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  • Redefining Marriage, Rolling Back Charity

    The price of passage of same-sex marriage legislation in the District of Columbia has just risen dramatically. Refusing to include robust religious liberty protections in the bill that has just been approved by a Council subcommittee, the City appears poised to impose requirements that will drastically cut social services for some of the city’s most hard-pressed residents. The impact will be severest on food pantries, health care providers, services for the homeless and adoption and foster care assistance.

    The conflict focuses on the scope of the religious liberty exemption included in the bill the D.C. City Council could pass as early as December 1 to replace its traditional marriage law with a regime that allows same-sex unions. In testimony before the Council late last month, both the American Civil Liberties Union and the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington, which disagree fundamentally on public policy that approves same-sex marriage, testified that the original draft religious liberty exemption in the bill was far too narrow. The draft bill not only put social services to the needy at risk, but it also would have required churches that operate facilities like reception halls to make them available to same-sex couples regardless of the churches’ religious teachings and practice.

    The version of the bill the Council subcommittee approved this week relented on the issue of reception halls, allowing churches to decline to make them available for same-sex marriages and other unions to which they might object. However, the bill did not exempt churches from obligations it would impose that would, for example, require the churches to provide marriage benefits to same-sex couples who work for them. As a result, and because D.C. contracts for social services will require compliance with the city’s non-discrimination laws, the longstanding agreements with service providers like the Archdiocese will end. An analogous impasse occurred in Boston in 2006, where Catholic Charities was unable to obtain a state license because of its views on traditional marriage and was forced to shutter its adoption services for hard-to-place children.

    Catholic social service agencies in the District of Columbia play a huge role in meeting the needs of the poor. D.C. officials have not challenged the church’s assertion that it may be the largest of the city’s private-sector providers, a longstanding partner without the problems that have beset many other city programs. The Archdiocese shelters about one third of the city’s homeless every night. Overall, it assists some 68,000 D.C. residents every year, putting up $10 million of its own money and operating, until now, without controversy. In throwing down the gauntlet to its most active and effective charity, same-sex marriage advocates on the D.C. Council are aiming an iron glove at everyone from the homeless to children who need homes of their own.

    Posted in Culture [slideshow_deploy]

    13 Responses to Redefining Marriage, Rolling Back Charity

    1. Leon, Durango, CO says:

      My Cold War Damage Assessment says Religion took serious damage in America. This is another example, how the boundary between Church and State has been penetrated one way, the State usurps FAITH, HOPE and CHARITY, undermines Churches in their credability and functional survival. But somehow, that's okay. Forcing Churches to act against their own beliefs and teachings is a precedent Freedom Of Religion cannot tolerate. Religion In America? 75% Cold War damage. We are a Communist Country, proof that we actually lost the Cold War. That's why we got no Cold War Damage Assessment.

    2. Donna, Ohio says:

      I must agree with Leon Durango,CO….This Country is not the same Country I was born into over 50 years ago….Everything that use to be considered wrong is now right and whatever use to be right is now wrong, everything is upside down,,,,what a shame….America, God will make you pay….!!!!!!! He is not mocked!!!!!!!!!!

    3. Sara, California says:

      the state doesn't care, this is just more money for them and more control over people's lives. that's what it all comes down to. those kids who couldn't be helped by catholic charities are just money in the cofferes of the state system now. if you have a food line and you are a christian they can shut you down and force people to turn to the state when they are needy. all the while silencing the morality that keeps people safe and off the public dole. it's a win-win situation for the gov't.

    4. Sick and Twisted says:

      Once again, the sick, twisted morally bankrupt show their true colors.

      Statism, with it's lust for power, is Liberalism's Religion.. and requires that all subjects submit to the State for approved thought, behavior, and eventually one's existence.

      Every day, it's becoming more clear that a new freedom revolution must be formed in order wrest power from those elitists who crave enslavement and tyranny over the "common people".

    5. Becky, alabama says:

      Whatever happened to separation of church and state? Also, would faiths, other than Christianity, be treated this way.

    6. Merhaba @ Garland, T says:

      This is just another way that 'liberals' appear to have taken over America…'Liberals' have NO morals and NO sound foundation, yet DEMAND that everyone else is WRONG!

      The Conservative Right wing of this country has, for too long, been silent in the interest of 'political correctness' and appeasement. (There's a reason why we're 'right'…'cause we're NOT wrong!)

      We need to stand up and be vocal about what WE want our country to be like. We must take back the USA from these IMMORAL people and return to the principles and concepts of our founding fathers.

    7. Pingback: How hungry the homeless for the holidays in D.C.? « BaptistPlanet

    8. Pingback: About same-sex marriage bill, catholic, gay marriage law, gay marriage bill, washington, dc, archdiocese | Find me About

    9. Bobbie Jay says:

      Well said, Leon.

      Donna, unless you are writing about god, Obama, you should've used a small "g." Upper case "G's" assumes the only true God, whom forces nothing on anyone. Everybody has the freedom to mock God. Nobody escapes judgment. But anyway, I mean no offense.

      The president is trying to diminish Christianity as discreetly as possible…

    10. AWashingtonDCCatholi says:

      It is my hope that the Archdiocese does not back down. If it goes thru and the Archdiocese is forced to close services, then, I wonder if the gay community is willing to put their money where their mouths are and pony up the $10million as well as, all of the volunteer hours. More than likely they will not and the homeless of the district will suffer.

    11. Rick says:

      This is the inevitable conclusion of an unholy alliance between church and state. If the RCC had not decided to accept DC money for providing services, this would have been a non-issue. Instead, this is an entanglement between church and state that was avoidable. Give the DC back their money and do the best you can with our own resources.

    12. Amy P. says:

      Rick:

      Religious freedom is not "pay for play"; tax exemptions do not limit one's ability to worship or speak freely. A significant number of Americans pay no income taxes – do they lose their right to free speech and free religious expression because they get a "subsidy" from the government?

      NO.

      With the "separation of church and state" business, it's never a two-way street. Liberals hate it when the church is in the public sphere, but have no problem with the state cramming immorality down our throats.

      Catholics need to grow spines and stand up to this unconstitutional persecution.

    13. Mike B., Salt Lake C says:

      We are not a theocracy, Christian or otherwise, but you have absolute freedom to worship as you believe. "Separation of church and state" IS a two-way street – any church or religious organization can accept the largess of the people and receive tax exempt status, but then those organizations must comply with anti-discrimination laws. A religious organization is free (arguably) to discriminate against the "other", but you can't have money from the taxpayer while doing so. Our society is obligated to support all its members equally – it's called Equal Protection Under the Law. Christians enjoy these same protections as well. America is based on the inclusive protection of ALL her citizens, and no religion or organization (be they Protestant, Catholic, Islamic, Jewish, atheist, Scientologist, etc.) has the right, legal or otherwise, to place any limit on another's Life, Liberty or Pursuit of Happiness. This is just as our Founding Fathers intended.

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