Last week, the Catholic
Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis endorsed the Republican candidate for
governor of Minnesota—well, not really, but it only takes a little reading
between the lines to draw that conclusion.
If you're Catholic and you
live in the Twin Cities area, you've received or will soon receive a DVD
explaining the church's teaching on traditional marriage and supporting a
constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. Didn't get one? Try your
neighbor—they sent 400,000.
Until now, the question of
gay marriage has drawn very little attention in Minnesota this election cycle.
The Democratic-Farmer-Labor and Independent Party nominees both support it,
while the Republican nominee supports an amendment banning it. But this year in
Minnesota, as around the country, same-sex marriage is largely a fringe issue
due to more pressing concerns. Minnesota projects a six billion dollar deficit
in the coming fiscal biennial. That's six
According to Archbishop John Nienstedt, an anonymous donor gave the
funds for the DVDs. Nienstedt doesn't know their cost. The DVD label says,
"View now for an urgent message." But in a long interview with Minnesota Public
Radio, the archbishop refused to accept the notion that the DVD is overtly political.
I'm a pastor. I
understand the difference between preaching about a political issue and
advocating for a specific candidate. I get that it's a thin line sometimes.
me here is that the DVD addresses, of all things, same-sex marriage—not teacher
layoffs or cuts to local government aid. Not the unemployment rate or the
thousands of children living in poverty. Not the six-billion-dollar deficit.
Apparently these issues don't deserve a single DVD, let alone 400,000 copies.
Many Twin Cities-area
Catholics have joined social-media campaigns to send the DVDs back unopened.
Eric Celeste suggests putting them in the offering plate. Maybe that's a
campaign Archbishop Nienstedt can speak to clearly.
Adam J. Copeland teaches faith and leadership at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota. He has served as pastor of a Presbyterian church and as mission developer of a Lutheran ministry. He blogs at A Wee Blether, part of the CCblogs network.