Last October John C. Nienstedt, the Roman Catholic Archbishop in Minnesota, told all catholic priests that if they disagreed with the efforts of the catholic church to re-write the Constitution of Minnesota in order to ban gay people from civil marriage, they were not allowed to share those beliefs publicly. The text of the Archbishop’s speech was recently leaked to the press. The Archbishop told the priests, they need to either support the church in it’s efforts to use the laws of Minnesota to stifle other people’s civil rights, or shut up:
It is my expectation that all the priests and deacons in this Archdiocese will support this venture and cooperate with us in the important efforts that lie ahead. The gravity of this struggle, and the radical consequences of inaction propels me to place a solemn charge upon you all — on your ordination day, you made a promise to promote and defend all that the Church teaches. I call upon that promise in this effort to defend marriage. There ought not be open dissension on this issue. If any have personal reservations, I do not wish that they be shared publicly. If anyone believes in conscience that he cannot cooperate, I want him to contact me directly and I will plan to respond personally.
I appears as though this struggle is so grave and significant that we can’t even have an open, honest, or thoughtful discussion about it.
…and so much for the long respected American rights of free speech.