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Many in the liberal community have problems with the biases of religious charity groups and the impact they have on the poor people they serve. The following article explains how the Catholic Archdiocese in Washington DC is threatening to end aid for the poor if same-sex marriage becomes law.

Catholic Church gives D.C. ultimatum

This is a problem not only here at home but overseas, where our stoneage views on contraception have created a world where the most common cause of death for women age 15-44 is AIDS.

Many who are familiar with Bush Sr.'s Population Control task force and his focus on population as the root of fighting poverty instead of women's rights or development (like the Clintons) believe that the religious right has always sought to decrease population by dragging their feet on fighting disease. Of course this hasn't worked. And from there you can draw your own conclusions, but I can't count the number of times I've heard religious Americans vehemently insist that wars, droughts, famine, and disease are God's way of decreasing the population and we shouldn't second guess them. Meanwhile of course, in the poorest areas of the world, disease and other hardships only lead to women having larger families in order to support their home.

But this article linked above illustrates clearly why America needs to radically reform the way we help the poor in this country and overseas. Most civilized nations pay a much larger percentage of their GDP to secular public charity programs, while we focus more on religious donations and religious charities. But we can no longer rely on these corrupt faith-based groups to carry the weight of our charity and social services programs. We can't permit blackmail and religious bias in our political system to hurt the poor.

President Obama should reject the threats of the Catholic Church and announce a new era of tax based secular charity and social service programs to begin replacing religious charity institutions wherever they aren't getting the job done or are impeding progress because of religious bias.

We should never ever ever have to read something like this again when the health and safety of our working poor and homeless population (which by all accounts is about 1/4 veterans) is on the line:

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.

Update [2009-11-12 14:2:12 by certainly]: And I might add that these new secular social services institutions will create JOBS JOBS JOBS and could be paid for with a JOBS BILL or the stimulus funds.

Originally posted to certainly on Thu Nov 12, 2009 at 10:36 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  They did in Massachusetts (20+ / 0-)

    The Bishop overruled Catholic Charities and closed down their adoption service so that they wouldn't have to serve those icky gays.

    They also closed down their healthcare insurance programs at their hospitals and started a new one based in Washington so that they could bypass the State anti-discrimination laws and refuse healthcare to gay employee families.

    Of course, they continue to have compassion for gay folk ;)

    I will start when I take office. America is ready to get rid of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. All that is required is leadership." - Obama

    by tiponeill on Thu Nov 12, 2009 at 10:42:06 AM PST

  •  Jumping Jesus Christ on a Pogo Stick! (12+ / 0-)

    Are they TRYING to become the new Westboro lunatic fringe?

    "We struck down evil with the mighty sword of teamwork and the hammer of not bickering!" - The Shoveler

    by Pandoras Box on Thu Nov 12, 2009 at 10:43:13 AM PST

    •  At least this is honest (4+ / 0-)

      In the past they have been less forthright and more clandestine about their anti-gay policies.  

      •  Being honest about being in the wrong (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        grada3784, Pandoras Box, EdSF, Munchkn

        is not only not a great thing -- it can be very bad.

        It means you've lost your sense of shame about your attitude. Like in racism -- it's better in the closet than out in the open. The former is a hope that it'll whither away.

        •  I dunno. I used to believe the opposite (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          grada3784, Munchkn

          but you may be right.

          I had always assumed bigotry would be more strongly condemned by our media/society in general.

          But it seems that the past year has taught us that Americans are no longer sensitive to these issues of bigotry and are much more willing than in the past few decades to give them a pass in the public arena.

          •  When people are willing to say it, (0+ / 0-)

            it becomes normalized. One thing is when no one has to say it -- because everyone assumes it. Then, you want to get it out in the open. But once it's no longer a safe assumption, you want folks to keep it in the closet, making it clear that even the folks who hold the rejected views are basically ashamed of that fact.

            We're talking about two different stages. Forty years ago, sexism or homophobia had to be talked about. But today? We're better off if the sexists and the 'phobes keep their damn traps shut.

        •  No, I'd say this is better in the long run. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          It makes it impossible for their enablers among us to pretend that the RCC is really okay at heart, that it's just a few thorny guys causing uncharacteristic trouble, and that it's okay to remain a part of this corrupt, vicious, hateful institution.

