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Washington Catholic Bishop Joseph Tyson: Gay Marriage Will 'Endanger Religious Liberty'

Bishop Joseph Tyson, the Catholic bishop of Yakima, Washington, published a pastoral letter on Saturday on the Diocese website attacking Referendum 74, the ballot measure which if approved would put the state's legislatively-passed marriage equality law into effect.

WAIn the letter, Tyson pleads, "Consider what kind of picture of marriage you desire to give the next generation.  If you and I don’t uphold marriage as the union of a man and a woman, who will?  If we are intimidated by those supporting marriage redefinition who picket and threaten donation boycotts of our charity and our ministry, then who will proclaim the true meaning of marriage?"

TysonHere's part of Tyson's letter:

We must also understand another tragic consequence. R-74 jeopardizes freedom rather than expands it. It endangers our religious liberty and the right of conscience. Once marriage is redefined as a genderless contract, it will become legally discriminatory for public and private institutions such as schools to promote the unique meaning of marriage, and to teach about the right of a child to be known, loved and raised by his or her own mother and father in a stable home. This law will challenge our right to educate about the unique value of children being raised by their own mothers and fathers. No institution or individual could propose that married mothers and fathers provide a singular benefit to children without being accused of discrimination.

This is not an idle concern. Recent attacks on churches, businesses and nonprofit organizations that express their conscientious objection to the redefinition of marriage underscore this danger. Those who uphold families based on the permanent, faithful relationship between a married man and woman as the best environment for raising children already have been accused of hate speech, and the right of religious institutions to freely practice their faith has been abridged. The acceptance of R-74 means that so-called same-sex “marriage” will replace real marriage – the union of a man and a woman – as the legal frame of reference for all public discourse. The terms “husband and wife” and “father and mother” will continue to recede as so-called gender-neutral terms overwhelm our public lexicon.

Let us not allow ourselves or others to be fooled by false reasoning. Protecting the definition of marriage as the union of onemanandonewomandoesnotmakemarriage “discriminatory.” It recognizes marriage between one man and one woman to be unique – unique among all other kinds of human relationships. Although our surrounding popular culture may define human identity by the terms “gay” and “straight,” our Church has a deeper and more accurate understanding of human identity based on male and female – sexual difference. It is within this identity that each one of us is called as a son or daughter of God. It is also within this identity of the human person as male and female that the meaning of marriage is discovered. Marriage is founded on sexual difference and ordered toward the good of husband and wife and the procreation and rearing of children.

Read Tyson's full letter HERE.

The SeattlePI reports:

A pro-Referendum 74 group, Catholics for Marriage Equality, delivered a sharp rejoinder to Tyson and his fellow bishops in the Archdiocese of Seattle and the Diocese of Spokane, who have issued letters and videos opposing marriage equality.

“We are shocked when we read the language and examples used by our bishops to incite fear in our Catholic brothers and sisters if Referendum 74 passes:  The message of Jesus is love and compassion, not fear,” said Kirby Brown with Catholics for Marriage Equality Washington.

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  1. Want to teach your own beliefs and nothing else? Then stop taking government money. As long as you're doing that, you're subject to government law. Get used to it

    Posted by: Cody | Oct 8, 2012 6:01:20 PM

  2. Do they ALL have to look like closet cases? Could the Catholic Church possibly be more of a farce?

    Posted by: EchtKultig | Oct 8, 2012 6:01:48 PM

  3. Once again I ask..... How does allowing same-sex marriage stop opposite-sex couples from raising their own children?

    When a same-sex couple get married are they allowed to remove a child from a hetero couple to raise as their own? Is that what this guy is worried about? Does he think that same-sex couples (the small percentage that actually have children, about 20%) get their children by stealing them from happily married hetero couples?

    Posted by: Tim NC | Oct 8, 2012 6:18:35 PM

  4. These minions of the Papist God-figure in Vatican City are NOT Christians - they're evil acolytes of Satan who spread anti-Christian teachings cloaked in their twisted version of Christ's love. They should be ignored, at the least, and taxed by the government, at the most, for their "constant politicking" from the pulpit. To Hell with them and their bigoted policies.

    Posted by: HadenoughBS | Oct 8, 2012 6:24:20 PM

  5. Anything to divert attention from the pedophile problem running rampart through that Church.

    Posted by: Don | Oct 8, 2012 6:27:14 PM

  6. He's just upset because the more that homosexuality is understood and accepted the harder it will be for guys like him to prey on the young.

    And btw, catholics trying to stop non-catholics from marrying is an endangerment of "religious liberty".

    Why does anything the Catholic Church say or do have relevance? I don't know any gay catholics who want to get married in a catholic church, and the only Christian-identifying gays that I know who want to marry are going to get married, you know, in their own churches that already support equality and marriage for LGBT people.

    it's a non-freakin'-issue.

    what next, gentiles eating bacon is a threat to Judaism?

