A Minnesota teen has been denied confirmation into the Catholic Church because he posted a picture on his Facebook wall expressing opposition to a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would have banned LGBT civil marriage equality.
The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, North Dakota:
The decision by the Rev. Gary LaMoine to deny the religious rite of passage for Lennon Cihak in mid-October shocked his mother, who said her son has gone to church every week and volunteered around the community in preparation for his confirmation this year.CBS affiliate WDAY reported the bishop at the diocese in Crookston would not grant Lennon an appeal and the local priest would not speak to the station. He did say he'd be releasing a letter to the congregation but it would not be made public (yeah ... good luck with that).
“You kind of know the Catholic beliefs, but I never thought they would deny somebody confirmation because you weren’t 100 percent. I guess that’s what shocks me,” Shana Cihak said.
The Facebook post in question was a photo of Lennon in front of an altered political sign. Originally reading “Vote Yes” on the Minnesota Marriage Amendment, which would have changed the state’s constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman, Lennon scribbled out the “yes” and replaced it with “NO!”
Shana, who said she was confirmed at the same church, was called into a private conversation with the priest soon after the photo was discovered and was told her son wouldn’t be allowed to complete confirmation.
A man who answered the door at the rectory adjacent the church at 307 Front St. N. here just after 9 p.m. on Wednesday said he had no comment. Shana said La-Moine lives at the rectory by himself.
Lennon said fellow students in his confirmation class “liked” the photo on Facebook, but they were still allowed to be confirmed.
“I just thought it was wrong to single him out,” Shana said.
Her husband, Doug Cihak, agreed.
They interviewed neighbors who said: "You could not meet a nicer kid than Lennon." His grandmother, Dianne Cihak goes to the same church and spoke to WDAY. She says she's disappointed in her church and proud of her grandson for standing up for his beliefs.
"It is a shock for the family. All baptized, married here at Assumption. Now the couple says they cannot even have communion here. Lennon's mother says she won't return. A church, she says, should be welcoming people, not pushing them away."Is this really worth it to the Catholic Church?
Is it really worth alienating not only this teenager, but his family and neighbors over a Facebook photo? And over expressing an opinion that is far more common than not—in fact by a margin of two to one— among Lennon's generation? (And by the result of the vote, in the population in general as well.)
So, we've seen conservatives blame the election results on minorities that want gifts, the death of traditional America, women who are too emotional to vote right, and now this.
This seems to be the political cycle where I enthusiastically tip my hat to opponents and say, "Please proceed, conservatives."
Update: After initially refusing to speak to the Forum outlet, the priest in question denies Lennon was denied confirmation, but owed the familiy confidentiality.
The family doesn't apparently want confidentiality and reiterated to the Forum:
Despite LaMoine’s denial, Shana held her ground on Thursday, saying again that LaMoine wouldn’t allow her son to be confirmed.So, there's that. It's a case of "he said, they said..."
“He said ‘I cannot, cannot confirm him.’ And why is Lennon not confirmed now if he could be confirmed?” Shana said. “Father would not confirm him, and they won’t confirm him unless he changes his views.”
The mother did say that Bishop Michael Hoeppner of the Diocese of Crookston informed her that if Lennon stood before the church and denounced his support of same-sex marriage claims, he could be confirmed.And the kid was not confirmed with his class.
Update 2: Lennon now has 800+ fans of support on Facebook, of course. What do they say, "When God closes a door, he opens a window?"