Catholic Charities, gays and DC’s poor

This Catholic’s View By Thomas J. Reese, S.J. If you believed what you read on blogs and in newspapers, you … Continued

This Catholic’s View

By Thomas J. Reese, S.J.

If you believed what you read on blogs and in newspapers, you would conclude that the archdiocese of Washington is threatening to withdraw money for food and shelter from the poor in the District of Columbia in order to get its way on gay marriage.

What are the facts?

For decades, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington has received money from the District of Columbia to operate programs helping the poor. This is common throughout the country where the Catholic Church is the second largest provider of services to the poor, second only to the government. Catholic Charities competes with private and nonprofit agencies for these contracts with the government deciding which organization will provide the best services for the money. This is a good deal for state and local governments because these Catholic Charities programs are efficiently and effectively run with both professionals and volunteers.

Meanwhile, the City Council for the District of Columbia has decided to enact legislation forbidding discrimination against those in gay marriages. This legislation would not force churches to perform gay marriages or to change their moral doctrines, but it would require any organization with a contract with the District to provide medical benefits to a gay partner just like it provides them to the heterosexual partner in a marriage. It would also require adoption agencies to sponsor children to gay couples if the agency is under contract with the city.

The archdiocese says that it cannot do this because of its moral opposition to gay marriage. This is not new. The Archdiocese to San Francisco had the same fight with its city council, and the adoption programs of Catholic Charities in Massachusetts were shut down because the state legislature insisted that they sponsor adoptions to gay couples while the bishops insisted they would not.

It should be clear from this review of the facts that the church is not threatening to withdraw its money from the poor. It is simply pointing out that it cannot observe these new requirements and therefore the city will cancel its contracts. It is in fact the city council that is closing down these programs, not the archdiocese.

Not surprisingly, the members of the city council are much better at spinning this story with the media than is the archdiocese. The Catholic Church’s PR skills are dismal. Perhaps it was caught by surprise by the vehemence of the attack. The dispute is being portrayed as the Catholic Church versus gay rights even though everyone knows that Black ministers in Washington are also opposed to this legislation.

Let’s be clear. The city has a right to set whatever conditions it wants on agencies that receive money from it. But the church also has a right to say, “Sorry, we can’t accept money under those rules.”

Some people on the city council think that is fine. Good riddance. They think they can find other people to run these programs as well as Catholic Charities. I doubt it, but they have the power and the money so they can try. If they fail, it is their responsibility.

So far I have been defending the archdiocese, but in fact I regret that the U.S. Catholic bishops have an obsession with opposing the legalization of gay marriage. This is an issue that at most deserves one letter of opposition from the bishop and then they should let it go. Spending millions of church dollars to oppose gay marriage in California, Massachusetts and Maine was a waste of resources and a case of misplaced priorities.

I have never bought the argument that gay marriage is a threat to families. Legalizing gay marriage is not going to cause millions of people in heterosexual marriages to suddenly decide to leave their spouses for a same-sex partner. It could be argued that gay marriage might help heterosexual marriages. For example, in an apartment building filled with unmarried couples in New York City, the gays who get married may inspire the heterosexuals to do the same thing.

With regards to medical benefits, the real answer is that whether a person gets health care should not depend on their marital status or where they are employed. We should have universal health care for everyone that is not dependent on employers. But in the meantime, can the Catholic Church give health care benefits to gay partners of its employees? The archdiocese says it cannot because gay marriage is against its teachings.

However, remarrying after a divorce is also against Catholic teaching, yet the church gives health care benefits to divorced and remarried couples. No one believes that the church has changed its teaching on divorce. No one will believe that the church has changed its teaching on gay sex if it provides medical benefits to gay couples.

What is needed right now is a toning down of the attacks against the church by those who support the city council’s position. Both sides need to look for compromise. An exemption from the law for religious organizations would affect very few people and would allow the church to continue working with the city on behalf of the poor. The city council could always revisit the issue in the future, but the middle of a deep recession is not a good time to fire the best provider of social services in the city.

Thomas J. Reese, S.J., is a Senior Fellow, Woodstock Theological Center, Georgetown University.

By Thomas J. Reese | 
November 13, 2009; 1:06 PM ET

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  • sakeneko

    Fr. Reese is making sense. I hope the DC City Council listens.

