Kennedy to Cardinals: You're All Bigots!

“A vote for this amendment is a vote for bigotry, pure and simple.” Thus spoke Sen. Ted Kennedy in reference to the Marriage Protection Amendment being debated in the Senate today.

One cannot help but wonder what His Eminence Sean Patrick Cardinal O’Malley of Boston thinks of Sen. Kennedy’s thunderous pontificating. Cardinal O’Malley, along with all seven other U.S. Catholic cardinals, signed a statement on behalf of the Religious Coalition for Marriage supporting the amendment and urging the Senate to pass the measure along to the states for ratification.

Presumably, by Sen. Kennedy’s lights, Cardinal O’Malley and the three score other religious leaders who signed the Coalition statement all are bigots. This would include Cardinals Roger Mahony of Los Angeles and Theodore McCarrick of Washington, D.C., two liberal-leaning prelates not known for their right-wing zealotry. And doubtlessly Cardinal Adam Maida of Detroit, too, would be chagrined to find himself relegated to the company of the bigoted.

Among other notable bigots signing the Religious Coalition for Marriage’s pro-amendment statement are included Cardinals Egan of New York, Keeler of Baltimore, and George of Chicago; His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America; Bishop Charles E. Blake, First Assistant Presiding Bishop of the Church of God in Christ, a predominantly African-American denomination; the Most Reverend Jose H. Gomez, the Catholic bishop of San Antonio; Elder Russell M. Nelson, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; and Dr. Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention, with its associated 43,000 churches comprising the largest Protestant denomination—bigots all, according to the Sage of Hyannis.

Sen. Kennedy’s humbuggery is part of the narrative the mainstream media has adopted on the marriage amendment. Either it’s simply an expression of raw bigotry toward gay people, or it’s another example of the Republicans’ pandering to their conservative base to advance the party’s chances going into the November elections. This week’s vote on the amendment is all about Majority Leader Bill Frist’s presidential aspirations, and President Bush’s pro-amendment radio address Saturday and Monday’s marriage event in the White House are motivated solely by politics and meant to energize the social conservatives.

Again, it would probably come as a shock to Cardinals Mahony and McCarrick to discover that they have now been declared to be part of the Republican Party’s conservative voter base.

That there might be broad support for marriage that cuts across partisan and ideological lines is not part of the media’s narrative. Hence in the reporting on the run-up to the Senate vote the mainstream media largely have ignored the Religious Coalition for Marriage, an unprecedented coalition of the nation’s denominational leaders. Having notably left-leaning cardinals such as Mahony and McCarrick supporting the marriage amendment just cannot be made to fit into the media’s party line. So, the media simply ignore inconvenient facts that tend to undermine the approved version of events.

The elite media and windbag politicians like the aforementioned senator from Massachusetts cannot conceive of reasons why defending marriage against activist courts could be motivated by anything other that bigotry or cynical political pandering. It is inconceivable that the leaders of many of America’s largest churches representing perhaps 100 million people might actually believe marriage as the union of one man and one woman is the foundational institution of society and the best means for the bearing and rearing of children.

The Religious Coalition for Marriage, which brings together leaders from across the ideological and political spectrum, puts the lie to both Sen. Kennedy’s scurrilous remarks and the mainstream media’s approved narrative that this week’s debate is all about partisan politics—and nothing more. Therefore, it has to be ignored, or dismissed as bigotry.

(Editor’s Note: Mr. Lessner’s firm, Capital City Partners, has been working on this issue on behalf of the Religious Coalition for Marriage.)


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