Friday, November 13, 2009

In Short: "Charitable" Organizations

Such as the Catholic Church, the hierarchies of which--along with any number of the members--are more worried and concerned about scriptural/textual/divine orthodoxy than about doing the charitable works for which they petitioned and now generally and ubiquitously receive otherwise entirely unwarranted and unmerited protections and exemptions from the body politic.

This includes, of course, but is not limited to, anything involvement in the provision of medical services by the Catholic Church, or any other "religious" organization, which claimed an exemption from its responsibilities for equality and fairness. This would have the advantage of withdrawing state support from outfits like the Boy Scouts, or any other organization of the public teat in any way that they are forbidden by law from disccriminating even against those who their cant and supersticion would demonize.

The particular case in point is the threat by Catholic Charities, (Inc.) or DC to withdraw itself from the provision of aid to its clients if proposed DC legislation forbids the CC to discriminate in hiring on the basis of sexual orientation.

Americans United issued a press release on the matter:

D.C. Council Should Not Cave In To Catholic

Church’s Demands On Marriage Exemption

The religion exemption in a proposed same-sex marriage bill adequately protects religious freedom, and the District of Columbia Council should not give in to demands from the Catholic Archdiocese that it be broadened, says Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

In a Nov. 10 statement, the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington threatened to drop contracts with the District government to provide social services, unless church programs are broadly exempted from civil rights provisions that will protect same-sex couples.

Catholic Charities DC, the social service arm of the archdiocese, received $16 million of its $23 million budget last year through governmental contracts.

Said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director, “The church’s demand is outrageous. If ‘faith-based’ charities cannot or will not obey civil rights laws, they ought not benefit from public funds.

“I am amazed that church officials would threaten to stop helping the disadvantaged because they are being asked to treat all citizens of the District fairly,” he continued. “They seem to have lost all perspective. How strong is their commitment to helping the poor if they’re willing to take this hardline stance?

“If Catholic Charities drops its participation in publicly funded social services,” Lynn concluded, “I am confident that other charities would be happy to pick up the slack.”

Lynn said Americans United attorneys have examined the religion exemption proposed in the “Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Equality Amendment Act” and found it to be a reasonable balance that protects the civil rights of all city residents as well as the independence of religious institutions.

Said Lynn, “We made several suggestions to the council in regard to the religion exemption, and most of our concerns have been met. The archdiocese’s demands are extreme, and council members should reject them.”

Americans United is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.

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