knights of Columbus's position is on anything, you need to hear it from the Supreme Council. I'm a Knight, and I believe in staking honey-coated child molestors out over anthills. Trust me, while they might empathize with my viewpoint, its not an official policy statement of the Knights either.

    Look, the Catholic Chuch is not a democracy. Never has been, never will be. The idea that the Connecticut Legislature has some supreme authority to dictate fiscal policy to the Vatican is laughable. The truth is, you don't get to say where your offerings go. That's why they're called, get ready for it
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    OFFERINGS
    .

    It's a simple concept. You put the money in the basket. It's not yours anymore. Well, truth be told, you're actually taking 100% of what God gave you and giving 10% back to Him. How the Church chooses to spend the money from there on... .really isn't your concern. You hope they use it for appropriate things, but it really doesn't involve you anymore. It's now between them and God. You're free of responsiblity, removed of authority on how it is used.

    Laws like this, and Louis' defense of them, smack of condescencion and patronization. The enlightened ones, pitying the poor pathetic fools who yet cling to guns and religion and haven't made the great leap forward to nihilism or existentialism, deserve protection from the charlatans. Not only is there no God, the clergy themselves know this better than anyone and the only way our crusdaing liberals will tolerate the con game to continue is if the matchstick men agree to play by rules imposed by those who know better and care more. Allow gay marriage, perform abortions at Catholic hospitals, stop endorsing pro-life candidates, or we'll come in and legislate you out of existence. Been tried before, will be tried again. Despite all the sound and the fury, it always winds up being the same self-important yet impotent rantings.
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    Probably Drunk Member Reverend Joe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Connecticut Legislators Launch Unconstitutional Attack on the Catholic Church

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Corleone View Post
    The enlightened ones, pitying the poor pathetic fools who yet cling to guns and religion and haven't made the great leap forward to nihilism or existentialism, deserve protection from the charlatans. Not only is there no God, the clergy themselves know this better than anyone and the only way our crusdaing liberals will tolerate the con game to continue is if the matchstick men agree to play by rules imposed by those who know better and care more. Allow gay marriage, perform abortions at Catholic hospitals, stop endorsing pro-life candidates, or we'll come in and legislate you out of existence. Been tried before, will be tried again. Despite all the sound and the fury, it always winds up being the same self-important yet impotent rantings.
    Dude, relax. This is just a bunch of dumbass Yankees who couldn't figure out their own legal doctrines if they were stapled to their asses, not some global Atheist conspiracy.

    Now go grab a beer outta my fridge.

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    RIP Tosa, my trolling end now Senior Member Devastatin Dave's Avatar
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    Default Re: Connecticut Legislators Launch Unconstitutional Attack on the Catholic Church

    Quote Originally Posted by Seamus Fermanagh View Post
    Even if they know it won't pass muster constitutionally, The Church must spend money to fight it in court if it passes.
    A thousands of tiny paper cuts equal a good stab into the heart as they say. Good observation Seamus.
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    TexMec Senior Member Louis VI the Fat's Avatar
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    Default Re : Re: Connecticut Legislators Launch Unconstitutional Attack on the Catholic Churc

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Corleone View Post
    Laws like this, and Louis' defense of them, smack of condescencion and patronization. The enlightened ones, pitying the poor pathetic fools who yet cling to guns and religion and haven't made the great leap forward to nihilism or existentialism, deserve protection from the charlatans.
    I'm not defending this law. I am a staunch proponent of separation between church and state. Heaven forbid, please.

    I was protesting and counter-balancing the portrayal of this bill as 'homosexual liberals avenging anti-gay marriage laws by trying to take over the church!!''.

    This proposed bill is the product of devout Connecticut Catholics. Of organisations that represent tens of thousands of them. Concerned citizens - the very ones that 'cling to guns and religion' - who went to their legislative representatives to seek legal protection against theft of parish money by members of the clergy. That is the origin and the reasoning behind the bill.
    I even had the good sense to not link to a liberal/gay blog, but to a US conservative website.


    The idea that the Connecticut Legislature has some supreme authority to dictate fiscal policy to the Vatican is laughable.
    The Vatican is a country ten thousand miles away. It has its own jurisdiction. However, in Connecticut, the Conn. legislature of course does have supreme authority over the Catholic church in Connecticut. Anything and everything that goes on within the church must comply with Conn. law.
    Freedom of religion means freedom within and under the law. Not freedom to place oneself outside or even above the law by claiming superiority of your thought over that of others.
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    Default Re: Connecticut Legislators Launch Unconstitutional Attack on the Catholic Church

    My wife and I are on opposite sides of this issue. She takes the stance that Louis outlines in his response to Don C. above. To be fair to her point -- the clergy are often not good custodians of money (not their training/experience usually) -- I have to admit that I prefer it when a pastor does use the advice of his parish council, particularly if they have a few members who DO understand money.

