How Catholic Charities is dealing with gay marriage

On Wednesday, gay marriage will be legal in Washington, D.C.   To avoid having to pay benefits to employees who enter into gay marriages, Catholic Charities will halt health benefits for ALL spouses of new hires.

One day before same-sex marriage becomes legal in the District, Catholic Charities will modify its health coverage for employees so that all spouses of newlyweds and new hires will not be covered.

A memo notified staff members Monday of the imminent change.

Spouses of current employes will continue to have health coverage, the memo said. But by making the policy effective Tuesday, the charity will not have to extend benefits to anyone who legally weds one of its gay employees.

Wednesday is the first day when same-sex couples can take out marriage licenses in the city.

via Catholic Charities to drop health coverage of spouses of newlyweds, new hires – washingtonpost.com.

Is this right? In jurisdictions with gay marriage, given also anti-discrimination laws, what other challenges might churches face, and how should they deal with them?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    Well, I think this choice is unfortunate, but if this is what it takes to keep conscience of faith, then I support the decision. However, I have to ask, what is wrong about doing the greatest good to the greatest number of people? I can’t see logically how granting partner benefits amounts to an affirmation of gay marriage. It was the government who made that choice, not Catholic Charities. Of course, this is their choice, and I respect their appeal to conscience, but I wonder if perhaps this has been thought through completely.

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    Well, I think this choice is unfortunate, but if this is what it takes to keep conscience of faith, then I support the decision. However, I have to ask, what is wrong about doing the greatest good to the greatest number of people? I can’t see logically how granting partner benefits amounts to an affirmation of gay marriage. It was the government who made that choice, not Catholic Charities. Of course, this is their choice, and I respect their appeal to conscience, but I wonder if perhaps this has been thought through completely.

  • J

    What would the Mo. Synod do in this circumstance?

  • J

    What would the Mo. Synod do in this circumstance?

  • http://wnstn.com winston

    I question how this fits in with obeying the authorities which God has placed above us along with the command to love each other. I agree with John above, this doesn’t seem to affirm gay marriage just to provide benefits to a legal marriage – even if it is not marriage in the church’s eyes.

    I am in what I guess is called Gen Y and apparently we are more lax on homosexual marriage, but to me it ultimately comes down to the fact that there seem to be two types of marriage that happen today and we can’t decipher between them: 1) marriage the classic institution ordained by God and participated in by believers who recognize the sacrificial aspects of it, and 2) marriage the Governmental tax status that represents a decision between two people to join together out of love, but which status can be changed at any time.

    As long as we confuse Legal Marriage with Institutional Marriage we will keep drawing these lines that confuse gay people – who hear us claim to love all people but deny them what they think is their right.

    The problem of course is that the confusion is not limited to Christians, but it endemic to most of America, and to legalize gay marriage will inevitably lead to an expectation that the church must respect the marriage as well; and that’s where we get into problems of anti-discriminatory laws and our Christian conscience.

    But I really can’t understand why revoking benefits to spouses (to not break the anti-discrimination law) so that benefits don’t have to be provided to homosexual spouses (effectively breaking the spirit of the gay marriage law) in any way helps the show love or walk in the light.

    That said, I have a very open mind, and I would love to be persuaded otherwise, because my position is contentious with the generation before me, and that includes a lot of people I respect and revere.

  • http://wnstn.com winston

    I question how this fits in with obeying the authorities which God has placed above us along with the command to love each other. I agree with John above, this doesn’t seem to affirm gay marriage just to provide benefits to a legal marriage – even if it is not marriage in the church’s eyes.

    I am in what I guess is called Gen Y and apparently we are more lax on homosexual marriage, but to me it ultimately comes down to the fact that there seem to be two types of marriage that happen today and we can’t decipher between them: 1) marriage the classic institution ordained by God and participated in by believers who recognize the sacrificial aspects of it, and 2) marriage the Governmental tax status that represents a decision between two people to join together out of love, but which status can be changed at any time.

    As long as we confuse Legal Marriage with Institutional Marriage we will keep drawing these lines that confuse gay people – who hear us claim to love all people but deny them what they think is their right.

    The problem of course is that the confusion is not limited to Christians, but it endemic to most of America, and to legalize gay marriage will inevitably lead to an expectation that the church must respect the marriage as well; and that’s where we get into problems of anti-discriminatory laws and our Christian conscience.

