Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Yes, telling archbishops what to do is usually considered government involvement in religion

ANN ARBOR, MI, April 4, 2006 ( - A virulently anti-Catholic resolution (see coverage ) unanimously passed by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors has prompted a federal lawsuit by the Thomas More Law Center, a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Board resolution condemned Catholic moral teaching on homosexuality and urged the Archbishop of San Francisco and Catholic Charities of San Francisco to defy Church directives prohibiting gay adoptions

The lawsuit, brought on behalf of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights and two San Francisco Catholic citizens, challenges the anti-Catholic resolution as a "startling attack by government officials on the Catholic Church, Catholic moral teaching and beliefs, and those who adhere to the tenets of the Catholic faith, in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution."

The March 21, 2006 resolution alludes to the Vatican as a foreign country meddling in the affairs of the City and describes the Church's moral teaching and beliefs as "insulting to all San Franciscans," "hateful," "insulting and callous," "defamatory," "absolutely unacceptable," "insensitive[] and ignoran[t]." The resolution calls on the local Archbishop to "defy" the Church's teachings and describes Cardinal William Joseph Levada, the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which is responsible for safeguarding the doctrine on the faith and morals of the Church throughout the Catholic world, as "unqualified" to lead.

According to Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center, "The demagoguery and virulent words of this resolution are reminiscent of the anti- Catholic bigotry of the Ku Klux Klan and the Know Nothings, which marred our Nation's earlier history. San Francisco may as well have put up signs at the City limits: 'Faithful Catholics Not Welcomed."

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