American Savage: Think of the Children!


Catholics need not apply. That’s how Springfield Bishop Thomas John Paprocki summed up the recent decision by the Illinois legislature to sever foster-care and adoption service contracts with Catholic Charities based on the organization’s refusal to adopt to gay couples.
Catholic Charities, which accounts for more than 20 percent of the states adoptions, refused to accept the new policy because it is in direct violation of official church practice.
Illinois now had a dilemma on their hands. Continuing contracts with Catholic Charities, worth $30 million, would be akin to subsidizing organizations that discriminate in direct violation of state law. But denying Catholic Charities the contracts would mean a re-shuffling of one-fifth of the foster-children in the state.
Catholic Charities lost in court last week and are now barred from foster-care services until they agree to change their policy on gay couples. Both sides are pointing fingers. Both sides are slinging mud. Both sides expect a further freedom of religion lawsuit to surface.
Both sides are dead wrong. Or as Janet Hayes, ethics professor at Webster University put it, “both sides are stuck in a grey area.” Hayes is especially qualified to speak on the issue; she is a member of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas.
Hayes said both sides have a legitimate argument, which makes it even harder to see the issue clearly.
“You’ve got a state that is fighting for a human rights issue and a religion with teachings that are contrary to that state’s wishes,” Hayes said.
According to Hayes, official Catholic dogma stresses there are no issues with homosexuals, but the church’s official opinion on homosexual relationships is that they are “inherently disordered.”
And while church canon says that homosexuals are “recognized as human beings with dignity,” it still refuses to place children in “inherently disordered” households.
Illinois made monumental steps in recognizing gay couples, and made an even more monumental step in enforcing equal adoption rights. But in their haste to battle in the generation-defining civil rights argument of our time, they hurt the one group of people with no dog in the fight: children.
By ending foster-care discrimination without religious exemptions, the state of Illinois is effectively taking away basic human care for children without homes or families.
Catholic Charities, hiding behind an ancient dogma, are just as guilty of negligence and stupidity. Of course, no religion should be forced to change because of state law. But as our Catholic readers may know, charity is very important to their faith. One of the many differences between Catholicism and other Christian sects is the devotion to “good works.”
Catholics believe that faith alone cannot save man. Man must live and do good in order to be saved. Catholics believe that charity, without thought of self, is the purest good that one can do.
With this theme of goodwill and charity, it’s mystifying that Catholic Charities would deny gay couples the right to adopt, when that is exactly the purpose of an adoption agency. Keeping children from loving homes because of ancient biblical bigotry is the antithesis of charity and goodwill.
What would be more in the name of charity, more wholly pure and good, than putting aside petty personal beliefs in the name of giving care and joy to children? Catholic Charities, in the name of good works, should be willing to put aside their own morality for the greater good.
Children should always be the last to suffer for the pettiness of adults. They only want love and a home. They want opportunity.
When we slice education in the name of bloated defense, they suffer for us. When cheaper, nastier food takes the place of nutrition at our dinner tables, they suffer for us. When we end federal aid for low-income families, they suffer for us. When social security and fossil fuels run out before their lifetimes, they suffer for us.
Our laws, or our faith, should be willing to bend and even break on behalf of the well-being of children. Now Illinois and CC are stuck in a staring contest, neither side willing to sacrifice an inch in the name of better care.
They suffer for us but we wont suffer for them. Won’t someone please think of the children?

American Savage is a weekly column written by Journal Opinon editor Collin Reischman

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