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Oct 8, 2012 6:29:16 PM

  7. Religion is just a hollow instrument of power having nothing to do with Being. Best to not follow the hollow.

    Posted by: s. | Oct 8, 2012 6:30:55 PM

  8. They all look like closet cases because they all ARE closet cases.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Oct 8, 2012 6:36:26 PM

  9. So many of these religious types need to learn M.Y.O.B.

    Posted by: Yupp | Oct 8, 2012 6:38:47 PM

  10. At what point should churches lose their tax-exempt status?

    They are taking a stand on a political issue and acting as a political support organization. If they want to maintain their tax status, they should not be allowed to practice political advocacy. Either that or willingly lose their tax status and be free to act like any other political organization.

    Why are my tax dollars going to support this?

    Posted by: gr8guya | Oct 8, 2012 6:42:52 PM

  11. I completely agree with the bishop in this case. My religion preaches that it is our duty to burn witches, heretics and unbelievers at the stake. But big government says that's illegal. Don't they know our founding fathers fought a revolution so that organized religion could set the rules that govern our society? If I can't burn heretics, my religious liberty is infringed.

    Posted by: Mike | Oct 8, 2012 6:44:11 PM

  12. Since there are many xian congregations that do conduct same-sex holy unions, theirs are the religious liberties being stomped on by the fascist Catholics.

    Posted by: David R. | Oct 8, 2012 6:46:33 PM

  13. And why are Catholic priests always such silly-looking things when Catholic-raised dudes (at least in NYC) are the hottest things ?

    Posted by: Yupp | Oct 8, 2012 6:55:28 PM

  14. Yep, they are always the victim.

    Posted by: DAN | Oct 8, 2012 6:56:24 PM

  15. idiot.

    Posted by: simon | Oct 8, 2012 6:57:41 PM

  16. At times like this I ask myself;

    "What would Mrs Jesus say ?"

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Oct 8, 2012 7:09:49 PM

  17. "endangers religious freedom" ?!

    "the right of a child to be known, loved and raised by his or her own mother and father in a stable home" ?!

    Where is the catholic church trying to put into state constitutions a ban on divorce? spouse & child abuse? dead-beat moms and dads? second-third-fourth marriages and step-children? Where is the catholic church trying to enact laws for a means-test for financial-home stability for any couple planning on having children? more children?

    Want to guarantee religious freedom? Mind your own Business. That's Business with a capital "B". And it's sacred. "BS"

    Posted by: Leslie | Oct 8, 2012 8:00:08 PM

  18. Religion has endangered the lives of countless millions of people who did not agree with or go along with their madness, in fact it has done more than endanger countless millions of people, men, women and children, it has murdered them in the name of the Christian Religion.

    Posted by: Bob | Oct 8, 2012 8:43:55 PM

  19. Let's face it, the reason why the Catholic Church or any church doesn't want gays to marry is they have nothing to hold over the people's head. When people find out that the rapture won't happen because gays are married they won't believe the garbage they preach every week.

    The Catholic Church is like the Republican Party, they have to use scare tactics to keep the minions in line.

    Posted by: macmantoo | Oct 8, 2012 9:10:04 PM

  20. If it endangers your religious liberty, all the better! You've got too much liberty given, criminal amounts. This is not a country founded upon your stupid beliefs, but that of free and individual thinkers wishing to have a say in the governing of their lives. Your delusion that you get a say in how I live and what I choose to do is the exact thing our ancestors fought to overthrow! If you don't like it, too bad, cry all you want, it's your right. Just like it's my right to say 'shut the hell up!'

    Posted by: Robert | Oct 8, 2012 9:19:35 PM

  21. LET'S UNDERSTAND THE REASON..... That church is based on PROCREATION, thus they fight contraception and abortion. The only procreation they want is WITHIN A MARRIAGE THAT PRODUCES CATHOLIC BABIES.
    All the arguing with them about right and wrong and fairness is stupid and a waste of time.

    Posted by: Bob | Oct 8, 2012 9:51:41 PM

  22. It's tiresome to hear RC bishops drone on about "religious freedom." They wouldn't know religious freedom if it bit them in the ass. To them, religious freedom is their license to impose their religious beliefs on everyone else: to hell with the religious freedoms of individual people, and to hell with religious freedom of other churches to solemnize legal same sex marriages, and to hell with women or men who want access to birth control through their insurance. And they do say that people who don't do what they tell them to do will go to hell.

    Posted by: john patrick | Oct 8, 2012 9:52:26 PM

  23. better title: "Closeted gay mens abstinence organization tells world out gay men are endanger their organization."

    Posted by: sameold | Oct 8, 2012 11:46:42 PM

  24. Society is changing and the church is no longer relevant. Bishops are scared. Finding real work in the real world is hard!

    Posted by: i could go on, but I won't | Oct 8, 2012 11:47:19 PM

  25. I almost soiled my panties when I first read the headline and thought it said "Washington Catholic Bishop Joseph Tyson: Gay Marriage Will 'ENGENDER Religious Liberty'".

    Posted by: The Inveterate Lurker | Oct 9, 2012 12:28:52 AM

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