IL Catholic Charities Drops Foster Care

The Chicago Tribune reports that three dioceses in Illinois, Joliet, Springfield, and Belleville, have decided to end their foster care program rather than placing children in homes with same-sex couples:

Calling off legal efforts aimed at keeping Catholic Charities of Illinois in the foster care business, three Roman Catholic dioceses have dropped their lawsuit against the state, agreeing to transfer more than 1,000 foster care children and staff to other agencies in their regions.

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The decision by leaders in the dioceses of Joliet, Springfield and Belleville ends a historical partnership between Illinois and the charitable arm of the Catholic Church, which inspired the state to address child welfare in the first place and led to the creation of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

Springfield's Bishop Thomas Paprocki said that Catholic Charities of Illinois in the state would be able to “focus on being more Catholic and more charitable, while less dependent on government funding and less encumbered by intrusive state policies."

The decision comes during the same week when US bishops asserted that religious liberty is under attack in the US, preventing the Church from living out its mission. From National Catholic Reporter:

Religious liberty is under attack in the United States, Bishop William E. Lori of Bridgeport, Conn., told the U.S. bishops at their annual fall meeting in Baltimore on Nov. 14.

"There is no religious liberty if we are not free to express our faith in the public square and if we are not free to act on that faith through works of education, health care and charity," Lori said in his first address to the bishops as chairman of the newly formed Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Like Massachusetts and the District of Columbia, Catholic Charities of Illinois halted its adoption program earlier this year when the state compelled all agencies to be open to placing children in homes with same-sex couples. 

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John Hayes
6 years 11 months ago
Does someone know if they could continue their services to place children for adoption for mothers who come directly to them - as long as they use only private donations rather than accepting payments from the state? 

I haven't heard whether the state law requires placement with same sex couples only if state funds are involved or whether it applies to all social service agencies, even those using only private funds.  
John Hayes
6 years 11 months ago
Quoting from the Chicago Tribune November 15 article:

''Ottawa-based Youth Service Bureau of Illinois Valley agreed to take all of Catholic Charities' cases in Rockford. In Peoria, a separate child welfare agency was formed to take all of Catholic Charities' cases and provide a seamless transition for children....
In order to prevent any interruption to its current foster care cases, Catholic Social Services of Southern Illinois has broken off from the Diocese of Belleville to form a new entity called Christian Social Services of Southern Illinois....

Catholic Charities in the Archdiocese of Chicago ended its foster care services in 2007 after losing its insurance coverage. Cases and caseworkers scattered to several agencies.''

 
This matches up with I remember reading in other states - when Catholic Charities stops providing adoption/foster care services, the people who worked on those services at Catholic Charities walk across the street to a new office with a new sign on the door and continue doing what they were doing but following the state requirement to make placements with same sex couples. 

Since I have not heard any suggestion that it would be wrong for Catholics who were working for Catholic Charities to provide these services for the new firm, it appears that all that has happened is that the church's identification with the operation has been removed but otherwise the results are the same as if Catholic Charities had accepted the state requirements and continued doing what it was doing. 

It could be called consequentialism, I suppose, but I wonder if the bishops could not have found a way to make this work within Catholic Charities.  

 
Tom Maher
6 years 11 months ago
On October 5, 2011 the Supreme Court heard the case of Hosanna-Tabor Evagelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC which illustrates one form of attack on the religious freedoms of all religions by widespread use of anti-discriminatioion laws.   These anti-discrimination cases of all types and in all jurisdictions are so mnumerous and expensive nationwide that they threaten to overwhelm the fiancial resources of all religions in defending their basic constitutional rights to function as areligion without government interfereance.  All of these cases are brought by well finance and politically motivated governement agencies against religious organizations such as schools, hospitals and social welfare organizations  In the Hosanna-Tabor case the Obama admisistration favored anti-discrimination laws to dictate to the Lutheran Church that  an ordained minister whom the church had fired must be compensated for being fired in disregard of any religious consideration of her properly functioning as a minsiter of the church.  The EEOC and the Obama administration's Solititor General second- guessed the church decisions and motives.  This illustarates a full scale political assult on religous freedom.  All religion's rights to free exercision of religon are being sobordenated to the broadly interpretated of anti-discrimination laws by government at all levels. - federal, state and local.  

Please note that the Illinois dioceses dropped their lawsuit agaist the state.  The likely reason is that never-ending litigation all the way to the Supreme Court as the Lutherans had to do would be finacially exhausting.  De facto religious liberties are under intense  politcal  attack from every direction.   
Kang Dole
6 years 11 months ago
Tom, are you unaware of what made the Hosanna-Tabor case so complicated, or is it just that much easier for you to elide those nuances in order to make your argument? I mean, you know that a good proportion of the people reading this will recognize how you've simplified things, right?
Tom Maher
6 years 11 months ago
Abe Rosenzweig (# 4)

Excuse me.  The Oct 5, 2011 Hosama-Tabot U.S. Supreme Court case is so complicated to whom Mr. Rosenzweig?  Someone who lives in Canada and does not understand that the U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of the land in the United States?  And futher does not understand that in the U.S. Constistution the First Amemedment clearly lays out in very definitive terms as a first principle to all U.S. laws the right of freedom of religion, speech and press? 

Who are you to state that my openly stated objections to the extensive misuse of anti-discrimination laws by government agencies aimed at religious organizations are  not substatnive and point to a widespread attack on religous liberties in America?  

People can form their own opinion by viewing the CSPAN video of the Oct. 5, 2011 U.S. Supreme Court hearing on the  Hosana-Tabor case. Several Supreme Court Justices expressed astonishment with the Obama administrations Solitior General who openly advocaced governemnt interfereing with the decisions of the Lutheran church based on a anti-discrimination claim.

The U.S. Catholic Bishops are completely correct in saying that religous liberties are under attack in America.  And the Hosana-Tabor U.S. Supreme Court case is a perfect example of the poliitical attack on religious liberties by government agencies as is the case in the state of Illinois.  
Vince Killoran
6 years 11 months ago
There it is again:  a plea to discriminate with public money.

"Several Supreme Court Justices"?!  Gee, I wonder who they are. 
Stephen SCHEWE
6 years 11 months ago
Hi Abe,
Could you enlighten those of us who don't know the complications of the case you and Tom are discussing?  I'm not familiar with it.
Tom Maher
6 years 11 months ago
Vince Killorn (#6)

Anti-discrimination laws and policies have become a weapon against the free expression of religion in America.  This is highly political.  Technically the Church could enforce its right to religious liberty in every case but this would be finacially impossible.  What is needeed is to recongnize the politcal forces at work and opposse these abusies forces with new legislation that protects the freedom of religion which everyone has always had and wants.  We need strong new federal laws that protect the freedom of religion from anti-discrimination abuse.  Government should be on the side of the people in a democracy and oppose the tyranny of activist politcal elites seeking to manipulate religion to ther needs of their political causes.  
Anne Chapman
6 years 11 months ago
Tom, I googled the case, also not knowing anything about it.

The problem that is immediately apparent is that it seems that the religious school is manipulating religious exemptions in order to justify firing a person because she got sick. It is a misuse of ''religious liberty'' to twist it into a justification for evading their responsibilities to an employee who got an illness through no fault of her own. A friend of mine has narcolepsy, it's controlled with medication, and she works full-time without problems. Her employer would not have been permitted to fire her for her narcolepsy as this school did with their employee. The firing does not seem to be at all related to religious liberty, except as a misuse of the ''ministerial exception'' granted to religious institutions.

It would have been different if she had decided she would no longer teach Lutheran Christianity but Hinduism instead. As a ''minister'' as well as teacher, that would be violating her employment agreement and they would be jusified in firing her. But, I see nothing to indicate that she did anything other than get sick and take a leave of absence due to her narcolepsy. Once her illness was properly medicated she sought to return to work and instead told she would be fired and the substitute teacher who was retained during her absence would remain as a permanent teacher.

 If you wish to maintain religious freedom and liberty in this country, religious groups must be responsible enough not to misuse their legal protections/exemptions as a devious way to fire an employee whom they may fear may cost them more in insurance premiums, time off for medical appointments or whatever their real reason is.  If she is unable to do her job that would be a different matter. But it seems that with the disease under control, she is perfectly able to fulfill the requirements of her job.
Vince Killoran
6 years 11 months ago
You can express your religious beliefs from now until the late mass on Sunday-but don't demand public funds to discriminate on those grounds.
Kang Dole
6 years 11 months ago
Dear Steve,

I suspect that this site will have much to tell you. Is ay suspect, because, being in Canada, anything about US law automatically falls into a jumble of random letters and signs whenever my non-American eyes fall upon it.
Kang Dole
6 years 11 months ago
Sorry*: http://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/hosanna-tabor-evangelical-lutheran-church-and-school-v-eeoc/



* Sorry? How Canadian of me, eh?
Tom Maher
6 years 11 months ago
Anne Chapman (# 9)


First Amendment rights are not earned by good behavior as if all religions are  subject to the dictates of an all-wise, knowing and powerful government that must be pleased at all times or something bad will happen.  Wonderfully in America religion is explicitly free to be  independent of government control,  accountability and review.  A religion is free to decide for itself its own religous rules, actions, practices, beleifs and personnel without government interfrerence. ( By the way First Amendment and other consitutional rights are considered God-given not grants of a king or goernment.)  

The First Amendment very clearly and definitively says the following about religious freedom: 

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or the prohibiting the free exercise thereof; ..."
Anne Chapman
6 years 11 months ago
OK, Tom, but you haven't addressed the issue.

This woman was fired because she got sick - it has nothing to do with religious freedom. She got sick, she took a leave of absence, her illness was brought under control, she came back to her job and was fired.

How does firing a woman because she has narcolepsy but can still do her job have anything at all to do with religious freedom?  

Are religious groups exempt from all secular laws simply because they are religious groups?
Jim McCrea
6 years 11 months ago
Every day and in every way religious groups are proving what the secularists suspect:

They are about politics and money, with morality being a very low second place.

Keep it up!  You are just making it easier for your enemies to dig in and prevent you from doing more and more things that you want tax dollars to support.

Once it comes down to funding those activities strictly with private funding, we'll see how charitable religionists really are.
Tom Maher
6 years 11 months ago
Ann Chapman (#14)

The women that was fired is an ordained Lutheran minister who as such has canon obligations to the Lutheran church.  As a purely religious matter the church has a right to remove her in the same way a Catholic priest or bishop could be removed from a church position without explaination or justification to civil authorities under the First Amendment.   A claim of discrimination by a priest was not effective in getting his job back.  A church in an absolute way decides who will or who will not be a priests or minister on their staff is a purely church matter the government has no role in. 

One of the key canon obliigations she as a minsiter had was to seek resolution of any dispute within the Lutheran church and was forbidden to sue the Lutheran church in civil court.  She did not seek resolution within the church but instead threatened a civil lawsuit where upon she was fired.  The allegation that she was fired becasue of her disability is not accepted by the Lutheran church. The Lutheran Church says she was not adequately performing her job as teacher at the church's school.

The consitutional issue before the court is does the church have the right to remove ministers whom they judge are not performing their job?  Or should the court become involved with the adminsitartion of the church to verify the merits of the church's  action as some Canadians would think?  The court would then have to ignore the Constiitutional absolute prohibition  ".. shall not prohibit the free exercise thereof ..." clause and the establishment clasue which prohibits the government from being involved with religion in the establishment clause  "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of a religion ..."  meaning the governemnt may not get involved with the operations of a religion"  Relgions can make at-will decision on who is or who is not  part of the church's staff becasue in America as oppossed to say Canada the govenrnent is not allowed to have a role in religion.

The minister says her firing discriminates and her violation of canon law is a pretext for firing her but the court clearly has no desire to intrude into the canons and operations of the  Lutheran religion to find a pretext or to make legal test of the church's operations.  The First Amendment says the no law should be made to allow the government to interfere with religion no matter how well intended some political groups may think that a law interfering with religon is.  
david power
6 years 11 months ago
Tom,

What does it mean she was not performing her job well as a teacher?.Does it mean that she was not a good teacher and did not have the capacity to explain or that she was lazy ?Or does it mean that she was using the classroom for other purposes?

 
Bill Mazzella
6 years 11 months ago
"Once it comes down to funding those activities strictly with private funding, we'll see how charitable religionists really are."

Many churches and non-profit organizations have created little fiefdoms with public monies as they used a substantial part of the funds for high salaries and patronage. I have always objected to Catholic Charities for discharging  a foster child after the age of eighteen since the State funding ceases at that age. One would think that supportive services would be continued by CC out of the Cardinal's fund. Just shows that State funding is the driving factor. Not care for the downtrodden.
Jim McCrea
6 years 11 months ago
Was she fired from her role as a teacher or as a Lutheran minister?  Seems to me that is the crux of the problem.

If her role of TEACHER is operative,  she shouldn't claim protection under Lutheran canon law, nor should it be used against her.

If her role of MINISTER is operative, then and only then should Lutheran canon law come into play.
ed gleason
6 years 11 months ago
Tom Maher claims that this Luthern teacher case is the beginning of religious persecution.
I suggest he look at a case I know first hand where a Catholic priest took Cardinal Levada into Federal Court over an employment issue  and got his settlement before the jury sat down.
Cardinal Levada didn't want to yell about  freedom of religion because he did not want to hang out A/D laundry on the Supreme Court steps. end of story..
Tom M... How is this different from the Luthern teacher case?

http://natcath.org/NCR_Online/archives/121302/121302k.htm
C Walter Mattingly
6 years 11 months ago
Some good points here. We shouldn't use public funds to discriminate against the right of the unborn to not be killed. We shouldn't discriminate with public funds against the right of an inner city taxpayer in Los Angeles who wants to use his tax monies for a voucher that will enable his child to attend the school system where 98% of the students graduate from high school and continue their studies, thereby avoiding becoming a jobless statistic, as opposed to the 35% or so who don't graduate from their more costly and suffer from the costly, chronically broken public school systems.
L:ves terminated, educations denied. Lots of public discrimination to oppose for those concerned about social justice issues such as the right to life and an education. 
Michael Maiale
6 years 11 months ago
In the Hosanna-Tabor case, Ms. Pesich tried to return to the school in the middle of the year and the pastor said no, and then she threatened to sue the school rather than go through the ELCA's internal dispute resolution procedures.  The church then withdrew her "call" to ministry, leaving her no longer qualified religiously to act in a ministerial role there which was one part of her job.

Whatever the facts of the case, though, the Supreme Court has to rule over whether the ministerial exeption applies to someone whose working in a religious organization whose duties cross into secular matters because, legally, that's the issue that matters.  The administration's position in this case drastically limits the ministerial exception.  Hosanna-Tabor basically says that the government has no business butting into any employment dispute at a church, period.  I presume that the Court will rule somewhere in between.

There are interesting questions related to this.  Should a church, for example, be allowed to make employment decisions about a church secretary on religious grounds?
Tom Maher
6 years 11 months ago
Mike Maiale (# 23)

Justice Aiito in the hearing brought up the point that under already existing precedents church personnel do not have actually be a minister (or priest or nun)  to be legally considered a "minister" what qualifies under First Amendement Freedom of Religion 'ministerial exception".  

Justice Alito points out the case of a women therology professor at Catholic Unisversity who was denied tenure and sued for sex discriminatioin.  .The lay women professor was teaching the faith which of course has everything to do with religion and therefore she was considered a "minister"  which is a legal term for the miniisterial exception.  The courts under the First Amerdment  did not want to get involve in judging the merits of her Catholic theology.  The church was allowed to make the determination that her Catholic theology was not good enough.  As a minister for legal purposes the Church is free not to give her tenure.

As was argued maybe the custodian of a church may not likely be qualified for a ministerial exception but anything to do with teaching likely would including teaching mostly secular subjects like math or science.  Teacher in church school are always involved to some degree with religion.

