Ruth Speaks Out

This blog is maintained by the Ruth Institute. It provides a place for our Circle of Experts to express themselves. This is where the scholars, experts, students and followers of the Ruth Institute engage in constructive dialogue about the issues surrounding the Sexual Revolution. We discuss public policy, social practices, legal doctrines and much more.

DC City Council vs Catholic Church

Posted on Saturday, November 14, 2009

The DC City Council is about to pass a gay rights bill that will force the Archdiocese of Washington out of the social services business. According to the Washington Post,

 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....  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.  "They don't represent, in my mind, an indispensable component of our social services infrastructure," said Catania, the sponsor of the same-sex marriage bill and the chairman of the Health Committee.
No one is indispensible. However, Catholic Charities serves 68,000 people in the city each year. The city’s 40 Catholic parishes operate another 93 social service programs to provide crucial services. The Catholic Church may not be indispensible, but it is probably the largest single non-government organization providing social services within the District. But, the sex radicals on the city council don't care about that. They evidently have so many sources of money, and so many alternative private sector partners, and so few needy people in the District, that they can safely ignore the Catholic Church. The statements by sex radicals on the city council are  disgracefully misleading. The truth is that the city council and all its coercive machinery are the ones threatening people.  Comply with every aspect of our social engineering agenda, or be driven out of doing business with the city.  An e-mail from the Most Reverend Barry C. Knestout, Auxiliary Bishop of Washington stated:
Catholic Charities is not threatening to end its services if a same sex marriage bill passes.  Catholic Charities is vowing to continue its services even if a same sex marriage bill passes. However, the bill, as it now reads, will diminish the resources we have to do so.  Why is that so?  Because without a meaningful religious exemption in the bill, Catholic Charities and other similar religious providers will become ineligible for contracts, grants and licenses to continue those services. What we have said to the Council is this: While we are opposed to redefining marriage in the District of Columbia, if the Council moves forward to do so, we respectfully request that religious individuals and organizations be afforded protection from restrictions on their deeply held religious beliefs and that the Council preserve the ability of Catholic Charities and other providers to continue to serve the growing and unmet needs of the poor and most vulnerable residents of the District of Columbia.      
Of course, gay rights advocates will not have any of this. All or nothing. "Peter Rosenstein of the Campaign for All D.C. Families accused the church of trying to "blackmail the city.""  City council member "David Catania said, Catholic Charities received about $8.2 million in city contracts, as well as several hundred thousand dollars' worth this year through his committee." And council member Mary Cheh, asked rhetorically, "Are they really going to harm people because they have a philosophical disagreement with us on one issue? I hope, in the silver light of day, when this passes, because it will pass, they will not really act on this threat." In fact, the Catholic Church is not making any money from its contracts with the city. All that money gets pumped into programs to serve the needy and vulnerable of the District.  The Church contributes $10 million annually in donations and thousands of volunteer hours to its charitable work, over and above the money it gets from the city for social service contracts. (How many volunteer hours can the city council persuade individuals to contribute?  How many volunteer hours has the gay community contributed?) Those are the resources that the Church will continue to contribute, no matter what the council does or doesn't do. So let's get this in perspective: The DC city council is threatening to dislodge its largest single private social service provider, in order to placate its gay constituents. The council is planning to throw the poor and minorities of the city under the bus to accomodate its gay residents, who are politically powerful and for the most part, not poor. And this, during a period of economic hardship and fiscal stress. Who is being childish and petulant here?
 
 
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