    I am ADAMANTLY opposed to this being done by government oversight/legislation -- though I would welcome it were Bishops in charge of the various dioceses to promulgate analogous guidelines within their sees.
    Last edited by Seamus Fermanagh; 03-11-2009 at 16:49.
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    Standing Up For Rationality Senior Member Ronin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Connecticut Legislators Launch Unconstitutional Attack on the Catholic Church

    this is probably unconstitutional...

    but I must admit....given the history of the Catholic Church of of sticking it´s nose in other people's business and telling them what to do through history.....it does make me chuckle


    ohhh the irony of it all....
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    Needs more flowers Moderator drone's Avatar
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    Default Re: Connecticut Legislators Launch Unconstitutional Attack on the Catholic Church

    If the Catholics are displeased with the way their offerings are being used by the church, maybe they should just keep their money. Organize a tithe-strike. With the economy the way it is, some might even welcome it. The Vatican will sort the issue out when the funds get cut off, you can be sure of that.

    Getting the state legislature involved is just a waste of time.
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    Default Re: Connecticut Legislators Launch Unconstitutional Attack on the Catholic Church

    Quote Originally Posted by drone View Post
    If the Catholics are displeased with the way their offerings are being used by the church, maybe they should just keep their money. Organize a tithe-strike. With the economy the way it is, some might even welcome it. The Vatican will sort the issue out when the funds get cut off, you can be sure of that.

    Getting the state legislature involved is just a waste of time.
    Indeed, if you think your money is being mis-spent, don't donate it. Constitutionality aside, this seems every bit as stupid as a law that would mandate grocery store customers must make up the store's board of directors. This proposed law would go even further by saying that the store's owners and management may sit on the board, but they have no vote.

    The Catholic Church is not a democracy. The diocese owns the buildings and the land. They get to do with it as they see fit. Now, I'd like to think that a good pastor would want advice from people who are more financially literate, but if they don't, there's not much to be done other than withholding money or finding another church.
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    Old Town Road Senior Member Strike For The South's Avatar
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    Default Re: Connecticut Legislators Launch Unconstitutional Attack on the Catholic Church

    This means we're next. Oh noez
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    TexMec Senior Member Louis VI the Fat's Avatar
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    Default Re : Re: Connecticut Legislators Launch Unconstitutional Attack on the Catholic Churc

    Quote Originally Posted by Strike For The South View Post
    This means we're next. Oh noez
    Sheesh, Strike. Don't they teach you kids nowadays the history and working of the Connecticut state legislation about provisions regulating ecclesiastical societies and the incorporation of churches?

    I am not sure if you mean Texans or other denominations. Either way, you've got nothing to worry about. This is a Connecticut thing, covering many denominations. Unconstitutional or not under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, Connecticut has a long tradition of state regulation of ecclesiastical societies.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    The statutes of Connecticut contain quite elaborate provisions regulating ecclesiastical societies and the incorporation of churches. Many of those still in force were originally passed when the Congregational denomination was practically the State religion, and its various ecclesiastical societies had power to lay taxes for their support. Originally such a society was distinct from the church, constituting a separate organization. Individuals might be legal members of the society and not members of the church. This condition still remains in many communities, although, as before stated, one may escape liability of taxation by withdrawing from the society. It would be legally possible for an ecclesiastical society to be incorporated under these laws for the purpose of maintaining a church in communion with the Catholic Church. In early times before statutes were enacted for the organization and government of these societies, the several towns had the functions of ecclesiastical societies.

    In recent years special statutory provisions have been made for the government of other denominations. Prior to 1866, when a law was passed having special reference to the Catholic Church, the title to most of its property was vested in the bishop and his successors. In that year an act was passed by the legislature providing for the organization of a corporation in connexion with any Catholic church or congregation. Such corporation consists of the bishop and vicar-general of the diocese, the pastor and two laymen of the congregation. The lay members are appointed annually by the ex-officio or clerical members. Such corporation is empowered to hold all property conveyed to it for the purpose of maintaining religious worship according to the doctrine, discipline, and ritual of the Catholic Church, and for the support of the educational or charitable institutions of that church. A restriction exists to the effect that no one incorporated church or congregation may possess an amount of property, except church buildings, parsonages, school-houses, asylums and cemeteries, the annual income of which exceeds three thousand dollars. Such corporation shall at all times be subject to the general laws and discipline of the Catholic Church, and shall hold and enjoy its franchise solely for the purposes above mentioned. Upon a forfeiture of its franchise or surrender of its charter its property vests in the bishop and his successors, in trust for such congregation. This law has in the main worked with entire satisfaction. Property of various religious orders is usually legally vested in a corporation either specially chartered or organized under the general laws of the State where the mother-house of the community is located.
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    smell the glove Senior Member Major Robert Dump's Avatar
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    Default Re: Connecticut Legislators Launch Unconstitutional Attack on the Catholic Church

