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  • The D.C. Government’s Strike against Foster Kids – and Religious Liberty

    Foster Kids and Religious Liberty in DC

    This week Washington, D.C. became the second U.S. jurisdiction to lose the benefit of Catholic Charities’ adoption and foster care services over the issue of same-sex marriage. Early next month, barring Congressional or judicial intervention, the District of Columbia will become the sixth U.S. jurisdiction to authorize same-sex marriage. As the law developed last year, the Archdiocese of Washington, of which Catholic Charities is a part, endeavored
    to avoid a conflict between its social services and the new D.C. marriage law.

    The two major points of conflict involve the interaction of the marriage law and prior laws enacted banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and marital status. First, the laws would require city contractors, including charities that operate homeless shelters and other programs, to provide any benefits they offer to married couples to heterosexual and homosexual couples on the same basis. Second, the same laws affect licensing practices, so that the adoption and foster care agency operated by Catholic Charities would have been required to place children with same-sex couples.

    Doing so, the Archdiocese asserted, would utterly contradict church teaching, parallel to that of other major religious traditions, that marriage is the union of one man and one woman and children need the care and nurturing of both a father and a mother. The Archdiocese concluded it had no choice but to jettison an invaluable social service it has provided D.C. families for nearly a century. The District of Columbia is among the nation’s jurisdictions with the most intractable rate of family breakdown.

    Tragically, the D.C. government could have done much more to avoid the conflict by including a robust religious exemption in its same-sex marriage law. It chose instead to turn a deaf ear to the pleas of Catholic Charities for an exemption that would allow it to continue to strive to heal D.C. families and give many children hope of a better life. As a result, a vital force in civil society – religiously sponsored charities rich in love and personal voluntarism – has been sapped by the expanding demands of public officials.

    Posted in Culture [slideshow_deploy]

    24 Responses to The D.C. Government’s Strike against Foster Kids – and Religious Liberty

    1. Chuck Anziulewicz says:

      The question is not whether the Archdiocese of Washington has "religious freedom" to discriminate against Gay couples, but whether they are accepting public funds in the process! Gay people are taxpayers too, and I don't want my tax dollars going to organizations that discriminate against me, any more than a Catholic would want his tax dollars going toward an organization that discriminates against Catholics.

      Catholic Charities of Boston went through this same situation years ago. I frankly couldn't care less if their adoption service discriminated against Gay couples or Muslim couples or whomever. Problem was, Catholic Charities of Boston were being funded by the State of Massachusetts to the tune of a million bucks per year! And they were given a choice: Either stop discriminating against Gay couples, or give up their public funding. They chose to give up the funding. Fine by me. You wanna feed at public trough, you'd better be prepared to play by the rules.

      • Zoe says:

        Uhhhh….I don't want my tax dollars going to fund advancements for people based on their sexual preferences. This is not and should never have been a government concern.

    2. Ozzy6900 says:

      One of the major things that broke the Roman Empire was the public acceptance of homosexual activity. History has shown that when great societies begin to accept and foster homosexual activity, the end of that society is not far off. The union of a male and female human is the only marriage that is allowed by most Religions and decent societies. To force people to accept this unholy union is wrong and shows that decency is a thing of the past.

    3. Charles says:

      According to the Examiner "As of February 1, the entire foster-care program – 43 children, 35 families and seven staff members, will be transferred to the National Center for Children and Families." And if you look at the website for the National Center for Children and Families, it's apart of Georgetown University, a Catholic University.

      So, basically, the lives of these children will pretty much be unchanged and a Catholic institution will still be serving them. This mock controversy is a just a way for the Catholic church to save face. They get to hold onto their bigoted stance, but the kids still get the care. Oh, and so organizations like the Heritage Foundation can continue to attack the LGBT community.

    4. Stephen says:

      If the Catholic Church can't play by the same rules as everyone else regarding receiving government funding, tax-exempt status, etc, then they SHOULD exclude themselves from playing this particular game. DC didn't FORCE anyone to do anything. Catholic Charities CHOSE to remove themselves. It is instructive to realize that CC chose to stop providing services in order to maintain their tradition of bigotry. Real Christian attitude there, don't you think?

    5. Mike in D.C. says:


      You fail to mention a key factor in this that dramatically changes the context your article is written in. The activities of Catholic Charities were taxpayer funded by millions of dollars annually. If the law in the district is changed in a manner that creates a religious conflict of interest for the charity, then that charity has two choices: accept and act in accordance with federal law or back out. Catholic Charities chose the latter, abandoning their duties to the most needy of children, and as a result, a non-religious, and non-discriminating group – National Center for Children and Families – stepped in to fill the void immediately.