    But I really can’t understand why revoking benefits to spouses (to not break the anti-discrimination law) so that benefits don’t have to be provided to homosexual spouses (effectively breaking the spirit of the gay marriage law) in any way helps the show love or walk in the light.

    That said, I have a very open mind, and I would love to be persuaded otherwise, because my position is contentious with the generation before me, and that includes a lot of people I respect and revere.

  • http://wipfandstock.com/store/As_Though_It_Were_Actually_True_A_Christian_Apologetics_Primer Matt C.

    John @ 1 wrote:

    I can’t see logically how granting partner benefits amounts to an affirmation of gay marriage.

    It’s an affirmation because they would be acting as though the gay couples are actually married. Generally when somebody says one thing but acts in the opposite way, we let their actions determine our opinions of what they really believe. For a time there would be a sense of “under protest” to their actions, but 5-10 years down the line, that sense would be lost and their position would be undermined by their own behavior. Given enough time, if a person does not let his beliefs flow into his actions, those beliefs are inevitably set aside. That’s just how human beings work. I’m sure the more intelligent homosexual activists realize this.

    I’m not sure they picked the best solution to the problem (I’m inclined to think civil disobedience would have been the better option), but they were right not to knuckle under.

  • http://wipfandstock.com/store/As_Though_It_Were_Actually_True_A_Christian_Apologetics_Primer Matt C.

    John @ 1 wrote:

    I can’t see logically how granting partner benefits amounts to an affirmation of gay marriage.

    It’s an affirmation because they would be acting as though the gay couples are actually married. Generally when somebody says one thing but acts in the opposite way, we let their actions determine our opinions of what they really believe. For a time there would be a sense of “under protest” to their actions, but 5-10 years down the line, that sense would be lost and their position would be undermined by their own behavior. Given enough time, if a person does not let his beliefs flow into his actions, those beliefs are inevitably set aside. That’s just how human beings work. I’m sure the more intelligent homosexual activists realize this.

    I’m not sure they picked the best solution to the problem (I’m inclined to think civil disobedience would have been the better option), but they were right not to knuckle under.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Winston,
    I’m with you here. This isn’t exactly showing love. This is being discriminatory in a realm of life the scriptures do not tell us to be discriminatory in.
    I don’t think anyone would find that the catholic church is supporting or encouraging “gay marriage” by extending these benefits to those married to the homosexuals already in their employ or in the future. I also wonder what it is going to do for the couples who come into their employ when it comes to the wife of a worker staying at home and doing all those other good things the Catholic church encourages and then has to go to the hospital to have a c-section. I think if I was a catholic man, I might go find another charity to work for.
    I don’t thing homosexual activity is healthy for an individual to engage in, I do believe it is a sin. I would not commune a gay couple in my congregation. But I don’t know that I would exclude health care benefits to spouses to avoid providing it for a couple homosexual men or women in a relationship with those married to me.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Winston,
    I’m with you here. This isn’t exactly showing love. This is being discriminatory in a realm of life the scriptures do not tell us to be discriminatory in.
    I don’t think anyone would find that the catholic church is supporting or encouraging “gay marriage” by extending these benefits to those married to the homosexuals already in their employ or in the future. I also wonder what it is going to do for the couples who come into their employ when it comes to the wife of a worker staying at home and doing all those other good things the Catholic church encourages and then has to go to the hospital to have a c-section. I think if I was a catholic man, I might go find another charity to work for.
    I don’t thing homosexual activity is healthy for an individual to engage in, I do believe it is a sin. I would not commune a gay couple in my congregation. But I don’t know that I would exclude health care benefits to spouses to avoid providing it for a couple homosexual men or women in a relationship with those married to me.

  • http://wipfandstock.com/store/As_Though_It_Were_Actually_True_A_Christian_Apologetics_Primer Matt C.

    Winston @ 3,

    I’m also a member of your generation who was eventually persuaded. Firstly, one of the most prominent oversights our peers make is to mistake love for some variation on “niceness.” We read “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” as if it said “Do unto others as they would have you do unto them.” The “you” in the original text was not meant to be a subjective set of anonymous preferences, but a human being who understands right and wrong. Genuine love is a commitment to the true good of another person. It is therefore not purely subjective or without content–it hinges on rightly understanding objective good.

