As LGBTQ Americans continue to fight for the same rights enjoyed by their cisgender, heterosexual neighbors, religious organizations continue to make terrible choices based on biases they pretend are biblical in nature. This week’s homophobic hallelujah hypocrisy takes us to lovely Buffalo, New York, where the local branch of Catholic Charities, faced with state laws barring discrimination based on sexual orientation, has decided to get out of the business of helping children in need of loving parents.
That’s right. Catholic Charities of Buffalo is getting out of the adoption game. Foster care, too. All because they don’t believe that gay people are good for kids.
"We're a Catholic organization, so we have to practice what we do consistent with the teaching of the church," Dennis C. Walczyk, the chief executive officer of Catholic Charities, told The News.
“It is with deep sadness we acknowledge that the legacy of the high quality, exceptional services which our staff provides to children and families through foster care and adoption will be lost," Walczyk said in a statement formally announcing the end of the services.
Walcyk’s right on one thing—the legacy of their great work has long been tainted. Chapters of Catholic Charities have been closing down their adoption and foster care programs left and right because of their blatant, and illegal, discrimination against couples who aren’t heterosexual.
In 2006, Catholic Charities of Boston was forced to shut down its adoption services because of a state law barring “sexual orientation discrimination.” That same year, Catholic Charities of San Francisco was forced to close for similar reasons.
In 2010, [...] the Washington, D.C. branch of Catholic Charities was forced to close its foster care and adoption services for holding the belief that children should be placed with a married mother and father.
In 2011, Catholic Charities affiliates in Illinois were forced to close after a new requirement stipulated that state money could only go to adoption services that offered those services to same-sex couples.
That’s right. For over a decade now, Catholic Charities across the country have been turning their back on children in need of forever (and temporary) homes, for no other reason beyond their inability to accept willing members of the LGBTQ community as candidates for the loving families that these kids—who have nobody—need so badly. Nothing is better than something, if that something isn’t straight, tends to be the rule.
What’s worse, they always justify it with their faith, as though their hands are tied, and church leaders are utterly helpless in the matter.
"The Catholic Church holds that the only marriage is between a man and a woman," said Sister Mary McCarrick, Catholic Charities diocesan director.
"That’s commonly known," she said. "So it is important and to the advantage of a child to be placed in a home with a husband and wife family, a man and a woman, so that the child can experience both a father and a mother, and their love," McCarrick said.
Adoption was one of the original cornerstones of Catholic Charities when it was founded in the early 20th century, and the charitable arm of the church is big business, employing tens of thousands, and doling out billions to millions in need. But, as The Economist reported in 2010, over 60% of those billions is provided by local, state, and federal government. Now that it’s (finally) illegal to discriminate against the LGBTQ community, that revenue source is in peril.
One would think that the Church might concede that it shouldn’t be in the business of helping vulnerable children anyway, in the face of never-ending abuse scandals, including the most recent revelations coming out of Pennsylvania. But though they’re quick to blame homosexuality for the corruption and coverup of abuses by clergy, the Church isn’t even citing their own corruption—or widespread pedophilia among its ranks—to justify getting out of the adoption and foster care game, of course. Instead, they’re cloaking their bigotry in biblical righteousness, and playing the religious persecution card to make the Church the homophobic victim in all of this.
Meanwhile, back in New York, Children and Family Services spokeswoman Monica Mahaffey stands by the state’s choice to block discrimination from private organizations on the public dole.
"In New York State, we welcome all families who are ready to provide loving and nurturing homes to foster or adoptive children. There is no place for providers that choose not to follow the law.”
Amen to that.