The Bigger Government, the More Established Its Religion

An editorial in the Rhode Island Catholic points to another Catholic charity pushed out of business by redefinition of the ground out from under it:

Time and time again proponents of homosexual marriage have promised churches and religious institutions they have nothing to fear from their radical proposal to redefine marriage.
Yet last week Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington announced that it is ending its foster care and public adoption program after the District of Columbia said the charity would be ineligible for service because of the new law recognizing homosexual “marriage.” The D.C. City Council’s law recognizing homosexual “marriage” required religious entities which serve the general public to provide services to homosexual couples, even if doing so violated their religious beliefs. Exemptions were allowed only for performing marriages or for those entities which do not serve the public.
For 80 years Catholic Charities has provided high quality social services to the most vulnerable in our nation’s capital. It seems surprising that the local D.C. government would want to put the Catholic Church out of the foster care business. Corporal works of mercy are no less important to the life of the church than its sacramental ministry. Forbidding the church to perform them is a serious blow to its religious liberty. Why would the government do that? Under the guise of equality and tolerance they seek to impose the radical homosexual agenda to redefine marriage and family life at all costs; even violating the religious freedom of the Catholic Church. Their commitment to equality is apparently so strong that they are willing to put Catholic Charities out of business because it won’t promote an agenda that it views as morally wrong.

As we’ve noticed before, and with even more advanced evidence from Europe, the tendency is for government to define religious liberty ever more narrowly. The extreme would be a proclamation that one is permitted to believe however one wants, but not actually to pollute the public discourse with those beliefs by doing anything so secular and communal as speaking publicly.
Churches stop too soon in their assessments of such controversies, though. Sure, it’s a violation of their liberties for the government to mandate that they treat marriages identically even when their constituent parts are substantially different. But right now, they’re engaged in dueling civil rights claims, making it a political matter, not a principled one, who will win.
What the Catholic Church, especially, ought to be considering is that, were it not for pervasive government involvement in charitable endeavors, the threat to religious charities would be minimal. Yet, one often hears Catholic priests and other religious officials advocating for even more expansive government involvement in social welfare. Once government takes on the responsibility as a hub for good works, it will inevitably define how and to whom they must and can be provided, and once that definition is available to the political process, special interests, such as the homosexual movement, will seek to turn it toward their own ends.

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brassband
brassband
11 years ago

This is also a reason why Catholics should think carefully before supporting school vouchers . .

Stuart
Stuart
11 years ago

The founders would have called you papists (not in a good tone) and not been really happy with your tying in of church and state! Thomas Jefferson: ““In every country and every age, the priest had been hostile to Liberty.” “Religions are all alike — founded upon fables and mythologies” “The Christian God is a being of terrific character – cruel, vindictive, capricious, and unjust” John Adams: “We ought to consider what is the end of government, before we determine which is the best form. Upon this point all speculative politicians will agree, that the happiness of society is the end of government, as all divines and moral philosophers will agree that the happiness of the individual is the end of man. From this principle it will follow, that the form of government which communicates ease, comfort, security, or, in one word, happiness, to the greatest number of persons, and in the greatest degree, is the best. All sober inquirers after truth, ancient and modern, pagan and Christian, have declared that the happiness of man, as well as his dignity, consists in virtue. Confucius, Zoroaster, Socrates, Mahomet, not to mention authorities really sacred, have agreed in this. If there is a form of government, then, whose principle and foundation is virtue, will not every sober man acknowledge it better calculated to promote the general happiness than any other form? Fear is the foundation of most governments; but it is so sordid and brutal a passion, and renders men in whose breasts it predominates so stupid and miserable, that Americans will not be likely to approve of any political institution which is founded on it. Honor is truly sacred, but holds a lower rank in the scale of moral excellence than virtue. Indeed, the former is but a part of the… Read more »

BobN
BobN
11 years ago

Nice quote, Stuart. But it does not support the (snidely put) point of your comment.
As I read Justin’s post, he is pointing out the need for churches and other private charities to avoid entanglement with government money, and the irony that their leaders are doing just the opposite by advocating that government take a greater role in what used to be their realm of social service. Justin’s point is exactly the opposite of what you describe.

