Local, national Catholics to ramp up ‘language’ war on same-sex marriage


At its June meeting last week, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops announced it was ramping up a campaign against same-sex marriage. Bishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of the Subcommittee for the Defense of Marriage said the Roman Catholic church would push back in the war of “language,” which he said same-sex marriage proponents were winning with words like “hate” and “equality.” The church is planning a video campaign in both English and Spanish, and its efforts have already been felt in states like Minnesota where the church was successful in getting an anti-gay marriage amendment on the ballot.

“Strategies of language are crucial here, and what we see happening in the marriage debate with terms such as ‘equality’ is similar to the manipulation of language found in the pro-abortion rhetoric of ‘choice,’” Bishop Cordileone said at the Bellvue, Wash., conference.

Cordileone, who was appointed to the Subcommittee for the Defense of Marriage in January, says the church plans to increase production of a series of videos intended to change Catholics’ minds on same-sex marriage.

“To be considered and labeled a ‘bigot’ or ‘discriminator’ by the government and by law has serious implications for the religious liberty of both institutions and individuals and their freedom of conscience,” he said. “The video will seek to demythologize popular claims and call attention to what is really at stake.”

That video, “Made for Freedom,” is part of a five-part video project by the church. The first is “Marriage: Unique for a Reason,” which was produced last fall. Archbishop John Nienstedt of St. Paul and Minneapolis used that video in an anti–gay marriage DVD package that was sent to 800,000 Minnesota Catholics just before the 2010 election.

And elements of that video popped up in testimony at the Minnesota Legislature.

Pastor Sergio Choy of Ministerio Evangelistico Mundial Maranatha in Bloomington testified at the House Rules Committee. He said, “To redefine marriage is like trying to redefine water. Water is made up of hydrogen and oxygen, and marriage is made up of one man and one woman.”

That line is very similar to the DVD created by the Catholic Church. In it, a husband said that the marriage of a man and a woman is like water, “two completely different things, like hydrogen and oxygen, and combining them to make water, something entirely new, unique.”

Water, however, is actually composed of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom, an arrangement more akin to polygamy.

Cordileone has just completed the second video called “Made for Life,” and there are plans for two more, “Made for the Common Good” and a Spanish-language, “telenovela”-style video in the works.

Cordileone has been at the forefront of the Catholic church’s efforts to ban same-sex marriage. He first cut his teeth in California’s Proposition 8 battle, earning the nickname “Father of Prop 8.” He’s also worked extensively with the National Organization for Marriage.