Nienstedt’s Antigay DVD Is Bullying

By Lavender November 4, 2010

Categories: Faith, Our Lives, Politics


Like most of you, I’ve had bullies on the brain lately. The stories of Justin Aaberg and the countless other teens who have taken their own lives this year not only leave me saddened, but also give me a chance to reflect.

I think about my own bullies: the handful of kids who called me “faggot” in the locker room or in the hallways between class. I think about my own bullying: the time I teased a “friend” to the point of tears. I learned a lot from both experiences. I know bullies. And I recognize bullying.

So, when I obtained one of the more than 400,000 DVDs on which Archbishop John Nienstedt implores Minnesota Catholics to support a state constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, I quickly was reminded that bullies don’t just hang out on the playground. In fact, those bullies are just kids. Whom they pick on and why has a lot more to do with their parents, society, and the messages they get from adults.

According to the The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English, to bully is “to use superior strength or influence to intimidate someone, typically to force him or her to do what one wants.”

It’s hard to see how the two-part, 18-minute, anonymously-funded DVDs could be described any other way. Nienstedt’s message, wrapped in the cloak of a gentle proscription from a caring leader, foments fear with falsehood after falsehood. Same-sex marriage somehow will lead to fatherlessness; family fragmentation; and—that evil of all evils—single-woman parenthood.

I still haven’t figured out the math on the last one. Two fathers creates more single mothers? Water into wine?

The pseudodocumentary from that stalwart of social science, the Knights of Columbus, ups the intimidation ante in the second half of the DVD with blatant lies and less-than-clever distortions about the impact of same-sex marriage on society. Pseudo-social-scientists casually ignore the breadth of research showing kids of gays and lesbian couples do just as well, if not better, than those raised by heterosexuals.

One woefully misinformed “expert” even invokes the ghost of Martin Luther King Jr. to make this point: If you don’t vote for a state constitutional ban on gay marriage, Minnesota Catholics, society will fail, and the world as you know it will be destroyed forever. And ever. And ever! Oh, and Jesus and King are going to come back, and they’re not going to be happy.

Thankfully, many Catholics have spoken out against Nienstedt and the DVD campaign, including brave Father Michael Tegeder, Pastor of St. Edward’s Church in Bloomington. In a recent editorial, he wrote, “There’s a lot of ignorance, and ignorance breeds fear and intolerance.” He goes on to remind Nienstedt that study after study has shown poverty dissolves many more marriages than same-sex couples ever did or will.

It’s easy for me, as an educated, critically-thinking adult, to reject Nienstedt’s arguments about same-sex marriage. Quite frankly, it’s easy for me to laugh at them, and hope that at some point, Saturday Night Live turns the thing into comedy gold.

While it’s easy for adults like me, think of children. Think of the tens if not hundreds of thousands of kids across the state who will watch this video, either unintentionally, or at the behest of their “concerned” parents, schoolteachers, or priests. Some will believe the lies it slyly tries to offer as truth.

Ultimately, gay kids will have yet one more reason to hate themselves, and bullies will have one more reason to attack their victims.

I’m pretty sure it’s just this kind of callous disregard for love and tolerance that once led Gandhi to exclaim, “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”


2 Responses to Nienstedt’s Antigay DVD Is Bullying

  1. Michael says:

    Dear Honorable Archbishop, Nov.,15,2010
    Thank you so much for your response. I can’t help but feel that this is a standard chain letter sent out with a personal touch by your lovely assistant but thank you so much for the acknowledgement. I would like to have a dialogue with the Honorable Archbishop. May I print for public view your comments or lack of, if we don’t have a discussion?

    I realize that, as an entity, the church has become bound by certain policies and procedures much like a large corporations are. However, the Catechism of the Catholic Church refers to homosexuality as a “disorder” or “condition.” Perhaps in less enlightened times when a tribes survival depended on their numbers – as reflected in the old Testament – then yes, procreation would have been regarded as very crucial to the tribes survival and homosexuality might have been frowned upon. But given the current over-population of this planet, I think it’s pretty safe to say procreation is no longer an issue and that “protecting” the sacred rite of marriage by making it exclusive to only male/female couples is redundant. Also, if procreating remains such an important factor in marriage – since when have gay men and woman not been able to procreate? They can and do procreate – as evidenced by the number of same sex couples with children – to say nothing of the fact that a large percentage of people in “straight” marriages with children are actually closeted homosexuals.

    Procreation is not sacred. LOVE IS IS SACRED. By judging and denying the right of marriage to same sex couples the Church is, in essence, denying God. Perhaps you could please clarify if God might view your views on “Sacredness” any differently than cross burning, white hooded clansmen. Does it matter to God? Does it then matter to you?

    I should think it would be in the best interest of the Church to begin recognizing marriages as being sacred to all as it would increase membership and perhaps cut down on sacred divorces. What has the church to really fear by extending God’s full love to EVERYONE? Is it simply a fear of decreased revenue? If it is true that the interest of the Catholic Church is more about economic gain, then God has gone right out the stained glass window.

    Are priests now essentially professional fund raisers? Is there no vestige of God’s unconditional love left in the church? Was it ever there to begin with? If you are to tell me that you are indeed spreading the love of Jesus, how does your exclusionary stance on homosexuals, including their rights to marry, perpetuate this? Let me answer the question: It doesn’t. What it does perpetuate, however, is prejudice and fear, bigotry, judgment, hostility, abuse, separateness. I think even you will have to admit that these qualities are not very Godly. In fact who needs hell when we keep perpetuating such fear and suffering right here on earth? So Archbishop, I want to invite you to the present moment and remind you that sex and sexuality are no longer “issues”. People are saying in fact that you are obsessed with the whole gay issue and it’s time you were resolved with whatever personal hold you have on this and let it go. Perhaps then you could began to be a living example to others of what unconditional love is.

