Archbp. Nienstedt on anti-bullying bill, linked to same-sex “marriage”

Archbishop Nienstedt of St. Paul & Minneapolis stands up again!

Catholic Church ramps up opposition to Minnesota anti-bullying bill

By Beth Hawkins

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has come out strongly against proposed anti-bullying legislation, linking it to the push to legalize same-sex marriage.

Calling it an extension of the push to legalize same-sex marriage in Minnesota, the Catholic Church is urging parishoners to call on lawmakers to reject an anti-bullying law.

According to a column in the Catholic Spirit, the official publication of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, the proposed Safe Schools legislation is an “Orwellian nightmare” that would “usurp parental rights” and create “re-education camps.”

The column was written by Jason Adkins, executive director of the Minnesota Catholic Conference, which represents all Catholics dioceses in the state.

In addition to imposing burdensome legal mandates on parochial schools, the Roman Catholic Church also has argued in communications to parishioners that the law would unfairly discriminate against students who oppose same-sex marriage and other LGBT rights.

“The bill’s proponents want to require private schools to follow the mandates of the law as well,” an action alert from the Minnesota Catholic Advocacy Network warned. “If a Catholic school refuses to comply, its students could lose their pupil aid, such as textbooks, school nurses, and transportation.”

(While private schools in Minnesota do not receive per-pupil tuition dollars per se, they do receive many of the same ancillary funds as public schools.)

Separate, parallel bills creating and funding the Safe and Supportive Schools Act are in the final stages of going to the floors of the Senate and House of Representatives for a vote by the full membership. Passage roughly along party lines is expected.

At 37 words long, Minnesota’s current anti-bullying statute is frequently described as one of the weakest in the nation. It doesn’t define bullying and harassment or require districts to track or report complaints or mandate efforts toward creating healthy school climates.

The proposed measure is based on the work of a task force appointed by Gov. Mark Dayton in the fall of 2011, after the GOP-dominated Legislature rejected efforts to strengthen the law. A wave of student suicides in the Anoka-Hennepin School District had drawn wide attention to the bullying issue.

Last August, the task force submitted its recommendations, along with a plea for policymakers to act on them with “a strong sense of urgency.”

Among other best practices, the panel looked closely at the terms of a settlement among Anoka-Hennepin, a group of students who filed a civil rights lawsuit in U.S. District Court here and the U.S. departments of Justice and Education. That agreement had been hailed as a potential national model.

The arguments raised by opponents of the Anoka-Hennepin settlement, most of them religious conservatives and proponents of conversion, or “pray away the gay” therapy, mirror those now being advanced by the archdiocese.

The Catholic Church has gone a step further, however, in linking the issue to same-sex marriage. The Archdiocese spent at least $650,000 in 2011 and 2012 campaigning to secure a constitutional ban on gay marriage; numerous dioceses and Catholic groups around the country donated hundreds of thousands of dollars more.

“The redefinition of marriage should not be seen as a stand-alone act,” the Catholic Spirit’s March column explained. “It is the harbinger of broader social change aimed at creating gender and sexual ‘freedom’ and breaking down the supposedly repressive social norm of heterosexual monogamy. And it is accompanied by other significant pieces of legislation working their way through Minnesota’s Legislature that should be resisted just as vigorously as same-sex ‘marriage.’”

Specific language in the bill protecting students from religious harassment and recognizing their constitutional right to free religious speech hasn’t satisfied critics, who have warned that schools will be forced to “teach same-sex marriage.” Both the recognition of same-sex marriage and the Safe Schools legislation will protect select groups of individuals at the cost of the rights and safety of others, the Archodiocesan communications argue.

“If marriage is redefined, the coercion of silence will enter the legal sphere, where real penalties will befall those so-called ‘bigots’ who ‘discriminate’ by clinging to the traditional definition of marriage,” the Catholic Spirit said. “The schools are the ideal place to foster this new regime of ‘tolerance,’ and forcefully suppress any bad thoughts or ‘hate’ speech that may emerge.”  [That sounds right.]