      To claim that the D.C. council has deprived Catholic Charities of servicing the community is an blatant exaggeration. Catholic Charities made a choice… that choice was to neglect helping children on religious principle. While commendable to those in the world that seem to think the church should forego "love thy neighbor as thyself" in order to cater to Leviticus (or better yet, those old enough to understand the importance of principle), I doubt the children that Catholic Charities has left behind will be able to understand that inherent contradiction now that they've lost the first and most important link to God so early in their lives. Many of these children have already been abandoned at least once. As they grow to learn what Catholic Charities has done, principle or not, it will be difficult for them not to see themselves as abandoned a second time. That's the real "strike" against D.C.'s foster children.

    6. Davidius Maximus says:

      Ozzy6900 says: "One of the major things that broke the Roman Empire was the public acceptance of homosexual activity"

      The bigger question isn't what broke the Roman Empire. The question is, "Why did the Roman Empire last so long?" The western half of the Empire existed from roughly 753 BC to about 426 AD. (The eastern half kept going and is known as the Byzantine Empire.) That's a thousand years, give or take. Same-sex relationships existed during the entire period and did not break anything, Ozzy. The surviving Classical Latin literature of the period attests to that. Oddly enough, the only thing that gained acceptance towards the end of the Empire in the West was Christianity. However, tagging homosexuality as the culprit sounds interesting and exotic to the uninformed.

      As for Washington DC, if something like this has the Catholic Church running for the border, they don't deserve to be in the adoption program in the first place. There will be plenty of other agencies willing to pick up everything the Catholic Church abandoned — agencies willing to abide by the rules. Washington DC will be better for it.

    7. don, san francisco says:


      Your comment that "One of the major things that broke the Roman Empire was the public acceptance of homosexual activity. History has shown that when great societies begin to accept and foster homosexual activity, the end of that society is not far off" is utter bunk. As a historian I can assure you that no historian would give any credence to your claim. In fact Edward Gibbon (as in Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire) laid much of the blame squarely on Organized Christianity. He "famously placed the blame on a loss of civic virtue among the Roman citizens. They gradually entrusted the role of defending the Empire to barbarian mercenaries who eventually turned on them. Gibbon considered that Christianity had contributed to this, making the populace less interested in the worldly here-and-now and more willing to wait for the rewards of heaven. "The decline of Rome was the natural and inevitable effect of immoderate greatness. Prosperity ripened the principle of decay; the causes of destruction multiplied with the extent of conquest; and as soon as time or accident had removed the artificial supports, the stupendous fabric yielded to the pressure of its own weight," he wrote. "In discussing Barbarism and Christianity I have actually been discussing the Fall of Rome."

      But maybe we are all wrong. show us the proof.

    8. Bobbie Jay says:

      Get government out! Extremely bias of some religions while taking their time to infiltrate destruction of the Catholic religion. How dare the government mandate instructions against the faith of the religion.


      Catholic Charities chose the latter, abandoning their duties to the most needy of children, HOW IS AND WHO IS THAT you speak of "to the most needy of children?" Seems this is in the best interest of the government and gays. Not the children.

    9. Eddina, Hutchinson, says:

      One more manipulation to force what

      the Progressives want!

    10. Lala says:

      SImple.Fan the flames of this great populist wave with "homosexual activitists hurt DC kids." Wonderful, almost as good as identifying that Obama is a radical.

      These truths should refocus populist anger against the homosexual agenda and homos. Good. Then, we can retake DC –

    11. Jude Wisconsin says:

      The Catholic Church does not deserve my tax dollars if they discriminate against real human beings. They can raise funds on their own to provide these services. After all, they raised millions of dollars to fight same sex marriage.

      Dear Ozzy. Do some reading. In Roman culture, few relationships between men were about love. Married men had sex with other women, kept concubines, had sex with men, usually slaves or men of lower status. Often against their will. The debauchery and collapse of the Roman Empire came about through the actions of straight men with no values.

      Being gay is not a choice. I know many loving, gay couples and I am ashamed at the level of bigotry of discrimination and outright hatred from the right wing politicians and conservative churches. The Catholic Church has no right to call anyone a sinner when they spent years hiding pedophile priests. I know many good Catholics. But upper management of the Catholic Church should be ashamed of their position on gays and lesbians.

    12. Sarah, Chicago IL says:

      I agree with Mike, the Catholic Church made a choice, and they were at liberty to do so. And they can even say that it was their religious liberty they were deciding to exercise, if they want to claim that their religious beliefs require that they prioritize a culture war above the needs of needy children. This is shameful for them.

