Waymon Hudson

IL: Catholic Church Picks Discrimination Over Charity

Filed By Waymon Hudson | May 27, 2011 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Living, Marriage Equality
Tags: adoption rights, Catholic charities, Catholic church, foster care, illinois, New Jersey

"Now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity." (1 Corinthians 13:13, King James Bible)

Catholic-Charities.jpgApparently the Catholic Diocese skipped that part of the Good Book.

Catholic Charities in Rockford, Illinois have decided that rather than abide with the new civil unions law going into effect in Illinois on June 1st, they'll end all the adoption and foster care services they provide. This move will displace around 350 children in foster care, terminate $7.5 million in state contracts with the "charity", and lead the organization to fire 58 of its employees that work with their state-funded adoption services.

Not sounding so charitable, are they?

Ellen Lynch, general counsel for the diocese, gave this "loving" excuse when they announced their decision following the failure of an amendment to the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Unions Act that would have allowed Catholic Charities use their public funds to discriminate as they see fit:

"It's the moral teaching of our faith that we believe in the natural order of marriage. In order to serve our children best, we believe that they be in that kind of a family."

This move isn't anything new from the Catholic Church. They have a history of simply shutting down services and punishing both those they serve and employees when they are forced to decide between taking millions in public dollars and continuing their faith-based discrimination against a class of people. Just last year in March 2010, the Washington, D.C. Catholic Charities announced it will no longer offer spousal benefits to any employees to avoid offering benefits to same-sex partners of employees after D.C's marriage equality law went into effect.

The church certainly has the right as a private institution to believe what they want and to act accordingly. However, they simply do not have the right to bring that discrimination into the public sphere by taking tax dollars while not serving the entire community, only those they see fit and worthy.

But beyond the actual private belief versus public funding/services issue, the choice of the church to put "faith" (or rather faith-based discrimination) over actual charity is a good insight into the priorities of the institution. And this certainly is an institutional Church issue that doesn't represent how polls show the average Catholic feels about LGBT Americans and their relationships. Recent polling from the Public Religion Research Institute shows that Catholics overwhelmingly support marriage or civil unions for same-sex couples by some 74%. Yet the church chooses to hurt the hundreds of children in its care, the employees that work for them, and the community it supposedly serves.

The Catholic Church is free to discriminate as they please. They can do things like back anti-gay marriage amendments, kick-out foster kids, and fight condom use to prevent HIV/AIDS. But all they do is further isolate themselves from not only society as a whole, but from their own shrinking membership, as well as remove themselves and their services form the public sphere. Prioritizing discrimination of LGBT people and holding charity hostage has sadly become their top goal.

As the Bible once again says:

"Though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing." (1 Corinthians 13:2, King James Bible)

Faith, Hope & Charity...? Not so much from the Catholic Church.

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Does anyone know if the Catholic Church pulls these kind of stunts in countries where same-sex marriage or civil unions are legal? Say like in Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Spain, Uruguay, etc.? I'm just curious if they are using this as a special ploy in the USA to influence voters. I mean I know that's part of why they are doing it, after all they don't refuse to place kids into families with divorced and remarried spouses, but I wonder if this is just a political tactic they've saved especially for us.

Wow, running the nubmers odds are they were pocketing about 2mill a year on the contract. If the employees do what others have done and form a new organization then bussiness should flow smoothly so the kids are not adversely impacted.
I do not beleive that any church should be allowed to operate any adoption services. They only act in thier own interests and rarely in the childs.
As for other countries, in some the church is allowed to do as it pleases but most of those the state doesn't give them a dime. But for the most part if a country has anti-discrimination laws that impact the church the church curtails all activities while 'fighting' the imposision of law in to thier sphere of society.
Its really patheic.

But seriously, what would Jake and Elwood do?

Who needs them? I'm sure some other organization will step into the breach.