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Steve Ahlquist is an award-winning journalist, writer, artist and founding member of the Humanists of Rhode Island, a non-profit group dedicated to reason, compassion, optimism, courage and action. The views expressed are his own and not necessarily those of any organization of which he is a member.

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"We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” - Elie Weisel

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor." - Desmond Tutu

"There comes a time when neutrality and laying low become dishonorable. If you’re not in revolt, you’re in cahoots. When this period and your name are mentioned, decades hence, your grandkids will look away in shame." - David Brooks

4 responses to “Unofficial Poll: Most Clergy Support Marriage Equality”

  1. Mike Sullivan

    Tobin (notice how I would not even afford him the dignity of Bishop) –  Again  Tobin is not listened to by most Catholics – and quite frankly no one really cares what he thinks – except the gutless Catholic politicians who are scared of him.  He is wrong on just about every issue!!!!!! (and I am a Catholic) –    He needs to go back to his PA racist community and state there!

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  2. leftyrite

    Time for gentle people to find allies among gentle people.


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  3. Craig OConnor

    What is fascinating is the disconnect between the official position of the Catholic leadership and the views of the membership of their Church.

    According to polls, 71% of self-described Catholics support civil marriage (when it is made clear that civil marriage would mean religious organizations would not have to perfom marriage ceremonies for seame0sex couples):

    There is no reason to listen to the Bishop or other Catholic leaders when it is clear most of their “flock” do not agree with what they are saying. If the Bishop has any courage, he would require people who call themselves Catholic to sign a declaration espousing all the Stone Age views of the Church – but he won’t, nor will the Pope, because they’d lose much of their membership. Almost every person I know who calls themselves Catholic supports civil marriage or, at least, civil unions.

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  4. Todd Stricklin

    Hey Steve.

    I avoid this form of interaction like the plague. In my opinion, these chat forums are normally unproductive. Notice I distinguished that statement with “in my opinion.” That short phrase is glaringly absent from your January 8th article “Most Clergy Support Marriage Equality.”

    While the presumption would be that you and I fall on the opposite view of nearly every issue, I appreciated meeting you in early 2011 when you interviewed me on this same issue for a “Philosophy on the Ground” series you were recording. You were fair, kind, and objective in your questioning and brief discussion we shared afterward.

    Because I respect those things about you, I refuse to assume a disingenuousness with the insinuation from the above article. However, I also find it hard to imagine that you would be this careless knowing how thoughtful you are with regard to what you believe. While you do acknowledge that your “polling” is neither official or scientific, it is also glaringly inaccurate.

    During the marriage battle being waged at the time of our interview in 2011, there was a Resolution drafted and submitted to the RI Senate as part of the official record of their Judiciary Committee’s hearings. That resolution had been signed by more than 100 evangelical pastors and church leaders representing various denominations. The Catholic church’s position, as you have stated, was clear then as it is now.

    That Resolution has been updated to reflect the current Statehouse debate and is being submitted even as I write. As of the yesterday, the signatories of the Resolution numbered more than 145.

    While argument could be made as to what this means with regarding to percentages, a thoughtful person would have to consider the numbers a complete wash at the very least. At best, the numbers, as you and I have shared them, would seem to fall in Bishop Tobin’s favor.

    Without even discussing the redefinition of marriage, my present concern is that we don’t allow a false perception to settle regarding where churches stand on marriage.

    I appreciate your consideration.

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