Action Alert!

In New York and in Ireland, defenders of marriage asked to go away quietly

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Jan 20, 2014

If you enjoy the sound of reassuring words, President Obama’s proclamation for Religious Freedom Day might satisfy you. But if you think actions speak louder, these are troubling times.

Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York has declared that pro-lifers and defenders of marriage are not welcome in his state. Many people, myself included, are wondering when Cardinal Dolan will respond. Yet as my friend Bob Royal points out, Cardinal Dolan and other bishops have made many strong statements about religious freedom, and anyway this isn’t just a problem for Catholic bishops. It’s a problem for all Catholics, all pro-lifers, all defenders of marriage. Politicians only make statements of this sort when they believe they can make them with impunity; we need to prove that’s not so. As Royal puts it:

Pope Francis told the young people in Brazil for 2013 World Youth Day to “raise a ruckus.”
Well, here’s something to raise a ruckus about.

Things may have reached an even more dangerous stage in Ireland, if this op-ed column from the Irish Times is any indication. Una Mullally argues that, in the days leading up to a referendum on same-sex marriage, an “independent homophobia watchdog” should be set up to determine which arguments can be presented to the public, and which must be suppressed. “An enlightened Irish public is now overwhelmingly in favour of marriage equality,” Mullally claims. But she isn’t willing to take any chances; she doesn’t want an actual public debate preceding the vote. Having suggested that defenders of marriage should be muzzled, she concludes that they should “prepare for defeat, with dignity.” In this case “with dignity” sounds very much like a directive to go quietly. Which is what Governor Cuomo wants the same sort of people to do. You know: Don't raise a ruckus.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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