    We should just nationalize the church, and its fund could be managed by a nationalized Citibank.
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    Iron Fist Senior Member Husar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Connecticut Legislators Launch Unconstitutional Attack on the Catholic Church

    Churches should be like embassies and considered national territory of the vatican state.


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    Default Re: Connecticut Legislators Launch Unconstitutional Attack on the Catholic Church

    Intersting arguement, but that would make American Catholics members of another nation, perhaps?
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    Chieftain of the Pudding Race Member Evil_Maniac From Mars's Avatar
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    Default Re: Connecticut Legislators Launch Unconstitutional Attack on the Catholic Church

    Quote Originally Posted by Philipvs Vallindervs Calicvla View Post
    Intersting arguement, but that would make American Catholics members of another nation, perhaps?
    No, all that would be required would be a kind of free pass, or free entry for all from the country the embassy/church is located in. I actually think that would be an alright idea - except that building new churches may become more difficult.

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    The Black Senior Member Papewaio's Avatar
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    Cool Re: Connecticut Legislators Launch Unconstitutional Attack on the Catholic Church

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Corleone View Post
    Laws like this, and Louis' defense of them, smack of condescencion and patronization. The enlightened ones, pitying the poor pathetic fools who yet cling to guns and religion and haven't made the great leap forward to nihilism or existentialism, deserve protection from the charlatans. Not only is there no God, the clergy themselves know this better than anyone and the only way our crusdaing liberals will tolerate the con game to continue is if the matchstick men agree to play by rules imposed by those who know better and care more. Allow gay marriage, perform abortions at Catholic hospitals, stop endorsing pro-life candidates, or we'll come in and legislate you out of existence. Been tried before, will be tried again. Despite all the sound and the fury, it always winds up being the same self-important yet impotent rantings.
    I am an atheist who thinks that believing in God is like believing in any story book character. That I think if Gay men what to marry each other that is fine, they can enjoy living hell like the rest of us . I'm also external to the US.

    However this Bill is bogus. It contradicts the separation of Church & State which strengthens the country as a whole, as does separating Executive and Legislative powers within the government makes for a more transparent, accountable and balanced format.

    Also although I do support gay marriage, I only support this as a state union or if the religion itself wishes to perform the ceremonies. I disagree with forcing it to be done on any group.

    As for Catholic hospitals performing abortions that should be up to them on a case by case basis as long as it is 100% privately funded. With government funding it should be decided between the two, with the casting vote being funding based (he who has the gold makes the rules).

    People should have the right to chose their lifestyle and what they want to believe in. As long as they let others live their lives then they should expect the same reciprocity.
    Last edited by Papewaio; 03-13-2009 at 04:23.
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    Voluntary Suspension Voluntary Suspension Philippus Flavius Homovallumus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Connecticut Legislators Launch Unconstitutional Attack on the Catholic Church

    Quote Originally Posted by Evil_Maniac From Mars View Post
    No, all that would be required would be a kind of free pass, or free entry for all from the country the embassy/church is located in. I actually think that would be an alright idea - except that building new churches may become more difficult.
    I'm not so sure, such an arangement would lead to accusations of Catholic "colonisation" or "conquest". I think it would also contradict the idea of National Churches, though I'm fuzzy as to how that works these days, and whether it can be applied to the extra-Roman continent.

    I really must look that up.
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    Arena Senior Member Crazed Rabbit's Avatar
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    Default Re: Re : Re: Connecticut Legislators Launch Unconstitutional Attack on the Catholic C

    Quote Originally Posted by Louis VI the Fat View Post
    This proposed bill is the product of devout Connecticut Catholics. Of organisations that represent tens of thousands of them.
    Now wait a minute. Are the KoC actually supporting this, or only a couple of their members? That'd be a rather important difference, wouldn't it?