    13. Tim, Ohio says:

      The catholic church is evil. I can just see these "christians" explaining to their god the reason couldn't take care of the children was because they would have to treat teh gays equally. I'm sure that excuse is going to fly.

    14. Barbara F Delo says:

      As our society moves away from its Judeo-Christian roots, more and more examples like this will occur. And I expect more and more Free Exercise Clause cases will be brought to the courts.

      Consider the impact that implementing right-to-die law could have on nurses and doctors. Or the case of a nominee to the Supreme Court during the Bush 41 years who withdrew his name because he was required to perform an abortion while in medical school.

      While we may not all agree on the issues, I believe that the right to freedom of religion guarenteed in our Constitution is one of our most precious rights. It always must be upheld..

    15. Cackcon, North Carol says:

      On the one hand, it is true that agencies accepting federal money generally must recognize the conditions attached to those funds.

      Then again, a government's spending powers are potentially abused, in my estimation, when they operate in this manner. After all, the "taxpayer" objection to a Catholic charity receiving government funds works equally well for the taxpayer who does not want his taxes spent in such a way that religious charity groups are forced out of these arenas.

      In other areas of law, though, folks seeking religious exemptions have not been recipients of taxpayer money (take landlords, for instance). But I'd imagine most of you wouldn't want them to exercise the freedom, either. Alas, I also doubt many of you will like the state of our society very much once you finally chase Christian-based charities into the wilderness. We'll see.

      As far as supposedly putting religious beliefs over the interests of children, maybe y'all should re-read that argument several times until you understand how idiotic it is. And if you cannot understand it, there is no way I'll be able to explain it to you in sufficiently simplistic terms.

      Finally, regarding the Roman empire, I highly doubt that either homosexual relationships or Christianity figured prominently in its decline. Rather, I suspect the end of the Republic due to Julius Caesar's power grab (and ultimately leading to the ascension of August Caesar) ultimately ruined Rome. Tyranny is great for rapid military expansion, but not so great for building a sustainable society. It matters very little whether the tyrannical profess belief in Greco-Roman gods, in the Christian faith, or what have you. And if that's not a valuable enough lesson for the United States, I don't know what is.

    16. Josh says:

      I hate to say this, but most foster kids are already screwed up beyound belief. This is a more important matter and a principle that must be defended at any cost. Sometimes a few must support the majority.

    17. Concerned, Texas says:

      For Catholics, gay marriage is crossing the Rubicon as far as the moral decline of society. We already have a society that promotes (even celebrates) unrestricted sexual activity, regards access to porn as a protected "right", allows (even encourages) mothers to kill their unborn children and sees marital infidelity and divorce as natural steps on the path to "happiness" so the addition of gay parenting/marriage is just the one last line that the Church cannot cross. The Church's warnings in the early 1960s about the consequences of birth control seem prescient now as they are borne out by the promiscuous society and less-than-replacement birth rate we have now. Barring the Catholc Church may be emotionally appealing to activists but the actual consequences long-term may not be best for the rest of us.

    18. Tanya says:

      the last person that commented that all foster kids are messed up…your not very bright and you sound like an uneducated person. I grew up in foster care and have an Ivy league degree, not that that matters, but just letting you know that i and many of other person's i know from foster care, are great people who try to make the world a better place every day… get out of your box…by the way, i wonder what do you think of blacks, asians, jews, italians, irish, tall people, short people, long hair short hair etc….or do you think?

    19. Stacy says:

      This issue isn't about Catholic dogma. There's a logical and supported reason for foster children already traumatized by removal from a broken family to be placed in a mother-father home over a homosexual home. The only arguments for placing these kids in homosexual homes are based on what is best for adult desires and not what is best for children. The only people adhering to "dogma" in this situation are the ones asking for political power to impose their unfounded beliefs on the rest of the people as if they were incontrovertible truths.

    20. Corey Mann Leavenwor says:

      America/Americans need to go back to the roots of the greatest nation on earth. America is a christian nation and from the bottom to the top we should still adhere to the Bible. I agree with the Catholic church but look what the leaders did to all the childeren. Political correctness wil never overrule God.

    21. Pingback: Virginia Protects Religious Liberty in Adoption and Foster Care | The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.

    22. Pingback: Virginia Protects Religious Liberty in Adoption and Foster Care | The Conservative Papers

    23. ????? says:

      Can I just say that of a relief to find somebody who actually knows what theyre talking about on the web. You certainly discover how to bring a worry to light making it important. The best way to must see this and see why side with the story. I cant believe youre not more popular when you definitely contain the gift.

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