Letters for September 2 

Readers sound off on Bishop Sal, gay marriage, East Bay parking, "Smart Growth," and union leadership.

"The Father of Proposition 8," Feature, 8/12

Let's Rally

Thank you so much for your piece on the bigot bishop who is trying to keep me from marrying. I would like to organize a group to show the Oakland congregation that there are those disgusted by this man. If there is any way you can let me know if there will be rallies or marches. I plan on attending services to disrupt in any way I can. Thank you.

Adam Fitch, Emeryville

Civil Marriage vs. Religious Marriage

One hardly knows where to begin after reading Chris Thompson's article on Oakland's new bishop. I disagree with the idea that the gay community (referred to as the other side) was caught sleeping on Proposition 8. We knew Prop. 8 was coming, but what we were unprepared for was the vicious lies and propaganda that would be perpetrated by the anti-marriage forces. Please let me set the record straight.

The word, "marriage" covers a lot of territory. Marriage in church is a sacrament. Marriage at your county clerk's office is a legally binding contract which entitles the parties to a whole host of government benefits. What was at issue in Proposition 8 was civil marriage and not religious marriage. Therefore, it is totally inappropriate for churches to get involved in civil marriage because civil marriage has nothing to do with the Catholic Church or any other church for that matter. The idea that civil marriage could affect religious institutions is nothing less than paranoia. The well established legal concept of freedom of religion protects religious institutions to decide who gets the sacrament and who does not. To represent anything else is nothing less than a lie and a sin. Gay marriage has noting to do with the decay of society but has everything to do with the gay community growing up and taking its rightful place in society and stepping up to the responsibilities that go with it.

George Collins, Berkeley

His Strength Is a Gift

Bishop Salvatore Cordileone participated from the beginnings of signature gathering on petitions, to the ultimate passing of Prop. 8 into constitutional law. This was the only aspect of Chris Thompson's article that was completely accurate. Bishop Cordileone was a humble servant in the campaign to protect marriage's historic definition. He is unapologetically loyal to the teachings and traditions of the Catholic Church, and his gentle strength was a gift to the broad coalition of organizations known as ProtectMarriage.com. The people of the Diocese of Oakland are fortunate to have the leadership, intelligence, and quick, compassionate smile of Bishop Cordileone. The readers of the East Bay Express are much less fortunate to have the biased "writing" of Chris Thompson.

Ron Prentice, Chairman, ProtectMarriage.com Coalition

Marriage and Natural Law

Thank you for your story about Bishop Cordileone and Proposition 8. I am grateful that you emphasized his compassion and pastoral concern for homosexual persons. There is no guile in the bishop, simply a concern for all souls who are placed in his care. His obligation, to speak the truth in love, is to God, not man; your story seemed to illustrate that obligation, thank you.

To those who perceive the preservation of natural marriage as an assault on their dignity and rights, it is important to understand that marriage is a subsidiary society that 1) predates the state and 2) is rooted in natural law. No court or legislative body can change that objective reality. To do so ushers in a disordering of society that is destructive to everyone — homosexual and heterosexual; historically, this type of disordering has almost without exception led to totalitarianism. Perhaps the bishop is actually brilliant enough to know that the common good of all is served when natural marriage is preserved. After all, when was the last time you heard of a totalitarian society that tolerated open homosexuality?

Dolores Meehan, San Francisco

Where Are Your Tithings Going?

I was deeply disturbed to read about Bishop Sal's (Salvatore Cordilieone) integral role in the Yes on 8 Campaign. How can a man of the church work to raise $40 million dollars to [take] away rights from people? How many migrant workers could have been fed with that $40 million dollars? How many job skills programs, ESL programs, health and wellness programs could have been funded with the money that was used to strip gay families of legal protections and dignity? A man who works to take away people's rights, rather than uplift them and alleviate suffering, is not a man to be trusted, nor revered. There's nothing holy about his union with the Yes on 8 Campaign.

The fact that he invited Maggie Gallagher, who advocates the benefits of marriage but wishes to deny those benefits to same-sex couples, is egregious. I debated Maggie Gallagher at Brown University in Rhode Island in September 2006 and her arguments were disingenuous. The educated students saw through her insincerity when I invited her to explore our common ground in support of helping people save their marriages. In addition to a marriage equality advocate, I am also a psychologist and have taught marriage and family therapy to graduate-level counseling students for over a decade. Not surprising, she declined. Because her real interest was taking away rights from gay people, not supporting people, gay or straight, to have strong healthy relationships. How many free couples' communication workshops could have been offered with that $40 million dollars? How many conflict-resolution classes to reduce family violence could have been offered? Maggie Gallagher was more concerned with the reduction of white babies being born in Scandinavian countries, showing her other real agenda, white supremacy. 

But in the face of her disingenuousness and her inability to convince the brown students that they should be anti-gay marriage, she didn't give up. And these folks don't. They go back to their liar and mastermind another diabolical scheme to take away gay people's and women's rights. They cannot be underestimated. They are not just those kooky, religious people. They are formidable opponents with sinister agendas. I mean Bishop Sal was trying to deny communion to Catholic women who use birth control or have their man use a condom. Women, guess what Bishop Sal will be working on next? Shaming you and taking away your rights!

What kind of religious leader do you want to follow, one who helps, heals, and uplifts people or one who is committed to tearing down the human soul? Gallagher, Bishop Sal, and others like them have made it their life's work to take away LGBT people's rights.

Bishop Sal, I pray that you will stop misusing your power. I pray that you will have a change of heart and use your position and influence to help people like Jesus did. I also invite my Catholic friends and colleagues to examine carefully your investment in the Catholic Church. See where your tithings are going? Wouldn't you feel better knowing your church is using your money to feed, clothe, shelter, and educate people in need rather than being used to take away your gay friend's, family member's and colleagues' equality?

Davina Kotulski, Author of Why You Should Give A Damn About Gay Marriage, Oakland

Abolish Marriage

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