But the fired teacher in this case was officailly reco?ngni?zed by the Lutheran church as a "Called" or "commissioned minister" ????????(??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????T????????????????h?i?s? ?i?s? ?n?o?t? ?a?c?t?u?a?l?l???y? ?????????????????????????????????????????????????a?n? ?o??r???d???a???i???n???e???d??? ???m???i???n???s???t???e???r?t???????)???. ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? ?
Rick Fueyo
6 years 11 months ago
The undeniable fact is that numerous  children in foster care have no potential foster families to go to. It is difficult to accept the conclusion that they would be better off to remain in foster care rather than be placed with a same-sex couple that would otherwise serve appropriately as a foster family. Their interests are being ignored in this discussion by framing the dispute as one between the government and various religious bodies.
ed gleason
6 years 11 months ago
Single people have forstered cared and adopted children,  including priests and other religious. Who vetted the sex lives of the single? nobody 
6 years 11 months ago
I think it is an absolute disgrace to maintain that same sex couples aren't fit to be
foster/adoptive parents. This is nothing more than blatant discrimination. The Church's
villification of gay and lesbian people has got to stop. Jesus reached out to the
marginalized of His time; I suspect some would be considered homosexual by our
definition. I enjoyed a truly satisfying career as a school counselor for 22 years. I
honestly believe that if the Church had its way, gay and lesbian persons would be
deemed unfit to work with kids. Thank God they don't have that power. I am now
retired and considered doing volunteer work with Catholic Charities in my diocese. I
have decided that I will look to volunteer elsewhere.
david power
6 years 11 months ago
I worked in an Orphanage in Peru (founded by a Jesuit)for 4 months and  the experience was incredible.The People of CIRCA gave and give their all for these kids.
They were dependent on food deliveries from Canada to survive.
The little 4 year olds would come up to me and ask "Are you my Daddy?".It would break anybody's heart and to see the longing for a particular family in their eyes.
It is a difficult question but I think that if somebody is prepared to offer love to children and they  are suitable then we have to ask WWJD?
In this case we might be guilty of making the perfect the enemy ofthe good.  
ed gleason
6 years 11 months ago
David Power how right you are!...Of course Catholic single people have orphanages all over the world and what a shame that US political bishops have put children once again on the frying pan of the bishops agenda.. this time about same sex marriage. How many gay Catholics over the years have worked with/overseen Catholic orphanages   .??????   
Michael Appleton
6 years 11 months ago
I am a Catholic lawyer and have been in private practice for 38 years.  For the past 24 years I have also volunteered my services to represent abused and neglected children in my state's juvenile court system.  I have several observations on this topic.

First, I am convinced that sexual orientation is fundamentally a matter of biology and that years from now people reading about the present controversy over homosexuality will marvel at our ignorance in the same manner that we marvel at the Church's treatment of Galileo. In the interests of full disclosure, I should acknowledge that I have a gay relative. I also had a gay college roommate. He served as best man at my wedding and has been in a committed relationship for decades. I would not hesitate to place any children, including my own, in the care of him and his partner.

Second, the cases of abuse and neglect which I have handled over the years have included everything from abandonment to physical and sexual abuse to homicide. Although my experience is only anecdotal, the fact is that every instance of mistreatment of my minor clients has been at the hands of a heterosexual person.

Third, many of the comments here regarding freedom of religion overstate the case. The truth is that government will "interfere" with the exercise of religious beliefs under various circumstances. I am certain that most readers of this blog have read accounts of courts ordering medical treatment for children, for example, over the religious objections of their parents. What we call freedom of religion is no more absolute than freedom of speech.

Fourth, the present legal squabbles over adoptions by Catholic social agencies could be quite easily resolved through the Church's refusal to accept public dollars to fund its charitable operations. If separation of church and state means anything, it means that I should not be compelled to subsidize religion through my tax dollars. Religion already receives favorable treatment through tax exemptions, which are certainly not a matter of constitutional right. The adoption of so-called "faith-based" initiatives has inevitably led to church-state clashes and will continue to do so. The elimination of these programs would eliminate the problem. 
 
david power
6 years 11 months ago
Brett,

I am not aware of the situation as much as you are.I posted originally thinking that there was a shortage and that parents could not be found.
I also agree that when you cannot have  "diversity" it shows  a dogmatic tendency on the part of the state.I have not really thought this out too much.
I think that the comments by Jim McRea earlier were quite correct in showing how quite often the Church or those under her banner are more interested in the payday than anything else.
If christianity is to survive ,as it always has done, it will have to adapt and confront the latest great idea that seemingly trumps the ideas held in the Gospel.
I think that both gender figures are needed in  the formation of a child and could give some personal experience on this that would confirm this .
However, the Church has no ideas really.When the little girl rose from the dead Jesus said "give her something to eat" .The child needs to eat.
Life is messy and the floors in Casa Santa Marta are too clean. Time  will tell .In 20 years we may hear horror stories of how narccisistic and unloving those gay parents were and how the children were damaged for life or we may have testimony that they were loving and sacrificial and children got a mountain of love.I would love to sneak a peek at the hand the Lord is holding. 
Michael Appleton
6 years 11 months ago
Brett Joyce:

Your statement regarding the "mile-long" line of people waiting to adopt is wishful thinking.  I have represented many children who have grown to adulthood waiting to be adopted.  The truth is that tens of thousands of children in the care of the state will never be adopted because they are regarded as damaged goods.  Most prospective parents want an infant and do not want to be burdened with the children of abuse. One of my clients just turned fifteen.  He has been hoping for a family for four years. There is presently a couple who wish to adopt him and are going through the final paperwork. I'm keeping my fingers crossed because the child's hopes are high. But for every lucky child another ten will remain in foster care until they are eighteen.

