As Guam debates legislation recognizing same-sex marriage, the Catholic Church appears to have reached out to some strange sources of support in its opposition: Islamic terrorists. In a letter being circulated from the Archdiocese of Agaña, Catholics are told that Islamic extremists may engage in suicide bombings but that they at least “value self sacrifice” and punish homosexuals with death. In a second letter without the Al Qaeda angle, Guam Archbishop Anthony Sablan Apuron still insists that homosexuality is dangerous, unhealthy, and immoral. He further adds a constitutional point of interest: saying that “the first amendment of the United States does no more than simply forbid the establishment of the state religion.”
The legislation in Guam has attracted a surprising degree of support – and a surprising degree of anger from the Church. It was introduced by an openly gay senator, B.J. Cruz who claims to be a victim of Catholic clergy abuse.
One letter purportedly from the Church included this remarkable statement:
“Islamic fundamentalists clearly understand the damage that homosexual behavior inflicts on a culture. This is why they repress such behavior by death…It may be brutal at times, but any culture that is able to produce wave after wave of suicide bombers…is a culture that at least knows how to value self sacrifice
It further says that the passage of the bill will herald the “end to Western Civilization.”
For the full letter, click here
It is not clear who is the author of that letter. The letter bears the symbol of the church, which has not denied its contents. However, it is not clear if this widely circulated letter was condoned by the leadership of the Church.
The Archbishop is the author of a second letter that contains some of the same dire warnings but without the citation to the faith of Islamic terrorists. It states that the legislation would put even Guam’s right of self-government in question. If passed, he states, the bill “will forfeit its moral authority to continue to govern this island and be “doubly destructive because it encourages a lifestyle that is intrinsically unhealthy.”
He insists that “every humanly-created law is legitimate only insofar as it is consistent with the natural moral law, recognized by right reason, and insofar as it respects the inalienable rights of every person.”
His statement that the first amendment “does no more than simply forbid the establishment of the state religion” is itself interesting. This adopts the narrowest view of the religion clauses and, if accepted by the Supreme Court, would result in the wholesale rejection of many, if not most, of our entanglement cases. It is a view espoused by some conservative scholars but long rejected by the Court. If the first amendment “does no more than simply forbid the establishment of the state religion” than presumably states could become more involved in supporting religions generally and allow greater displays of faith in government buildings and classrooms.
With the recent announcement of the absorption of Anglican priests leaving that church over homosexuality (including marriage priests who will now be part of the Catholic Church), Rome is clearly reaffirming that it is entrenched on the issue of homosexuality — which will define much of the internal and external politics of the Church.