Why, yes, that does sound like an egregious violation of various constitutions.
Chris Dodd must be annoying people all over Connecticut. The paper didn’t even try to hide political affiliations for this one:
After a priest stole $1.4 million from a church in Darien, state legislators have proposed a law that would regulate how parishes are controlled and operated.
The state’s Catholic bishops rallied opposition from the pulpits at weekend Masses.
The law essentially would strip the dioceses of all financial control of parishes and leave bishops and priests to oversee “matters pertaining exclusively to religious tenets and practices.” A board of elected laypersons would handle parish finances.
The bill, introduced Thursday by the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee, chaired by state Sen. Andrew McDonald, D-Stamford, and state Rep. Michael Lawlor, D-East Haven, caught many Catholics by surprise. They heard about it during Masses.
(Via AoSHQ) Before we go any further, let me quote from Article Seventh of the Connecticut state constitution: “It being the right of all men to worship the Supreme Being, the Great Creator and Preserver of the Universe, and to render that worship in a mode consistent with the dictates of their consciences, no person shall by law be compelled to join or support, nor be classed or associated with, any congregation, church or religious association. No preference shall be given by law to any religious society or denomination in the state. Each shall have and enjoy the same and equal powers, rights and privileges, and may support and maintain the ministers or teachers of its society or denomination, and may build and repair houses for public worship.”
…which should hopefully make sure that people with the reflexive habit of supporting the Democratic Party in any and everything will keep their mouths firmly shut. Bolding mine: the point here is that even if you assume that the state of Connecticut actually has the right to regulate a religious organization’s hierarchy to this extent, singling out the Catholic Church is a blatant violation of the seventh article – which is what this bill is doing with this legislation. This should have been obvious from the start, frankly.
In this particular case, it’s probably redundant: state Senator Andrew McDonald (Democrat) and state Representative Michael Lawlor (Democrat) have already repudiated the bill, claiming that they do not endorse it and that its existence is the collective responsibility of the Judiciary Committee. If that sounds like an attempt to evade responsibility, well, it was. Whether or not it succeeds depends in large part over whether the voters of Connecticut are happy at the idea that the Democratic-controlled legislature apparently hasn’t read its own operating manual…
Crossposted to RedState.