The arguments are buttressed by testimony from Star Tribune columnist Katherine Kersten and from University of St. Thomas professor Michael Stokes Paulsen, described as a nationally recognized constitutional law expert.


Read the rest there.  It is interesting.

Creeping incrementalism, friends.

Of course now the left, liberals and promoters of unnatural acts will accuse the Church of being in favor of bullying.

Fr Z kudos to Archbp. Nienstedt and the Minnesota Catholic Conference.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Anchorite says:

    Thanks for posting this. Kudos to Archbp. Nienstedt and the Minnesota Catholic Conference indeed!

  2. Facta Non Verba says:

    Between Governor Dayton and the DFL majority in the state legislature, I think this law will pass handily. As a Minnesotan, I don’t understand what possesses my neighbors to vote the way they do, and I sometimes wonder if there is something wrong with my thinking. I take comfort in and am proud of the leadership of Archbishop Nienstedt. He has become the local punching bag of the press in town, but thankfully, he doesn’t back down.

  3. Elodie says:

    “If a Catholic school refuses to comply, its students could lose their pupil aid, such as textbooks, school nurses, and transportation.”

    See, people? THIS is why we should cling to (or try to regain) our autonomy. We shouldn’t want their vouchers, government textbooks, the local school district’s buses. No tax deductions for homeschooling expenses. Break this cycle of dependence and they won’t be able to hold this kind of stuff over us. Autonomy, autonomy, autonomy.

  4. Hieronymus says:

    God bless Archbishop Nienstedt. He has found himself in the cross hairs quite a bit up there and is courageously staying the course. I think the exchange of Flynn for Nienstedt was one of the great successes of Benedict’s papacy.

  5. inexcels says:

    Speaking as someone who had a lot of personal experience on the receiving end of bullying in my grade school years, I am totally opposed to anti-bullying legislation. At best, it is useless. You cannot legislate away bullying. Lawmakers intelligent enough to realize that instead use “anti-bullying” as a blind to try to sneak other agendas in under the radar. At present, that mostly means brainwashing kids into accepting SSM, even though such efforts sadly border on the redundant at this point.

  6. monmir says:

    I agree, it has been my position for a long time. Same with medical services.

  7. Gail F says:

    I was bullied as a child, when I was in fourth grade. I was not a strange kid, I was just the one who got picked on that year. The bullying ended that year (it was someone else’s turn the next year) but no one spoke to me in fifth grade. Then we switched to a different school and I made lots of new friends. The anti-bulling stuff they do at schools is crap.
    Moreoever, a LOT of it is pushed by well-funded gay rights activist organizations. They don’t want to stop bullying, they want to teach kids that homosexuality is equivalent to heterosexuality. I know that sounds paranoid, but they’re quite open about it — read their websites. They say exactly what they want to do and how they plan to do it. People are worried about bullies, so they hire these groups and buy their materials. I had a long talk with a guy from one of these organizations, he seemed very sincere. But he told me that they don’t teach that bullying anyone for any reason is wrong, and that kids need to be nice to everyone. They teach why each TYPE of bullying is wrong — focusing on homosexuality. And the reason it’s not nice to call someone gay is that there’s nothing wrong with being gay, and gay kids are oppressed by anyone who says so, so instead of bullying gay kids you should celebrate how great they are — not as PEOPLE, but specifically as “gay” people.

  8. frjim4321 says:

    Of course now the left, liberals and promoters of unnatural acts will accuse the Church of being in favor of bullying.

    Well, the church is obviously not in favor of bullying, but I suspect this approach will backfire because (1) it really does nothing to advance the argument, nobody is going to change their mind either way because of this ill-advised intervention and (2) demonstrating such callous indifference to the well-documented and widespread practice of bullying, especially against GBLTQ youth will do very little to improve the public persona of this prelate, in fact the opposite will be true.

