‘Catholic’ school claims in court that publishing same-sex ‘marriage’ announcements is ‘freedom of religion’ issue

January 11, 2021 — Bomb threats are a horrible thing and people should definitely serve jail time for them regardless of their reasons for making the threats. This is particularly so when the threat is toward a school, let alone a religious school. Having said that, I had to balk at a report that a Catholic school, which had become the subject of a bomb threat, claimed in court that their decision to publish same-sex “marriage” announcements is a matter of “religious freedom.”

Sonia Tabizada pleaded guilty to threatening to blow up Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School in Washington, D.C. The reason for the bomb threat was that the school was publishing same-sex “marriage” announcements and she didn’t agree with that. She should definitely go to jail for that, but the school’s response in court has me shaking my head.

“The defendant made violent threats against high school students, religious leaders, and school officials based solely on her disagreement with a private school’s application of religious doctrine,” said Eric Drieband, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “Tolerance and religious freedom are cornerstone values in our society and the Department of Justice will continue to vigorously prosecute violent threats motivated by bias.”

“The defendant’s violent threats were directed at the free exercise of a private school community’s religious beliefs. An attack upon the free exercise of any person or group’s religious beliefs is an attack upon the civil rights of every citizen. Today’s guilty plea is part of my office’s commitment to ensuring that all District citizens can safely exercise their religious beliefs and that all of their civil rights are protected,” said Michael R. Sherwin, Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia.

What exactly is “freedom” anyway? Merriam-Webster defines it as “the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action.” Certainly, we do not want our government “coercing” a religious school in regard to what it teaches, and we most definitely do not want anyone to “coerce” anyone else with the use of bomb threats. Under American law, yes, the school has “freedom” to publish same-sex “marriage” announcements without being “coerced” in any way…except by their Catholic bishop, that is.

Is it really a “religious freedom” issue for a Catholic entity to be free from ALL “coercion” to publish same-sex “marriage” announcements? I think the answer is no because it is not the Catholic religion to do so. It is something else entirely. It is, however, the Catholic religion for a bishop to coerce a Catholic school in his diocese not to publish such things.

The Assistant Attorney General said that the publication of same-sex “marriage” announcements was:

…a private school’s application of religious doctrine…

Whose religious doctrine? The Catholic Church’s religious doctrine? No. The Catholic religion requires that the school actually be coerced by their bishop not to publish same-sex “marriage” announcements. Of course, he can’t use bomb threats but he can threaten to withhold any funding that the school may be receiving from the Church and he can threaten them with stripping the school of the name “Catholic” in all of its publications.

We are in dangerous territory when we say that something has the protection of religious freedom when it is not, in fact, a religious doctrine. That’s like sneaking into the movie theater without a ticket. Same-sex “marriage” is a man-made “doctrine” rather than a God-made doctrine. I know because the Catholic Church told me so.

As for “tolerance,” one wonders if there would be tolerance under U.S. law for a Catholic bishop who coerces a school in his diocese to actually teach the Catholic religion.

–Lisa Graas