Last week I watched a refreshingly candid interview with Archbishop Dolan conducted by Raymond Arroyo on The World Over (EWTN). Their discussion of the passage of New York’s “same-sex marriage” bill brought to mind my earlier posts.
In those earlier posts, I addressed the importance of managing deception in the conflict resolution process. When we confront deception and insist on honesty, integrity, and transparency we face our flawed nature with eyes wide open. If we blindly ignore deception and pretend it doesn’t exist, we fail to protect our interests and the interests of those we serve.
The examples in previous posts focused on radical left-wing activists who follow the late Saul Alinsky, the author of the community organizers’ path-to-revolution guide, Rules for Radicals. In his community organizing “bible” Alinsky champions deception; his mentoring has corrupted activist politicians and those who become alloyed with their causes.
Some found my words uncharitable. The harsh spotlight I shined on the deception that has been compromising both the Church and Franciscan groups was unwelcome. The causes were more dear to some than the need to subject political allies to an “integrity check.” Archbishop Dolan’s comments, however, echo my posts on deception, speaking to the adverse consequences of deception in the passage of the New York legislation.
When Raymond Arroyo asked Archbishop Dolan about the passage of New York’s “same-sex marriage” bill, he responded, “Very sad. Very sobering.” The final result, however, was not the only aspect of the bill he protested. “This wasn’t done right,” he told Raymond. “This was hardly democracy in action.”
The Archbishop voiced numerous complaints about the process:
And if you folks who claim to be progressive and acting on behalf of the will of the people…if you were so convinced that this was the will of the people, why didn’t we have a referendum?”
He went on to say,
Why did you have to literally lock the doors for the last three days and not face any public? Because you knew this really wasn’t going to go over, right?”
The primary worry expressed by His Excellency and other Catholics had to do with preserving religious liberty. Typically, once gay marriage laws are on the books, people of faith are harassed, penalized, and coerced into violating religious conscience. The homosexuals’ plea for tolerance is not reciprocated: religious intolerance soon appears.
Prior to passage of the legislation bishops were considered paranoid for expressing religious liberty concerns. According to Dolan they were told, “Don’t worry. You don’t have to worry. All your rights are gonna be protected.” Not so, the Archbishop notes. Shortly after the bill’s passage religious liberties began to be challenged.
The adverse outcome forced the humbled Bishops to examine their consciences: “Did we do something wrong? Could we have done something better?” Reviewing the events, Archbishop Dolan noted, “We fell for the assurances of people that we thought were political allies. That this wasn’t going anywhere.” We were told, “You don’t have to pull out the stops. Speak to principle.”
In hindsight Dolan muses,
It sort of taught us it is not all that good to trust politicians sometimes. I think some of us Bishops think we were being deceived. Shame on us…”
He went on to say,
What’s now been revealed was a very well-oiled, high financed program of manipulation.”
This type of deception—this “program of manipulation”—was pointed out on numerous occasions in the Taming the Wolf Institute blog. In this case, the Taming approach to conflict resolution would call for a thorough assessment of Church allies and movements with an eye toward detecting and managing deception. In the assessment, the integrity and transparency of political allies would be evaluated and a number of programs might be modified or abandoned as a result.
In New York, the Bishops encountered the upside-down “ethics” of the lawyer class of Hollywood, Washington, and New York. In Taming the Wolf I write about this “ethical” worldview that considers the deceived party to be at fault. In this view, if you are cheated through the use of deception, you are to blame. You simply were not smart enough to protect your own interests; therefore, your suffering is your own fault.
This callous view has become the cultural norm, destroying trust in vital cultural institutions. This cultural ethic is particularly toxic for bishops, clergy, and laity as well as Franciscans—as they all operate on the assumption of honesty and love, an ethical basis that is the antithesis of deception. Thus, they are easily blindsided by deception. Perhaps this is the lesson Archbishop Dolan plans to share when he helps other states avoid the deception encountered in New York.