    What this looks like to me is this bishop is pushing a “pro straight marriage” agenda by placing already vulnerable children at greater risk. I desperately hope that he will not have blood on his hands as a result.

  9. JacobWall says:

    Legislation of this sort was voted in last year in Ontario. When my 5-year-old child’s school subsequently started following up with certain activities, people were surprised that I was complaining about the fact that the eighth graders were marched around the village on gay-pride day carrying rainbow flags. Officially, it was a tour of the town. But these kids LIVE IN this village that has a total of 6 small streets. They don’t need a tour – especially not carrying rainbow flags on gay-pride day. No mention was made of PRIDE but I’m sure it was no coincidence.

    Later the same year, the school had an anti-bullying day to celebrate/implement the new law. All the children (including my son) were supposed to wear a pink shirt. I don’t have anything against pink shirts per se, but considering the focus of the new law on homosexuality (which is repeated more than any other word,) the whole thing seemed rather suspicious. Again, people were surprised that I questioned the idea. “You’re not against bullying?” people asked. I pointed them to the recently passed law to see for themselves that it had nothing to do with bullying, but I don’t think they could be bothered.

    To make it all even more demented, this is a village where most of the kids in the school are very conservative Mennonites. They don’t read the news, and they don’t know what’s going on. They don’t know what rainbows on gay-pride day mean or even what the gay-pride movement is. I can’t say for sure, but I couldn’t help getting the disgusting feeling that some sick, twisted person who had planned the events was getting a kick out of watching all these traditional, conservative Mennonite kids from the countryside whose parents don’t know better unknowingly support gay pride.

    These laws are not about bullying; in fact, if I remember correctly, the word “bullying” doesn’t even turn up – not in the title nor in the text. They are “accepting schools” laws. In Ontario, it is now obligatory to have gay-straight alliances, even in schools where ALL the children are prepubescent. So, the law is basically making it obligatory to teach 5-year-olds that they are gay.

    The promotion and press around the bills throws the word bullying around as “protection.” If they associate the law with bullying (even though no mention of bullying is made in the law) then they shame anyone who opposes it. They also shame any subsequent government which tries to repeal it.

    And no one notices …

    Thank God for Archbp. Nienstedt.

  10. Giuseppe says:

    There is nothing crueler than children and adolescents. My grade school/middle school was a living hell. I prayed that my suffering would unite with that of Christ on the cross to free souls from purgatory. At some point, around 10 or 11, I realized that my tormentors would probably go to purgatory and that some future kid like me who was having the crap beaten out of him would wind up offering his suffering for their souls. I was introduced to irony at a young age.

    While I don’t want to outlaw bullying, I would like to see anoyone who makes fun of a speech impediment and calls a kid “sissy” or “faggot” to be punished to such a degree that such cruel behavior is shunned and ostracized instead of being ignored or rewarded with silent praise. I used to pray that my tormentors would die of a horrible disease. I took comfort in the fact that their souls were probably rotten. I have since learned to pray for those I hate. It’s been a helpful life lesson, actually: if I hate someone, I should be praying for them. Bullies taught me that life can be unbearably cruel. The only true goodness is outside of this world, with God in heaven.

    So I don’t care about the anti-bullying law. As long as it is acceptable to call someone a ‘sissy’ or a ‘faggot’ or make fun of a lisp or a stutter, then kids will suffer. And as long as bullies are hailed as normal boys, then the cosmic cycle of purgatorial souls being freed by the suffering of bullied children will continue. There’s a reason Jesus wanted the children to come to him – they can be far more cruel than most adults I have known.

  11. Medjugorje Man 07 says:

    Facta-Non- verba I’m with you. The Archbishop is the only Ray of hope in this State!

  12. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Giuseppe, I see what you’re sayinf. But in my humble opinion, the problem is not the words used, or behavior mocked, etc. The problem is that the bully makes his victim feel hated; and he’ll always find a way to do so, even a legal way if he thinks it fit to look for one.

