Back on June 13, 2011, I wrote the blog post More catholic Whining, in which I described the situations happening in some States like New York and Illinois, involving certain catholic charities having issues with their states making it illegal to discriminate against straight couples in common law relationships and to discriminate against gay couples when providing fostering and adoption services. Now I thought this story was bad enough when these bottom feeders were crying and claiming that the State was trying to shut them down (when the State was simply making this type of discrimination illegal).

And now these catholic groups and the clergy they are affiliated with are back to their whining game again. This time they are not just complaining that these new laws are discriminatory against religious organizations, but also complaining about how people are now trying to coerce them to give up their cherished homophobic ways. For the purpose of the flow of this post, I will address the second issue first, and will then return to the first, as the issue is expanding beyond the discussion of fostering and adoption services and extending to such issues as marriage itself.

In his blog, archbishop Nolan of the archdiocese of New York, claims that in editorials he is encountering lots of blogs, editorials and other media that are not only supporting gay marriage and other rights, such as that to adopt or foster children, but also trying to coerce catholics into accepting homosexuality. He writes:

But, three, we do worry indeed about this freedom of religion.  Editorials already call for the removal of guarantees of religious liberty, with crusaders calling for people of faith to be coerced to acceptance of this redefinition.  If the experience of those few other states and countries where this is already law is any indication, the churches, and believers, will soon be harassed, threatened, and hauled into court for their conviction that marriage is between one man, one woman, forever, bringing children into the world.

Four, the real forces of “intolerance” were unmasked here.  The caricature, of course, is that those defending traditional marriage were the right-wing bigots and bullies.  However, as one out-of-state journalist, who was following the debate closely, commented to me, “From my read of the columns, blogs, and rhetoric, it’s not your side that’s lobbing the grenades.”  A Catholic who wrote to criticize me for my defense of marriage still conceded, “But I must confess that I am sickened by the amount of anti-Catholic venom that has surfaced in this debate.”  As one respected columnist has observed, the problem is not homophobia but theophobia— a hatred by some of God, faith, religion, and the Church. 

When I read this I thought it sounded outlandish, so I went to Google and did a search for blogs, newspapers and other editorials discussing this subject. Here is a number of them:

What I found going browsing through these pages was that an overwhelming number of these pages, or the comments in them, are supporting the catholic position on this issue.  I would have gladly gone to the URLs of the sites the Nolan provided but…that’s right, he didn’t provide any sources to support this statement. And remember, what he was claiming was not only that there were so many people supporting the position of the state on these matters, but also that these same people were arguing that catholics should be coerced into being okay with, or accepting, homosexuality.


So on this issue I say to you, Mr. Nolan, please support these claims or give it up. No one likes a whiner, much less one who goes around and, apparently, lies about what his opponents are saying about this issue; in all likelihood in a vain attempt to garner some sympathy for his side.


Now, some of these catholic charities are grumbling in resignation, like the archdiocese of Chicago, but others are fighting vehemently for their right to continue to offer these fostering and adoptive services while discriminating against gay and unmarried straight people. A judge in Springfield, Il. recently allowed a one month extension of the law in order to allow further discussion on the issue at hand. The website reports:


Catholic Charities said its position is a matter of religious principle. Representatives say Catholic Charities does not place children in the homes of any unmarried couples.

“This restores some hope for us continuing our relationship with the state,” said Steven Roach, executive director for Catholic Charities of the Springfield Diocese.

Attorneys for Catholic Charities have argued that a clause in the law allows religious organizations not to recognize civil unions if it conflicts with their religious beliefs.

“It is the state of Illinois that is violating this provision of the law by seeking to force us to act against our religious principles,” said Springfield Bishop Thomas John Paprocki in a statement.

So catholic charities is trying to avoid the new law by arguing that a provision in the law allows an agency to deny fostering or adoption to a prospective couple if they believe it is not in the interest of the child to do so. And because the catholic charities believe allowing gays and unmarried straight people to have children is gravely wrong, and the State cannot deny their refusal to these people. How twisted!


The problem here is that the catholic church and catholic charities refuse to acknowledge that the law is not intended to discriminate against them; the law was created to prevent couples, regardless of sexuality or marital status, to adopt and foster children. It just so happens that the church’s beliefs happen to conflict with this new law. The church also seems to forget, as is pointed out by others, that the church is not obligated to be engaged in these charitable activities; they choose to be engaged in these activities. Therefore, no one is forcing these people to violate their beliefs. When these catholic groups try to use a loophole to force the state to let them operate outside the law and discriminate against these people, they are abusing the spirit of the law (which, last I checked, still meant a whole hell of a lot). This is dishonest and sneaky; actions which are contrary to their morality, yet, incredibly common for the vatican and all of its many child and affiliated organizations.


Allowing these charities to discriminate overtly against gay and unmarried straight couples, is sending a clear signal that the law doesn’t matter and that religion ultimately has free reign.


Others are tying to play the catholic apologists, and argue that the foster care services offered by catholic charities is superior to that offered by the state. To this I argue: Great! I hope that they do offer great services. However, the fact that they provided allegedly great services is not an excuse to allow them exemptions from the law.


Please, tell the catholic church and its charities and its clergy to back off and respect a law that calls for respect and an end to unjustifiable (and it is unjustifiable) discrimination.

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Comment by Brian Bridson on July 16, 2011 at 1:48pm
That is enclaves are a bad idea. Can't separate people from their kids because of religion unless it is endangering the kids.
Comment by Brian Bridson on July 16, 2011 at 11:39am
I agree. If religious communities want to move to enclaves and enforce their own law and morality, that would be fine with me, so long as we could guarantee there would be no way for them to try to influence society with their ancient and backward 'morality'.
Comment by Loren Miller on July 16, 2011 at 9:27am

Okay, time to grasp the nettle here: does freedom of religion imply granting religion's right to discriminate?  If it does, it means that the freedoms which are codified in civil law have the potential to be REVERSED by some deity's anachronistic commandment.  Sorry, Cardinal Cretin, but there's ONE law and your bible does NOT define it.

I would suppose if some theistic organization wanted to create a closed enclave where they observed Mosaic law and ran things the way their particular church figured things should be run, that might be workable.  Problem is, the catholic church wants to maintain their bigotry and discriminatory practices while acting in public, and the conflict of interest there is beyond blatant.  Society is CHANGING, granting rights where there hadn't been rights before while the church attempts to stand still.  Sooner or later, the church will either be run over entirely or rendered irrelevant

The church might recognize that the absolutes they want to promote aren't so absolute any more, but the problem there is that they'd pretty much cease to be the RC church (not such a bad thing, really!).  The question then becomes HOW does the catholic church wish to evolve in order to remain relevant?

Comment by Brian Bridson on July 15, 2011 at 7:00pm
I completely concur. Society does not look to the catholic church for ethical guidance, much less the setting of ethical standards. Religion chooses to become engaged in society, society does not twist the arm of the religious person into acting in the public realm. They choose to be involved, they can likewise choose to no longer be involved. And the more the publicly squirm, writhe and scream about their distaste for those with higher ethical standards than theirs, the more their despicable natures become exposed.

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