Social Justice

D.C. Catholics Use Poor Kids as Pawns in Power Play

“The Catholic Archdiocese of Washington said Wednesday that it will be unable to continue the social service programs it runs for the District if the city doesn’t change a proposed same-sex marriage law, a threat that could affect tens of … Read More

By / November 18, 2009

“The Catholic Archdiocese of Washington said Wednesday that it will be unable to continue the social service programs it runs for the District if the city doesn’t change a proposed same-sex marriage law, a threat that could affect tens of thousands of people the church helps with adoption, homelessness and health care.” – The Washington Post

The Catholic Church does not want to be forced to give benefits to gay people, so they are offering an ultimatum: See the world our way, or else we will abandon our city contracts and the most vulnerable members of society.

I am not Catholic, poor, in need of adoption or health care.  I don’t live in D.C.; I am straight and married. But I am so disappointed in the Archdiocese, sorry for the millions of people who rely on their services and furious on behalf City Council officials who are now forced to choose whether to support equality or support those in need. This is anti-religious and an affront to people of conscience everywhere. As a Reform Jew committed to the concept that all people are created B’tzelem Elohim, in the image of God, I do not agree with the Church’s position on marriage equality but I understand it.  But this ultimatum, this repulsive rejection of its mission of serving those most in need is something I cannot understand or ever respect. I cannot believe the Archdioceses would actually ignore its chosen obligation to serve the poor in favor of hate. The Catholic Church’s power should not be leveraged in this way; it is almost Roman in approach.

I just don’t understand why you can’t be completely against civil marriage equality and maintain city contracts to serve the poor. It is not like they don’t serve LGBT members of the community already.  Of the thousands of people who work for the Archdioceses there are bound to be a few gay or lesbian social workers, a bisexual or transgender cook in a soup kitchen.  It isn’t impossible to believe a gay homeless man sleeps in a Catholic shelter when the temperatures drop. People of conscience must speak up against this horrific abuse of power. It is shameful that religious people who believe one way will allow their beliefs to deny vulnerable children, sick families and mentally ill individuals the services that are also integral aspects of their religious belief system. I, for one, am totally revolted by this power play.

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