In an ideal world, everyone would have two parents and grow up in a loving and nurturing family.  In the real world, we look for people who are loving, caring and stable.  There are many wonderful gay couples who are willing and able to provide those gifts to the human detritus of heterosexual disaster. Denying them the ability to do so is cruel and unjust, both to them and to children.
david power
6 years 11 months ago
Mike,

I hear you.I still see the faces of those little kids in Arequipa as they wondered who would be the one in a hundred who would get into a family.
When I was there I was read well on star signs after having read the Divine Comedy and believing that it could affect personality if nothing else.
I tried out my new found experience one day.I tried to predict the birthday of every kid .I had before this seemingly had a genius for the thing.
I asked the Peruvian assistants "when is his birthday?" and I was wrong on almost every one of them.
It turned out nobody knew when they were born and their birthday was the day they arrived in the orphanage.
This of course is Peru where things are very different to the USA and the homosexual population is very small.
Both Catholics and Gays should be thinking first and foremost of the Children.I am sure that the Blessed Virgin Mary would prefer a kind act to a child than a hail Mary.If that means that a gay couple says "We are not enough for this kid" or that the Church says "They will be good for the Kid" then so be it. Having said that I have to say there is nothing more sacred or beautiful in this life than maternal Love. 
Tom Maher
6 years 11 months ago
Brett Joyce (# 31)

Well good for you Brett.  You spotted the glaring credibility problems with all of Mike Appleton's four arguments. 

What Catholic would advocate the separation of church and state which has always been used as a weapon against Catholics?   And Appleton's statement that the Church, a non profit organization,  is being done a favor by not being taxed is fantasticlly unusual for anyone to say.  The church is looking out for the best interest of the children by not allowing them to be a part of a great social experiment that may fail very badly as government programs often do..  Why put the welfare of the children at risk when  traditonal family are known to work best depite Aplleton's private views.  I trust the Bishop's judgement over the personal opinions of the politcally correct crowd.   Appleton's observation that religious freedom is not absolute is trite.  Nothing is absolute but losing the ability to perform public social services as the church has always done is an unacceptable loss of religious freedom that urgently requires a politcal correction.
Michael Appleton
6 years 11 months ago
Tom Maher:

I will respond to your comments on their merits:

1. The concept of separation of church and state has been beneficial to the Church. As you probably know, a number of colonies had established churches which were tax supported.  Had that notion been adopted by the Founding Fathers, do you really believe that the Catholic Church would have been the beneficiary?

2. I happen to believe that the best environment for children is in an intact family, and I have never suggested otherwise.  Your suggestion that I am willing to put children at risk in the furtherance of some great social experiment finds no basis in my comments. However, the arguments against permitting same-sex couples to adopt or serve as foster parents tend to border on the hysterical.  Far too many people appear to believe that homosexuality is a predatory condition.

3. The Catholic Church operated orphanages, hospitals and schools for centuries in this country without financial assistance from the government. Since when has the Church lost "the ability to perform public social services"? When did we begin to measure the strength of our religious liberty by the amount of government money we receive? 

4. The big push for tax dollars for religious institutions did not come about until the the growth of conservative religious academies that began to appear almost by magic in response to civil rights legislation and school integration. The religious right has been promoting historical revisionism on the issue of separation of church and state for the past 30 years through the writings of people such as David Barton, who lacks any credentials as a scholar, let alone an historian. If you truly think evangelical fundamentalists are friends of the Church, you haven't been paying attention to what their leaders say.  I don't want my tax dollars being used to promote a brand of Christianity which I find to be anti-Catholic and anti-intellectual.

5. My point concerning the tax-exempt status of religious institutions was to remind everyone that it is statutory rather than constitutional, meaning that it can be taken away.  If the public begins to perceive that that status is being abused through the efforts of various churches to impose their doctrinal views on their neighbors, it could eventually be threatened. 