    Secondly, legal and institutional marriage may be distinct, but they are not independent of each other (if they were, it would be impossible for a reasonable person to confuse them). The legal ought to reflect the institutional even if it can never do so perfectly. Radically redefining one will necessarily obscure the other.

    With these two understandings, it begins to become clear that enabling and assisting our homosexual brothers and sisters in an erroneous belief is not a loving act. Good cannot be separated from truth.

  • http://wipfandstock.com/store/As_Though_It_Were_Actually_True_A_Christian_Apologetics_Primer Matt C.

    Winston @ 3,

    I’m also a member of your generation who was eventually persuaded. Firstly, one of the most prominent oversights our peers make is to mistake love for some variation on “niceness.” We read “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” as if it said “Do unto others as they would have you do unto them.” The “you” in the original text was not meant to be a subjective set of anonymous preferences, but a human being who understands right and wrong. Genuine love is a commitment to the true good of another person. It is therefore not purely subjective or without content–it hinges on rightly understanding objective good.

    Secondly, legal and institutional marriage may be distinct, but they are not independent of each other (if they were, it would be impossible for a reasonable person to confuse them). The legal ought to reflect the institutional even if it can never do so perfectly. Radically redefining one will necessarily obscure the other.

    With these two understandings, it begins to become clear that enabling and assisting our homosexual brothers and sisters in an erroneous belief is not a loving act. Good cannot be separated from truth.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    So did anyone else notice that this action already shows an inconsistency on the part of Catholic Charities? The article notes that it “will not have to extend benefits to anyone who legally weds one of its gay employees.” So, um, Catholic Charities has no problems hiring gay people already? It has no problem paying them and giving them benefits? Oh, but when they want to marry, well, they can, but their partner won’t be covered.

    What is the message here? Is it assumed that any gay person they hire is celibate until they get married, so sanctioning gay marriage (as it were) is sanctioning homosexual activity? Clearly, there’s no stand against homosexuality as an orientation (even though I believe Catholicism has something to say about that), because, again, they’re hiring gay people. Doesn’t this seem to say to gay people, “Engage in whatever activity you will, just, whatever you do, don’t get married”?

    And if denying gay spouses benefits is a way of saying “We don’t approve of your marriage”, then what does it say when they deny straight spouses benefits? And why would anyone want to get a job now at Catholic Charities?

    I understand the tricky situation this puts them in, but I can’t see that they’re achieving the most overall good for their employees.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    So did anyone else notice that this action already shows an inconsistency on the part of Catholic Charities? The article notes that it “will not have to extend benefits to anyone who legally weds one of its gay employees.” So, um, Catholic Charities has no problems hiring gay people already? It has no problem paying them and giving them benefits? Oh, but when they want to marry, well, they can, but their partner won’t be covered.

    What is the message here? Is it assumed that any gay person they hire is celibate until they get married, so sanctioning gay marriage (as it were) is sanctioning homosexual activity? Clearly, there’s no stand against homosexuality as an orientation (even though I believe Catholicism has something to say about that), because, again, they’re hiring gay people. Doesn’t this seem to say to gay people, “Engage in whatever activity you will, just, whatever you do, don’t get married”?

    And if denying gay spouses benefits is a way of saying “We don’t approve of your marriage”, then what does it say when they deny straight spouses benefits? And why would anyone want to get a job now at Catholic Charities?

    I understand the tricky situation this puts them in, but I can’t see that they’re achieving the most overall good for their employees.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Also, Bror, when you said (@5), “I would not commune a gay couple in my congregation,” I’m curious: did you mean a sexually active gay couple?

    Because, of course, I could see you doing that to any unrepentant couple having sex outside of (God’s definition of) marriage, straight or gay. But if you would commune a celibate straight couple, my question is whether you’d commune a celibate straight couple or not. Just wondering.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Also, Bror, when you said (@5), “I would not commune a gay couple in my congregation,” I’m curious: did you mean a sexually active gay couple?

    Because, of course, I could see you doing that to any unrepentant couple having sex outside of (God’s definition of) marriage, straight or gay. But if you would commune a celibate straight couple, my question is whether you’d commune a celibate straight couple or not. Just wondering.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    That last line in my post (@8) should, of course, read, “my question is whether you’d commune a celibate gay couple or not.”