          It is like an alcoholic finally hitting bottom: that's when the crisis occurs, as Hippocrates used the term, the point at which the patient either begins to recover or begins to die.

          Either is acceptable in this case.

          neca politicos omnes; deus suos agnoscet.

          by khereva on Thu Nov 12, 2009 at 12:13:31 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  'Cept that when institutions go the "hit bottom" (0+ / 0-)

            route, what you're talking about is a revolution in the institution. Sometimes it's the only way -- but the historical record is that usually it goes badly. The institution would rather take the world down with them than change -- so usually the "being ashamed of oneself and incrementally changing" approach works better for everyone.

            When a drunk hits bottom, he makes life hell for his family, and they're always free to change their phone numbers, move and simply disappear. If the RCC hits bottom, well, how many Europeans died the last time they did that? I believe southern Germany was depopulated (as in more than 50% dead) during that little incident. They're not quite that capable today -- but I'd sure rather not see what they may do.

            •  They no longer control any (other) governments, (0+ / 0-)

              save our own, so there's not a lot they can do on that score.

              Most Europeans pay little attention to the RCC, so going all Inquisition/Crusade on Europe would hasten the RCC's demise, as they hemorrhage more and more adherents.

              And this tantrum in DC could cost them their American believers as well.

              As someone who regards the RCC as fundamentally heretical anyway, I have no problem with this.

              neca politicos omnes; deus suos agnoscet.

              by khereva on Thu Nov 12, 2009 at 01:16:38 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Why do you regard the Catholic Church.. (0+ / 0-)

       fundamentally heretical? Just curious.  

                •  My reasons: the papacy, as an institution, (0+ / 0-)

                  and the shift in the structure of the early church to a Rome-centered monarchy, to start, followed by the demand that all believers belong to the church of Rome exclusively (that cliche that "no one may have God for his Father who does not have The Church for his Mother").

                  neca politicos omnes; deus suos agnoscet.

                  by khereva on Thu Nov 12, 2009 at 01:22:42 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Ohh -- very US & Eurocentric of you. (0+ / 0-)

                I'd suggest you look around the world a bit. Chile and Argentina just got divorce. Neither has legal abortions. Ireland is only now synchronizing their laws with Europe (no abortion either, but plenty of child abuse until recently).

                Look at Rome's expansion in Africa. Remember the Philipines. Poland will be a while being integrated into secular Europe. Brazil has it's first non-Roman government in centuries (Lula actually commented on the case where the little girl was raped by her step-father -- and the church expelled the folks who procured for the girl an abortion).

                Checkout some of the less savory institutions of the church, like the Opus Dei folks and their interesting tendency to have the most whacko fascist elements of our own government in the club (remember the FBI sell-out last decade? Of course he was a good standing member of that particular club).

                The nasty side of Rome is still alive and can get its hands on ammunition. I'd rather that the gentle side of the church slowly disembowled those folk (maybe managing to win a papal election after 40 years!), than open war to be declared.

                The nasty fascist folks generally either win the fight -- or they bring everyone down with them. It's part of the philosophy.

                •  Rome's expansion in Africa is pretty thin, given (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  that they just held their "Anglicans and Episcopalians in Free" deal due to their dwindling numbers there, and it failed.

                  As you say, they've lost Brazil.

                  There may be fringe individual loonies at Rome's beck and call still, but the paperhanger's question is more trenchant than it ever was:

                  How many divisions does the Pope command?

                  The reason why Ratzinger might be familiar with that particular quote is left as an exercise to the reader.

                  neca politicos omnes; deus suos agnoscet.

                  by khereva on Thu Nov 12, 2009 at 08:23:56 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Funny. (0+ / 0-)

                    But there's more subtlety to the question than that!

                    Wojtyla managed to finesse the intelligence apparatus into his personal war with the Polish Communist government.

                    They may be "losing" Latin America -- but they still can cause a lot of damage as they go down. Two thousand years doesn't end in a bang -- at least I hope so.

                    •  The fascists came out in force before. (0+ / 0-)

                      We destroyed them.

                      If they wish to come out again, by all means let them try.

