So what to make of Archbishop Timothy Dolan? This week he sent a letter to President Obama outlining his growing alarm about actions the Obama administration has taken that he believes 'escalate the threat to marriage and imperil the religious freedom of those who promote and defend marriage.'
What imperiling threats is he talking about?
Unfortunately, in our times in which the religious rightwing and Christian nationalists exert growing influence on America, it cannot go without saying that though Timothy Dolan may write any opinion, including these fear-mongering and crypto-demonizing ones, even declare them from his ecclesiastical throne, neither he nor the Bishop of Rome he answers to has jurisdiction in the free republic of the United States of America, founded without regard to any church or religious body, any creed, or any sect of any kind. His opinion is under law as unbinding and as devoid of special status as is this website's, a rabbi's, Pat Robertson's, or a Scientology representative's.
Unfortunately, not all Americans understand that it is important for us all to work to keep such a separation of church and state inviolable.
Under the rubrics of the overarchingly important commandes of Jesus Christ to His followers--be it the oft-called Summary of the Law given by Jesus in Matthew 22:34-40:
And He said..., "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it: 'You shall love you neighbor as yourself.'"
or his challenge in Matthew 25:41-43 to His followers regarding Christian priorities of eternal consequence:
"Depart from Me, you cursed...for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me."
--and given the state of today's economy and the povery and insecurity that abounds, one might reasonably assume that the Archbishop might be pouring all of this mental and physical energies into matters other than policy-related missives to the President. And yet, throughout history too many church leaders have been too keen to hope to guide someone else's statecraft (or even grab the statecraft role for themselves) and enter into worldly disputes.
Bishop, love your God and your neighbor as yourself; feed the hungry and give them water, reach out to the stranger--do not instead show him or her the back of your hand or the bottom of your boot--care and help acheive dignity for those with basic material needs, nurse the sick, and be present for the needy and the lonely. I would think that that would be enough to keep you plenty busy for a lifetime.