A blogger associated with Americans United for Separations of Church and State has this to say about the Connecticut proposal (now dead in the water) to legislatively restructure Catholic parishes:
Church leaders were predictably upset at the possible state intervention into church affairs, and they tried to deflect attention from church financial scandals by bringing up bogus charges of government censorship. Bridgeport Bishop William Lori, on his blog, said this bill was “a thinly veiled attempt to silence the Catholic Church on important issues of day, such as same-sex marriage.”
That’s absurd. The proposed legislation, however misguided, was intended to prevent clerical misuse of church funds. It had nothing to do with the hierarchy’s ability to speak out on public issues.
Why couldn’t the bishop stick to the legitimate constitutional issue at hand?
State officials can — and often do — prosecute misuse of non-profit funds for personal gain. If Connecticut laws preventing this kind of fraud are inadequate, perhaps the legislature should tighten them up.
But that’s quite different from a gross governmental intervention into the internal structure of a church. The Constitution simply doesn’t permit that kind of entanglement between religion and government. Moves to reform churches must come from inside them, not from elected officials.
The post goes on to suggest that Catholics have no legitimate voice on issues of marriage and sexuality. Some of the commentators argue the Catholic church should be investigated by the government for daring to voice its opposition to the proposed bill.
Meanwhile, I’m still waiting for Barry Lynn to say something. Anything.