  • candomarty

    As usual, Fr. Reese is the voice of reason. Make the point, and move on.He also is correct that the Church [more precisely, the bishops] unfortunately has an “obsession” with gay marriage and– though he did not explicitly say this–with all “pelvic issues” including spending millions of dollars and untold hours of effort in lobbying to make abortion illegal, instead of trying to prevent it in the first place. They could begin by promoting the principles of Catholic social justice which the bishops seem to forget about in their frenzy to court the Republican Party.

  • caminoazul

    This piece strikes me as absolutely spineless. Basically, Mr. Reese’s position is that “Yes, I personally agree that the Catholic Church’s position may be inconsistent, but that’s the way it goes when Rome is calling the shots. We think that we’re the best social service provider in town, but if you enact legislation permitting gays to marry legally in the District, the Church will no longer contract to perform those social services.”By the way, what kind of ridiculous broad-brush statement is it to say that “everyone knows

  • tpappas

    Maybe it is time for the state to stop partnering with religious organizations to perform legal contracts.

  • edallan

    Dear Father Reese.I regret that many people take the view of “Good riddance” with respect to the Catholic Church’s insistence that unless it can take taxpayer money with no strings attached, it will let the poor and the needy suffer. But I certainly understand it and wish that instead the Church would take the position that Jesus’ exhortation in Matthew 25 took precedence over the odd rationales of celibate men who, presumably, have had only second-hand knowledge of love between two human beings.I think that it is sad that Bigot Malone, Bigot of the Portland diocese, chose to divert over a half-million dollars to fighting marriage among people he doesn’t even know, choosing instead to sacrifice the parishioners of St. Joseph’s Church and St. Patrick’s Church in Lewiston, who can no longer celebrate traditional marriage in the churches that they and their parents and grandparents worked hard to create and maintain.The Archdiocese is perfectly able to turn down the taxpayer money, and there are probably other agencies willing to take up the slack. At Cana Jesus turned water into wine. It’s too bad that the Archdiocese prefers to turn water into vinegar.

  • Sajanas

    I think that the RCC should get treated like any other contractor. They have a lot of things going for them, with a large pool of volunteers and a devoted 24/7 priesthood that is also poorly paid relative to a secular person. The downside is that they have some pretty big transparency issues, being part of some weird quasi-national entity, and that even if the local DC Catholics wouldn’t care about gay rights being applied to them, the wider leadership can’t allow it.

  • Alex511

    fr ccnl1:>Hmmm lets see, in gay sexual activity, who plays the guy and who plays the gal? Who is on top and who is on the bottom? A coin flip?…MYOB for once, and grow UP. It is absolutely NONE of your concern. Want someone to ask YOU that question? As a gay Christian who is MARRIED to my lovely wife, I find your comments extremely offensive for the most part, not to mention uneducated. Get the true FACTS about Marriage EQUALITY from such groups as http://www.pflag.com and glaad. Avoid like the plague the following CULTS, as they spew vicious lies constantly about glbts: fotf, frc, afa and the laughable cwa.

  • citizenw

    Hopefully, the Church has been consistent and removed the health coverage from all the priests who have been caught in pedophilia? (But I doubt it). If they still provide health coverage to priests who engage in sexual acts after they vowed celibacy, does that mean they condone those acts? Let’s be consistent here.

  • markypw

    The article claims to provide “the facts.” Is it a fact that there is a valid distinction between withdrawing money for the poor and canceling the contracts under which that money is provided to the poor? I certainly can’t see one.What is the relevance of the “fact” that something like this happened elsewhere? Does it change what is happening in DC?What is the relevance of the “fact” of opposition to the legislation by “Black ministers”? Does someone else’s wrong make this one OK? Or is this just more crying of unfair treatment?This is one rare instance in life where facts are not particularly important. The words of the Archdiocese have done damage regardless of the real facts. Those words have undermined every effort to provide for those in need by leveraging the social services to obtain an ulterior motive. Those efforts are what allow millions of people to maintain faith in the Catholic Church. The words of the Archdiocese has pulled the rug out from under those people.I never thought I would see the day when the government of the District of Columbia would hold the moral high ground over the Catholic Church. Sad indeed.

  • citizenw

    “Whatsoever you do to the least of my Love your neighbor as yourself.”