    I hate to moralize, but: you actually took comfort in that their souls were, as to you, probably rotten?

  13. Scott W. says:

    What this looks like to me is this bishop is pushing a “pro straight marriage” agenda by placing already vulnerable children at greater risk. I desperately hope that he will not have blood on his hands as a result.

    Tommyrot. Anti-bullying legislation is the equivalent of throwing virgins down a well in order to have good crops.

  14. PA mom says:

    Why not have the Catholic schools declare the upper hand and state that they have in hand the issue of bullying, which is why so many people desire to attend their schools instead of public. Bring into the State floor examples of students who left public schools due to bullying and found their happiness there in Catholic schools.
    Explain repeatedly but simply that it is because all children are created in the likeness of God, and loved by Him.

  15. Supertradmum says:

    Thank you for posting this. Last year, I thought Catholics were entering persecution stage four, which is the legalization of fines and imprisonment of those who hold Catholic teaching. I believe this by observing the movement of laws which will impact Catholics both in America and in Great Britain.

    As to bullying, no offense, but this is part of growing up. Even in elementary parish schools in the 1950s and 1960s, kids were being bullied for their names (“Miller-killer”), for being skinny, for not being athletic, and for not being Protestant by Protestant kids on the way home. My dad inthe 1930s, was stoned almost daily by the Lutherans for being Catholic. Hey, we overreact to this phenomenon and parents should mind their own business in most cases, as my parents did, unless one of the brothers was being beaten up, which one was by a neighborhood bully. Then, parents talk to parents, not to school officials.

    The gay rights people have looked at the few kids who have committed suicide because of “gender bullying” or “gay bashing”. We make too many laws based on a few sad cases. Thank God for this good bishop.

  16. eben says:

    Elodie got it drop dead correct; the Orthodox Roman Catholic Church in the U.S. will have to go entirely autonomous if it intends to hold fast to its core beliefs and values. Ultimately, I think Benedict foresaw this when he spoke of a future of a much reduced Church, one that’s forced to return to its roots of simplicity. But I also believe it will, in the long run, make the Church much stronger, the faithful much more devoted and much more attractive to those seeking to escape the nihlism of the rapidly developing Pagan nation in which it finds itself implanted. The Church has survived persecutions before and it will again. So, in answer to the question Fr. Z posed in his post about a new book that laments the passing of the Catholic cultural roots, i.e., will the Church in the U.S. survive? I firmly believe it will. The other question of course is, will the U.S. survive? I’m rather doubtful about that. Or perhaps, the better answer may be that the U.S. will survive in a form so alien to Roman Catholics that we’ll have little interest in identifying with it.

  17. LarryW2LJ says:

    “You cannot legislate away bullying” and “Autonomy, autonomy, autonomy”.

    These go hand in hand. This nation has gotten SO soft! The Founders would be embarrassed to see what we’ve become. We’ve come to depend on the government for everything. These “bullying laws” are just another step towards the government telling you what you can/cannot teach your kids. I am all for teaching kids that bullying is wrong; but it is YOUR responsibility as parents, not the State’s. It’ s YOUR responsibility to see that your kids are growing up to be good, law abiding citizens – not the schools.

    My kids will NOT become members of The Collective. They are being taught to think for themselves and to value and adhere to their Catholic Faith – even if that means going against what our “polite society” dictates.

  18. MichaelJ says:

    frjim4321, prove it. I deny your gratuitous assertion that there is “well-documented and widespread practice of bullying, especially against GBLTQ youth “. If it is “well documented”, you should be able to cite several independent sources, no?

  19. Supertradmum says:

    LarryW2LJ, Bravo. Parents have created hot-house plant kids. As a former teacher, my job was to help the parents train the child, not to do it for them.