Stuart
Stuart
11 years ago

Honestly, Justin always comes to the same conclusion, no matter what the issue it – it’s tough to see what he is really saying! He appears to be saying that we should not be like Europe, since the government there are not down on homos like he is. He also seems to be saying that government SHOULD NOT BE a hub for good works, while the founders seem to say the exact opposite. I also read into his post that he thinks churches should be part of the debate about the civil rights of life partners (marriage, etc.) They should be no part of that discussion! We already know that mormons like a lot of wives and to keep ’em down, that the Muslims like to keep theirs locked up (some of them) and that the priest in Catholicism can’t keep their hands off the boys. Those things are civil matters – crimes, so to speak, under the laws of our land. The governments job is to extend happiness (in the political sense, which is freedom), to AS MANY PEOPLE as possible. That means pagans, gays, etc, And, yes, EVERYTHING is a political matter. And, yes, of course the government decides how and to whom…..that’s the whole idea of civil rights! Those that ARE NOT getting the same treatment as others SHOULD GET IT. Pretty simple, really. Does justin think that because he marries, that he should get tax breaks, employment benefits or ANY other rights that someone who decides to co-habilitate or stay single does not? Maybe, Justin, you should write a bit more clearly. Europe is ahead of us in NOT letter those who think the world was created 6,000 years ago dictate public policy. Is that a GOOD thing or a BAD thing? I say it’s a… Read more »

OldTimeLefty
11 years ago

Once a religious institution(1) takes on the responsibility as a hub for good works, it will inevitably define how and to whom they must and can be provided, and once that definition is available to the political process, special interests, such as the religious institutions(2), will seek to turn it toward their own ends.
OldTimeLefty
(1)Justin uses the word “government”. I have substituted the words “Religious institution”
(2)Justin uses the words “homosexual movement”. I have substituted the words “religious institutions”.
What an all purpose vehicle. Just insert your own words for the italicised ones and your particular point of view will be served. One size fits all!

BobN
BobN
11 years ago

You on the Left are misreading Justin’s and my comments. I believe you are doing so intentionally.
It makes all the difference in the world if the charitable institution is private or government. In the first place, the Founders were very clear that it was not the business of government to be involved in charitable activities. To the extent that a private institution makes its own rules for whom/what it will cover, that is a private matter and interferes with nobody’s rights. If there are segments of the population that are unserved because of such choices by the donors, there is nothing to preclude another private charity from filling the gap. But when government pushes in it tends to insist on a monopoly and starts ordering everyone else around. Not exactly the moral high ground.
Lefty’s attempt at using a “substitution” principle in this context is simply nonsensical. He thinks he is clever but in fact he is merely puerile.

Stuart
Stuart
11 years ago

Bob, please quote the part of the constitution where the founders made it clear that the government should not be involved in (what you call) charity?
Charity is a funny word, so I would change that to “public or general welfare”, etc.
Every single thing that government or a charity (or any human) does can be construed as benefitting one person or group more than another.
For instance, the founders clearly saw roads, canals, shipping navigation and other such projects as being part of their job and helping the general welfare. Yet, some homesteaders might have never left their towns and hills and never used any of those improvements.
Ben Franklin founded Pennsylvania Hospital…for the POOR. On the cornerstone of that building, it says” By the bounty of the GOVERNMENT and of many private persons, was piously founded for the relief of the sick and miserable…”
So, what is that all about?
I think it is clear.

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
11 years ago

Stuart:
Thomas Jefferson “We have formed a Constitution suitable for a Christian nation, and no other.”
Justin,
As you know, I am not a great fan of the Roman church. For all of that, I will not deny the good works they have done, ably and faithfully.
As Washington,DC is largely Black and therefore rarely Catholic, it is tempting to think that the effect on Catholic Charities is not an “unintended consequence”. Nonetheless, I think it probably was. Few people understand the ramifacations of granting a “civil right”. Governments cannot fund organizations which deny them. Taken as a simple statement, you are free to believe as you will but the government is not required to fund it. I am not sure everyone realizes how far reaching that can be. If questioned separately, I think most people would favor the continued existance of Catholic Charities.

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
11 years ago

Stuart:
“He also seems to be saying that government SHOULD NOT BE a hub for good works, while the founders seem to say the exact opposite.”
Since you reference “honor” and “virtue”. I would say that until they are restored to the men who serve in government, they will not be a “hub for good works”.
Let us take President Clinton. Had he subscribed to anything where he pledged his life, his fortune and his “sacred honor” would anyone take that as other than rhetoric? Many would take it as a joke.

Justin Katz
11 years ago

Warrington,
The issue isn’t of funding. It’s of licensure. As in MA, if the Catholic adoption service declines to place children in households that do not consist of a married man and woman, they cannot place children anywhere.

