Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Godless Wednesday: Catholic Charities Got $2.9B in 2010 Federal Funds

The New York Times recently ran an article summarizing a new front in the ongoing kulturkampf (culture wars): the claim by Catholic officials that they are being discriminated against due to their religious beliefs by advances in LGBT equality.

This graf in particular struck my eye:
Catholic Charities is one of the nation’s most extensive social service networks, serving more than 10 million poor adults and children of many faiths across the country. It is made up of local affiliates that answer to local bishops and dioceses, but much of its revenue comes from the government. Catholic Charities affiliates received a total of nearly $2.9 billion a year from the government in 2010, about 62 percent of its annual revenue of $4.67 billion. Only 3 percent came from churches in the diocese (the rest came from in-kind contributions, investments, program fees and community donations).
In Illinois, Catholic Charities in five of the six state dioceses had grown dependent on foster care contracts, receiving 60 percent to 92 percent of their revenues from the state, according to affidavits by the charities’ directors. (Catholic Charities in the Archdiocese of Chicago pulled out of foster care services in 2007 because of problems with its insurance provider.)
The federal government is providing nearly three billion dollars in U.S. taxpayers monies to an organization which refuses to acknowledge basic tenets of science and aggressively seeks to force its world view upon others, discriminating on the basis of sex and sexual orientation in the process.

Ugh. It makes me nauseous to think that there are people who think they can accept funds (hello, some of which must be coming from LGBT people) and wants to use that money actively discriminating against those people, all in the name of "serving children." Is this not the text book definition of hypocrisy?

We had previously covered the conflict in Illinois between Catholic Charities heterosexist policies and the state's new civil union law on Godless Wednesday but had not seen an eye-dropping quote from religious extremist side before like this one (bolded):
Critics of the church argue that no group has a constitutional right to a government contract, especially if it refuses to provide required services.
But Anthony R. Picarello Jr., general counsel and associate general secretary of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, disagreed. “It’s true that the church doesn’t have a First Amendment right to have a government contract,” he said, “but it does have a First Amendment right not to be excluded from a contract based on its religious beliefs.”
This is not just a text-book definition of hypocrisy but also hubris! It's shocking to me the Catholic Bishops dude mentions the First Amendment (twice!) in his statement to the New York Times. Has he read it recently?
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

If your free exercise of religion involves discriminating against other citizens' "equal protection of the laws" and can be construed to contribute to an "establishment of religion" since you are attempting to propagate and promote your religious beliefs to children then it is pretty clear that you lose. And to think that you want federal money to do so is simply sickening.

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