- Friday, 26 June 2009 18:08
Rarely does one see the ACLU agree with the Catholic Church never mind agree with a local Church prelate on constitutional matters. Here the officials of Diocese of Bridgeport can justifyably claim that they were correct in their reading of the First Amendment and stating that they’re not a lobbyist. The ACLU runs contrary to Carol Carson of the State of Connecticut Ethics Committee’s ascertion that the Diocese violated state law. The CT Post ran a story today (of course it was not on page one).
In its filed brief the ACLU stated: “The Supreme Court, keenly aware of the need to carve out a protected zone, for petitioning activity, that lobbying statutes cannot reach, has defined lobbying narrowly, as involving only ‘direct communications with members of the [legislature]’ or indirect communications occurring ‘through an artificially stimulated letter campaign.” The brief backs up my thinking that a clearer definition of what a lobbyist is and how a lobbyist works in congress is needed. The governor’s office or one of legislators ought to propose a revision of existing law so as not to bog down the good work of the State in the future. I wonder how money was spent on this foolish exercise!
Nevertheless, there remains a lot of work to do on the education front: What is the purpose of the Catholic Church, how does it engage in the public square and what is a believing Catholic’s response, how do people of good will mobilize to express regret with their lawmakers?
- Friday, 12 June 2009 14:45
… forced to keep quiet by the State if the current law on lobbying stands. States officials in the Ethics Office are applying an unjust law to the Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport; if the Catholics today, other Christian groups, Jews and Muslims tomorrow. As Bishop Lori correctly states, the Diocese of Bridgeport is not a lobbyist but a church. And as a church is the bishops and priests are called upon to teach, govern and to sanctify. The SB 1098 and other state bills that seek to change the mission of the Church violates constitutional freedoms. This is a matter, therefore, of all people’s First Amendment rights, not just about the rights of Catholics to exercise their freedom to speak and assemble publicly. Efforts now must begin to work for the current rules for lobbyists to be changed and the ruling of the Ethics Office overturned. Civil and intelligent discourse please! The Fox News report is interesting because it reports the claim that the officials in the Ethics Office are objective. Hmmm, I don’t see the evidence of that in this case. So, I can’t say that I believe for one minute that the CT State Office of Ethics is content neutral, particularly when it comes to the Roman Catholic Church in Connecticut, and more so when it comes to Bishop William Lori.
- Friday, 29 May 2009 14:24
Connecticut State Officials try to muzzle the Church! In a letter to the people of the Diocese of Bridgeport today, Bishop William Lori states that the gathering of people to protest Bill 1098 that would violate the First Amendment, was a violation of law. The State of Connecticut Ethics committee said this mobilizing of the people amounted to “lobbying” because the Diocese failed to register as a lobbyist (which would invite State regulation). Now the claim is that the Diocese is subject to penalties.
Exhorting the people, i.e., giving information to the people, encouraging the people to take part in democracy, forming the consciences of the people from the pulpit, web-based materials and rallying does not constitute lobbying.
Nutmegers need to contact the State legislator before the end of the legislative session this coming Wednesday.
The Diocese of Bridgeport is filing a civil rights lawsuit in Federal Court against the State of Connecticut seeking relief from government action on this ruling.