    Nanny states….in the USA and abroad are destroying personal responsibility. But, our greatest popes prophesied this: Pius IX, X, XI, XII, Leo XII and others. One cannot be a Catholic and a socialist, period.

  20. Imrahil says:

    I do tend to agree with you, dear @Supertradmum,

    only that although I think this public outlawing of bullying undue*, still it should be remembered that being constantly bullied is heavily annoying, and far more so (which fact prompted this comment) than being occasionally beaten up. Indeed the childhood fights (or at least the romantic version we grew up with, such as presented in The Flying Classroom) are often fought with a very chivalrous pathos, and – not discussing the moral obligation the Christian boy perhaps has to stay away from them – cannot without danger be cut out of the growing-up of a boy by public coercion all over society in general.

    Indeed, if not a) morality forbids it or b) closed-institutionalizing is the modern reward for it (which is a shame even if morality forbids it), an appropriate method against bullying would be to fetch some friends and beat the bullies up.

    The other method, which seems to work surprisingly well, is to send the victim to another school, or even class within the same school. (The bullies are not rotten, ninety-something percent of the times, after all.)

    * The problem is that you cannot on such a large scale command charity. And this is what this is about; there is no difference at all between “you f- n-” said to a black boy and “what are you to think I should care about you“. If I was the victim, I’d hate both, but still by an inch prefer the first.

  21. Hieronymus says:

    Elodie, et al:

    The money the Catholic schools get is not “State Money” — there is no such thing. They are getting a portion of the money back that Catholics have paid into the system for education. If they get nothing from the state then the parents of their students are paying twice the tuition. They are paying for the homosexual agenda to be pushed on all their non-catholic neighbors, then they are paying for their own kids to get a Catholic education (I leave aside the question of whether they are actually getting what they pay for at most Catholic schools).

    We should have no problem with people that pay into the system taking whatever they can get back out of it. It is their money!!!! If Catholic parents can continue to benefit from some of the money the state steals from them, they should by all means do so. They should be brave enough to cut off the reimbursement when the moral cost of it becomes unacceptable — which would be the case here if legislation passes — but that should not stop them from fighting to maintain the current system where the state does give some of their money back.

    The current tax structure leaves far less disposable income for people to pay for education. If Catholic schools do not benefit at all from tax dollars, tuition prices increase and an overtaxed population can’t afford to pay the higher price. The end result is that Catholic schools close.

  22. Giuseppe says:

    @Imrahil – Yes. I found it comforting to believe that God did not will my suffering, but rather that Satan took hold of the souls of the tormentors and acted through them. Children are by no means as innocent as we like to believe. Satan takes advantage of this innocence and works his wiles on them early and often.

  23. Blog Goliard says:

    …they shame anyone who opposes it. They also shame any subsequent government which tries to repeal it.

    I often wonder whether anti-bullying crusades were expressly designed to empower grownup bullies–who want to get their way in society by using shame, and misdirection, and delegitimization of people with other views, instead of bothering with tiresome things like rational persuasion or tolerance of dissent–or whether that was just a happy coincidence.

    Either way, the whole “anti-bullying” thing has always struck me as impressively Orwellian.

  24. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Giuseppe,

    I’m sure you’re not saying that your enemies were actually possessed?

    And then, I’d have without hesitation said myself that children can be cruel… only it is something more difficult than that. For they are cruel alongside with being (comparatively) innocent, (certainly) amiable, and regularly highly moralistic, all in one person. Sometimes things are not easy.

    And normally it is also this: Separate the bully from his companions and he’ll speak as if he was your friend (and that means each of a given normal bullying group). Sometimes things are not easy.

    Then of course, God did not will your suffering with primary will (because it was suffering), and He certainly willed it with permissive will (because you suffered it). I somehow fail to see how the degree of their wickedness (which, in fact, seems to harsh a word for me) comes into play here.

    Somehow I have the feeling that you’ll greet them in Heaven as good old schoolclass comrades.