    The Vatican is a country ten thousand miles away. It has its own jurisdiction. However, in Connecticut, the Conn. legislature of course does have supreme authority over the Catholic church in Connecticut. Anything and everything that goes on within the church must comply with Conn. law.
    Freedom of religion means freedom within and under the law. Not freedom to place oneself outside or even above the law by claiming superiority of your thought over that of others.
    And Connecticut law must comply with the constitution. This proposed law is anything but constitutional.

    CR
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    TexMec Senior Member Louis VI the Fat's Avatar
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    Default Re : Re: Connecticut Legislators Launch Unconstitutional Attack on the Catholic Churc

    Connecticut law must comply with the constitution. This proposed law is anything but constitutional.
    Then I suggest the federal army sends troops to Connecticut to force Connecticut to change the error of its ways. There is no separation of church and state in Connecticut in the radical modern interpretation of the concept. Never has been. Connecticut, the old puritan haven, has its own interpretation of religious freedom, which is showing in its legislation. This bill is entirely in compliance with standard and ancient practices in Connecticut, and similar bills have always been deemed constitutional by the Connecticut Supreme Court, for over a century.

    The recent interpretation of freedom of religion could provide a great case of state rights vs freedom of religion. Will the federal government force Connecticut to abolish its four hundred years old freedoms?
    To deem this bill unconstitutional under the first Amendment would mean that the entire organisation of Connecticut religious bodies would have to be revamped. Which would be rich! Puritans sail halfway around the world to seek religious freedom. They find and settle Connecticut. Build it from scratch. They establish their religious freedoms. They live in peace and harmony for four hundred years. Then, some outsiders suddenly declare Connecticut's ancient civil and religious freedoms 'unfreedom', and want to abolish it. And what for? Because ultra-religious agitators want a full primacy of ecclasiatical over civil provisions.


    I still see this case within a grander scheme of the US culture wars.

    In the alarmist rightist blogosphere, this bill has been reduced to a) Gayz are taking revenge! Libruls are undermining your freedoms! Teh liberal-gay alliance attacks freedom of religion!
    And, in the more serious but still alarmist rightist blogosphere, b) This bill is unconstitutional / is something new.

    The irony is that this bill was proposed by moderate Connecticut Catholics, that it was originally proposed by a Republican, and that it is in full compliance with and in accordance to existing, ancient Connecticut religious corporation provisions.
    So A is bizar. That it would sound even remotely plausible is an effect of the culture wars itself.
    B is very interesting. However, what is new, is not the content of this proposed bill, but sudden religious opposition to it. Provisions like this have been in effect for centuries in Connecticut, and also in other states, and have never been deemed unconstitutional by any court.

    I myself deem not this proposed bill, but the broad opposition against it, an attack on ancient American freedoms. An attack by an unholy alliance of ultramontanists, evangelicals, and conservative legal minimalists.
    Strangely, I find myself on the side of Catholics (albeit moderates), Puritans, and legislation that does not distinguish rigidly between state and church.
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    Liar and Trickster Senior Member Andres's Avatar
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    Default Re: Connecticut Legislators Launch Unconstitutional Attack on the Catholic Church

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Corleone View Post
    It's a simple concept. You put the money in the basket. It's not yours anymore. Well, truth be told, you're actually taking 100% of what God gave you and giving 10% back to Him. How the Church chooses to spend the money from there on... .really isn't your concern. You hope they use it for appropriate things, but it really doesn't involve you anymore. It's now between them and God. You're free of responsiblity, removed of authority on how it is used.
    Ehm, so, you wouldn't mind if your local pastor would use the money to buy himself a sportscar or to spend it on prostitutes?



    Ok, let's assume that is indeed what you wanted to say, then I still don't see what's wrong with making a bill that wants to impose this:

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill
    Sec. 3. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2009) Any person having reason to believe that monetary contributions to a corporation organized under chapter 598 of the general statutes are being misappropriated and not being used for the purpose for which they were given may report that belief to the Attorney General. The Attorney General shall, pursuant to his authority under section 3-125 of the general statutes to represent the public interest in the protection of any gifts, legacies or devises intended for public or charitable purposes, investigate such report and take such action as he deems necessary.

    As for the noble catholic who donated the money, I don't see how this could affect him. Like you said, he donated, it's not his concern anymore, he did what he had to do.

    But, the state is the state. It's not a religious entity, the state represents all the people and has a society to run. Fraud, deceiving people, abuse people's trust, spending money donated for good causes on other things is no-no.

