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  • Writer's pictureDr. Anthony Lilles

A Letter to Governor HIckenlooper

Dear Governor John Hickenlooper,

Since prayer in the Catholic Tradition is concerned about real life, as were the teachings of the ancient prophets, there are political events that have such spiritual significance they cannot be passed over. In fact, the reality of Christian prayer extends to everything to which the dimensions of Christ's love extend - even the socio-politico. I read Archbishop Aquila's statement in response to Senate Bill 11 which you plan to sign. I have also read Bishop Sheridan's statement in the Colorado Catholic Herald. It is disappointing that their concerns remain unaddressed. When my own local government seeks to impose inhumane values that are abusive of institutions so sacred as is marriage and the care of orphans and children in distress, I feel compelled to use this platform to make my voice heard in the public square and in the marketplace of ideas. After having attempted to reach you by phone, I address you in this open letter today as we Catholics celebrate the solemnity of St. Joseph, the foster-father of Jesus Christ and protector of the Holy Family.

You plan to sign into law legislation, a so-called civil unions bill, that by design obscures the ancient meaning of marriage and penalizes those who are morally obliged to safe-guard sacred truths about humanity. Indeed, those who have devoted themselves to works of mercy out of love for God must care for orphans and children in troubled family situations by divine decree. By the action you are intending to carry out, you will rob them of the freedom they need to follow their consciences in trying to find good homes for those who do not have any.

Those who have supported this bill have pitted themselves against people of good will, families, and children whose God given rights have already been brutally abused in this conversation. Should you go through with what has been announced, more than catastrophically harming the very heart of our society (marriage and family life), you will also define yourself as an enemy of the most fundamental liberties essential to the American experiment - including the religious rights of citizens to organize to provide orphans foster care or adoption into families that have both a mother and a father.

As a life long student of the religious dimension to human existence, the legislation on your desk can only be seen as one more effort by government to seize divine power it simply does not have. Whenever the politically powerful attempt to exercise such absolute tyranny over those whose rights they should protect, the dignity of humanity is always put at grave risk. In fact, should you make this legislation into law against the will of the people of Colorado who already rejected a similar referendum and amended our state's constitution to protect marriage, you will implicate yourself in a form of political idolatry that can only undermine our solidarity as a people and your credibility as a statesman. This does not have to be the road you choose. Appealing to your own desire that the citizens of our State might thrive, please remember that we come to enjoy the fullness of life when we make decisions mindful of that day of reckoning in whose merciful but exacting light your actions as governor and each one of us entrusted to your service will be scrutinized.


Anthony Lilles

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