As a result of the passage of gay marriage by the District of Columbia, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese has felt it necessary to put an end to its foster care program. The rationale is that once gays start marrying in the District, the church will be forced to place children in same sex households for foster care. This is certainly the church’s prerogative, and a reflection of its conviction that its moral principles may not be compromised in order to work with the state. In response, the Rev. Barry Lynn of Americans United for Separation of Church and State takes the archdiocese to task, essentially arguing that the Catholic Church should be more like his own United Church of Christ:
“If ‘faith-based’ charities cannot or will not obey civil rights laws, they ought not benefit from public funds,” he said.
“I am amazed that church officials would threaten to stop helping the disadvantaged because they are being asked to treat all citizens of the District fairly,” he continued. “They seem to have lost all perspective. How strong is their commitment to helping the poor if they’re willing to take this hard-line stance?
“If Catholic Charities drops its participation in publicly funded social services,” Lynn concluded, “I am confident that other charities would be happy to pick up the slack.” [Emphasis added.]
Imagine–how dare the Catholic Church presume to tell the state that it will not do its moral bidding?! Takes a lot of nerve to refuse to cave in when the state demands that you bow to its particular morality.
One can’t help but be amused by Lynn’s sneer at the Catholic “commitment to helping the poor.” There is no non-governmental organization, whether religious or secular, that does more for the poor in this country than the Catholic Church. I have no doubt that the Archdiocese of Washington wlll find other ways of serving the needy children in the District that do not involve compromising its moral message. In doing so it will put to shame the mainline denominations in their willingness to jettison their theological, evangelistic, and moral message in order to seek (typically without success) a measure of political influence.
Lynn’s absurd insistence that Catholics need to be more like liberal Protestant reminds me of a song: