Thank you for your email regarding Senate Bill 1098, An Act Modifying Corporate Laws Relating to Certain Religious Corporations. I appreciate you taking the time to express your concerns to me.
As you may know, this bill was proposed at the request of someparishioners in the state who were pressing for parishioners (Voice of the Faithless) to play a greater role in church governance following two cases of financial impropriety(good ask the government to handle church finances, they are SO squeaky-clean!!) One case was Fr Michael Fay from Darien who spent 1.5 million on a lavish lifestyle for himself and his male lover. Getting the government involved will only help more money go missing.
at Fairfield County churches. The chairmen of the Judiciary Committee had not yet decided whether or not they were supportive of the measure but were willing to hold a public hearing to information from all interested parties. Since the announcement of the public hearing, many constituents have written(they are jamming the phone lines and overflowing our junk mail boxes) and called and many questions about constitutionality have been raised.
Below is a statement from the chairmen of the Judiciary Committee regarding this proposed legislation: "For reasons that are unclear, Connecticut has had generations-old lawson the books singling out particular religions and treating themdifferently from other religions in our statutes.(it's called anti-Catholicism) That doesn't seem right. (So you were going to fix it by punishing the Catholic Church)
In fact, many of our existing corporate laws dealing with particular religious groups appear to us to be unconstitutional under the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. If that is correct, any changes to that law would likely also be unconstitutional.
With that in mind, it would serve no useful purpose to have a conversation about changing the laws that govern existing Roman Catholicc orporations until we know if any of these existing laws are constitutional. (translation: we thought we could sneak it in but Bishop Lori blew the whistle).
At the request of the proponents who are advocating this legislation, we have decided to cancel the public hearing for tomorrow, table any further consideration of this bill for the duration of this session, and ask the Attorney General his opinion regarding the constitutionality of the existing law that sets different rules for five named separate religions.(translation: we're running scared)
We think it would be more appropriate to invite representatives from all religious denominations around the state together with legal scholars onthis topic to participate in a forum regarding the current law. Such a conversation would be more appropriate to have when the legislature is not in session and other more important issues, such as the current fiscal crisis, are resolved. (you decided it wasn't worth the trouble to put your hand in the Church's till)We intend to do that once we have the benefit of the Attorney General's opinion.
In the meantime, we think it would be most beneficial if the proponents who requested these changes and church officials meet together privately to see if they can come to a resolution on their own. Open and honest communication between these two groups could only help. (so why are you closing the public hearing?)
For our part,we intend to reach out to (protect ourselves) representatives of the Catholic Conference and continue the discussion that began in 2008 on this issue. We hope they will agree to meet with us."(don't worry, they're coming anyway). As you will see from that statement, the Judiciary Committee will no longer be pursuing this bill and will be working to address the many questions that have been raised as a result of its introduction. (so why did you think Catholics would take this lying down? We may play dead when it comes to the Morning After Pill in our hospitals, but leave our money alone!)
In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact me again if I can be of assistance with any other matters.
Senator Donald E. Williams, Jr.
President Pro Tempore2