                      They will be destroyed again.

                      neca politicos omnes; deus suos agnoscet.

                      by khereva on Thu Nov 12, 2009 at 09:16:23 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  That's not how it works. (0+ / 0-)

                        We don't destroy fascists.

                        Fascists commit suicide. The ideology and policy works to win fights -- authoritarians win against anarchists/liberal/whatever. But they have a tendency to fall into civil war -- the ideology naturally leads to warfare between authoritarians, and their always develops multiple groups to do the fighting.

  •  that's it (12+ / 0-)

    You know, despite their obvious disdain for reasonable engagement on social policies, I had always maintained a modicum of respect for the Catholic Church.  They have historically been a driving force for charity and even if I completely disagree with them, I could at least hold on to this as proof that somewhere in them was a shred of decency.  

    That's gone. They have lost me.

    The game is deemed more above the law than the players. -8.25, -6.25

    by smellybeast on Thu Nov 12, 2009 at 10:43:34 AM PST

  •  No, religion is not a blight on humanity. (11+ / 0-)


    Picture a bright blue ball just spinnin' spinnin' free. It's dizzy with possibility.

    by lockewasright on Thu Nov 12, 2009 at 10:44:56 AM PST

    •  Ironically, just as I was posting this comment, (11+ / 0-)

      my born again, extremely preachy coworker came walking into the room to collect a sample for his project.  He laughed about how the whole thing was being paid for by D.C. as part of the stimulus package. (I don't know if that's true.)  I said: "Cool!  As long as it keeps you employed..." He scoffed and said: "Yeah, but it's on your back."  I replied: "I think it's ironic that, of the 2 of us, it's the atheist who doesn't mind chipping in to help his fellows."  He shook his head and rolled his eyes as he walked away.

      Picture a bright blue ball just spinnin' spinnin' free. It's dizzy with possibility.

      by lockewasright on Thu Nov 12, 2009 at 11:09:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It depends who you're talking about (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Munchkn, The YENTA Of The Opera

      My rabbi was invited to the White House during the Bush Administration and she put him on the spot. She asked Bush just why he'd authorized cuts to programs that help single mothers with job training. She is also a strong supporter of same sex marriage and abortion rights and was inspired to join the rabbinate to help people.

      •  Sure. Religious people can do their share of (0+ / 0-)

        mitzvahs (mitzvot?), but I think that we probably disagree on the ballance of the overall spreadsheet and whether the mitzvahs would have occurred on thier own motivated by intellect and empathy in the absence of dogma and supernatural belief systems.

        Either way, kudos to the rabbi.

        Picture a bright blue ball just spinnin' spinnin' free. It's dizzy with possibility.

        by lockewasright on Thu Nov 12, 2009 at 11:42:05 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, it wasn't fear.... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          ....of eternal damnation, we Reform Jews aren't big into that. No, she feels called by God to reach out to the least amongst us.

          And yes, the plural is mitzvot. Which does not translate into good deeds, but commandments.

          •  My grandfather was the president of our shul for (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            a while.  I had a bar mitzvah after attending hebrew school until I was 13.  Even though I reject the idea of a god, I always appreciated the jewish tradition that we (humans not just jews) should do what is right because it is right, not because of a threat of hell.  My grandpa was big on that.

            Still, I bet that your rabbi is simply an intelligent and caring person who could have realized that it was a good thing to care for her fellow humans all by herself simply by vertue of being smart and caring.  The "no hell" tradition practically admits it.

            Picture a bright blue ball just spinnin' spinnin' free. It's dizzy with possibility.

            by lockewasright on Thu Nov 12, 2009 at 12:13:44 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  This has already been diaried (4+ / 0-)

    But, again, I repeat, the Catholic Church has done no such thing. It will continue its programs through Catholic Charities, just not under the auspices of a contract with the city.

    Which is the best way - anytime you mix faith based charities with government agencies and $$, this is what you get. The faith based charity must abide by its charter, which is not the same as the government's.

    Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear. ~William E. Gladstone, 1866

    by absdoggy on Thu Nov 12, 2009 at 10:45:50 AM PST

    •  Maybe they will, if we're lucky (8+ / 0-)

      But then that illustrates the problem with relying on them to do our charity work.