OldTimeLefty
11 years ago

BobN either shut up or put up an argument. The puerility is in the name calling. The ignorance is in the refusal to examine statements conscientiously.
Oh, BobN, by the way. I had hoped you’d have had the fortitude to stick to your vow to ignore my comments. Instead you take cheap shots without really responding. Consistency proving too difficult for you?
OldTimeLefty

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
11 years ago

Justin,
My mistake. I understood “the District of Columbia said the charity would be ineligible for service” to mean that they would not be assisted with funding.
Sometimes we must be wary of what we wish for. Consider what would happen in Boston if the parochial schools had to close. I believe they have 16,000 students. Could the public schools absorb them? Would the parents regard that as a viable alternative?
Admittedly, I see the cause of this, “homosexual marriage”, as aberrant and a “flash in the pan”. Those of us familiar with history know that there have been periods where homosexual relationships were permitted, usually followed by periods of extreme repression. I suppose my problem is with believing that it is not a choice (perhaps not consciously made) and that they are “born that way”.

Stuart
Stuart
11 years ago

>>>eving that it is not a choice (perhaps not consciously made) and that they are “born that way”. That statement is a bit confusing, to say the least! If it is not consciously made, then it is not what we would call a “free will choice” made by a adult. There are LOTS of problems with the way we approach sexuality….and LOT more of them on the Hereto side (due to the larger number of adherents…. Justin would be better off putting his anger into saving women from being raped and abused…as a LARGE percentage are……NOT BY CHOICE. But, and let me guess this…..Justin and other RI righties probably spout stuff about “life”. That is, you must make certain that every sperm and egg grows into a full adult human being……the right is always about “right to life”…that is, UNTIL THE KIDS ARE BORN. At that point, they dump them into poverty, send them to war, take away their health care and flip them the bird. Oh, thou Hypocrites…. But back to the founders. Any quote from Thomas Jefferson which purports to show this national being religious in the normal sense is 100% BUNK. The man did not attend church and was a child of the “enlightenment”…which at the time were called liberals. He was a Deist as were most of he founders. He was a man of science, not of faith……. Old Ben Franklin was too. To show how far we have gone backwards, consider that Ben Franklin was NEVER asked throughout his entire public life if he was a adherent to Christianity. Finally, when quite old, he was asked in a letter…and answered that he DID NOT BELIEVE in the divinity of Jesus. That is pretty clear! You can’t wish that one away! At the same time, the… Read more »

BobN
BobN
11 years ago

Stuart, it’s very simple. I thought even you might understand it. Your question itself reveals your bad will in this discussion. I say that because I don’t believe you are either stupid of ignorant of the historical facts. It is impossible to carry on a reasonable conversation with you Leftists because you are so combative and lie so shamelessly. The notes from the debates in the Constitutional Convention and the Federalist Papers all make clear that the federal government has only the enumerated powers and none other. Here are some direct quotes from various Founders that clarify the issue: “When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.” -Benjamin Franklin “To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.” -Thomas Jefferson, letter to Joseph Milligan, April 6, 1816 “A wise and frugal government … shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.” -Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1801 “Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated.” -Thomas Jefferson “When all government, domestic and foreign, in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the center of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another and… Read more »

rhody
rhody
11 years ago

Let’s hold charitable services hostage over a vote on gay marriage that didn’t turn out the way the right liked.
That’s what this comes down to, basically.
We know what Jesus thought of the Pharisees.

Justin Katz
11 years ago

That’s a perversion of the truth, Rhody. Catholic Charities in Washington, as in Massachusetts, would gladly continue adoption services according to its beliefs (that children should be placed in married man-woman households) regardless of marriage law or the activities of other adoption services. It’s the state that’s saying “our way or no way,” using the Catholic desire to offer charitable services as a weapon against the Church.

BobN
BobN
11 years ago

Justin is polite, whereas I am fed up. “Perversion of the truth” = shameless lie, garnished with adolescent sarcasm.

rhody
rhody
11 years ago

If we’re letting our views on gay marriage get in the way of helping kids who need it, as a society we’re cutting off our nose to spite our face. Claiming the state is holding the kids hostage, to me, is a lame excuse.
Not calling anybody a ‘phobe, but.as the product of 13 years of Catholic education, I don’t believe the Jesus I studied was a ‘phobe.

Stuart
Stuart
11 years ago

It’s a new fad in town.
Christians have now hooked onto this thing….whining about how they are so discriminated upon!
It’s actually pretty funny. They simply have to follow similar rules as everyone else. We are free to practice NO or ANY religion as long as we also follow the rules of the country and state, etc.
Poor majority…..let me cry a tear. Soon after that, I will cry for the plight of the rich white guys like myself.
Fortunately, I know many REAL christians and catholics and not a SINGLE ONE of them has ever pulled that whining card…and most do not step into the political arena…except, of course, to protest war (seems Justin didn’t pick up on those Values, but thinks homos are the only subject in the bible)
Time to listen to the Pope again.
NO WAR
NO WAR
Just for interest, Justin, can we now have your confession on the suffering that you have caused for MILLIONS by your support of the neo-cons and the wars?
Or, are you still a warmonger? I don’t see a lot of posts about that.

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