Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Catholics Persecuted over Gay Adoption in Illinois? Not Even Close.

Once again, the Roman Catholic Church is giving out misinformation instead of facing the truth.

Catholic Charities, an Illinois adoption agency, had to close its doors because it lost funding from the state. According to attorney Peter Breen, the state is breaking the plain language of the law and violating the will of the citizens:
"The Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act only passed after specific assurances that the law would not impact the work of religious social service agencies. Specific protections for these agencies were written into the law, but unfortunately, Illinois officials refused to abide by those protections. This stands as a stark lesson to the rest of the nation that legislators promising 'religious protection' in same sex marriage and civil union laws may not be able to deliver on those promises."
Gosh, that sounds awful, doesn't it?

But this is nothing more than a smokescreen to hide the real truth. They lost on Constitutional principles that had nothing to do with the Illinois Civil Union Act.

The simple fact is that the Catholic Charities can continue to provide adoption services – if they can raise funds privately. They just can't have the taxpayers' money to do it. As Waymon Hudson at Redeye put it:
"At the heart of the issue is the over $30 million dollars that Catholic Charities receives from the state of Illinois for foster care and adoption services. This effectively moves them from a private faith-based organization, which does have built-in religious exemptions as the name of the civil unions law implies, to an administrator of state-funded public services. The are essentially acting as an agent of the state."
The Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act, which they try to claim is being violated, only says that they don't have to perform marriages or adoptions for same-sex couples (or for anyone else they don't like). Nobody is going to force a Catholic priest to stand in his own church and marry two men or two women.

The United States Constitution cuts both ways: it protects our rights to worship or not as we please, but it also says churches can't discriminate using public funds. The Catholic Church has every right to discriminate, however uncaring or cruel it might be. But they can't spend our tax dollars to do it.

So why the smokescreen? Why can't the Catholics just admit that they lost their legal fight fair and square? Because they want to look persecuted. It's the good ol' Underdog Meme – the idea that somehow Catholics and other Christians, who make up roughly 80% of America's population, are a persecuted minority whose rights are being trampled. It's laughable on the face of it. But sadly, people always root for the underdog, so the meme propagates.

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