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    That last line in my post (@8) should, of course, read, “my question is whether you’d commune a celibate gay couple or not.”

  • http://wnstn.com winston

    @Matt C – I disagree with your definition of love. While love is much greater than mere “niceness,” it is by nature practical as well as spiritual, which means a commitment to the “true good” of another person means caring for their physical needs as well as their spiritual needs. In fact, Christ tells us that each glass of water and piece of bread we offer to someone in need is one we offer to him, and further more he commends us by example many times to care for physical needs first before attending to spiritual needs. Love is not a one-sided gesture, it is not just us saying “this is what is good for you, now take it!” It is also seeking to find out what others need on a practical level and attempting to provide it to them. Health insurance and benefits are, in the modern world, a practical need.

    Furthermore, as @tODD points out, the charity is forbidden by law to discriminate against hiring gay people, so why would they then seek to find a loophole around the legal requirement to provide benefits? How does acquiescing to non-discriminatory laws about hiring NOT betray their conscience, but providing benefits to employee’s spouses does betray their conscience? That’s rather arbitrary.

    And all of this is not to mention that the people most harmed by this “decision” of conscience are the “traditional” spouses who can’t obtain benefits now, which someone else already mentioned.

    As for the legal/institutional marriage issue – I disagree. In an idealized Christian country, maybe the legal would reflect the institution – but we don’t live in that country, and thus we cannot expect our laws to reflect our beliefs, especially about things that are innately spiritual, such as the sacrament of marriage. The minute we are willing to link the legal and institutional definitions, we begin to risk the watering down of the institutional, which is what everyone is afraid of.

  • http://wnstn.com winston

    @Matt C – I disagree with your definition of love. While love is much greater than mere “niceness,” it is by nature practical as well as spiritual, which means a commitment to the “true good” of another person means caring for their physical needs as well as their spiritual needs. In fact, Christ tells us that each glass of water and piece of bread we offer to someone in need is one we offer to him, and further more he commends us by example many times to care for physical needs first before attending to spiritual needs. Love is not a one-sided gesture, it is not just us saying “this is what is good for you, now take it!” It is also seeking to find out what others need on a practical level and attempting to provide it to them. Health insurance and benefits are, in the modern world, a practical need.

    Furthermore, as @tODD points out, the charity is forbidden by law to discriminate against hiring gay people, so why would they then seek to find a loophole around the legal requirement to provide benefits? How does acquiescing to non-discriminatory laws about hiring NOT betray their conscience, but providing benefits to employee’s spouses does betray their conscience? That’s rather arbitrary.

    And all of this is not to mention that the people most harmed by this “decision” of conscience are the “traditional” spouses who can’t obtain benefits now, which someone else already mentioned.

    As for the legal/institutional marriage issue – I disagree. In an idealized Christian country, maybe the legal would reflect the institution – but we don’t live in that country, and thus we cannot expect our laws to reflect our beliefs, especially about things that are innately spiritual, such as the sacrament of marriage. The minute we are willing to link the legal and institutional definitions, we begin to risk the watering down of the institutional, which is what everyone is afraid of.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    tODD,
    I imagine that a “gay couple” would not identify themselves as such if they were not sexually active. If it just happens to be two guys or women with the same sexual orientation that are friends and supporting each other in fight against temptation to sin, well then I would support them also.
    Now the celibate straight couple might have something else to answer for… not sure that is so much condoned in the Bible except perhaps for a time of prayer. Or do you mean an unmarried couple living with each other? In that case, no I don’t commune them. Though if they set a date to be married I might make an exception.
    But thanks for pinning me down to an explanation of what I said.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    tODD,
    I imagine that a “gay couple” would not identify themselves as such if they were not sexually active. If it just happens to be two guys or women with the same sexual orientation that are friends and supporting each other in fight against temptation to sin, well then I would support them also.
    Now the celibate straight couple might have something else to answer for… not sure that is so much condoned in the Bible except perhaps for a time of prayer. Or do you mean an unmarried couple living with each other? In that case, no I don’t commune them. Though if they set a date to be married I might make an exception.
    But thanks for pinning me down to an explanation of what I said.

