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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. Arguments in a similar (vacuous) tone -- that allowing someone else equal rights would diminish ours -- were used in England for about 350 years to justify not letting Catholics vote or hold office.

    The Catholic church either has a short memory, or doesn't understand the word irony, or sees nothing wrong with turning around and trying to repress others as it was repressed.

    And as for religious freedom, if the Catholic Church held all the cards, ask the souls of the tens upon tens of thousands of people that the church murdered during the various inquisitions.

    Posted by: Randal Oulton | Oct 9, 2012 1:18:07 AM

  2. So many Christians. So little tax paying. STFU.

    Posted by: ChrisQ | Oct 9, 2012 1:30:06 AM

  3. I have even heard, from reliable sources, that gay marriages will greatly increase global warming and cause the seas to rise higher and higher. Where is Noah? We are going to need his HELP!!! HELP!!! HELP!!!

    Posted by: andrew | Oct 9, 2012 1:40:07 AM

  4. Then who will proclaim the true meaning of marriage?"

    Posted by: Tennille Gorham | Oct 9, 2012 4:28:13 AM

  5. What about MY religious freedom? Mine has been taken away ever since the Catholic Church has gone on this weird rant against gay marriage. You know what, I've written the American Catholic Church leaders and my own Bishop, none of them answer my questions. So, I stopped giving money, at least until after the general election. I ask them, point-blank, that they want me to vote for a known heretic? They all fall silent. They know in their hearts they are betraying the beliefs of Jesus Christ. He is the reason I am in church, NOT because of some stupid politician. I also ask them how the pedophile priest problem is being solved...again, I am met with silence. As long as I am met with silence, the money stays in my pocket. Soon, very soon, they WILL get MY message.

    Posted by: millerbeach | Oct 9, 2012 5:27:09 AM

  6. Usually, I read the full text; this time I couldn't bring myself to. Just what does he know (assuming his vow of celibacy) about heterosexual sex and procreation?

    "[M]arried mothers and fathers provide a singular benefit to children..."
    In his idealized world, perhaps.

    "Recent attacks on churches, businesses and nonprofit organizations that express their conscientious objection to the redefinition of marriage..."
    I sincerely hope that with the exception of a few loonies, our side has always followed the lead of the SPLC: if you preach hate, you get listed as being hateful, and not because you differ on marriage equality. I'm not surprised he's lying. He has to.

    I'm sure, moreover, he doesn't know enough about history to know that marriage *has* been redefinied throughout history. Rome delights in rewriting history. (sigh)

    @MillerBeach: from your mouth to God's ears. I'm not holding my breath.

    Posted by: Diogenes Arktos | Oct 9, 2012 8:21:11 AM

  7. This Tyson dude only cares about his own religious liberty, and not the religious freedom of others.

    Posted by: Phil Brooke | Oct 16, 2012 4:38:55 PM

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