  • LizFBrown

    Why doesn’t the Catholic Church in DC try to adopt the compromise that William Cardinal Levada worked out when he was the Archbishop for the San Francisco diocese and San Francisco passed a law requiring all businesses doing business with the City to extend benefits to domestic partners? Cardinal Levada was able to get San Francisco to agree that it would find a business or agency as being in compliance with it’s ordinance if the business allowed each of its employees to designate a legally domiciled member of the employee’s household as being eligible for “spousal equivalent benefits.” This compromise has the benefit of not requiring the Catholic Church to inquire about the relationship between the employee and the person receiving the “spousal equivalent” benefits except to the extent necessary to verify that he or she is a legally domiciled member of the employee’s household. Cardinal Levada’s explanation of why this is an acceptable solution under Catholic doctrine was published originally in First Things and a reprint of it can be found here: One of the things that he stressed was that this compromise allowed Catholic agencies to avoid adopting benefit policies that equated domestic partnerships/civil unions/same-sex marriages with marriages between a man and a woman because this policy would apply to situations that do not involve marriage, civil unions, or domestic partnerships. For example, if my sister were handicapped and uninsured and I was an employee of the Catholic Church in San Franscico, I could have her receive health insurance benefits similar to those available to spouses as long as she was a “legally domiciled member” of my household.

  • JamesD3

    Fr Reese does not buy into any damaging affect of legalized gay marriage and sets up a straw man opponent saying “people in heterosexual marriages to suddenly decide to leave their spouses for a same-sex partner”. As if anyone really feared that. Perhaps if Fr. might consider the serious potential effects to society he might have something worthwhile to say about the mater.Pathetic.To DC:

  • intrepidone38

    There is no logic to follow in Fr. Reese’s assertion that what should happen is that the opponents of the Catholic Church’s policies should stop the criticism and should cave in to the church’s wishes. Why? The Catholic Church is not entitled to its own assumption of the moral high ground here. Many of us believe discrimination is what is immoral. Let the Church give ground.

  • joe_allen_doty

    Since Thomas J. Reese is NOT a legal father in the family sense and the fact that Jesus told his followers not to call any religious leader “Father,” referring to this man as “Father Reese” is contrary to scripture.When any religious organization accepts money from the US Government, they should not discriminate against anyone who is qualified to receive the services for which the government funds are issued. The Roman Catholic Church should stay out of the business of the governments of the United States of America. Besides, the RCC has its own government headquarters which is the Vatican in Italy. I have my monthly rent subsidized by a HUD Section 8 program and I live in a privately owned apartment complex. Owners and managers of houses and apartment complexes who accept money from the HUD program cannot discriminate against anyone who has been approved for Section 8 assistance. That means they cannot discriminate against gay people, no matter what the religious beliefs of the owners or managers.

  • mradams

    Your reasoning is like saying that if black people simply had not been black, there would be no reason for them to fear the KKK.

  • patisok

    I suspect Luthern Social Services would not qualify how it helps the poor and needy by holding the city hostage. Too bad the city did not do the same to the church when they were hiding pedeophile priests. To reason it is okay to disrespect thousands to make a political point…well that is not reasoned thought worthy of a JESUIT priest. I say give that contract to someone else and let the diosease and God sort it out later.

  • homer4

    I have no sympathy for a church that wants tax payer dollars and wants to discriminate against certain tax payers because they are gay or lesbian. I really don’t want some man in Rome telling United States citizens how to spend their tax dollars.

  • cprferry

    Dear Brothers and Sisters,

  • sheapearce

    A lot of people seem to not get the distinction here, so I’m going to try and restate it.Catholic Charities is a national, faith-based, social services organization created by the Catholic Church and administered by and funded in large part by each bishop within whose diocese it functions. The Church provides $10M or so worth of aid of its own money every year. The city provides grant money and funds for local social service initiatives each year. One of the reasons the Church gets such a large chunk of money (over $8M) is in no small degree due to the fact that (a) Catholic Charities already has the infrastructure in place and so can handle larger projects and initiatives than any other social service entity in the city and (b)it has a very long, and very strong history of reliable social service programs in the district, which permits the city to waive a lot of the standard due diligence etc, which saves the city money. The city is now changing the rules as to what strings come attached with the grant money. The Archdiocese, privately and publicly, has asked the council to change or qualify the current language. They haven’t. Indeed, the original bill set before the council _had_ an exception for religious institutions which the council then stripped out.So it seems fairly clear as to who is unwilling to compromise.