Finally, I request that you refrain from speculative observations regarding my "private views," of which you know absolutely nothing. 
Jim McCrea
6 years 11 months ago
"This move of shutting down the Catholic adoption agencies -"

The shutting down was done by the bishops and no one else.  They are perfectly free to continue to discriminate at will, but by doing so, remove these agencies from eligibility for taxpayer funds which have been provided by ALL taxpayers, not just the Holy Romans.

You can run from the truth but cannot hide from the truth.
Stephen SCHEWE
6 years 11 months ago
Mike,

Thanks for your thoughtful, reasonable contributions here today.  I appreciate learning from someone who appears to have a strong background in family law and extensive experience working with high-needs kids. Best wishes in your continued good works.
Michael Appleton
6 years 11 months ago
Steve:

Thanks for your kind words. 
Vince Killoran
6 years 11 months ago
"who disagree with the state from receiving tax money from its citizens."

No Brett, this is not about "disagreeing with the state" -it's about not giving public funds to groups who engage in illegal discrimination. Please don't warp this into a PC issue or claim victim status for the offending insitution.

david power
6 years 11 months ago
Brett,

Having considered it a little I think that you are right .It is a discrimination .
It would have been better to respect the differences and let catholics look after Kids their way and others as they see fit.
Basically Catholic thought is now outside the law in America.You can agree or disagree with the placing of kids with homosexual couples in your mind but if you say you are against it then you become a bigot.
I think the next step will be that Churchs are obliged to give marriage to same-sex couples.
It will be illegal at some point to have a church building unless it offers this.The Church played the bully for centuries but now it will get to play the victim.Everybody has an agenda and those that claim they don't are kidding either themselves or you.The Church will just have to get back to proclaiming the Gospel and see where that leads us.
Anne Chapman
6 years 11 months ago
When I was a young child in a parochial school in the 1950s, the church was trying to get public subsidies for its schools. My mother was totally opposed to this, because, as she said, if they start taking money from the government, they will have to be under some government control, just as are other groups subsidized by the government. The church can easily solve its dilemma by no longer seeking or accepting government funds. 
david power
6 years 11 months ago
Anne,

I am asleep .Of course you are right.I am constantly confusing the issues here.It is still okay for the Church organizations to help foster kids etc but they just do not get funding.
It puts them under a lot of pressure but I prefer it when the Church is under pressure.
I agree with your mother but still think that we could be on the slippery slope to an anti-religious way of thinking.  
It is in the end complicated but the Church should not be so against being dependent on the grace of God.  
Robert Dean
6 years 11 months ago
Thanks from me, too, Mr. Appleton, for your poise and reasoned patience. You navigate the shallows with aplomb.
Tom Maher
6 years 11 months ago
The religious liberty issue is not about government funding. The issue is the requirement  In Massachusett, Washington, DC and  Illinois that all agencies involved with adoptions and foster care must provide these services to same-sex couples.  No exceptions for religious practices are allowed.

So Caholic Charities providing these services for almost a century the government kow reqruies the Church even with its own funds to provide these services to same-sex couples, something the Church is not willing to do.

The state are telling churchs what values they must have or they will not be allowed by the state to pracitce their social welfare services as they have for almost a century.  Most Americans up to Su[ppreme Court Justices are unaware that this is going on in a country with a powerful First Amendment right of religous liberties. 

T?he ?p?o?l?i?t?i?c?a?l? b?l?o???w???????? ???back on th?i?s? ??a?n?t?i?-?r?e?l?i?g??i???o???u???s??? ???m???o???v???e??? ?o?n?c?e? ?r?e?c?o?g?n?i?z?e?d???? w?i?l?l? ?l?i?k?e?l?y? ?b?e? ????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????g?i??????g?antic?.
Vince Killoran
6 years 11 months ago
No Tom, these diocese locked horns with state agencies & the federal government because they were getting government funds and serving non-Catholics but engaging in discriminatory practices.

John Hayes
6 years 11 months ago
Tom Maher said: "The issue is the requirement  In Massachusetts, Washington, DC and  Illinois that all agencies involved with adoptions and foster care must provide these services to same-sex couples.  No exceptions for religious practices are allowed."