    As such great teachers as Neale Donald Walsch, Louise Hay, Dr. Wayne Dyer, Baird Spalding and Eckhart Tolle have expressed to us there are essentially only two emotions we can be motivated by: Love and fear. There are results to either choice. Which is the church being motivated by when it denies the love of God to all people? I will answer that question: The catholic church has/had survived on peoples fears for 2 thousand years. But whether the church wants to admit it or not, this too shall pass. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said: “A lie cannot live forever.” True love will prevail – as God is Love and Love is Truth. More and more peolpe are questioned established, official “truths” rather than blindly accepting them. The facts and statistic’s speak for themselves. Spiritually is up and organized religious fears are down. In my own lifetime I have seen homosexuality removed from the records as a medical pathology – but there is much more to come. Check out my website to learn more;

    There is no honor in living life in fear John. Living life in fear is hell. The church has been a major contributor in establishing hell on earth by treating gay people as second class citizens. Is it any wonder why so many people are removing themselves from the church and seeking a higher/truer understanding of God? Is it any wonder why I cannot bring myself to address you by your given title as “Honorable”? I do not see that you are in any way deserving of that title. There is no honor in living a life in fear and then spreading that fear in the name of God. As me and my fellow mechanics in the shop might say: “Grow some balls John. You need to step up to the plate and really be an instrument of God’s love.”

    You say wearing a Rainbow Sash is a political statement and the church doesn’t get involved in politics. History would beg to differ John. The church has been all too political in all the wrong ways. Here is the challenge: Why don’t you show your love and wear a rainbow sash and put an end to all this hate? Show people the kind of guy you are and envision yourself to be. Be resolved with yourself and accept yourself for that. Are you really adhering to the policies set forth by the Catechism of the Catholic Church or is it merely a smokescreen for your hate? Can you answer me in all honesty as a spiritual leader that we all one with God and that God is Love? If you cannot, what do you fear? You could put an end to all this nonsense if you chose to. Who are you John? A human being having a spiritual experience? Or a spiritual being having a human experience? No matter what you may answer, you are no better or worse than any other person. We’re all here – gay, straight, male, female, trans-gender, black, white, brown, yellow – and we’re all divine.

    Wear a Rainbow Sash and show some love, not the fear you have shown up until now. Have all priests wear a Rainbow Sash and surprise the hell out of everyone. Show your willingness to open the church’s doors to all of Gods children. That is God in action.


  2. Michael says:

    Dear Archbishop John Clayton Nienstedt,

    “As we become One with God, I /We perceived God as the magnificent dweller at the center of our consciousness, and I know that the divine indwelling God to be my very self.”

    So the question then is asked; “Who Is God?”

    Do you know yourself as God or do you just imagine yourself to be like God?

    God is ALL Love from what the catholic church has taught me. Do we have the love within US to be God, or even God like? The UNCONDITIONAL Love of God surpasses all human knowledge. So can we really love unconditionally , equal to God? What’s stopping us? God create us to experience life through, and in doing so God could now experience Gods own magnificences instead of just imagining them. For God knew itself to be all love. But God didn’t know what true love was so God had to take from Gods self and create us, and in doing so, God gave essence of self to be our souls striving to get back to that perfect pure love of God. Our soul seeks to find it’s equal to God status. So now then I ask you to support “The Rainbow Sash Movement” which also believes Marriage equality is a struggle for the best that we find in ourselves, not the worst, as some religious leaders want to promote.

    Please I ask, if you perceive God to be the magnificent dweller of the universe of consciousness within you and you within it. Help create a world based on love and not fear. Love and fear are the only two emotions God created and our souls know. All other emotions are sub-emotions from one of those two. Love and fear directs everything we do in life and the choice we make in life. Through the self-realization of that we all can find our equal to God status as being all love.

    ?If Gods love surpasses all human knowledge then why would we question the love between a man and another man, or woman and another woman? Marriage is the sacrament of love and look what that love has brought us to. Why do straight people fear gay relationships? The delusional fears of the Catholic church has brought about a living hell for many gays like myself. Those fears has spread to our work places and schools. Here is a link to understand the realization of the problem. Allow your self this realization of life.

    Click here to watch this special video. Joel Burns tells gay teens “it gets better”

    Please stop the murders and suicides of gays and/or presumed gays who have been condemned by the fear based teachings of our church, and help me turn it into its intended purpose as a place to give Honor and Glory to God. A place for us to give thanks for the self-realization of whom we are. God is all love and fear is the part that brings out the true meaning of love. That is it’s intended purpose and yet we condemn it. The sin is calling it bad. Without fear we wouldn’t know what true love is within us. We are told so often “fear not” and yet we do. Why? Do we doubt God? Instead we’ve made God out to be the devils equal (that God might actually inflict punishment and suffering) and fear that God could even lose this war with Satan


    When you preach to us/me gays sitting in the pew during our celebration of Gods love. I wonder if a conscious feeling of love will over take you, or if your fears over take good consciousness. Please live in your “Now” moment, not in the past or the present but the “Now” and in good consciousness spread the word of Gods love without conditions on it.

    God does not do what we can do for ourselves. Finding our “Equal to God” status is your souls journey. Please Help me and many others change the collective thoughts of God being a God to fear. Our “Now” experience is one of fear, not love. You can change that if you chose to be the God within.

    “Fear Not” The catholic church has made many changes for the love of God. (Just not gays and women yet)

    May you find the God within to be your very self through self-realization like the rest of us.

    Love, Michael

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