  • J

    tODD, Catholic Charities (CC) is prevented by law from refusing to hire someone solely because he is gay. Moreover, CC cannot legally adjust an employee’s pay or benefits because he is gay. Thus, to avoid hiring gay people, CC would have to avoid hiring anyone.
    The principle applies to spousal benefits. To avoid paying such benefits to a gay couple, CC must avoid paying them to any new married hire. Such a decision may well make it difficult for CC to attract new employees. We live in country where jobs are the chief means of obtaining such benefits as health insurance.

    It’s interesting that on this Lutheran blog, no one yet has opined whether the LCMS or WELS should follow CC’s lead here. Or is “Lutheran Charities” a contradiction in terms?

  • J

    tODD, Catholic Charities (CC) is prevented by law from refusing to hire someone solely because he is gay. Moreover, CC cannot legally adjust an employee’s pay or benefits because he is gay. Thus, to avoid hiring gay people, CC would have to avoid hiring anyone.
    The principle applies to spousal benefits. To avoid paying such benefits to a gay couple, CC must avoid paying them to any new married hire. Such a decision may well make it difficult for CC to attract new employees. We live in country where jobs are the chief means of obtaining such benefits as health insurance.

    It’s interesting that on this Lutheran blog, no one yet has opined whether the LCMS or WELS should follow CC’s lead here. Or is “Lutheran Charities” a contradiction in terms?

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    J,
    I think that based on the fact Lutherans seem to be more or less critical of this decision, the Lutherans have at least tacitly suggested that no, Lutheran World Relief, and LCMS World Relief and Human Care, as well as other charitable organizations which we have and operate should not follow this lead. And definitely should not make a media spectacle of themselves over this. But then Lutherans historically realize the futility of “culture wars” and concentrate more on bringing the gospel to society and individuals a like. Something we typically don’t confuse with legislation one way or another.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    J,
    I think that based on the fact Lutherans seem to be more or less critical of this decision, the Lutherans have at least tacitly suggested that no, Lutheran World Relief, and LCMS World Relief and Human Care, as well as other charitable organizations which we have and operate should not follow this lead. And definitely should not make a media spectacle of themselves over this. But then Lutherans historically realize the futility of “culture wars” and concentrate more on bringing the gospel to society and individuals a like. Something we typically don’t confuse with legislation one way or another.

  • Joe

    tODD – Its not inconsistent. The Catholic’s have taken the maximum actions to limit their support of homosexual activity without violating the law. It would only be inconsistent if the hiring laws did not include anti-discrimination provision that include gay folks.

    J – As for what Lutherans should do, I don’t know because I have not figured out if what the Catholics are doing is right. Sometimes the lack of an immediate response is a sign of serious thinking on the issue. There are many things at play that need to be considered in making such a decision. Its not an easy call.

  • Joe

    tODD – Its not inconsistent. The Catholic’s have taken the maximum actions to limit their support of homosexual activity without violating the law. It would only be inconsistent if the hiring laws did not include anti-discrimination provision that include gay folks.

    J – As for what Lutherans should do, I don’t know because I have not figured out if what the Catholics are doing is right. Sometimes the lack of an immediate response is a sign of serious thinking on the issue. There are many things at play that need to be considered in making such a decision. Its not an easy call.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    J (@12), I’m not a lawyer, and I don’t know all that much about the D.C. Human Rights Act, but I have reason to believe that your statement that “Catholic Charities is prevented by law from refusing to hire someone solely because he is gay” is incorrect. But someone who knows more than I do will be able to judge better what the law says (notably, in the section labeled “Exceptions”).

    And I believe Bror answered (@13) your question about what Lutherans should do. At least, I also agree with his answer.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    J (@12), I’m not a lawyer, and I don’t know all that much about the D.C. Human Rights Act, but I have reason to believe that your statement that “Catholic Charities is prevented by law from refusing to hire someone solely because he is gay” is incorrect. But someone who knows more than I do will be able to judge better what the law says (notably, in the section labeled “Exceptions”).

    And I believe Bror answered (@13) your question about what Lutherans should do. At least, I also agree with his answer.

  • DonS

    I believe that Catholic Charities is bound by D.C.’s anti-discrimination employment laws because they have city contracts. Churches, denominations, and religious charities that refuse public funding should be exempt from these laws.

    I agree with those above who think this is a silly place to draw the line. If you’ve already got gay folks on your payroll, who have the intent to marry, it’s not the fact that they actually marry that should bother you. Rather, it’s the fact that they, in their blatant sin, are on your payroll and representing your ministry.

