On Spirit Day, as we are surrounded by a sea of purple, ballot questions about marriage equality to be voted on until November 6 may seem a ways off, but marriage equality and bullying are two sides of the same coin. Believe Out Loud chose Spirit Day to launch their latest campaign, Paint America in Rainbows.
The Knights of Columbus are best known as a Roman Catholic fraternal and service organization that sells insurance policies to finance its charitable activities. But less well known is that the Knights are also donating significant amounts of money and volunteer time to fight the legalization of gay marriage. Between 2005 and 2012, the Knights channeled $6.5 million to campaigns against same-sex marriage – most of it to political campaigns in 12 states to pass ballot measures that would ban marriage for gays and lesbians.
Responding to repeated claims that marriage equality forces Catholic Charities to stop providing services, Meade explained that the Vatican actually ended those services because it didn’t like the fact that abiding by local non-discrimination laws (not marriage legislation) Catholic Charities placed 13 children with same-sex couples over 17 years. So the Vatican chose to shut down Catholic Charities’ adoption services. It had nothing to do with marriage legislation.
The United Church of Christ sent a message to encourage its congregations and members to go purple for Spirit Day. With just over one million members, that makes the UCC the largest religious group to go purple for Spirit Day.
Spirit Day isn’t until this Friday, but many churches used their weekend worship to kick off Ally Week, leading up to Spirit Day. Last Sunday, GLAAD challenged participants to ask their place of worship to go purple. So far, over 50 religious organizations and congregations have signed on to participate in Spirit Day, and many got the ball rolling over the weekend.
Friday marks another commemoration as well, which many Catholics might not know about. It’s called “Spirit Day,” an invitation to stand against bullying and violence targeting gay and lesbian students in American schools. This should be a no-brainer for Catholics, who are called by Christ to support those who suffer or struggle in any way, particularly those on the margins.
"Opponents of the freedom to marry ignore the truth and distort history when they talk about Catholic Charities of Boston and its decision to shut down its adoption services. I'm shocked and amazed that so many years later, they are making the false claim that Catholic Charities' decision had anything to do with allowing committed gay and lesbian couples to marry."