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Minnesota Archbishop Instructs Every Priest in the State to Push Passage of Anti-Gay Marriage Amendment

Minnesota Archbishop John Nienstedt is taking a page from the playbook used by PR firm Schubert Flint in successful efforts to pass Proposition 8 in California and sending instructions to all his Minnesota minions to get on top of efforts to pass the ballot measure in the upcoming election that would ban same-ex marriage, the Minnesota Independent reports:

Nienstedt“It is imperative that we marshal our resources to educate the faithful about the Church’s teachings on these matters, and to vigorously organize and support a grass roots effort to get out the vote to support the passage of the amendment,” the letter read. It went out on Oct. 4 to every priest in the state.

The archbishop said it wants priests in every parish to identify a “church captain” in order to create an “ad hoc committee” in every church in the state. The “church captain” is a component of the Schubert Flint strategy used in 2008′s divisive Proposition 8 battle in California.

The paper adds: "According to Nienstedt’s letter, the church captains will be organized by the Minnesota Catholic Conference, the public policy arm of the Catholic church, which will in turn report to the Minnesota for Marriage coalition for statewide efforts. Minnesota for Marriage is made up of the Minnesota Family Council, MCC and the National Organization for Marriage."

Nienstedt is perhaps the most anti-gay religious leader in Minnesota. You may recall his "traditional marriage" DVD campaign which sent out 400,000 DVDs containing an "urgent message" to state Catholics warning them about same-sex marriage.

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  1. Is this not enough for an IRS investigation? Jesus wept.

    Posted by: Mykelb | Oct 17, 2011 2:06:45 PM

  2. What does MCC stand for? Obviously, it's not the Metropolitan Community Church.

    Posted by: Mike in the Tundra | Oct 17, 2011 2:13:05 PM

  3. The Archbishop needs to come out of the closet and find something productive to do with his spare feeding the hungry, and helping the poor and sick.

    Posted by: Howard | Oct 17, 2011 2:13:52 PM

  4. Isn't this a direct violation of the separation of church and state? The church would throw an epic fit if the government ever tried to meddle in religious affairs and here they are blatantly meddling in civil affairs. They either need to be forced to stay out of our business or be forced to give up their various benefits like tax exempt status. If they want in on the game it's only fair they have to fight from on a level playing field.

    Posted by: MT | Oct 17, 2011 2:16:55 PM

  5. "Is this not enough for an IRS investigation? ..." Posted by: Mykelb | Oct 17, 2011 2:06:45 PM

    Indeed, my first thought while reading - and again, emphasized when the concluding graph noted this was the asswipe that did the dvd thingie that recalled my thinking at that time that his dvd stunt definitely should have precipitated such an inquiry at that time as well.

    Posted by: dave02657 | Oct 17, 2011 2:22:21 PM

  6. Withdraw tax-exempt status from the Archdiocese of Minnesota.

    Posted by: Rich F. | Oct 17, 2011 2:23:03 PM

  7. This seems to be an open and shut case for ending tax exempt status for this church. However, I would go one step further and determine whether this meddling in the political process is sanctioned from the Vatican. If so, the IRS should go ahead and yank the tax exemption of the entire RC Church in the US. If this was even threatened, I'd imagine that this Archbishop would be fielding a lot of angry phone calls from his colleagues around the country. "SHUT THE F--- UP OR YOU'LL RUIN IT FOR ALL OF US!"

    I don't understand why there isn't more pressure on the IRS to investigate cases like this. Perhaps Ari, the legal expert here, can tackle this at some point.

    Posted by: Jere | Oct 17, 2011 2:43:17 PM

  8. I guess the bishop is a poor student of history: Hitler was defeated. He can teach and exhort, in his role as bishop. But he is not free to dictate... unless he forgets the position of the Catholic Church on the freedom of conscience, according to the documents of Vatican II. Like the birth control issue: many thinking Catholics will ignore his teaching and position. I feel for the poor priests who are under the gun of this totalitarian man. Hardly follows the example of his Master -- JC !!

    Posted by: pierre | Oct 17, 2011 2:49:27 PM

  9. Based on the advice contained in this IRS publication,, it certainly seems as if they are treading very close to the line, if not crossing it.

    Regardless of what the law is, there is always the question of whether there would be the political will to take on this issue. At the first move by the IRS to initiate an investigation, you would undoubtedly hear the Catholic Church bleating (cue Bill Donohue and the poor sad martyrs at NOM) about how they are being persecuted by the government. I don't think anyone within the IRS itself would take this upon themselves unless they were very strongly prompted to do so by some Senator or Congressperson, and there are precious few who would be willing to stick their necks out for the gays at the risk of alienating the Catholic Church. (Which, again, makes it all the more remarkable what Gov. Cuomo did this past summer).

    Posted by: MiloTock | Oct 17, 2011 2:55:35 PM

  10. Have you ever had troubles staying focused on a particular issue because you're horny so your mind is clouded with sexual thoughts? So now can you imagine how miserable this poor bastard is? He gave up his natural desires and now he is PISSED at those who get to do what he only dreams about.

    Poor guy, I hope he can molest an alter boy to cheer him up a bit.

