Boston, Mass., Aug 11, 2005 / 22:00 pm
Massachusetts State Senator Marian Walsh is leading a charge demanding that religious organizations publicly disclose their financial books to the attorney general--an act which many call a flagrant violation of the separation of church and state and an attempt to bully the already battered Catholic Church in Boston.
At a hearing in Boston’s Beacon Hill neighborhood Wednesday, supporters of the proposed bill, which included members of some of the area’s most vocal dissident Catholic groups, listened to testimony about the clergy sexual abuse scandal and rebellion over the closing of local parishes.
They think that the Church, like other secular charitable organizations, should have to file and disclose its financial statements with the state.
Others however, including the Massachusetts Council of Churches, which represents some 1,700 Orthodox and Protestant churches, the Massachusetts Family Institute, and the Catholic Action League, think that the bill will trample religious freedom and the separation of church and state.