  • cprferry

    “There is one glaring inacuracy to this post. The DC anti-discrimination law is not new. It has been illegal to discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation and their marital status in the District since the 1970s.The Catholic faith does not allow discrimination of any individual children of God, whether they be heterosexual or homosexual.

  • esthermiriam

    Shed a tear for the Church and its poor PR skills?! When you have that much muscle, of course, you really don’t need to worry –

  • BlueTwo1

    The Roman Catholic church has every right to withdraw its services for any reason whatsoever. Its reasoning is faulty, but that is their problem. Understanding of human nature has advanced since Holy Scripture was written. New knowledge, such as that Earth circles the Sun, is not easily accommodated in The Church. That is well understood.

  • Climacus

    Odd – I tried to respond to Markypw’s comment before but it didn’t post. Here goes a second try.Markypw wrote: “Is it a fact that there is a valid distinction between withdrawing money for the poor and canceling the contracts under which that money is provided to the poor?”The Church won’t be withdrawing money for the poor, and it won’t be the one canceling contracts. It’s DC’s money, and it will still be budgeted for the poor – it will just be processed by another intermediary. The amount of DC money budgeted for the poor will not go down. The amount of non-DC money the Church gives to the poor will not go down (in fact, it might go up as the Church tries to replace public money with private in its budget).Let’s say the government imposes new conditions on defense contractors, and it cancels (or decides not to renew) a previously awarded contract because a particular contractor can’t, won’t or doesn’t fulfill the new conditions. As a result, the contract gets awarded to a competing defense contractor. Would you accuse the first contractor of “withholding money from national security”?

  • Alexis3

    There is no need to look for a compromise. The church can obey the law or lose its contracts with the city. The city should not be funding organized bigotry.Reese writes: “The dispute is being portrayed as the Catholic Church versus gay rights even though everyone knows that Black ministers in Washington are also opposed to this legislation.” What, exactly, is that supposed to prove? The Catholic Church delivered an ultimatum to the city in the hope of stopping a piece of gay rights legislation. What do the views of Black ministers have to do with anything? Reese is just making a very disingenuous attempt to muddy the water.

  • jimsantafe

    Reese — It’s hard to say who is more at fault here, your Jesuit superior or your local ordinary, for not having suspending or laicized you according to … whichever canon. Your persistent, manifest disobedience is so obvious, it’s not worth my time to look it up. Anathema sis.

  • linguine33

    The church spent over $553,000 to defeat the same-sex marriage amendment in Maine. That was, when you come down to it, tax money given to the church to care for the needy. Does all the money the church gets from tax subsidies and government handouts go to the needy, or is does some of it end up as political contributions?

  • Carstonio

    Hypothetical question – why couldn’t an organization like the Church simply conclude that whatever its non-Catholic clients do in their private lives is none of the Church’s business? Or else make its services available only to members of parishes on a free-will basis?

  • jborst

    I gave up on ‘the church’ years ago because of their inability to deal with the real world. It’s truly amazing how corrupt organized religion really is. If they don’t want to help all the people in need then I say they should just leave town, and good riddance.

  • willemkraal

    oh jezus maria pleeze even if i had to go hungry and homeless for a week i would not go to the catholic charity for help.

  • cprferry

    “Or else make its services available only to members of parishes on a free-will basis?Radical leftists would love that, wouldn’t they? For the Church to shrink and hide itself from culture. Alas there is too much suffering and injustice in the world for the Church not to be active and take a stand for the dignity of all humankind.

  • Damndofhell

    Now after all these decades of tax money going to the catholic church, (of all faiths) it begs to wonder, “how many people were turned away because they did not bow and kiss the feet of the bishop”?

  • Carstonio

    No argument about the suffering and injustice. Part of my hypothetical question is why couldn’t an organization like the Church simply alleviate the suffering and combat the injustice without proselytizing or evangelizing? Or without deciding which types of personal lives are appropriate or inappropriate?