    Posted by: Lance | Oct 17, 2011 2:59:37 PM

  11. @ Jere -- see my comment above. There is the difference between what the law calls for and getting someone to enforce it. It is very unlikely that anyone other than the IRS would have standing to go into court to seek any type of revocation of the RCC's tax exempt status. Even if the IRS were willing to investigate and then sue, you can be certain it would be litigated by the Church to the bitter end, resulting in years of appeals should the church lose at the trial level. I'm not sure where the money would come from for the IRS to take on such a litigation in the current economic environment (notwithstanding the fact that Boehner has found money to defend DOMA).

    Posted by: MiloTock | Oct 17, 2011 3:05:39 PM

  12. Sounds like politics being played by the Papists. IRS, isn't it time to tax these bigots for ignoring your rules against same? I'd bet it'll just be the federal revenue agents "turning the other cheek" to these homophobes.

    Posted by: HadenoughBS | Oct 17, 2011 3:20:06 PM

  13. Somebody start a petition at Change.ORG demanding the IRS end the Catholic Church Tax Exemption. With enough signatures we could force the IRS to take action.

    Posted by: OS2Guy | Oct 17, 2011 3:24:05 PM

  14. Interesting that the church is still conerned with a topic which is beyond their reach - however, one that is right within their reach, namely pedophilia, they do nothing about. They hide priests who have done harm to children and they keep information from the police. I wonder if all those who stay with this church should be consider accomplices? After all, it is their money which keeps it all going. Wake up Catholics and get out now while you can. If there is only one God, then find him/her on your own. Yes, you can actually do this without a man who wears robes. You have the power. Find your courage and get moving!

    Posted by: Steve | Oct 17, 2011 3:39:16 PM

  15. ANOTHER Roman catholic church leader telling members of his diocese to mistreat their gay loved ones--family members, friends, associates, co-workers. Well, sorry, Archbishop--love trumps bigotry every time. Your people don't believe the crap you're spouting, and soon enough you'll have spent enough credibility capital on this issue that they won 't believe you either. You're hastening the death of the bureaucracy you're a proud member of. I invite you to keep talking. But--to your parish priests--do you really, really, really want to be asking your parishioners to vote against their children? Really, Father?

    Posted by: Danny | Oct 17, 2011 3:52:50 PM

  16. This proves overwhelmingly, roman catholicism is a CULT, loud and clear.

    Posted by: Robert in NYC | Oct 17, 2011 4:00:36 PM

  17. take away the tax exemption from this cult and it will all go away

    Posted by: Chris | Oct 17, 2011 5:40:36 PM

  18. consider all the headlines the church got this week what the followup stories on selling babies in spain, an an archbishop charged with failure to report child abuse and another archbishop arrested for child abuse. this really gives them a position of moral superiority how?
    why don't they do some good with all the money they collect like feed the poor , teach children or tae care of the sick and homeless.
    no they would rather waste time and money on another witch hunt. time to tax the church.

    Posted by: walter | Oct 17, 2011 5:41:16 PM

  19. Unfortunately, the IRS restrictions only seem to cover "candidates"...,,id=163395,00.html

    Posted by: MoJo | Oct 17, 2011 5:50:24 PM

  20. Remove ALL religions tax exempt status. They want to play in politics, they have to pay.

    Posted by: Dale | Oct 17, 2011 6:54:28 PM

  21. all this hatred from a man whose work clothes are a drag outfit and where clergy are often caught molesting young boys,,, I that sums it up really. A disgrace to real Christians.

    Posted by: Josh | Oct 17, 2011 7:58:50 PM

  22. May the Archbishop burn in Hell for his sins.

    Posted by: cbhermey | Oct 17, 2011 8:24:14 PM

  23. What's he going to do if some of his priests refuse to do what he is ordering them to do? Suspend them? Throw them out of the priesthood? I hope at least some if not many of them refuse to organize these homophobic, hateful committees for this hateful, homophobic campaign to impose the bishop's religious beliefs on state civil law.

    Posted by: john patrick | Oct 17, 2011 9:06:54 PM

  24. If you think you have problems now, wait to see how successful NOM will be if tax exempt status is ever removed from any American religious denomination. I understand the feelings of the posters here, but why would you want to advocate something that would make Maggie Gallagher the most popular woman in America? Most Americans, even those not religious, have warm feelings toward religion and don't like seeing it directly attacked. A direct confrontation with religion is not a war you will win. In a war between gays vs. Christians, most Americans will side with Christians. You'd be better off ignoring clergy altogether and continue to accept incremental progress. Most Americans don't take orders from clergy anyway.

    Posted by: Mary | Oct 17, 2011 11:12:46 PM

  25. There already is opposition to this homophobic closet case. This is from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:

    But the Rev. Mike Tegeder, pastor at both St. Frances Cabrini and Gichitwaa Kateri churches in Minneapolis, said he spoke up against the effort at a meeting of priests and the archbishop this week.

    Tegeder, a frequent critic of Archbishop Nienstedt's policies, said he believes the letter calling for parishes to form committees to organize a get-out-the-vote effort is "imprudent" and "divisive."

    "There's all kinds of wonderful ways to promote marriage, which I do on a regular basis and other churches are doing," he said. "You don't promote marriage by taking away the rights of a small segment of the population, many of whom are not Catholic or have no connection to the Catholic Church."

    Full article here:

    Posted by: Tim | Oct 17, 2011 11:14:44 PM

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