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April 14, 2012 at 4:00 PM

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Anti-gay marriage petitions enter Catholic Church

Gay-bashing doesn’t belong in church

As a practicing Catholic, married and a proud father of two sons, I was horrified to learn that Archbishop J. Peter Sartain has plans to implement what amounts to a church-sponsored gay-bashing campaign. [“Church mixes it up with politics,” NWWednesday, April 11.]

Whatever Sartain and Catholic officialdom thinks of gay people, the proposed inauguration of a petition drive to actively promote the rescinding of the gay-marriage act is a most misguided and contemptuous maneuver on the part of the institutional church in this region.

Sartain’s pernicious petition does not in any way conform to the ethos of love, toleration and compassion that so permeates the spirit of the Gospels. There are many gay Catholics, some of whom are priests and nuns — believe me, I know this for a fact. There are many devout and faithful Catholic married couples who have a child who is gay. Sartain and his ill-guided offense against the rights of gay people belittle and disrespect many who participate in the Catholic tradition, as well as those who are not Catholic.

If Sartain wished to mount a petition drive within the archdiocese he might have invited Catholics to sign a declaration opposing the human and fiscal waste of America’s hideous wars or the abominable divide that separates the rich and poor in our nation. Instead he chooses to diminish the lot of our gay friends, our gay fellow workers and our gay brothers and sisters.

— Joe Martin, Seattle

Politics undermines purpose of church

The article by Danny Westneat has me most upset and concerned. I have felt St. James Cathedral (and other churches, synagogues and mosques) to be a sanctuary, not only for me, but for others as well. A sanctuary where I could be in the presence of God for a while, away from the troubles outside, including all the dirt, accusations and innuendoes of politics. I also believe that the church must be separated from politics.

If our archbishop is now allowing signatures to be gathered in or around the church and the services therein, for or against any political matter, my sanctuary is gone. It does not matter to me if the cause is gay marriage or discrimination of any kind, it does not belong in the church. I am saddened, and I am experiencing a great loss. I don’t want to go back.

— Larry Clement, Seattle

Accounting for tax exemption status

The archdiocese has every right to engage in a political fight against gay marriage but it does so at some peril.

Churches currently hold tax-exempt status as religious institutions. If the archdiocese of Seattle and other religious groups sponsor political actions such as petition drives against certain laws then perhaps it is time to revisit the privilege of tax exemption.

— Ann Horwitt, Seattle

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