Washington State Bishop Guides Voters in Defending Marriage
Calls on Supporters, Opponents to Debate With Respect
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By Junno Arocho
SPOKANE, Washington, AUG. 10, 2012 (Zenit.org).- As the November elections approach in the United States, four states will be voting on marriage referendums. One of those states in Washington, where Referendum 74 will give voters an opportunity to repeal a law to redefine marriage that was signed by Governor Christine Gregoire earlier this year.
In a letter sent to parishioners Aug. 3, Bishop Blase Cupich of Spokane, Washington, wrote a series of reflections on why the Church urges voters to reject any attempted redefinition of marriage.
While recognizing the strong emotions from both supporters and opponents of the referendum, the bishop of Spokane expressed his hope that the debate would be conducted with respect. "My genuine hope is that we all can value the coming vote on Referendum 74 as an opportunity to have a substantial public debate regarding this critical issue, carried on with respect, honesty and conviction. When addressing issues of depth and passion – indeed, most importantly at such times – we should be committed to the proposition that our public dialogue must be marked by civility and clarity, and that it should generate light rather than heat," he said.
Bishop Cupich went on to state that while the Catholic Church opposes the redefinition of marriage, this in no way should incite violence against homosexual persons "or promote an agenda that is hateful and disrespectful of their human dignity."
Attached to the bishop’s letter was a series of points as to why voters should consider repealing the law under Referendum 74. Stating that the new marriage law does not expand but redefines marriage in terms of a relationship between two people, the American prelate stated that such a change would cause marriage to lose its unique identity.
Another matter of concern was that a redefinition of marriage would inevitably lead to a redefinition of parenthood. The letter cited examples of similar laws passed in Spain and Canada, where traditional designations such as "mother" and "father" have been replaced with either "Parent 1 and Parent 2" or "Progenitor 1 and Progenitor 2."
Words matter, Bishop Cupich stated, "especially words like mother and father, which have real depth and meaning. We lose a great deal when they are substituted by terms and designations not otherwise used. They are strange to the ear, but they also fail to convey what fathers and mothers each bring as male and female to the critical task of generating, rearing and educating their sons and daughters."
The bishop of Spokane concluded his reflections hoping that those who consider his words would discuss them in a respectable manner. "My aim here has been to offer some considerations based on the light of reason, so that this important issue can be discussed in a calm, reasonable and respectful manner by people of all faiths and none. I hope these reflections will assist your conversations with family and friends," he said.
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On ZENIT's Web page:
Full text of letter: www.zenit.org/article-35351?l=english