A few months ago I posted a blog post containing a video of over 300 Minnesota Catholics gathering together to sing out in support of marriage equality and in opposition to that state’s proposed marriage discrimination amendment. I wrote,
If any of [the singers in the video] minister publicly in their churches — as volunteer cantors (songleaders), lectors (readers), ushers, greeters, or communion ministers — or if any of them work for the Catholic Church in a professional capacity as pastoral associates, liturgists, business managers, teachers, music directors, etc., participating in this video could get them pushed out of ministry or even fired.
Just in case any of you, dear readers, thought I was exaggerating, I present to you now Exhibit A: the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that last week, the Minnesota campaign finance board took the unusual step of exempting a man, known only as John Doe, from the state’s public disclosure requirements. Minnesota law requires the disclosure of the names and employers of campaign contributors, but exemptions can be granted if it can be proven that disclosure would cause “specific harm.” In the case of John Doe — who donated $600 to Minnesotans United for All Families, the campaign working to defeat the marriage discrimination amendment — he believed that he would be fired from his job at a Catholic-run institution if his pro-equality contribution became public, and the board agreed.
The Star-Tribune reports that Doe cited a rather compelling precedent:
In making its decision, released Friday, the state campaign finance agency examined the case of Trish Cameron, a former teacher at a Catholic School in Moorhead. Cameron told agency officials that she had revealed to her supervisors during a private annual self-evaluation that she personally objected to the Church’s opposition to same-sex marriage, although she would said she would not bring that belief into the classroom.
“A week later,” the campaign finance agency wrote, “Ms. Cameron was asked to resign.”
“While it is praiseworthy that the campaign finance board has taken this measure to protect this man’s employment, it is a sad commentary on the state of [the Catholic] church when a person is forced into anonymity to express a moral decision.”