spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to mail out more than 400,000 DVDs to families across the state. On those DVDs was a simple, concise, yet very anti-gay message: Catholics are not allowed to support gay marriage, and they should never vote for a political candidate who does.
Catholics in the pews were outraged at the Church for spending so much money and so many resources, especially during tough economic times, on fighting something that more and more Catholics see a basic civil right. One local artist decided to collect copies of the DVD, and turn their homophobic message into a piece of artwork that stood for equality. And then there are the folks at ReturnTheDVD.org, who not only organized a campaign to get pro-equality Catholics to send DVDs back to the Archdiocese, but waged a campaign to raise money to fight homelessness and poverty -- things the Catholic Church should be committed to fighting, rather than the civil rights of gays and lesbians.
Today, ReturnTheDVD.org is announcing that they're sending back 3,000 DVDs to the Minnesota Catholic Conference, and that they've raised more than $10,000 which they will give to organizations working to alleviate poverty.
"We deliver these DVDs in love and with the hope that all those affected by the message in them will see that there are many Catholics who feel very strongly that the Church's hierarchy is wrong on this issue," say organizers. "We ask for prayers of acceptance, tolerance and inclusiveness for all. That is exactly what Jesus was all about!"
Yes, that may have been all that Jesus was about. But it's certainly not what the Minnesota Catholic Conference has been about of late.
Coupled with the DVDs, these activists will also send an official letter to the Archdiocese of Minneapolis-St. Paul, expressing their dismay that a Church with such a rich history of social justice is seemingly abandoning efforts to fight for health care, a strong educations system, an end to poverty, and for a world free from war and violence.
"Imagine the positive effect the money spent on these DVDs could have had on homelessness and poverty in our communities, especially in this economy," the letter reads. "We pray that you will take to heart the concerns of the thousands of Catholics who believe the Church hierarchy’s current actions, as reflected in the DVD, are inconsistent with what Jesus teaches us about how we should treat others."
Now that's a powerful message to send.
The institutional Church might have the resources to send out 400,000 anti-gay DVDs. But they don't have the numbers to support their campaign, nor do they have history on their side. More to the point, for all of the Minnesota Catholic Church's efforts to urge voters to support politicians who oppose same-sex marriage, Minnesota just elected a Governor who proudly championed his support for marriage equality on the campaign trail.
Seems like the people have spoken. And they'd much rather see the Catholic Church tackle homelessness and poverty, than targeting same-sex couples and LGBT families.
Michael Jones is a Change.org Editor. He has worked in the field of human rights communications for a decade, most recently for Harvard Law School.