Church and State: O’Brien and O’Malley
The Washington Post has an account of some strongly worded correspondence from Baltimore Archbishop O’Brien to Maryland Governor O’Malley over same-sex marriage. My initial reaction was that O’Brien is exerting an awful lot of pressure. But I thought for a moment, and realized that governors — and politicians of all sorts — get pressure all the time, from all sorts of lobbying groups. It would be interesting to set O’Brien’s letter in the context of all the other letters from stakeholders that O’Malley gets every day.
So my questions:
1. Is political pressure exercised by a religious leader upon a congregant inherently different from any other sort of political pressure, from a moral perspective?
2. Is it legitimate for citizens who are not of the particular faith of the politician to ask whether and how he will stand up to religious pressure by his/her religious leaders? Or is that simply bringing us back to religious prejudice of the Kennedy era?
3. (Update): NOTE THAT O’Malley’s office released the letters, NOT O’Brien’s. O’Brien was clearly not attempting to shame or embarrass O’Malley. ‘OBrien didn’t threaten O”Malley, as far as I can see. O’Brien is not chaputizing O’Malley, so to speak. Why did O’Malley release the letters, then? Something is not sitting right here with me.
P.S. I’m in season four of The Wire. Apparently, O’Malley was the major inspiration for Tommy Carcetti. Now, what I’d really like to see is the letter from the (fictional) Cardinal Archbishop of Baltimore to Carcetti!