  • dsrobins

    Jesuit father Reese made a few good points, but it’s all futile because he is defending the indefensible. Have no doubt that the Catholic church makes big bucks on Catholic charitable services worldwide. They never report the really big contributions from their most religious members. Those go right into the private pockets of the bishops and the cardinals. Meanwhile, these same bishops and cardinals have spent a couple of centuries defending their Jesuit and other priests from charges of sexually abusing the sons… and occasionally even the daughters… of their parishoners worldwide, but nowhere more prominently than here in America. The Catholic church is utterly corrupt and financially weaked especially here in America, but they still feel free to issue diktats to our elected political leaders at all levels because their Pope was a Hitler Youth earlier and remains a fascist dictator at heart even today. This is shameful.

  • ccnl1

    Alzheimer’s Association American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults Catholic Charities Action Against Hunger AARP Foundation

  • ccnl1

    Hmmm, there is that ” Carstonio ” person again. Yes indeed said person in on the potential imposter list. Again be wary of all posters on semi-anonymous blogs!!!And indeed let us stop tax breaks for all non-profits who have some type of moral or ethical agenda:e.g. The Democratic PartyAmerican Civil Liberties Union American Humane Association General Emergency ReliefAfrica America Institute continued below:

  • US-conscience

    “a case of misplaced priorities. “translated : Your priorities. No surrender, No retreat. Truth cannot be compromised.

  • youngj1

    Thanks for the primer and the sane voice in the wilderness!

  • edallan

    I appreciate Bishop Knestout’s clarification (Nov. 13 @ 6:33 p.m.) that Catholic Charities WILL continue to provide services to the poor even though it will not be able to accept contracts that call for it to treat all employees equally. And, of course, it is much better to keep children in the instability of foster care rather than to allow them to have permanent homes with loving families which happen to be headed by gay people. (Perhaps the Archdiocese is concerned that based on its own experience with institutionalized molesting of other people’s children, and the frequency of incest committed by straight fathers, gay parents would molest their own children?)

  • cprferry

    “No argument about the suffering and injustice. Part of my hypothetical question is why couldn’t an organization like the Church simply alleviate the suffering and combat the injustice without proselytizing or evangelizing? Or without deciding which types of personal lives are appropriate or inappropriate?1. The Church does not proselytize when it offers charity. There are no sermons before food and blankets are given out. No one needs to go to confession before receiving health care. The Church serves the basic needs of all humans out of love for them as children of God.2. The Church is calling for society itself to define gay marriage as inappropriate and dangerous to the family model. It is particularly concerned that it is not allowed to consider gay marriage as inappropriate in its own actions and own conscious.

  • Skowronek

    Linguine33 wrote:”The church spent over $553,000 to defeat the same-sex marriage amendment in Maine. That was, when you come down to it, tax money given to the church to care for the needy. Does all the money the church gets from tax subsidies and government handouts go to the needy, or is does some of it end up as political contributions?”Well, honestly, we don’t know if that was money donated specifically for that use or not. Once you give money to a charity, you are trusting them to spend it in the manner they told you they would spend it. If money were donated towards a dedicated fund (new roof, for example), but it was re-directed elsewhere, then there are potential problems.Didn’t that happen with the United Way about a dozen years ago? Charities aren’t obliged to spend every single penny they bring in, either. Some don’t spend any of their money on fundraising, etc; most do.

  • Hillman1

    Let’s look at this from a different angle.If a gay group was getting taxpayer funds for, say, HIV prevention programs, and they decided that they didn’t like Catholics, and refused to hire Catholics, or refused to provide them medical benefits, would the Church and all the rest of you think that was acceptable?

  • Hillman1

    “An exemption from the law for religious organizations would affect very few people”Really? Tell that to the spouse of a gay person that desperately needs medical coverage. Tell that to the children of a gay couple that have to watch one of their parents die needlessly because they couldn’t get medical coverage.So if discriminating against blacks or Jews or other religious groups would ‘only affect a very few people’ then it’s ok?How about, instead, the church man up and say something adult like ‘we don’t accept your marriage as blessed or in accordance with church doctrine, but we accept that you are legally married in a civil marriage, so we will abide by the law’.Any way you slice it, denying medical benefits to ANYONE is morally reprehensible, and an unChristian thing to do.

