Archbishop John Nienstedt will get an early Christmas present today in the form of 3,000 anti-gay marriage DVDs, some of the 400,000 he ordered sent to his flock in September.
A protest group called ReturnTheDVD planned to deliver the disks, along with handwritten messages, collected from Minnesota Catholics appalled by Nienstedt's actions.[jump]
The organization will also deliver a letter to the archbishop, telling him "the DVD conflicts with core Christian values of love, compassion, tolerance, and respect. Jesus' essential teaching is 'love one another.'"
The letter accuses the archdiocese of dehumanizing homosexuals, subtly endorsing bullying, blatantly endorsing bigotry, and spending $1 million that ought instead have gone to helping the downtrodden.
We ask, "Where, instead, are the DVDs on the bigger issues of loving and caring for your neighbor? Where is the DVD explaining the negative impact current U.S. economic policies have on the poor, not just here, but around the world?" We would like to add that even if you did choose to produce a DVD on these issues, we would be opposed to releasing it shortly before an election where it would so obviously be politically motivated.
Archdiocese spokesman Dennis McGrath will meet with the group inside the chancery in St. Paul. Nienstedt won't meet with them.
These are tough days for gay rights activists.
Republicans in the U.S. Senate appear to have wiped out any chance for a repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, despite Pentagon brass support for openly gay military men and women. Republicans now in control of the state Legislature will undoubtedly push for a gay marriage ban to the state constitution. And the work of Nienstedt and other conservatives helped engineer this year's Republican tide at the state Capitol.
Liturgical artist Lucinda Naylor, whose work has adorned the Basillica of St. Mary for years, lost her artist-in-residence position there when she announced an effort to collect some of the DVDs so she could turn them into a sculpture. She wanted to express something more positive than than the systematic injustice her church was inflicting on some of its members.
The result was the The Wave, and The Wailing Wall Quilt, which is now on display at All God's Children Metropolitan Community Church, 3100 Park Ave. South, Minneapolis.
With that, Naylor said she's bowing out of the issue for now.
"I guess the one refrain I keep hearing myself saying through all this is, "you know something's wrong when the Church is ruling with fear instead of guiding with love,'" she told us in an e-mail last night.