Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

When mores change

with 5 comments

Muslim fundamentalists who stone to death a raped woman are generally condemned in the US, despite our much-vaunted “freedom of religion,” and a religion that attempted such things in the US would run afoul of secular law to (I believe) general acclaim. We endorse freedom of religion, but we mostly consider still that religion is a private matter, and if your religion calls for you to punch me in the nose, then we have a problem, religious freedom or not: I also have the right to be secure from harassment.

We are seeing more and more instances in which people who hold certain religious beliefs seek employment in fields that present conflicts to those beliefs. It’s not clear why a person would seek a field that conflicts with their religion, but apparently they do. So we get things like this story, about a religious group up in arms that it is being forced by secular law to practice tolerance and simulate love and acceptance, things totally at odds with the teachings of their God (who, weirdly, never even mentioned homosexuality, but did prattle on about how important it is to love and accept one’s fellows, to avoid casting stones until one is oneself free of sin, and other such teachings).

The story, by Laurie Goodstein in the NY Times, begins:

Catholic Charities in Illinois has served for more than 40 years as a major link in the state’s social service network for poor and neglected children. But now most of the Catholic Charities affiliates in Illinois are closing down rather than comply with a new requirement that says they can no longer receive state money if they turn away same-sex couples as potential foster care and adoptive parents.

For the nation’s Roman Catholic bishops, the outcome is a prime example of what they see as an escalating campaign by the government to trample on their religious freedom while expanding the rights of gay people. The idea that religious Americans are now the victims of government-backed persecution is now a frequent theme not just for Catholic bishops, but also for Republican presidential candidates and conservative evangelicals.

“In the name of tolerance, we’re not being tolerated,” said Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki of the Diocese of Springfield, Ill., a civil and canon lawyer who helped drive the church’s losing battle to retain its state contracts for foster care and adoption services.

The Illinois experience indicates that the bishops face formidable opponents who also claim to have justice and the Constitution on their side. They include not only gay rights advocates, but also many religious believers and churches that support gay equality (some Catholic legislators among them). They frame the issue as a matter of civil rights, saying that Catholic Charities was using taxpayer money to discriminate against same-sex couples.

Tim Kee, a teacher in Marion, Ill., who was turned away by Catholic Charities three years ago when he and his longtime partner, Rick Wade, tried to adopt a child, said: “We’re both Catholic, we love our church, but Catholic Charities closed the door to us. To add insult to injury, my tax dollars went to provide discrimination against me.” . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

28 December 2011 at 2:14 pm

5 Responses

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  1. Why wasn’t it acceptable for Catholic Charities to refer this gay couple to another charity or institution that didn’t have a problem with this? Why force them to serve in a manner in which causes an internal spiritual conflict for their agency’s personnel?

    I definitely think there are problems in regard to this and see it as yet another rung in the politically correct ladder, aimed at climbing over religious rights. Next, we’ll hear that ministers must marry gay couples, and this is something that is most definitely not going to fly for a lot of ministers. They shouldn’t have to get out of the marrying business because homosexuals want to marry.

    the warrioress

    28 December 2011 at 9:43 pm

  2. It’s not acceptable because a state contract is not a gold star you get for being nice. Organizations get state funds because they are doing work proper to the state. Despite the fulminations of “bible warriors”, we are all equal before the eyes of the state; an organization that contracts with the state and receives taxpayer funds should meet that standard as well.

    Not getting taxpayer money is not “force”. There are no jack-booted secularist thugs ripping apart Catholic Charities. What the state is saying is that CC doesn’t get to both contract with it and discriminate against same-sex couples in the execution of those contracts.

    It may be that Catholic Charities in Illinois became complacent enough to become dependent on the state, but complacency is not entitlement. CC has no legitimate claim to the money of Illinois taxpayers.


    28 December 2011 at 10:37 pm

  3. This also points out the general danger in privatizing government work. If the private contractors choose to reinterpret the law or to apply it in unique circumstances at their discretion, then the law might as well not exist. For a moment, imagine the KKK administering a low-income free lunch program at a community center. It just took a moment, didn’t it?


    29 December 2011 at 5:00 am

  4. @ Bill

    Or what would the reactions be to a foster care center that didn’t believe in interracial marriage — would the warrioress be okay with the government subsidizing them to practice such discrimination?

    This is not a slippery slope to forcing churches to practice religious observances against their beliefs (e.g. marrying gay couples in a sacred service), it is about demanding gov’t subsidies for their practices.

    Should religious institutions be allowed to demand the right to use public funds (provided by all the public, not just members of their church) in a way that may cause many of those whose funds are being used inner turmoil? The church can avoid inner turmoil — by using their own funds and not gov’t funds.


    29 December 2011 at 7:49 am

  5. Well.. I do admit that you (comments above this) have a good point in regard to the public monies being accepted by whatever institution we’re discussing. I can’t deny this is an important aspect that turns this issue in your direction.

    the warrioress

    29 December 2011 at 5:54 pm

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