Catholic Church Holds Poor People, Kids Hostage Over DC Marriage Equality

by: Adam Bink

Thu Nov 12, 2009 at 18:01

So the Catholic Church announced it is blackmailing the DC Council over marriage equality, at the expense of the poor and kids without homes.

The Catholic Archdiocese of Washington said Wednesday that it will be unable to continue the social service programs it runs for the District if the city doesn't change a proposed same-sex marriage law, a threat that could affect tens of thousands of people the church helps with adoption, homelessness and health care.

Under the bill, headed for a D.C. Council vote next month, religious organizations would not be required to perform or make space available for same-sex weddings. But they would have to obey city laws prohibiting discrimination against gay men and lesbians.

Oh, well, heaven forbid (pun intended) they should have to obey city laws. A couple of points:

  • The city has anti-discrimination laws on the books. Their claim- that they might be forced to place kids with same-sex parents, for example- is already true under existing law. Catholic Charities, the social services arm of the Church, has lived under those laws for years and received millions from city coffers, and is trying to erode them using scare tactics.

  • This has nothing to do with the marriage equality legislation. It is a red herring. The legislation provides for exemptions for religious organizations to, for example, not allow same-sex couples to use their religious building for a wedding. The amendment that did not pass on Tuesday relates to individuals' rights, and as Chairman Mendelson said in the WaPo piece, the problem with individual exemption is that anybody can use their religious beliefs to discriminate- back in the 50s and 60s, people said the separation of the races was ordained by God.

  • Catholic Charities receives DC taxpayer money to fund its services. If they aren't interested in abiding under already-existing DC public laws using our public money, then don't take it. City leaders themselves have pointed out that Catholic Charities is not an indispensible component of city services. I'm no expert on the non-profit world, but I can't imagine there aren't other groups who can use the money to take their place. And I'm not really down with my money going to religious organizations anyway.

  • In Boston, Catholic Charities shut down its adoption services over the same issue. But before they did so, they had been placing kids in same-sex households to comply with the law until the Boston Globe exposed it and the hierarchy told them to stop. It is plainly nauseating to me that the need to discriminate so overrides the Church's commitment to feed the hungry and clothe the naked that they would take this stand.

    Or, as DC Clergy United for Marriage Equality said today:

    "The Catholic Church hierarchy is at a crossroads: they must decide whether they are in the charity business for charity's sake, or if imposing their will on the DC City Council and the citizens of the district is their primary interest."

This whole thing reminds me of the Bishop's engagement in the Maine marriage fight, even while his churches were closing, which went so overboard an opposition organization sprung up to generate a lot of pushback. We have to do the same in DC and reach out to people of faith to say that this has nothing to do with the marriage equality legislation, and that Catholic Charities should concentrate on its core values, not pushing its political beliefs.

I'm in the middle of an letter to the WaPo over this. If you are a DC-area resident, please consider joining with me. If you're a Catholic willing to organize in your congregation, drop me a line at adambink at gmail dot com.

Adam Bink :: Catholic Church Holds Poor People, Kids Hostage Over DC Marriage Equality

Tags: , , , , , (All Tags)
Print Friendly View Send As Email

It's just a convenient excuse.... (4.00 / 1)
The Church needs to cut back on its charities anyway -- it needs the money to defend lawsuits and pay judgements to all those kids its priests raped.

"A fantasy is not even a wish, much less an act.  There is no such thing as a culpable or shameful fantasy."  -----Lady Sally McGee

Turning their backs on the poor and needy over same-sex marriage (4.00 / 2)
How... Christian of them.  Because that's exactly what Jesus Christ would've done.

you can't negotiate the rights of someone, you just can't (4.00 / 1)
The Equal Protection Clause, part of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, provides that "no state shall ... deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws".[1] The Equal Protection Clause can be seen as an attempt to secure the promise of the United States' professed commitment to the proposition that "all men are created equal"[2] by empowering the judiciary to enforce that principle against the states.

This is really sad... (4.00 / 2)
I'm a very spiritual person. I go to church almost every Sunday (I'm not Catholic but UCC).

Why stop helping the homeless because you are upset about gay marriage? This doesn't make any sense at all. I've never understood this. Why do abortion and gay marriage matter more than any other issue?

I don't want to knock the Catholic church because there is a very progressive Catholic church down the road from me. Also, many Catholics are liberal and tolerant. But I wonder
if one reason many churches lose members is because more & more people feel its just an anti-gay organization that is not doing a lot of good in the country.  

Yep. (0.00 / 0)

Montani semper liberi

[ Parent ]
and another thing (4.00 / 2)
we don't negotiate with terrorists

This is why welfare was invented. (4.00 / 2)
Because the church cannot be trusted with peoples' lives. They have too many other agendas.

Montani semper liberi


Open Left Campaigns



Advanced Search

Powered by: SoapBlox