    This is why faith-based organizations which actually care about their ministry should never, ever, accept public funding.

  • DonS

    I believe that Catholic Charities is bound by D.C.’s anti-discrimination employment laws because they have city contracts. Churches, denominations, and religious charities that refuse public funding should be exempt from these laws.

    I agree with those above who think this is a silly place to draw the line. If you’ve already got gay folks on your payroll, who have the intent to marry, it’s not the fact that they actually marry that should bother you. Rather, it’s the fact that they, in their blatant sin, are on your payroll and representing your ministry.

    This is why faith-based organizations which actually care about their ministry should never, ever, accept public funding.

  • fws

    winston @10. the biblical definition of earthly visible bodily love is actions that make the creaturely lives of others better.

    Up to now Catholic Charities has not been denying benefits to remarried divorced persons. so there is an inconsistency there isn´t there?

    secondly, for me to hire or deal with someone in an earthly way is not to condone what they do or think. in that case we must all join monasteries and have an extremely short list of products we buy after making sure the money those products earn don´t support causes we oppose (eg marriott hotels and the mormons…).

    thirdly, giving someone medical benefits or a loaf of bread is love.

    maybe this is just an excuse to save some $? moral stands are about self discipline. they are not about disciplining others.

  • fws

    winston @10. the biblical definition of earthly visible bodily love is actions that make the creaturely lives of others better.

    Up to now Catholic Charities has not been denying benefits to remarried divorced persons. so there is an inconsistency there isn´t there?

    secondly, for me to hire or deal with someone in an earthly way is not to condone what they do or think. in that case we must all join monasteries and have an extremely short list of products we buy after making sure the money those products earn don´t support causes we oppose (eg marriott hotels and the mormons…).

    thirdly, giving someone medical benefits or a loaf of bread is love.

    maybe this is just an excuse to save some $? moral stands are about self discipline. they are not about disciplining others.

  • http://wipfandstock.com/store/As_Though_It_Were_Actually_True_A_Christian_Apologetics_Primer Matt C.

    Winston @ 10 wrote:

    While love is much greater than mere “niceness,” it is by nature practical as well as spiritual, which means a commitment to the “true good” of another person means caring for their physical needs as well as their spiritual needs.

    It does no good to care for a person’s bodily needs and then damage him with falsehoods. You can’t justify the latter by means of the former. I’m not convinced the charities chose the best action either, and I’ve no intention of debating whether they have a God-given responsibility to indiscriminately provide health-care for all their employees, all their families, all their lovers, all their friends, or the entire world on the basis of practical need. My point is about the inappropriateness of acquiescing to demands to treat non-married people as married people.

    You also wrote:

    In an idealized Christian country, maybe the legal would reflect the institution – but we don’t live in that country, and thus we cannot expect our laws to reflect our beliefs, especially about things that are innately spiritual, such as the sacrament of marriage. The minute we are willing to link the legal and institutional definitions, we begin to risk the watering down of the institutional, which is what everyone is afraid of.

    We cannot expect our laws to reflect our beliefs? Do you mean specifically religious beliefs? If so, I don’t see what that has to do with marriage. It would be more than a little odd that all those non-Christian cultures over the centuries managed to recognize marriage if it were really a purely Christian innately spiritual sacrament. If, on the other hand, you mean beliefs about morality in general, then you’re being self-contradictory. If you believe that laws ought not address certain things, then you clearly want your beliefs about how things ought to be reflected by the law.

    Marriage is a moral category written on the hearts of all mankind; it’s not a specifically Christian institution. Law cannot help but be connected to moral categories even if it cannot and should not be identical with them.

  • http://wipfandstock.com/store/As_Though_It_Were_Actually_True_A_Christian_Apologetics_Primer Matt C.

    Winston @ 10 wrote:

    While love is much greater than mere “niceness,” it is by nature practical as well as spiritual, which means a commitment to the “true good” of another person means caring for their physical needs as well as their spiritual needs.

    It does no good to care for a person’s bodily needs and then damage him with falsehoods. You can’t justify the latter by means of the former. I’m not convinced the charities chose the best action either, and I’ve no intention of debating whether they have a God-given responsibility to indiscriminately provide health-care for all their employees, all their families, all their lovers, all their friends, or the entire world on the basis of practical need. My point is about the inappropriateness of acquiescing to demands to treat non-married people as married people.

