Today I offered my resignation as executive director of the Christian Civic League of Maine if the Catholic Bishop of Portland would step up and lead in the fight against the “gay rights” movement. He declared himself neutral on the Governor’s “gay” bill last week.
His spokesman, Marc Mutty, told a Portland Press Herald writer that the neutrality of his boss was the result of my leadership of this cause. Mutty told the writer that the Bishop was going to be opposed to the Governor’s bill. He changed his mind because of little ole me. Mutty implied without specifics, apparently, that my leadership is hurting Maine.
Since these remarks are attributed to the official lobbyist for the Bishop they must be taken seriously. I am not proud. This political contest is brutal, and I know I’m not perfect. I know that my warts and weaknesses show through, and cause problems for many involved.
I am more convinced of the rightness of the cause than ever before in my life, and more committed to it. And that is why it is so important for me to ride loose in the saddle, as they say. I dare not become too rigid in the saddle. That is a pose for ceremonial occasions. It is death in a fight.
Here is what was reported in today’s online newspaper published by the Christian Civic League of Maine. It is called the RECORD.
According to the Portland Press Herald quoting lobbyist Marc Mutty the Catholic Diocese of Portland refuses to participate in the Coalition for Marriage because of Mike Heath. The Diocese is neutral on "gay rights." According to the paper they would have opposed the bill if it weren't for Mike Heath. The League thinks this position is curious. There are many Catholics in Maine. Bishop Malone could put a stop to the "gay" political agenda single handedly. He won't.
Heath today offered to resign his post as executive director of the Christian Civic League of Maine if that would pave the way for Bishop Malone to personally attend the Coalition for Marriage Rally on April 28, 2005 and pledge his support to the effort to stop the "gay" political agenda and protect marriage in Maine. Heath thinks Malone should support the People's Veto. He said, "This has never been about me. If I am in the way of stopping this agenda then I want to be the first one to remove the obstacle." Heath continued, "If the Bishop won't help protect Maine from this ideology of evil then we WILL do it without him."
I don’t agree with all the theological positions of the Catholic Church and the Catholic Church must not be given veto power over who leads the League. I am not the spokesperson for any church. I lead a private non profit group that has a proud history of practicing good citizenship in Maine. I am a small player really.
The press makes things seem different than they are. No surprise there. The League is an effective advocate in a media culture that polarizes to get the sale, to jazz things up. We are very good at engaging that press culture.
The fact of the matter is that there are many Catholic citizens in Maine. They believe in marriage. Their recently deceased Pope John Paul II wrote of the “same sex marriage” agenda before he died. He described it as an “Ideology of evil.” One man, because of the nature of the Catholic Church (it is hierarchical) could stop the “gay agenda” dead in its tracks by working alongside the League. That man is Bishop Richard Malone, the new Bishop of Portland. He is the state’s top ranking Catholic.
The Diocese has worked alongside the League in the past. We collaborated in the partial birth abortion fight. We lost by a small margin because we compromised in the final weeks of the campaign. We were too pragmatic and didn’t sharpen our moral edge enough.
There is absolutely NO REASON why the Diocese of Portland shouldn’t be a full partner in the people’s veto of “gay rights” and the Coalition for Marriage. The only reason that has been given publicly that makes any sense to me is that they view me and/or the League as too “hot,” too controversial.
I found the Bishop’s statement of neutrality to be totally unsatisfying from a moral, theological and legal perspective. If the Governor’s bill will lead to “same sex marriage” (he admits that in the statement) then he should be with the League in the Coalition for Marriage helping to stop the governor’s bill. The Bishop’s comments about “homosexual persons” and “discrimination” have all been debated ad nauseum in Maine for the past twenty years. Maine people have rejected them twice in statewide voting.
THIS IS ABOUT MARRIAGE. And Bishop Malone knows it.
If Marc Mutty is right, and I am the reason that the state’s largest church won’t stand up and defend the institution of marriage then, obviously, I must get out of the way.
That is why I offered my resignation.
God be with the people of the great state of Maine.
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