Many people seem confused. What is really at stake with this proposed law in Connecticut? The truth is, everything. The bottom line is that Catholic Churches in Connecticut would cease to be Catholic in the universal sense. Each parish would be subject to a board of lay people who are subject to no one but themselves. This would lead to hundreds of renegade parishes with various levels of inclusion. Pastors would almost become irrelevant. The Bishop, even more so. Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus writes in the Advocate of Stamford Connecticut:
“Free exercise” of religion includes the way a Church chooses to organize. Strip the bishops and priests of their role in financial matters and their message becomes subject to the approval of those holding the purse.
Historically, “under trustee control, not only was pastoral authority practically eliminated, but the Church’s message was utterly dependent upon the congregation’s cultural and political
Under such a law, it is not too much to say that the Roman Catholic Church would no longer be “catholic.” Boards — independent of their bishops — could create parishes more unique than universal. Some denominations prefer such a set up, but the point is we must remain free to choose.
Anderson references the U.S. Constitution, but let’s look a little closer to home, The Connecticut Constitution.
“It being the right of all men to worship the Supreme Being, the Great Creator and Preserver of the Universe, and to render that worship in a mode consistent with the dictates of their consciences, no person shall by law be compelled to join or support, nor be classed or associated with, any congregation, church or religious association. No preference shall be given by law to any religious society or denomination in the state. Each shall have and enjoy the same and equal powers, rights and privileges, and may support and maintain the ministers or teachers of its society or denomination, and may build and repair houses for public worship.”
That seems pretty clear.
Some have written, what is the big deal? It is not likely to pass. It is a big deal, passage or not. This is how fictional rights are created and real rights eliminated. First is always the trial balloon. It is destined for failure, but passage is not the intent. The intent is to bring it into the conversation. The intent is to start a trend in other states with lawmakers proposing similar statutes, all under the guise of protecting regular folks. Then, after you have heard about it several times, it doesn’t seem like a big deal anymore. Then maybe, just maybe, it passes somewhere. Then the gates will be opened and religious liberty in this country is over.
So what to do? We must not merely be content with defeating this bill. Everyone associated with it must be defeated, humiliated, and held up to public scorn. We need to make lawmakers in the other 49 states think twice before proposing anything similar.
Victory in this case is not the defeat of the bill, rather it is the defeat of any lawmaker associated with it. We must leave no survivors. Our future might depend on it.