Thursday, November 12, 2009

Catholic Church: You approve gay marriage, we stop social service programs

What happens when society progresses on human rights, but a 2,000 year old book is more important to you? Resort to childish strong-arm tactics:
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.
What in the world could this bill be saying that has Catholics so upset? Will it force them to perform gay marriages? To watch Bravo TV marathons? To ordain gay priests? ...Wait a second...

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.

Fearful that they could be forced, among other things, to extend employee benefits to same-sex married couples, church officials said they would have no choice but to abandon their contracts with the city.

So, the bill says you just have to stop discrimination...and they're against this? Do they have any idea how bad this makes them look? I guess they're not worried about PR, though, since their response is to threaten to take away social service programs than benefit the community. That's a pretty jerk move, if you ask me, since it's hurting people not even involved with the issue at hand. Just how many people will they be affecting with their selfish temper tantrum?

Catholic Charities, the church's social services arm, is one of dozens of nonprofit organizations that partner with the District. It serves 68,000 people in the city, including the one-third of Washington's homeless people who go to city-owned shelters managed by the church. City leaders said the church is not the dominant provider of any particular social service, but the church pointed out that it supplements funding for city programs with $10 million from its own coffers.

"All of those services will be adversely impacted if the exemption language remains so narrow," Jane G. Belford, chancellor of the Washington Archdiocese, wrote to the council this week.

Wow, just wow. Thankfully the council members seem to have more sense than the church:

The church's influence seems limited. In separate interviews Wednesday, council member Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3) referred to the church as "somewhat childish." Another council member, David A. Catania (I-At Large), said he would rather end the city's relationship with the church than give in to its demands.
You know all of those recent debates about if the Catholic church is an overall force of good in the world? I think your "goodness" suffers a bit if you're only using it for political clout. Just a thought.


  1. But, but, but where do we get our morality, if not from the Church???

    … Maybe we’d be a bit more moral if we didn’t follow the teachings of an organization who would casually leave hundreds and thousands of the poor and helpless to rot in the streets just because a bill might be passed that would force them to – OMG – obey the fucking law. The nerve! The gall! To demand that an institution actually follow the rules that everyone else must also abide by in their lives! How do we sleep at night …

  2. So let's take away tax exempt status from them. We can play extortionist too. Obviously they are using the Church's influence to sway a public matter, that is a violation.

  3. I wonder how one goes about bidding on these things? I'd be willing to work a non-profit charity without theistic overtones. In fact, it would be ideal.

  4. They have a right to be bigoted assholes. They just don't have a right to be bigoted assholes with government money.

  5. You gotta hand it to those Catholics, they really have their priorities straight. They would rather neglect the needy than see gay people gain equality.

  6. I've been looking for confirmation outside of just "Magic isn't real" for a good reason to more fully embrace my atheism and get all the way out of the Church. Thanks to things like this, and the pedophilia, and welcoming only the Anglican's whom we should actually find repulsive, I think I now have a pretty strong, secular, case against them.

    But at least the Catholic Church is consistent. As the saying goes: 'If you don't think the Catholic Church is pure evil, just wait five minutes; they'll do something deplorable.'

  7. "If you don't think the Catholic Church is pure evil, just wait five minutes; they'll do something deplorable."

    How very true. That debate rings true even more now than ever. The scary part is how many people follow the Catholic Church.

  8. Of course this really points out how evil the whole concept of charity is: it concentrates on the giver not the receiver.
    What would be more moral would be a system of 'asymptotic taxation' where those who were not in a position to earn enough would be automatically topped up to some reasonable minimum, and those who are in a position to earn too much would have progressively more of their excess taxed away.
    But then who (once they got into power) would be that moral.
    @Joé A good source of morality is nuanced symmetry: "Do unto others as you would be done by, but be careful their tastes may not be the same as yours".
    rhb (

  9. If you're upset by this, please write to your local Catholic Church. Or write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper.
    Ex-Catholic here, now gay Atheist, fan of Harvey Milk.
    Bitching about church policy on Twitter is Ok but churches need to hear from real people. And stop all donations to this ignorant church!

  10. The Catholic Adoptions agencies in the UK tried a similar threat in the UK..they said they'd stop all adoptions they organise if they were forced to allow adoption to gays and lesbians..well the act went through...gays and lesbians have the right to adopt...and the Catholic Adoptions agencies are still running and doing their job that they receive money to do.

    The Catholic Church is all about control, control and control and they can finally see that in the countries where they get most of their money from (Europe and North America) that they are starting to be seen in their true colours and their age old bigoted polices that are anti-women, anti-jewish and anti-gay/lesbian/bi/Trans are being eroded by democratic equality providing legislation.

    Let's just hope that they are in their death-throws.... I voted this lot Bigot of the Week on my blog (

    Sell the Vatican Feed The World

  11. This saddens and disgusts me so much.

    There are certainly many Catholics that are just as upset about this as y'all are. One of my best friends is a senior in college, and lives with a community of nuns that spent time in federal prison for writing antiwar slogans on nuclear silos with their own blood. Check out the various Catholic Worker communities across the country/world, who truly practice what they preach.

    what the D.C. Archdiocese is doing is incredibly un-Christlike, and it breaks my heart.

  12. I am a Catholic. I also get mad at or pleased with the Church depending on what it does.

    I'm waiting for the day there are married gay priests so this puts me in a tight spot. The people complaining about the Catholic Church don't give it credit for the good things it does so I think they are missing part of the picture.

    I want the Church to be able to express what it feels is right and proper as well (even if there are points (some but not all) where I disagree.

    I think that domestic partners should get the health coverage and that the local group is wrong in this case. If there is non-discrimination clause in hiring (black & white, Catholic & non, and so on) then there should be non-discrimination in how workers are treated (each getting the same pay and health benefits of working at a position no matter which orientation).

    Though what may be informing my opinion is my stance as a Catholic who supports gay rights.