Tom Hoopes is Vice President of College Relations and writer in residence at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas. He has written for the Register for more than 20 years and was its executive editor for 10. His writing has appeared in First Things’ First Thoughts, National Review Online, Crisis, Our Sunday Visitor, Inside Catholic and Columbia. He has served as press secretary for the Chairman of the U.S. House Ways & Means Committee. He and his wife, April, were editorial co-directors of Faith & Family magazine for 5 years. They have nine children.
The fix is on. “A year from now, half of the state will believe the opposite of what happened” in Connecticut when two activist legislators pushed a bill to co-opt the Church.
They “have embarrassed themselves and the state of Connecticut” said Archbishop Henry Mansell. Even the Vatican’s newspaper, weighed in on the scandal. L’Osservatore Romano brought international attention to Michael Lawlor and Andrew McDonald, cochairs of Connecticut’s Judiciary Committee.
When 5,000 Catholics at last week’s Rally for Religious Liberty pushed back, the two abandoned their bill to remove the authority of bishops over their parishes — for now.
But the Family Institute of Connecticut is calling for Lawlor and McDonald’s ouster.
The institute’s president, Peter Wolfgang, told me that “a year from now the media will flip the perception of about half the public. People will believe that Lawlor and McDonald stood up to the big bad Church and got beaten back.”
The two have shown a bizarre patten of attack against the Church lately.
Their first effort to gain international attention was their anti-bishop bill, No. 1098.
When that got crushed by overwhelming public opposition, it emerged that what they were really interested in was S.B. 899. That’s the bill that codifies and expands the bizarre practices of Connecticut’s website.
The Connecticut state website host pages that re-interpret the Bible in a way amenable to homosexuals and tell homosexual kids not to tell their parents about their sexual lives:
S.B. 899 would expand CT.gov-style re-education into the schools and other government-run aspects of Connecticut life.
As an encore, Lawlor and McDonald briefly tried to push a bill legalizing certain forms of suicide. That fizzled quickly.
Now, on St. Joseph’s Day, Lawlor and McDonald tried to get their committee to adopt a “transgender” bill that, among other things, would allow people to use whatever public bathroom they want, according to how they see their own gender identity.
See page 5 of this for confirmation. I got that document here:
Why focus on the batroom issue? Because it draws attention to the absurdity of the “transgender” philosophy. And it’s not hype: Whatever Lawlor and McDonald are aiming for, guys like this will applaud the “use whichever bathroom you want” consequences of this bill.
Wolfgang told me that at the “transgender” bill’s hearing yesterday, the Judiciary Committee itself seemed to be tiring of Lawlor and McDonald’s antics.
But allies of the two seem to be betting that Catholics will shut up and go home and that, when elections come around again, a new story can be invented to fit the facts of what happened this late winter. Meanwhile, no one knows what the Judiciary Committee’s follow-up (or payback) on the parish question might be.
That’s why Catholics need to grab the momentum and oust these two now.