March 02, 2010
Catholic charity doesn't begin at home
Posted by: Chris
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington has engaged in another round of shenanigans today in its continuing battle against recognizing the civil marriage of same-sex couples. Catholic Charities axed all spousal benefits for its employees rather than be forced to extend those same benefits to married gay workers.
Some complain the change is cynical, hypocritical and contrary to Catholic values. Let us count the ways:
- The "dilemma" faced by the Catholic Charities does not impinge on religious freedom, as anti-gay groups like the National Organization for Marriage have charged. The Catholic church may refuse to marry -- or even refuse communion -- gay parishioners. It simply may not "suck at the teet" of District government -- to the tune of $22 million annually -- and simultaneously flout District law.
- Something other than a mere desire to conform to papal teaching on homosexuality is at work here, since Catholic Charities happily provided spousal benefits for years to employees who had divorced and remarried, a sin that is every bit as severe, if not more so, than same-sex love.
- Catholic Charities chose the cheap way out. The Washington Archdiocese could have followed the example of its San Francisco counterpart, which eliminated spousal benefits while expanding the definition of domestic partner to include a spouse, parent, sibling or anyone else who in the household.
- By eschewing the San Francisco example, D.C. Catholic charities missed an opportunity to set a Christian example that says to its employees, gay and straight, that whatever the church's teaching on gay marriage or divorce, the church as employer wants to assist each worker to provide health care for a member of its household.
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