In the case of Catholic Charities and adoption, most of the children they placed in Massachusetts were wards of the state. The state considers that it cannot discriminate against same-sex couples in placing those children, so it can’t contract with Catholic Charities to do it on behalf of the state if Catholic Charities is unable to place children with same-sex couples.

I would have liked to have seen Catholic Charities continue on to handle private adoptions not involving the state. One article from 2006 that I have read said that they wouldn’t be allowed by the state to do even that, but I don’t recall that they made any public push to get approval to do that.

As mentioned in an earlier post, most of the children Catholic Charities placed for the state were very difficult cases either because of their age or disabilities. There were no long lines of people waiting to adopt them. Before the program was shut down, Catholic Charities had placed some of those children (15 to 20 as I recall) with same sex couples. It was when that was reported in a newspaper that they were told by the church to stop same-sex placements.   

Tom Maher
6 years 11 months ago
Adoption and foster care services even if privately funded is highly regulated by a state or  municipalities since you are dealing with human beings who are being adopted or assigned to foster care.  This is not like running a lemonade stand where anyone can be setup at any time. 

A private adoption agency is liscensed by the state and heavily regulated.  Under these new rules of these few states a religus organization would lose their liscense to operate if they do not provide adoption services to same-sex couples something the church does not do based on its moral ethics. No allowance has been effective in allowing the church to do what it can do and has done for almost a century in Massachusetts, Washington DC and Illinois. These locations impose on the church their moral judegement that same-sex couples must be served or the church will not be allowed to provide these seves to anyone.

This is a fairly recent development that is happening in only a few states,  Other states such as New York broadly accomodate Catholic social agenies of every type with a conscience exemption.  For example a Catholic Hospital does not have to prerform anywhere.  What is unusual here is no accomodation is being made and the Church is effectievely being punished becasue the stare does not agree with its religous views.

Under the "free expression clause" of the First Amendment government is expressly forbidden to interfere sentiment and sympathies tothe contrary aside. 

Freedom of ????????R?eligion ?is part of the Bill of Rights whi?c?h? ??i?s? ?t?h?e? cor?n?e?r??s?t?o?n?e? ?o?f? ?a?l?l? ??o?u?r? ????????l?a?w?s???????.?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
Vince Killoran
6 years 11 months ago
It doesn't matter "what they've done for a century of so" because it is now considered discriminatory and no public funds can go toward organizations that discriminate.  It has nothing to do with freedom of religion or free speech. If your religion endorses discrimination against gays then practice away-but don't demand public funds. The Catholic agencies aren't entitled to this money.

As to Brett's it's "subjective": we used to allow discrimination on the basis of race and gender.
Tom Maher
6 years 11 months ago
Vince Killoran (# 52) 

Catholic moral ethics on same-sex couples are considered discriminatory by whom?   The state?  Does this state discrimination claim then give the state the right to interfere with the " free exercise of religion" required by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution by not allowing the church to operate social service agencies providing adoptions, foster care and health services in a way that is consistant with the Church moral principlesetc even with the Church's own funds? 

Of course that answer depends on whether you are aware there is a U.S. Constituion with a First Amendment with a legally enforceable reliouse freedoms clasues that apply throughout the United States.

Do you know about the religous liberty clauses in the U.S. Consistuions and how they apply to the Catholic Church and all other religions? 
Vince Killoran
6 years 11 months ago

This news story is not about the state prohibiting a group from practicing their religion; it's about the government not funding groups that engage in discrimination, e.g., if the religious organization embraced white supremacy and wouldn't deal with minority adoptions (there are some small, fringe Christian sects that hold these views) they would be entitled to government funds-but they can practice their faith, just not with public monies.

Tom, I think you are confusing the free practice of religion with something else.  But with what?  That's not clear, but your "religious freedom now!" mantra is without foundation.  Perhaps you are uncomfortable with the fact that the Church's views are out of line with that our our Republic? Embarassment? Lack of comprehension of "Civics 101"? 

In any case, freedom of religion" does not entitle a religious organization to tax payer funds if doing so would violate the law.

Vince Killoran
6 years 11 months ago
Correction (of course!): "[I]f the religious organization embraced white supremacy and wouldn't deal with minority adoptions (there are some small, fringe Christian sects that hold these views) they would NOT be entitled to government funds."

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