    You also wrote:

    In an idealized Christian country, maybe the legal would reflect the institution – but we don’t live in that country, and thus we cannot expect our laws to reflect our beliefs, especially about things that are innately spiritual, such as the sacrament of marriage. The minute we are willing to link the legal and institutional definitions, we begin to risk the watering down of the institutional, which is what everyone is afraid of.

    We cannot expect our laws to reflect our beliefs? Do you mean specifically religious beliefs? If so, I don’t see what that has to do with marriage. It would be more than a little odd that all those non-Christian cultures over the centuries managed to recognize marriage if it were really a purely Christian innately spiritual sacrament. If, on the other hand, you mean beliefs about morality in general, then you’re being self-contradictory. If you believe that laws ought not address certain things, then you clearly want your beliefs about how things ought to be reflected by the law.

    Marriage is a moral category written on the hearts of all mankind; it’s not a specifically Christian institution. Law cannot help but be connected to moral categories even if it cannot and should not be identical with them.

  • Peter Leavitt

    In Boston the Catholic Charities ended an excellent adoption program due to a Massachusetts regulation that forced them to allow gay couples to adopt children.

    The Catholic Church, while compassionate with those afflicted by homosexual orientation, regards homosexuality as a disorder of nature that if acted upon is a grave sin. For it to provide employee benefits to supposedly married homosexuals would simply be a travesty given their catechetical position.

    Should the militant gays continue to advance their agenda, every orthodox Christian denomination will be faced with similar hard choices. None of them are an island.

  • Peter Leavitt

    In Boston the Catholic Charities ended an excellent adoption program due to a Massachusetts regulation that forced them to allow gay couples to adopt children.

    The Catholic Church, while compassionate with those afflicted by homosexual orientation, regards homosexuality as a disorder of nature that if acted upon is a grave sin. For it to provide employee benefits to supposedly married homosexuals would simply be a travesty given their catechetical position.

    Should the militant gays continue to advance their agenda, every orthodox Christian denomination will be faced with similar hard choices. None of them are an island.

  • fws

    matt @ 18

    “It does no good to care for a person’s bodily needs and then damage him with falsehoods”

    allowing liberty to people to make their own moral choices regarding their own lives and those of consenting other adults is not the same as “damaging him with falsehoods”.

    I would include in this category divorce, allowing people to shack up, probably polygamy, regulated drugs such as alcohol, prostitution and similar things.

    none of these things are moral. people will still find a way to do them. better to wrap them in regulation by legalizing them to avoid the collateral damage these things cause. ditto gays who are trying to follow the law written in their hearts and at least gain some control over their libidos through the discipline of monogamy. again not moral, not the best solution.

    civic law matt is about damage control and minimization. it is about people respecting the difference between mine and thine. This is the sum total of the purpose of the second table of the moral law god has written in the hearts of men.

    laws really are just not effective ,even when it is the law trying to reach across that fence and control what they do within their own lives. those kinds of laws always have lots of unintended consequences (eg prohibition and the creation of the mafia. the prohibition on drugs is even worse that way. and yes I thing drug use is a horrible thing).

    now if we had a law that required people to enter into a gay marriage then that would be what you are saying.

  • fws

    matt @ 18

    “It does no good to care for a person’s bodily needs and then damage him with falsehoods”

    allowing liberty to people to make their own moral choices regarding their own lives and those of consenting other adults is not the same as “damaging him with falsehoods”.

    I would include in this category divorce, allowing people to shack up, probably polygamy, regulated drugs such as alcohol, prostitution and similar things.

    none of these things are moral. people will still find a way to do them. better to wrap them in regulation by legalizing them to avoid the collateral damage these things cause. ditto gays who are trying to follow the law written in their hearts and at least gain some control over their libidos through the discipline of monogamy. again not moral, not the best solution.

    civic law matt is about damage control and minimization. it is about people respecting the difference between mine and thine. This is the sum total of the purpose of the second table of the moral law god has written in the hearts of men.

    laws really are just not effective ,even when it is the law trying to reach across that fence and control what they do within their own lives. those kinds of laws always have lots of unintended consequences (eg prohibition and the creation of the mafia. the prohibition on drugs is even worse that way. and yes I thing drug use is a horrible thing).

    now if we had a law that required people to enter into a gay marriage then that would be what you are saying.

