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    February 18, 2010

    The coming Catholic 'cleansing'

    Posted by: Chris

    UPDATE: At the end of the post.

    Maggie gallagher nom gay marriage catholic charities foster adoption
    My favorite exchange of yesterday's Cato Institute forum on gay conservatives came in response to columnist Maggie Gallagher's claim that permitting same-sex couples to marry would invariably leads somehow to government intrusion into religion of the sort that all conservatives should abhor. In support, Gallagher, who is Roman Catholic, cited the requirement that Catholic Charities, for example, place children into households led by gay couples, despite their genuine faith-based belief this is against the child's best interest.

    Let's leave aside for the moment the irony of conservatives resorting to the politics of victimization, previously the P.C. province of liberals, even as she claimed that 50-60% of Americans are on her side. Poor majority conservatives, oppressed by the 3-5% of us who are gay.

    Let's even forgive Gallagher the obvious straw man here, as if a line can't be drawn in the law between opening up marriage to same-sex couples and requiring that religious institutions recognize those marriage in the provision of social services. Her example, as it turns out, comes straight out of the headlines, as the D.C. archdiocese just announced yesterday that it was shuttering its 80-year-old foster parent program for precisely this reason.

    Andrew sullivan cato institute gay conservatives catholic foster gay adoption Gay Catholic blogger Andrew Sullivan, his forehead marked from Ash Wednesday services that morning, drew a crucial distinction between laws that over-reach, prohibiting independently funded religious groups from discriminating in hiring or in the provision of services, and less troublesome regulation requiring those faith-based orgs that "suck at the teat of government," as he put it, to treat us taxpayers equally.

    Catholic Charities receives some $20 million annually from the District of Columbia, so any "interference" in their pristine religious function occurred at the time the Catholics showed up with their hands held out, asking for our money.

    Even more devastating was Sullivan's pointing out that the rest of us can be forgiven for suspecting "some animus" behind complaints of the type Gallagher raises when Catholic Charities has for years placed foster and adopted children into the homes of remarried couples, despite the church's very clear prohibition on divorce. Seen in that light, the Catholic threat to suspend its social services looks more like a cynical attempt to bully gay couples out of the civil marriage pulpit.

    Catholic charities gay marriage foster gay adoption The Washington Post story on the archdiocese decision suggest as much, reporting without explaining that despite yesterday's decision on foster parenting, Catholic Charities "is optimistic that it will find a way to structure its benefits packages in other social service programs so that it can remain in partnership with the city without recognizing same-sex marriage."

    Most telling of all, however, was Gallagher's final reply to Sullivan, acknowledging the church's inconsistent treatment of gay and remarried couples and cheerfully, if ominously, warning that the bishops would soon be "cleansing" that process further, likely meaning that remarried couples would find themselves out of favor as well.

    There, my friends, is the slippery slope. Marriage equality between gay and straight couples does not necessarily lead to forcing faith based groups to act contrary to their beliefs in the provision of services, but the coming cleansing will prove very instructive to millions of heterosexuals Americans who would never imagine that their households could be refused foster and adoption placements funded by their government.

    UPDATE: Video of the forum is now available here or view it after the jump to this post.

    Video of the Cato Institute policy forum on whether there's a place for gays in the conservative movement, featuring David Boaz of Cato, Tory MP Nick Herbert, gay blogger Andrew Sullivan of Atlantic Monthly, and conservative columnist Maggie Gallagher of the National Organization for Marriage:



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    1. Amicus on Feb 18, 2010 10:20:59 AM:

      Maggie and the entire NOM-coalition have played lose with the facts of the adoption case in Massachusetts, which has become part of the ongoing Frank Schubert spin campaign (everyone should read his playbook, which was made public in the Prop8 trial materials, as an exhibit taken from his victory-lap done for a pol-sci mag or something).

      Someone at Volokh (Randy?) did a good job of laying out the facts of the case. As best I recall, the Catholic Charities in MA had been providing gay adoption all along (something small, like a dozen kids placed over several years out of 725 or so in total). It's only when it got some attention and it seemed like it might cast doubt on their homo-putdown agenda that they voluntarily withdrew. This pattern has been repeated a couple of times, including D.C. just now.

      Her tacit capitulation to the fact that they "need" public money to continue to do good works is deplorable. "Suck teat" is tame, compared to any real ire over their posturing.

      As for imposing "purity", check out this strategy review, that I recently came across, when seeking out info on H. Ahmanson:

      In a 1994 article on Christian Reconstructionism, Public Eye described Johnson’s central role in an Ahmanson-financed attempt by the Christian Right to take control of the California state legislation. The strategy involved first pushing through a term limits initiative, which was accomplished in 1990, and then promoting its own candidates for the seats this opened up:

      “The practical impact of term limits is to remove the advantage of incumbency … which the extreme Christian Right is prepared to exploit. … At a Reconstructionist conference in 1983, Johnson outlined an early version of the strategy we see operating in California today. … The key for the Christian Right was to be able to: 1) remove or minimize the advantage of incumbency, and 2) create a disciplined voting bloc from which to run candidates in Republican primaries, where voter turn out was low and scarce resources could be put to maximum effect. …

      “Since the mid-1970s, the extreme Christian Right, under the tutelage of then-State Senator H. L Richardson, targeted open seats and would finance only challengers, not incumbents. By 1983, they were able to increase the number of what Johnson called ‘reasonably decent guys’ in the legislature from four to 27. At the Third Annual Northwest Conference for Reconstruction in 1983, Johnson stated that he believed they may achieve ‘political hegemony. . .in this generation.’”

    1. Kevin on Feb 18, 2010 12:31:09 PM:

      Good riddance, frankly. I agree with Kathy Griffin about the Catholic Church and we might as well all openly say what is blatantly apparent by over a century of empirical evidence: it has systemically abused, tortured and raped children in its care and has no transparent controls in place to prevent it from continuing to happen.

      So, anything that drives that sick institution away from vulnerable children is a blessing, not a curse.

      And this comment is not being made in jest.

    1. Tim C on Feb 19, 2010 8:58:00 AM:

      A "cleansing" led by the Catholic bishops. That I cannot wait to see.

    1. Jon Ponder on Feb 19, 2010 7:47:50 PM:

      But Maggie - Across an array of polls, gay marriage has twice the support today that interracial marriage had in 1968, the year after Loving v. Virginia made it legal.

    1. cheap ugg boots on Nov 22, 2010 2:31:15 AM:

      If it really will take another decade or two (!) for Congress to enact T protections, then that's the strongest argument yet for getting LGB protection now, rather than missing this opportunity because we allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good.

    1. cheap ugg boots on Nov 29, 2010 1:12:50 AM:

      But this brings me to the second point of reflection. If you're gay and you listen to the awful things "conservative" leaders say about us -- the lies, the distortions, the prejudices, the vile accusations -- the views that form the party's understanding and presentation of gay-rights issues and you KNOW how dishonest and manipulative and cynical those views are, how can you believe anything they say about any issue?

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