William Edward Lori is a bigoted maniac, anti-gay activist, American prelate of the Catholic Church and former archbishop of the Archdiocese of Baltimore. Lori is most famous for his repeated complaints that he and those who agree with him are persecuted because people criticize and disagree with him. He has also been an ardent champion of religious freedom, which he claims is under severe attack in the US, once again because people are free to criticize and disagree with him, fail to respect his authority and choose not to do what he says they should do when it comes to how to lead their lives. A good illustration is his widely distributed 2011 speech to the assembled United States bishops, where he warned against the dangers of treating religion “merely as a private matter between an individual and his or her God.” You see, for him to have religious freedom, the religious decrees he adheres to has to apply to you as well; otherwise he is oppressed.
Citing an “aggressive secularism” as a competing system of belief, Lori said that recent court decisions and proposed regulations treat religion “as a divisive and disruptive force better kept out of public life,” which the government continues to encroach on individual lives. Apparently, the Department of Justice’s refusal to defend the Defense of Marriage Act is an example of how Lori’s freedom of religion is violated; another one is government agencies setting restrictions on funding by taxpayer money that would make Lori and his gang ineligible (i.e. they’re not giving him money with no strings attached): For instance, Lori argued that gay rights measures are attempts to “force us out of foster care and adoption,” referring to the fact that some church-affiliated organizations did not receive taxpayer dollars for such services because they insisted on using taxpayer money while discriminating against gay and lesbian taxpayers. Then he lamented that public schools are denigrating Christianity by accepting homosexuality, which is clearly an illustration of how the government trampling on his religious freedom. It’s really different from making him fight lions in the Colosseum only by a matter of small degrees.
Oh, yes. According to Lori, there is “bloodless persecution” going on, and to illustrate his point, he cited the legalization of same-sex marriage: “We have only to think about the arbitrary redefinition of marriage and family or anti-family welfare and relief policies. As these intermediate structures either disappear or come under the direct control of the government, our society becomes less merciful and more impersonal, less apt to be a setting for human flourishing,” said Lori.
Diagnosis: Delusional persecution complexes like Lori’s are lunacy. Though he claims to speak for the church as a whole – and officially probably does – polls clearly show that the vast majority of US Catholics disagree with him; he is nevertheless a rather powerful and influential figure.