      The fact is that we need to make religious charity totally redundant in this country. They've proven we can't rely on them to carry any of the burden on issues of poverty.

      If they want to go on helping the poor, great. They can go above and beyond the basic care we need to provide via secular public institutions.

      But every American should be taxed like they are in civilized countries in order to make sure the poor are receiving unbiased charity services and to make sure the churches aren't blackmailing our politicians to take Civil Rights away from gay people.

      If religious people can no longer afford to give to religious charities after they pay those taxes... tough.

    •  already diaried? (0+ / 0-)

      Link? or say more?

      Listen up, guys! It turns out that if we don't hurry up and change the world, later it's the world that changes us. --Mafalda

      by forester on Thu Nov 12, 2009 at 11:14:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm SO Confused (4+ / 0-)

      On one hand, you say the Catholic church

      will continue its programs through Catholic Charities, just not under the auspices of a contract with the city.

      On the other hand,

      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 ....

      How could the church OFFICIALLY adopt two inherently inimical positions? Does it have WARRING factions within it's own archdiocese? Is there a splinter group of radicals at the ready to provide services funded by parishioners? Services the archdiocese has already held as a threat over the head of Washington, D.C., should it do the immoral and unthinkable-namely allow same sex marriage?

      Now for some PUBLISHED facts. From the archdiocese website on this same sex bill:

      "Every year, Catholic Charities provides shelter, food, counseling, medical and legal assistance, and more to 68,000 people in the District of Columbia regardless of their faith," said Ed Orzechowski, president/CEO of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington. "If the Council passes this bill as written, these programs are at risk along with nearly 100 different parish social ministry programs, all of the other ministries operated by the Catholic Church and even meeting space for groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Scouts and neighborhood organizations who partner with churches."

      So. Bill passes and WHAT specific Catholic diocese organization is at risk? In their own words: "Catholic Charities."

      Finally, it is always aggravating to have to deal with religious hate groups standing their arguments upside down in order to "appear" consistent to their herds. The "legal" argument against gay marriage includes some of the typical christian conundrums as elucidated in the archdiocese's legal analysis:

      They note that religious organizations are at risk of lawsuits if, for example, they decline to offer their facilities to same sex couples or to limit married student housing to couples of the opposite sex.

      Other risks for religious organizations and individuals who cannot recognize same sex marriages for religious reasons but which serve the community include being denied access to government contracts or access to government facilities (such as leases), the revocation of licenses for doctors and social workers, the denial of child care licenses, lawsuits for not providing same-sex benefits to employees and the revocation of accreditation of religious colleges.

      Simply stated: if "gay marriage" is allowed, it will make it impossible for us to deny facilities or housing to gay couples, lease government facilities and discriminate against gays, affect the rights of doctors and social workers working in publicly funded facilities to refuse treatment for gays, use tax funds for child care facilities which discriminate against children of gay adults, open our organizations and businesses to lawsuits because we discriminate against gays or revoke accreditation of tax exempt "religious" colleges because we not only teach, but require tax funded students to study our message of hate.

      Who KNEW gay marriage in D.C. was so powerful, so connected with every other gay right? Well, obviously, the catholic church does. It's drawing it's line in the sand. Allow gay marriage? Why ... all other ways we've been able to use government funding and tax breaks to preach against, work against and deny services to, gays- will be threatened.

      In his letter to the faithful, Don Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, has these comforting and understanding words:

      For our parishioners who are homosexual, I recognize that the teaching on marriage established by our Lord may be difficult. Please know that you have my pastoral care and prayers, and the support of this local Church, as you live out your journey of faith and seek a closer relationship with Christ and the eternal life promised to us through him. It is my prayer that you continue to draw closer to the Lord through participation in the sacramental life of the Church.

      May all of us remember that the message of Christ is always one of hope, peace and love.

      I don't know how much more "love" I can take.

      I've said it before and I'll say it again: the catholic church is the largest or one of the largest hate groups in America today. This is just one of hundreds of targeted messages and threats made against gays.

