Target: Bishop of Crookston Michael Hoeppner
Goal: Don’t allow the church to deny a child the sacred rite of confirmation simply because he supports gay marriage.
Minnesota teenager Lennon Cihak has been denied his sacred rite of confirmation after his church discovered he supports marriage equality. The Assumption Church in Barnesville, Minnesota became alerted of a Facebook photo depicting Lennon protesting the Minnesota Marriage Amendment, a law which would have amended the state’s constitution to outlaw same-sex marriage. Despite the act being struck down in the recent election, Lennon’s public opposition to it and his support of marriage equality in general made him a target of the Catholic Church.
Specifically, Reverend Gary LeMoine of the Assumption Church refused to grant Lennon confirmation during his class’s ceremony last month. Confirmation is one of the sacraments Catholics can receive from their church, usually signifying a coming of age and rite of passage into religious adulthood. Evidently, Reverend LeMoine doesn’t think that Lennon’s act of standing up for his beliefs is worthy of granting him this rite. While the reverend was the one who initially denied Lennon his confirmation, Bishop Michael Hoeppner has the power to reverse this decision. He resides over the Crookston diocese, of which the Assumption Church is part of. When questioned about Lennon’s denial of confirmation, the Bishop simply answered that the boy could be confirmed once he denounced his beliefs before the congregation.
By signing this petition, you will be telling Bishop Hoeppner that his answer is not acceptable. You will be telling him that nobody, especially a devoted member of his congregation, should be punished because of their beliefs; especially when those beliefs involve spreading equality and freedom to every man and woman, no matter their sexual orientation. Most importantly, you will be sending a message to the Catholic Church, and any other organization, religious or otherwise, that attempt to persecute those who stand up for their beliefs. You will be telling them enough is enough, and that the days of discrimination are coming to an end.
Dear Bishop Michael Hoeppner,
Your denial of Lennon Cihak’s confirmation is unacceptable. The actions you and your diocese have taken are regrettable and unfairly target a young man for simply expressing his beliefs. The Assumption Church should be accepting of any one who wishes to participate in the Catholic faith, especially a member who has been as devoted to their religion as Lennon has. His family has made it clear that Lennon attended mass every week and has been actively engaging in community service leading up to his confirmation.
To be a member of the catholic church, individuals should not be forced to comply with every belief the leaders at the top of the organization have. Some room should be allowed for differences, especially when Lennon clearly has nothing but good intentions in mind. Shouldn’t you welcome your members to look towards Lennon as a shining example of a faithful, well-meaning member of the church? It’s rare to find someone so young who not only fights for what they believe in, but who also considers religion such an important part of their life. Both of these qualities represent Lennon, and your actions could cause him and others to not only turn away from the church, but to be fearful of expressing their honest beliefs.
Reportedly, several of Lennon’s classmates “Liked” and commented on the photo he shared, agreeing with his message of marriage equality. Despite this, Lennon was the only one denied his rite of confirmation. Lennon, nor any of these other children, should be denied confirmation for supporting marriage equality. There are countless other Catholics who have received this rite who also support marriage equality, and their confirmation has not been voided. Do the right thing, allow Lennon to be confirmed in the church he has put so much faith in, and show him that this faith is not unwarranted.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Dave Wallis via The Forum.