  • Carstonio

    “1. The Church does not proselytize when it offers charity. There are no sermons before food and blankets are given out. No one needs to go to confession before receiving health care. The Church serves the basic needs of all humans out of love for them as children of God.”I appreciate that stance, given the experiences I’ve had and read about with fundamentalist Protestant charities.”2. The Church is calling for society itself to define gay marriage as inappropriate and dangerous to the family model.”No organization should decide for society whether gay marriage is appropriate or inappropriate. It can only decide for the organization’s members.Also, “inappropriate” is too vague a term. Would you be specific? And how is dangerous to the family model? That sounds like the Focus on the Family scare tactic where gay marriage tempts straight people to abandon their families and run off with gay lovers. “It is particularly concerned that it is not allowed to consider gay marriage as inappropriate in its own actions and own conscious.”Hillman’s suggestion is an excellent one – the Church does not have to agree with the law to abide by it. No one is saying that its believers have to change their personal opinion of gay marriage. The issue here is simply treating gay married couples no differently than straight couples. Several here have said that the Church doesn’t discriminate against gay individuals. The same principle should apply to gay couples.

  • coloradodog

    DC has the right to prohibit discrimination with it’s tax dollars. The Catholic Church has a right to refuse to participate in the program.Beyond that, issuing ultimatums to the government as if the US were already a Donohue Catholic theocracy reaps well deserved attacks on the Catholic Church whose hypocrisy is beyond belief in that they don’t similarly discriminate against those divorced or, apparently (by their aiding and abetting, against gay pedophiles in their clergy.Father Reese’s lame justification of this papal bullying is just another part of this hypocrisy.

  • local200

    D.C. should do what Henry the VIII did, kick the Catholics out and take their property, but that would be wrong and against the law. Just like what the Catholics are doing to gay people and any other group over the last 2000 years!! If the church really cared about people, they would sell off all of their art and other non essential material things and help people. They don’t follow Christ. When I went to the Vatican it was all about the Pope’s, not Christ. All they want it money and power!!

  • coloradodog

    How sad the Catholic Church in America, like its evangelical counterpart, has been hijacked by mean-spirited, grumpy old white neocons like Donohue and O’Reilly whose real motive is to use gays as a political wedge issue.Although I have some still unresolved traumatic issues as a result of the Church’s tradition of it’s clergy abusing little boys while knowing the Church will pay off later (no I didn’t take any of the Church’s money), I remember, in general, Catholics in my childhood being loving and accepting like Jesus taught them – including gays in their family and among their employees. It’s still that way in Mexico. Catholics I know here hire gay workers in their home and even in their churches and it’s no big deal to exploit as a political wedge issue. People quietly and lovingly go about their own business without bullying like the American Archbishops and Donohue and by jamming their hateful exclusion down others’ throats.Just as I feel bad for how Palin evangelicals have exploited religion for their theocratic agendas of hate and exclusion, I really feel bad for poor old Jesus for what megalomaniac American bullies in $10,000 dresses and pointy hats do to others in his name.

  • cprferry

    “Let’s look at this from a different angle.The Church is prohibited from discrimination under their contracts with DC and by their own deeply held beliefs. Homosexuals are welcome at any and all of the social services provided by the Church.

  • ccnl1

    Hmmm, there is that ” Carstonio ” person again. Yes indeed said person in on the potential imposter list. Again be wary of all posters on semi-anonymous blogs!!!And once again, some reality about gay sex:Hmmm lets see, in gay sexual activity, who plays the guy and who plays the gal? Who is on top and who is on the bottom? A coin flip? To say the least, an unusual situation. Then there are those “made in China” toys/strap-ons. Lets hope the FDA has checked them for lead and other toxic components. And do said “toys” come with sanitizers and/or sterilization instructions. Lots and lots of “gays” doing their hot and heavy things on Internet tube sites but nothing about coin flipping, who is on first, and sanitizers sites?? There must be some “Gaying It For Dummies” books out there somewhere. Hmmm, I wonder if said books/sites have to have FDA and CDC approval??Is said activity wrong and worthy of a trip to hell? Of course not but to the general heterosexual and Christian population it is yucky, unusual and not normal to them. With that mind set, approval by the majority is not always sanctioned in law.The general population to include many of the voters in California, rightly or wrongly, find gay sexual activities, married or not, to be “yucky” and unusual and typically associate such activity with the spread of AIDS which is of course wrong. Said AIDS epidemic in the gay male community at the start of the AIDS crises will always remain unfortunately a stigma on the gay community.” And after all of this rhetoric, gay “marriages” simply simplify and somewhat sanitize what are still “yucky” acts caused by a variant gene(s) and/or hormone imbalance. One wonders if stem cell research will find a cure?? Impressive list of gay people who did not let their yucky defect get in the way of being a contribution to society. Unfortunately, they were not able to contribute to the evolutionary process of DNA improvement via procreation. continued below:

