Best Villain - 2013
Archbishop John Nienstedt
In Minnesota's battle over same-sex marriage, no one has come out looking quite as diabolical as Archbishop John Nienstedt. Throughout the political debate, Nienstedt used his standing in the Catholic Church to bully proponents of marriage equality, donating more than $650,000 of church money to the anti-gay-marriage cause and demonizing any Catholics who dared question the doctrine. He ordered all clergy to join his crusade against gay marriage and threatened to remove one outspoken priest from his ministerial assignments if he didn't fall in line. Frankly, that would be bad enough, but last fall a letter surfaced that Nienstedt wrote to a woman who wanted acceptance for her gay son. The archbishop told her to reconsider. You know, rethink the whole loving her son for who he is thing. Her "eternal salvation may well depend upon a conversation of heart on this topic," he wrote. Now, disagreeing with gay marriage is one thing, but telling a mother she's doomed to damnation simply for loving her kid? That's just cold.