Archbishop Nienstedt’s Hateful DVD

This is the anti-gay marriage DVD that was “made possible by the Knights of Columbus,” produced by the New Jersey Catholic Conference, and distributed free of cost to Catholics throughout the State of Minnesota weeks before Election Day 2010. Over $1 million in postage was paid by an anonymous donor. Why? Well, the Church simply wanted to remind people that they think gays and lesbians are “intrinsically disordered,” and shouldn’t be allowed to have full Constitutional rights in America.

It’s full of the usual anti-gay marriage and National Organization for Marriage (hate-group) people–or at least just the Catholic side of the Mormon-Catholic fusion lobbying group–and offensively comical characterizations of how those scary gay people are going to take away your freedom. My family received this in the mail, along with a two-page letter. [PDF]

You can also watch a copy of it on YouTube, if you’re curious. As a quick aside: isn’t it funny how the user “MnCatholic” both joined YouTube and posted those videos on September 23rd, a mere three days after the letter from Archbishop Nienstedt is dated yet over a week before everyone else received their DVDs in the mail?

I have a hearing loss, so I’m glued to watching faces so that I can lip-read and figure out context from facial expressions. This was certainly the case for the DVD because it only had Spanish subtitles and no English closed-captioning. I became very distracted upon starting the video, as it became evident during his short remarks that Archbishop Nienstedt’s eyebrows desperately wanted to crawl off his face and go hide somewhere. They spent most of their on-screen time engaged in a vicious tug-of-war session with his facial muscles and often resided in the middle of his forehead.

In his opening remarks, Archbishop Nienstedt condenses his two-page letter accompanying the DVD and states that heterosexual marriages are for “the benefit of children and society,” a claim recycled throughout the film. Marrying for love and not simply to have sex so you can give birth nine months later is a crazy feminist notion not supported by the Church.

His other obvious implication that same-sex marriage wouldn’t enhance familial stability and would even be harmful to children and other peoples’ heterosexual marriages was trotted out during testimony in the Prop 8 trial in California and found to be bullshit. There is no scientific evidence that supports that idea, because marriage produces those benefits regardless of the gender(s) of married couples. You cannot argue from an evidence-based standpoint if you have zero evidence to support your conclusion.

Both of these people are involved in the National Organization for Marriage scene. Robert P. George says that a child should have only one parent of each sex. Maggie Gallagher complains that if you don’t support equal rights, then you get branded as a bigot.

But wait, isn’t it bad to deny gay people their Constitutional rights? Not at all, says Damon C. Owens, a black guy who quotes part of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” Specifically, he quotes Martin Luther King Jr. quoting Thomas Aquinas on unjust laws, and then Owens says that marriage equality laws are unjust laws. He seems to ignore that Martin Luther King Jr.’s letter continues, “Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. All segregation statues are unjust because segregation distorts the soul.”

I can’t believe how low these people will stoop, and how much they will grasp onto anything that could be used to justify their irrational beliefs. I’m pretty sure that anonymous donor had some sort of connection to local Catholic and this year’s GOP candidate for Governor Tom Emmer. It sounds a bit tinfoil-hat but it’s not much of a leap. And as a general rule, it seems the Catholic Church is usually a few hundred years behind contemporary science of the day and relies heavily on factually-incorrect Aristotelian science, as seen in their persecution of Galileo.

Anyway, I’m really not interested in re-watching and rehashing this video any further so I’m going to wrap this up by posting still images from the rest of the video because they’re so weird and off-the-wall.

Aside from Owens and the non-sequitor archival footage of Martin Luther King Jr. and a Civil Rights march, there are only white people and a few token Latino people shown throughout the video, with no depictions of interracial marriages. It’s pretty bizarre to watch the Catholic Church pretend to love people of color after centuries of screwing them over but it begins to make sense when you consider that poor Latino immigrants have become the church’s only hope for survival after offending the rest of their parishioners. (Although the Archdiocese prefers to call them “beaners” behind their backs.) However, they also leave the Catholic Church after questioning the point of being shackled by such a corrupt institution that had also helped destroy their native cultures and languages.

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