    As for the horrible disease preceding – I hope you first checked with your Confessor before you went to take up as powerful and scary a weapon as a curse, even if you thought it a just curse? (A self-defense insult, a self-defense punch-up would, to me certainly, seem much lighter actions on your part than actually and with intent cursing them.)

  25. Torpedo1 says:

    God bless Bishop Neinstedt! But Fr. Z, you’re absolutely right in that the local papers, especially the Strib, will say that the Church is mean and against anti-bullying laws. Personally, the reason that keeps kicking around in my mind for not liking this legislation is simply that it’s passing another law when we don’t like something. My question is, where are the parents? I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed a time in which most parents had no idea what was going on with their kids and more frightening, didn’t seem to care. How can you not teach your child that it is not ok to be cruel to someone? I was bullied as a child and through highschool and yes it was terrible, but if all they’re concentrating on in my state is bullying which concerns kids who have SSa, then other kids who are getting bullied for many other reasons will be left out and will suffer more. Also, what is a law going to do? How will it be enforced at schools? it just seems, so insipid to me, nothing with real teeth, real punshiments and there is no responsibility from the parents. It’s the ultimate expression of, “can’t someone else do it?” Heaven forbid that parents actually look after and raise their own children. nah, let’s just pass a law and someone else will take care of my kids for me when they get in trouble for bullying. Sorry, but that felt good to get that out.

  26. BLB Oregon says:

    –“Creeping incrementalism, friends”–

    In the last several years, it seems more a gallop than a creep…

  27. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Fr. Z observes, “Creeping incrementalism, friends.” Indeed!

    JacobWall comments on the Canadian situation. Are any schools there in any way or degree exempted, even those where parents in no way “benefit from some of the money the state steals from them” (as Hieronymus puts it)?

    If so, that will surely be ‘fixed’ in a subsequent ‘increment’!

    “How will it be enforced at schools?”, asks Torpedo1. With the maximum of flexibility and selective rigour, I have no doubt.

    Perhaps everyone is already familiar with this, but in case some are not, it is worth noting what, it would seem, is readily meant by ‘anti-bullying’:

    (Ah, but that comes from Fox News, and therefore presumably falls under ‘license to bully the messenger’…)

  28. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    By the way, and not too tangentially I hope, we now find ourselves between the tenth anniversary of the approval by the Sovereign Pontiff John Paul II, in the Audience of March 28, 2003 and of the publication in Rome, from the Offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, June 3, 2003, Memorial of Saint Charles Lwanga and his Companions, Martyrs, signed by Joseph Card. Ratzinger, Prefect, and Angelo Amato, S.D.B., Titular Archbishop of Sila, Secretary, of ‘Considerations regarding proposals to give legal recognition to unions between homosexual persons’.

    Who will – or, may we hope, may – be giving due public consideration to this anniversary?

  29. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    BLB Oregon aptly observes, “In the last several years, it seems more a gallop than a creep…” – or so this bucket-full of French increments seems to suggest:

  30. Medjugorje Man 07 says:

    Voris anyone?

  31. Microtouch says:

    When we the Catholic Church accepts government aid then we are forced to play by their rules. I call that dancing with the devil. Sigh… Will we ever learn?

  32. Pingback: Wednesday Update on Marriage and Same-Sex Attraction - Big Pulpit

  33. Kathleen10 says:

    Creeping incrementalism is right. Only now the creeps are more like lunges!

    In our school, the disclaimer that touts what the district does NOT discriminate against now includes more than “sexual orientation”, it amazingly includes “gender expression” as a protected class. So if Mr. Bill is a woman on Monday, but a man on Tuesday, said school will not “discriminate” against him. This leaves a school wide open for lawsuits if they try to prohibit this behavior. It is only a matter of time before someone gets around to challenging it. And challenge it they will. This is what happens when same-sex “marriage” is foisted on a state by the actions of ONE “fill in” judge.
    I do not think this is what our founders intended.
    Keep fighting the good fight!

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