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An ill-conceived bill

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Sen. Marian Walsh’s bill, “An Act Relative to Charities,”is an assault on religious freedom. The bill, if passed, will allow for excessive government intrusion in Church related issues.

This bill is directed against the Archdiocese of Boston, as Sen. Walsh acknowledged when she admitted that she filed this legislation in response to the closing of a parish in her district.

The Church is certainly opposing the bill, but the fiercest opposition is coming not from the Catholic Church, but from Protestant and Jewish denominations that see this as an assault on their religious liberty.

During last summer’s hearing, Laura Everett, speaking on behalf of the Massachusetts Council of Churches, spelled out her organization’s concerns including those of separation between church and state.

“Religious liberty is a real concern with this legislation. Many Christian churches (as well as people of other faiths) have deep and bitter historical memories from having experienced undue influence by the state in the affairs of the church. This has happened, for example, through an arbitrary exercise of power by a dominant majority religious body, or by a secular state without appreciation for or tolerance of religious liberty. Thus, churches are wary of giving the state unnecessarily intrusive powers in their internal workings. From the perspective of the Massachusetts Council of Churches, the requirements and effects of this legislation are excessively and unnecessarily intrusive and constitute excessive entanglement,”she said.

At press time, the bill was expected to come before the Senate for a vote.

If this bill passes, it will show that the legislative body in Massachusetts has lost any sense of objectivity and has succumbed to the pressure of certain politicians who want to settle their personal disputes with their Church.

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