  • compchiro

    CCNL!,Why is how gays engage in sexual relations or if they can procreate without medical help relevant to the issue?It is not. Just as it not relevant if the majority of people find gay sex “yucky”. Civil rights are not up for a vote. The main point of Rev or Father Reese’s article is that as usual the Catholic Church seems to focus a disproportionaste amount of time some issues (same-sex marraige) and ignores others (divorce) while both seem to be equally problematic. He is correct that they give medical benefits to divorcees but… whoa …. they must stop at same-sex couples, yet from what they have said both activities are equally sinful.

  • rossacpa

    1. A mind-boggling team that includes the ACLU and most religious freedom legal institutes and academics in the country are lining up to make sure this ordinance is stopped by injunction until SCOTUS can declare it unconstitutional.2. This probably will not be necessary, because the defendants of normal marriage will petition the Congress to block the DC ordinance. These will be the same folks who have now blocked alleged “gay marriage” in 31 states. They do not want to bring or send their children to the nation’s capital to be schooled in perversion.3. Here’s the deal that was made in the 60’s: You can engage in any perversion you want behind closed doors, but it can never spill out into social commerce. Many of us think that is way more than fair.4. Are you really willing to bet on home rule for something this stupid? Over the last 125 years, DC has gained and lost home rule several times. Sounds like a great start to a new cycle.5, Fr Reese: Thanks for selling the Church that has provided you every material benefit you have received during you adult life down the river, again. But we expect it from you at this point.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    The RCC’s desire to be exempt from laws promoting civil rights is not exactly ironic given its history.However, it does not speak well either for the church or its defenders.The RCC must either conform to US law or face the same legal consequences that every other institution would. Thus far, this has been the case neither with pedophile priests nor with its aggressively lobbying congress, nor with its position on gay marriage.As a result of their interference in US governance, we have created legistlation to meet the RCC’s demands, Conscience Clauses.The practice of changing legislation to meet the needs of moral outlaws was the central practice of the Third Reich.No ministers, priests, rabbis, imams should be permitted to marry anyone.

  • rtaylor3

    Divorce and contraception are legal but against church doctrine. Why didn’t the church leave long ago? Hypocrites.

  • andyinbethesda

    “The dispute is being portrayed as the Catholic Church versus gay rights even though everyone knows that Black ministers in Washington are also opposed to this legislation.” So what’s your argument here, bigotry justifies bigotry?

  • Chris543

    ‘MATTHEW 25″

  • coloradodog

    ccnl1 wrote:”So we have a Christian God who supposedly created all of us to include homosexuals..”___________________________So we have a Christian God who supposedly created all of us to exclude homosexuals?

  • Skowronek

    CCNL wrote:”So we have a Christian God who supposedly created all of us to include homosexuals. Said God is therefore responsible for the defective gene/mind-set that causes homosexuality? One might conclude from this that the Christian God would therefore approve same-sex unions since that is the only sin-free state where any type of couple-sex can be performed.”If you believe in God the creator–perfect in all ways, omniscient, omnipotent, no beginning, no end–then yes, that same God created homosexuals too. If God created homosexuals, then they are not defective.I am not homosexual, no inclinations in that direction, known that as long as I can remember, and I don’t see how I could possibly be forced to become homosexual. I don’t see how those who have known they were homosexual could be forced to become heterosexual.The RCC can’t administer the contract if they are subject to this law. So it goes. I am still unclear as to how they could ever have justified not turning child molesters over to the police. That’s what lawsuits are all about.

