“A time comes when silence is betrayal.”

I believe that the above statement regarding silence in some circumstances was made by the late Dr. Martin Luther King and I think it perfectly true. Just as I was preparing to write my column, I glanced at the Jan. 24 issue of the Toronto Star and saw the following headline: “Copps to enter Liberal race.” This is the race to become the next prime minister of Canada.

I am not a politician and, in general, have little interest in politics, but there are occasions when the above statement by Martin Luther King applies, and that is when there is a clash between politics and religion. I am convinced that the principle applies in this particular case. And here is the reason.

The Star stated in the same article: “Last week, Copps unofficially launched her leadership campaign with a speech in Vancouver in which she expressed support for same-sex marriages.” The National Post carried a similar report. I understand that this – and the fact that she is “pro-choice” – is not news to anyone in the Hamilton area. But I shall confine myself in this column to the question of “same-sex marriages.”

I have been told that Ms Copps claims to be a Catholic and that her father (a former, popular mayor of Hamilton) was a very devoted Catholic and staunch member of the Knights of Columbus. He certainly would never have agreed with “same-sex marriages.” (By the way, homosexual liaisons should never be called “marriage,” which is restricted to the union of one man and one woman only.)

One could write a book on this subject. But, for a brief column, I shall confine myself to quotations from the Bible and the official teachings of the Catholic Church. Here are just two quotations from the Old Testament.

“Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind, because it is an abomination. Defile not yourselves with any of these things, with which all the nations have been defiled, which I will cast out before you. Every soul that shall commit any of these abominations shall perish from the midst of his people – keep my commandments. Do not do the things that they have done, that have been before you, and do not be defiled therein. I am the Lord your God” (Leviticus 20:13).

“If anyone lie with a man as with a woman, both have committed an abomination; let them be put to death, their blood be upon them” (Leviticus 23:18). There are also many other statements in the Old Testament, and I may deal with them in a later column.

“For this cause, God delivered them up to shameful afflictions. For their women have changed the natural use into that use which is against nature. And, in like manner, the men also, leaving the natural use of the women, have turned in their lusts one towards another; men with men working that which is filthy, and receiving in themselves the recompense that was due to their error … Who, having known the justice of God, did not understand that they who do such things are worthy of death, and not only they that do them, but they also who consent to them that do them” (from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans).

Here are some recent statements from the Vatican.

In February 1998, the pontiff denounced those who “want same-sex unions recognized as families” and urged bishops throughout the world to “proclaim with pastoral firmness the truth about marriage and the family as God made it to be.”

The Pope said his comments were directed not only to Roman Catholics, but to “all men and women without distinction, because marriage is an irreplaceable asset of society, that cannot be indifferent to its degradation and destruction. The Vatican opposes moves to give non-married couples the same legal rights as those who are married, and disapproves of the legalization of unions between gay men and women.

“At a time when the very definitions of marriage and family life are endangered by attempts to enshrine in legislation alternative and distorted notions of these basic human communities, your ministry must include the clear proclamation of God’s original design,” the Pope said.

On a personal, and non-confidential, note: Sheila, I hope that you will reconsider the political position you have taken. I have written this column simply because, in the words of Martin Luther King, a time comes when silence is betrayal. I shall pray for you, and especially to your worthy Father, that you may get the grace to stand for the truth as taught by the Bible and the church.