      In a democracy dissent is an act of faith. Like medicine, the test of its value is not in its taste, but in its effects. J. William Fulbright

      by crescentdave on Thu Nov 12, 2009 at 11:44:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Programs are at risk, not Catholic Charities (0+ / 0-)

        Catholic Charities will continue to provide services through its own funding sources and its own programs.  The vast majority of those programs are not publically funded.

        It is the programs run through contracts with the local government that will be at risk. Which they should be - they should be ended, this is always the problems with faith based charities taking on government programs or government $$, there is an inherent conflict of interest between their mission and that of the government.

        Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear. ~William E. Gladstone, 1866

        by absdoggy on Thu Nov 12, 2009 at 01:10:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  when they do end aid, end their exemption (8+ / 0-)

    from ALL TAXES!  And that goes for any and all religious organizations/faiths/etc., that forces its beliefs into our political system.

    Never walk into a public restroom while breathing through your mouth.

    by quityurkidding on Thu Nov 12, 2009 at 10:56:07 AM PST

  •  Do they think there are a bunch (8+ / 0-)

    of hungry and homeless gay couples or something?

    Whoever made this decision is weird, stupid and spiteful.

    Strong Media, Strong Democracy - Corporate Media, Corporate Democracy

    by LibrErica on Thu Nov 12, 2009 at 10:56:44 AM PST

  •  Hmm .. a good diary from a person (7+ / 0-)

    who spent the entire day on the hidden comments list yesterday.  Interesting.

    What I would say is that there is in America an analog to jingoism which is unhealthy veneration of churches.

    Yes, some churches do charity work, when they're not politicking and interfering with society in ways that are on the face of it far beyond their mission parameters.

    Does or should this give them a pass?  I don't think so -- they're not taxed, after all, so you could say that some or much of the money that the churches spend in charity work comes indirectly from the American taxpayer in the first place.

    "When in doubt, be ruthless" - Ferengi saying (-6.62, -6.26)

    by AndyS In Colorado on Thu Nov 12, 2009 at 11:15:43 AM PST

  •  LUKE 10:25 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    grada3784, certainly

    The perfect pushback to religious conservatives.  READ THE BOOK

  •  "Decrease"population? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    grada3784, smellybeast, FrugalGranny

    "the religious right has always sought to decrease population by dragging their feet on fighting disease."

    I thought the religious right seeks to increase population by banning contraception and abortion. Capitalsim needs expanding markets, after all.

    Please justify your opinion with evidence.

    "Your loved ones endure through the life of our nation." - Barack Obama

    by Bob Love on Thu Nov 12, 2009 at 11:30:01 AM PST

    •  My opinion is that is how (0+ / 0-)

      they rationalize it to themselves.

      But you may very well be right. The  most cynical amongst them very likely know better and have other motives.

    •  My evidence was my reference to pappy Bush's (0+ / 0-)

      focus on population, the Christian Right's lack of interest in sincerely addressing disease in places like Africa, and the distinction the Clinton's draw by focusing on women's rights.

      If you look at what the Right believes, and how ineffectively it pretends to address it, well... like I said, you can draw your own conclusions.

  •  Further proof.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wayoutinthestix, certainly

    ....that more and more dioceses would rather be an arm of the Republican Party than to do the work Jesus would want them to do. I don't recall Jesus ever saying a damn thing about gay marriage or abortion, for that matter. He sure has a lot to say about helping the poor, though. But these assholes would rather hold their breath until they turn blue, so that we lavish them with attention (and money). I'm calling their bluff. Eat shit, assholes. Admit you're not Christian and just say you're a tool of the Republicans and at least you can be honest.

  •  Win! We get good law AND the church loses its (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KentuckyKat, cjinca, certainly

    claim to good works and a selling point to begin the brainwashing.  Yay!

    Picture a bright blue ball just spinnin' spinnin' free. It's dizzy with possibility.

    by lockewasright on Thu Nov 12, 2009 at 11:51:51 AM PST

  •  I guess that.... (0+ / 0-)

    "We are ALL Gods' children" no longer applies.Not to mention the blatant blackmail/extortion thing they got goin' on.I'm so glad that I left that stinking pile of hypocrisy behind more than 40 years ago.If there is a hell, they are gonna have to open up a whole new section up to accomodate these asses.

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