    If the money is not used for the good cause you donated it for, but used for something completely different, then you are victim of fraud and abuse of trust and that shouldn't go unpunished from the states' point of view. Fraud is fraud, abuse of trust is abuse of trust. It doesn't matter if the good catholic doesn't mind, it's still abuse of other people's trust.

    I don't see why the Catholic Church should be allowed to get away with it

    Just my
    Last edited by Andres; 03-13-2009 at 12:51.
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    Standing Up For Rationality Senior Member Ronin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Connecticut Legislators Launch Unconstitutional Attack on the Catholic Church

    Quote Originally Posted by Husar View Post
    Churches should be like embassies and considered national territory of the vatican state.

    In that case I suggest we create border crossing stations at the door of every church.....with full cavity searches!!!.....I´m not sure we can trust those people....
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    TexMec Senior Member Louis VI the Fat's Avatar
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    Default Re : Re: Connecticut Legislators Launch Unconstitutional Attack on the Catholic Churc

    Quote Originally Posted by Andres View Post
    Ehm, so, you wouldn't mind if your local pastor would use the money to buy himself a sportscar or to spend it on prostitutes?
    Oh come on, Andres. Priests don't pay for sex. Sheesh.

    Priests let their parishers pay for their sex. Either by raping their kids, the legal and settlement expenses for which are then footed by the kid's parents. Or, less cumbersome for the clergy, simply by stealing the money from their flock outright: 'The Darien case [in Connecticut] concerned the Rev. Michael Jude Fay, who was convicted of stealing up to $1.4 million in parishioner donations to lead a life of luxury with another man.'
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Fay spent money from Darien's St. John Church on limousines, stays at top hotels, jewelry, Italian clothing and a Florida condominium shared with the other man, auditors hired by the diocese found. About half the money he spent was kept in a secret bank account. Fay is serving a three-year prison term.

    Fay shopped at Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom, drove a Jaguar, attended a sports club, bought jewelry from Cartier, spent $130,000 for limo rides for himself and his mother, and stayed at hotels such as the Ritz Carlton, Hotel De Paris and the Four Seasons, according to an investigative report released last year by the Bridgeport Diocese. He spent tens of thousands of dollars on home furnishings and meals and more than $20,000 to mark the 25th anniversary of his ordination.

    In Greenwich, the Rev. Michael Moynihan resigned in January 2007 from St. Michael the Archangel Church after a preliminary audit uncovered $500,000 in spending the church couldn't account for amid what Lori said at the least represented "badly tangled" financial records.


    This, of course, is not what Catholicism is about for your average parishoner. They have had enough. Their kids got raped. Settlements costed so much that local parishes are near broke. What little money was left, the clergy stole outright. This is where we are now in Connecticut.

    People feel they should be able to attend church without being robbed blind. The clergy, however, is more concerned with cover-ups and 'healing' sessions than with establishing order amongst its ranks. Hence, the devout base wants to install sanity for them. This they sought to do by lay involvement in their local church's financial dealings, which is what the proposed bill is about.

    Alas, massive resistance by the clergy, who foamed in public that this is a gay attack on the US contitution, has prevented it.

    Connecticut's Catholics will be taken for a ride a bit longer.
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  29. #29
    Liar and Trickster Senior Member Andres's Avatar
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    Default Re: Connecticut Legislators Launch Unconstitutional Attack on the Catholic Church

    I think the mistake the Catholics who are opposed to this legislation make is, that they feel that it is all ok, because they are ok with it.

    They want freedom of religion and they don't want interference from the government. Ok, fair enough.

    But:

    1) What has using donated money in an irresponsable way to do with religion?
    2) Abuse of trust and fraud are criminal acts in most countries, I assume this is the same for the US. A society needs rules and it's the governments' task to enforce those rules. When a pastor uses money that has been donated for a good cause for his own personal gains or when the Church uses such money to cover up mistakes made by its' own members, then there is something very wrong. Now, the individual catholic may cry "but I'm fine with that. It's an offering, it doesn't matter what the money is used for" as much as he want, but it is still a violation of the rules of the society and society as a whole is not fine with that. We do not want abuse of trust and fraud around here. Its' the governments' task to prevent and punish such violations.

    Why a person committing fraud/abuse of trust in his quality of pastor/bishop/whatever should be allowed to continue unpunished and let's say some second hand car salesman shouldn't, goes beyond me.

    And the fact that some of the clergy needs to play the "it's the gays trying to get revenge" card, doesn't make their case stronger, because it's completely and utterly irrelevant.

    What decent argument can be made against trying to put an end at abuse of trust?
    Last edited by Andres; 03-13-2009 at 14:15.
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