I am writing in response to the Sept. 16 “Local View” column, “Amendment will restrict religious freedom and love,” by the Rev. Kathryn Nelson of Duluth, lead pastor at Peace United Church of Christ.
First, I question Pastor Nelson’s notion of separating religion and politics. Many people think, “Personally, I believe x, but I shouldn’t force my beliefs on others in society.” But why shouldn’t the truths of religion impact society and civil laws? After all, we are a democracy and should vote according to the universal truths a plethora of religions teach.
Coming from the Roman Catholic tradition, I wonder, if the good news of Jesus Christ is not influencing our civil law, what is? Catholics believe we are each created good by an all-good and all-loving God, there is right and wrong, marriage is a gift received by God, and marriage is in fact between one man and one woman.
Second, I am not clear on Pastor Nelson’s use of the word “freedom.” She lamented not having the “freedom” to witness a same-sex union. Yet I am concerned should this “freedom” be granted in Minnesota. In fact, Catholic priests in Canada (where same-sex unions were legally recognized on July 20, 2005) face arrest and accusations of hate speech and discrimination should they choose not to witness a same-sex union or choose to preach against same-sex unions based on their religious convictions.
I see the implementation of the marriage amendment as an act that would ensure religious freedom for those of us who agree that same-sex unions should not receive legal benefits from our government.
We Christians and Catholics ought to vote according to our religious convictions. Marriage between a man and a woman is a gift received by God, and affirming this fact benefits our society the most. Voting “yes” for the proposed marriage amendment affirms this.
Fr. Ben Hadrich
The writer is the parochial vicar at St. John the Evangelist and St. Joseph’s (Gnesen Township) Roman Catholic parishes.