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So a friend pointed out how the campaign against same-sex marriage in Maine created some strange financial bedfellows. In particular, Catholic Churches from around the country gave a lot of money to defeat same-sex marriage in Maine.
For instance, Savannah, Georgia's Catholic Diocese gave $2000 and the Roman Catholic Foundation in Baltimore gave $2500 and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia gave a whopping $50,000.
What? There are no pressing problems in Philly that Christians should attend to? Unemployment? Poverty? Sucky sports teams? They have to go and send fifty grand to Maine?Welcome to the Public Campaign Finance Page for the State of Maine.
Now call me stupid, but I was under the impression that the Church and State had to be separate in the US. I thought a religious organization could not be involved in politics unless(and here's where it gets confusing- please excuse the constitutional law terminology),
it's one of those bleeping Born Again Christian types who has met and spoken with Jesus Christ personally and Jesus told them that America is His favorite country and therefore we should bomb all those other countries where they don't know Jesus personally back to the Stone Age so they could evolve into the sort of people who can rely on Jesus for foreign policy advice as well as tips on with whom to have sex and whether or not it's okay to slap your children upside the head if they come home with some crazy uppity ideas about the so-called science of Evolution.
I told you this was complicated. I mean, there are basic issues of the Constitution at stake here. So I'm going to spare you all the other fancy shmancy legal talk and just say this:
Turns out the whole separation of Church and State thing was mostly about not having the State interfere in the Church- not the other way around. Thomas Jefferson, who really and truly believed in the principle, also used federal money to teach those Heathen Natives about Jesus Christ. And of course the likes of Supreme Court Justices Scalia and Rehnquist have consistently argued that religion cannot and ought not to be kept out of public life.
But, it does seem that some laws were violated in the Maine campaign because not all of the money came from Catholic dioceses in the US. About $252,000 seems to have come from the magic and bottomless purse that is the Vatican. Which would be a foreign country unduly influencing a political process in the US.
I am not sure what Jesus would say, but I am pretty sure that even the most conservative of Supreme Court Justices would have to say the anti-gay-marriage campaign in Maine violated basic principles of US law.
Oh, and by the way, if I could have a personal conversation with Jesus, I am pretty sure He would have said to spend the money on feeding the poor and healing the sick. Right after He smote all those unconstitutional and ultimately unChristian sorts who wasted time and money on hate rather than love.