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15 November 2011

Repudiation: Bishops of Illinois Choose Bigotry instead of Helping Children

As of June, Illinois allows Civil Unions for same sex couples.  While the usual bigots complained, the law was enacted in January and has been in effect for about half a year as of this writing.
"We are showing the world that the people of Illinois believe in equality for all," [Governor] Quinn said January 31. "We look forward to individuals and businesses from across the country choosing to move to Illinois where we believe that everyone is entitled to the same rights."
The law includes a number of areas where homosexuals are granted equal rights.
These rights include automatic hospital visitation rights, the ability to make emergency medical decisions for partners, the ability to share a room in a nursing home, adoption and parental rights, pension benefits, inheritance rights and the right to dispose of a partner's remains, the governor's office said.
One problem, in the eyes of the Roman Catholic Church, is equality for adoption and parental rights.  The Roman Catholic Church has been paid by taxpayers for decades as a contracted provider of foster care services and adoption services.  Allowing a loving family who are gay to be foster parents or adoptive parents was impossible for them to tolerate.

So far, so good.  They have the right to believe what they want to believe.  They also have the right to provide adoption services without taxpayer subsidies if they choose to not follow the law.  But, by July they chose to file a lawsuit instead, claiming that their First Amendment rights were violated.  This was silly, of course, as the law meant that they either had to stop being bigots or they could continue their bigotry without taxpayer money.

Today they withdrew the lawsuit and wrote a lengthy complaint about the attack on faith-base agencies and "traditional" marriage.  I will rebut parts of their sob story.
“The decision not to pursue further appeals was reached with great reluctance, but was necessitated by the fact that the State of Illinois has made it financially impossible for our agencies to continue to provide these services,” said Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki of Springfield, Bishop Edward K. Braxton of Belleville, and Bishop R. Daniel Conlon of Joliet.
“Since we now need to close offices and lay off employees, further appeals would be moot,” the bishops said.
Translation:  They were not going to win this lawsuit.  The Church says it is financially impossible to continue to help children on the same day that they are bidding a huge amount of money for the Crystal Cathedral in California.  Is it really about the money?
The [Department of Children and Family Services] told the agencies that it was ending their contracts over their alleged refusal to obey the 2011 Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Unions Act, which established legal privileges for same-sex and opposite-sex couples in civil unions.
The Church could have accepted the equality of Illinois citizens, but chose to not do so.
In a Nov. 14 statement, Breen said the situation “stands as a stark lesson to the rest of the nation that legislators promising 'religious protection' in same sex marriage and civil union laws may not be able to deliver on those promises.”
In their remarks, the bishops noted how the Church has “successfully partnered with the State for half a century” and lamented the fact that the “the losers will be the children, foster care families and adoptive parents who will no longer have the option of Catholic, faith-based services.”
The Roman Catholic Church did not lose any religious protection.  They still have the right to worship as they see fit.  They still have the right to include or exclude whoever they wish from their religious activities.  The services that they contracted with the state of Illinois to provide were not religious services.  The Church made choices which were not necessary for them to maintain their religious integrity.
“We are sad to lose the dedicated employees who have served our Catholic foster care and adoption services so faithfully for so many years,” the bishops added. “We are grateful to them and reluctantly bid them farewell with our prayers and best wishes.”
Bishop Paprocki clarified that despite the loss of foster care and adoption services in his diocese, “our Catholic Charities in the Diocese Springfield in Illinois will continue to address the basic human needs of the poor in central Illinois in other ways.”
“The silver lining of this decision is that our Catholic Charities going forward will be able to focus on being more Catholic and more charitable,” he said, “while less dependent on government funding and less encumbered by intrusive state policies.”
Their former employees will find work taking care of children who are still very much in need of foster and adoptive services.  The employer will simply no longer be the Roman Catholic Church.  That silver lining is a move to what should be the case, religious work should not be subsidized by taxpayers.  That which is subsidized by taxpayers should not be discriminatory.
The news of the decision to close the programs follows the Nov. 11 announcement by the Catholic Social Services of Southern Illinois that will it separate from the Belleville diocese and offer adoptions and foster-care services to same-sex couples.
The Catholic Social Services agency, which had been operating at the Belleville diocese since 1947, said that it will now be called Christian Social Services of Illinois.
This is interesting.  Some Catholics care enough about the children that they will abide by civil law, even if it means a formal split with the Roman Catholic Church.  Not all Catholics are happy about this.  They write, in part
[P]erhaps the leaders of what is now “Christian Social Services” never really believed the Church’s teachings regarding the damage done to children raised in homosexual households. The Vatican says that placing adoptive children with same-sex couples is a form of violence against those children.
Let's clear this up right away.  Children tend to do as well with same sex parents as they do with opposite sex parents.  The Vatican is telling a big lie.  Back to the original article.
Robert Gilligan, executive director of the Illinois Catholic Conference, summarized what he believes to be the underlying problem in remarks to CNA on Nov. 11.
What “you're seeing at the state level in Illinois, what you're seeing at the national level in Washington, D.C., is a consistent promulgation of policies and laws that are making it very difficult for faith-based agencies that believe that marriage is between one man and one woman,” Gilligan said.
Isn't it funny that the Bible is filled with marriages of one man and many women.  I suppose that the Roman Catholic Church hasn't read their Bible in a while.

Thanks to Joe My God for the heads up.

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