  • ccnl1

    On the other hand, we have this from the famous Catholic theologian, Father Edward Schillebeeckx:From his book, The Human Story of God, “Christians must give up a perverse, unhealthy and inhuman doctrine of predestination without in so doing making God the great scapegoat of history” . “Nothing is determined in advance: in Therefore the historical future is not known even to God; otherwise weFor God, too, history is an adventure, an open history for and of men and women.”In other words, according to Schillebeeckx,”No simple cause for sexual orientation has been conclusively demonstrated, and there is no scientific consensus as to whether the contributing factors are primarily biological or environmental. Many think both play complex roles.[1][2] The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Psychological Association have both stated that sexual orientation probably has multiple causes.[3][4] Research has identified several biological factors which may be related to the development of a heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual orientation. These include genes, prenatal hormones, and brain structure. Conclusive proof of a biological cause of sexual orientation would have significant political and cultural implications. [5]”

  • DGSPAMMAIL

    The Catholic church has a “moral opposition” to gay marriage, but no moral opposition to being judgmental? Now they are using this moral opposition as a marketing tool to lure Anglicans into the Catholic church.I’m peeved because I had a representative of a cardinal (I won’t say which one) at my dinner table the other night, who solicited donations and help from everyone at the table – all non-practicing gay Catholics (except me, I’m Congregationalist). I told him it seemed a bit hypocritical for the church to seek to deny benefits from the government and then ask them to give to the church!

  • Skowronek

    Psalm 139, verses 13-16 (referring to God as omniscient creator):13 For you created my inmost being; 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; 15 My frame was not hidden from you 16 your eyes saw my unformed body. From the Catholic Encyclopedia:”That God is omniscient or possesses the most perfect knowledge of all things, follows from His infinite perfection. In the first place He knows and comprehends Himself fully and adequately, and in the next place He knows all created objects and comprehends their finite and contingent mode of being. Hence He knows them individually or singularly in their finite multiplicity, knows everything possible as well as actual; knows what is bad as well as what is good. Everything, in a word, which to our finite minds signifies perfection and completeness of knowledge may be predicated of Divine omniscience, and it is further to be observed that it is on Himself alone that God depends for His knowledge. To make Him in any way dependent on creatures for knowledge of created objects would destroy His infinite perfection and supremacy.”

  • Skowronek

    “I told him it seemed a bit hypocritical for the church to seek to deny benefits from the government and then ask them to give to the church!”Yeah, truly. It’s like asking members of SNAP to give to the church’s legal defense fund (of pedophiles).

  • cprferry

    “I am still unclear as to how they could ever have justified not turning child molesters over to the police. That’s what lawsuits are all about.When you believe people are inherently good and when you’re called to forgiveness, you probably lean more towards reconciliation than punishment.

  • MrDarwin

    The divorce analogy is an apt one and pretty much says it all. As one of the gay DC residents whose tax dollars are going towards these contracts, I’m not especially sympathetic to the Catholic church. Why should they receive a special right to discriminate AGAINST ME that other groups competing for those same funds don’t get? If the Catholic church wants to stamp its feet like a petulant child and threaten not to take MY TAX DOLLARS anymore, I say we call them on it and find somebody who’s willing to obey the law.

  • ccnl1

    Hmmm, we see some thumping of the OT and a 1939 copy of the Catholic Encyclopedia. Some counter-thumping:If god were omniscient and all-good, he/she/it would never allow children to be born with birth defects and we would never have to suffer pain.And the Psalms were composed by Jewish scribes who invented the likes of Abraham and Moses and any of their “prescriptions” are simply more “jehovahing” the thoughts and writings of the Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks and other ancients of the period.And then for those whose eyes have not seen:1. Abraham founder/father of three major religions was either the embellishment of the lives of three different men or aCurrent crisis:Realization that the Jews are not god’s chosen people. 2. Jesus was an illiterate Jewish peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations and who has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a mamzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). Analyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, On Faith panelists) via the NT and related documents have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus’ sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan sects. The 30% of the NT that is “authentic Jesus” like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus’ case, it was the ways and sayings of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hittites, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics. continued below:

  • ccnl1

    Once again:Is mutual masturbation a civil right and therefore protected by legislation or is it a genetic/psychological defect(s) that should be addressed/solved by the global medical research community????And the answer is?????

  • Freestinker

    “And the answer is?????”——Irrelevant.

  • Amalgamate

    Why are people even mentioning gay adoption? Gay adoption has been legal in most states for decades.And gay marriage actually HELPS marriage-it’s true and factual. In MA, where gay marriage first became legal 6 years ago, divorce is lowest in the country-got that bigots? LOWEST in the country