divisionThe Archdiocese of San Francisco, home to the head of the Catholic point man on marriage, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, mocked marriage equality advocates on its Facebook page last week. When less-than-kind messages predictably poured in, officials there cried foul, claiming anti-Catholicism and bigotry.

The gay rights group Human Rights Campaign encouraged marriage equality supporters to change their profile pictures to a red equals sign during the recent Supreme Court arguments around Prop 8 and DOMA. The Archdiocese riffed on that image, changing it first to a red plus sign and then to a red division sign with “Luke 12:51” below it. Here’s that verse:

Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division.

The Archdiocese’s spokesman, when asked about comments left in response to the image:

“We were slammed with some very ugly messages,” he said. “It was obviously an organized attack. It’s probably the same group that’s been attacking us. They are very anti-Catholic and very bigoted.”

There is, of course, legitimate concern that it is increasingly difficult to debate controversial issues in the public square without resorting to ad hominem attacks, slander, hyperbole, and even outright lies. There should always be room for reasonable, respectful dialogue on all sides of issues that affect how we order our lives.

But “anti-Catholic” and “very bigoted”?

Yes, some of the comments were probably ugly and hateful, but who feels sympathy for an institution of power, in this case the Catholic Church in San Francisco, when it seems to mock and ridicule a movement that many consider to be the civil rights issue of our time? Are their complaints simply a case of being able to dish it out but not take it in return? Or is this part of an emerging narrative on the right, in which some preach against same-sex marriage, sometimes using incendiary and hurtful language, and then act indignant when called out or taunted by opponents?

Categories: Institutions, Politics


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Michael J. O'Loughlin

Michael J. O'Loughlin

Michael J. O’Loughlin writes about religion and politics from Washington, D.C., paying close attention to the role of the Catholic Church in public life. His writing has appeared in Religion & Politics, the Jesuit magazine America, on BustedHalo.com, and in Duke Divinity School’s Faith & Leadership.


  1. Jean-Jacques Burlamaqui

    Same-sex marriage is an injustice, a tyrannical ploy being perpetrated upon our society, the pernicious consequences of which are simply mocked and laughed at by its supporters. Ignorance and prejudice have taken the place of knowledge and reason. Caprice and passion substituted for prudence and virtue. The happiness of society, the good of all families, and the welfare of mankind fall victim to the injustice of selfish love, which calculates every thing for itself while taking no notice of a child’s best interest or the public advantage of the government promoting ONLY the traditional family.

    In the eyes of a child, same-sex marriage appears adulterous by nature. Someone is not present in his/her home who is his/her true mother or father. No good can come from adultery, only broken homes and broken hearts. At best, an adoptive virtuous heterosexual man and woman can soften the evil sustained by children of adultery, but same-sex proponents want their adulterous families to be considered normal and “equal” to a monogamous heterosexual marriage — which study after study has proven to be the best environment for child-rearing. There is simply no virtue in ignorance, or in denying truth.

    Here are two truths regarding marriage: (1) A man creating a family with another man is not equal to creating a family with a woman, and (2) denying children parents of both genders at home is an objective evil. Kids need and yearn for both.

    Same-sex marriage in unconformable to the state of a rational social being, it is defective in principle, and has ONLY a deceitful appearance to young and old because it denies Natural Law. All babies grow up to eventually figure out that it takes a man and a woman to bring a new life into the world.

    At school, those kids who have two mothers or two fathers will be different, and the other children will notice that the child of a same-sex couple is different in many ways. Besides the obvious exclusion of either a mother or a father at home, a same-sex-marriage child is deprived of one necessary gender role model at home, and will undoubtedly interact differently than other children of his/her gender, and especially with regards to interacting with the opposite sex of his/her same-sex parents. It is without a doubt that these children will be recognized to be different by the children who have a mother and a father at home, and especially when they have both of their biological parents at home.

    In order to protect the child of a same-sex marriage from any perceived harassment, that child will become a special protected class in the eyes of the government. School officials will have to punish and “re-educate” any child who “offends” the protected-class child by simply expressing that it is strange that the child of the same-sex marriage is missing a mother or a father, or that the child acts in a manner unusual to his gender contemporaries.

    This unjust punishment to subvert the natural understanding of children is evidence enough that same-sex families do not follow core principles of Natural Law, and because same-sex marriage defies Natural Law, pernicious consequences will inevitably happen. To punish a child for saying what he knows is true (all children have a mother and a father) is nothing less than a tyrannical oppression to children who instinctively rely upon Nature’s Laws to help them understand life and natural consequences. Children will be coerced to accept as “natural” what are unnatural behaviors, and this challenge to their instinctual knowledge of right and wrong will result in confusion. A morally-confused child is more susceptible to evil and perversion than one who is confident in his knowledge of right and wrong. Evil-doers know this, and will thrive in a society that indoctrinates its children to see no inherent evil in disregarding Natural Law. Alas, those who support same-sex marriage have apparently fallen too far into the depravity of tolerating licentiousness themselves to realize or acknowledge the harm and injustice same-sex marriage imposes upon our children and thus our society. Society institutionalizes marriage to enforce the natural rights and responsibilities of the organic family unit.

    Marriage was instituted to protect the Natural Rights of children. Same-sex marriage ignores nature and tramples those rights in the name of “equality”.

  1. […] Preaching division division The Archdiocese of San Francisco, home to the head of the Catholic point man on marriage, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, mocked marriage equality advocates on its Facebook page last week. When less-than-kind messages predictably poured … Read more on Religion News Service […]

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