  • fws

    matt c

    gays (as all humans) will do something with the bodies they have. They wont sit and wait for instructions. this something will look like what every other human does. it will include sex. it wont really look, intrinsically, any more or less hedonistic than what heterosexuals do. (eg playboy and hustler magazine). The church should urge it´s gay members to follow scripture.

    I am thinking that maybe the larger society should be content to channel behaviors rather than think that they will prevent them with a law.

    gay monogamy is not a great option, but men and women will have sex. and those programs that make gays straight dont have a good track record. facts. that being a given, what form of this activity should the government steer men towards? telling gays they cannot legally enter monogamous relationships does not tell them they cannot have sex. it just signals to them that society would rather they have furtive promiscuous sex that is under the radar in a way that looks at least like shame, rather than do something like be in everyone´s face with marriage, which of necessity is a social, and so visible thing.

    christians would rather have gays manifest shame and be promiscuous rather than manifest no shame and be monogamous. yeah yeah. I know they don´t want either. but sex is like the law of gravity for those who dont have the gift of celebacy. to think “just say no” looks like love in this situation seems like a stretch.

  • fws

    matt c

    gays (as all humans) will do something with the bodies they have. They wont sit and wait for instructions. this something will look like what every other human does. it will include sex. it wont really look, intrinsically, any more or less hedonistic than what heterosexuals do. (eg playboy and hustler magazine). The church should urge it´s gay members to follow scripture.

    I am thinking that maybe the larger society should be content to channel behaviors rather than think that they will prevent them with a law.

    gay monogamy is not a great option, but men and women will have sex. and those programs that make gays straight dont have a good track record. facts. that being a given, what form of this activity should the government steer men towards? telling gays they cannot legally enter monogamous relationships does not tell them they cannot have sex. it just signals to them that society would rather they have furtive promiscuous sex that is under the radar in a way that looks at least like shame, rather than do something like be in everyone´s face with marriage, which of necessity is a social, and so visible thing.

    christians would rather have gays manifest shame and be promiscuous rather than manifest no shame and be monogamous. yeah yeah. I know they don´t want either. but sex is like the law of gravity for those who dont have the gift of celebacy. to think “just say no” looks like love in this situation seems like a stretch.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Peter, your sentence (@19) about the “Massachusetts regulation” ignores the fact that they were only “forced … to allow gay couples to adopt children” because of the contracts they had with the state. Catholic Charities could have chosen not to work with gay adoptees, but they would have had to disentangle themselves from public money. So it is here (assuming Don @16 is right). By accepting government funds, religious organizations accept the moral judgment that comes from democracy.

    “For it to provide employee benefits to supposedly married homosexuals would simply be a travesty given their catechetical position.” Um, you seem to have missed the part where they were already employing, and providing benefits to, homosexuals — homosexuals who apparently were inclined to marry when that option became legal. So their “catechetical position” was already being violated.

    I’m far less worried about the “gay agenda” than I am about Christians taking money from the government — with all the moral compromises and ethical quandaries that inevitably leads to — to do their work.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Peter, your sentence (@19) about the “Massachusetts regulation” ignores the fact that they were only “forced … to allow gay couples to adopt children” because of the contracts they had with the state. Catholic Charities could have chosen not to work with gay adoptees, but they would have had to disentangle themselves from public money. So it is here (assuming Don @16 is right). By accepting government funds, religious organizations accept the moral judgment that comes from democracy.

    “For it to provide employee benefits to supposedly married homosexuals would simply be a travesty given their catechetical position.” Um, you seem to have missed the part where they were already employing, and providing benefits to, homosexuals — homosexuals who apparently were inclined to marry when that option became legal. So their “catechetical position” was already being violated.

    I’m far less worried about the “gay agenda” than I am about Christians taking money from the government — with all the moral compromises and ethical quandaries that inevitably leads to — to do their work.

  • Joe

    tODD – “By accepting government funds, religious organizations accept the moral judgment that comes from democracy.”

    That is a very good point, one that is often overlooked and almost never discussed. But, it really needs to be.

  • Joe

    tODD – “By accepting government funds, religious organizations accept the moral judgment that comes from democracy.”

    That is a very good point, one that is often overlooked and almost never discussed. But, it really needs to be.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Todd, the state law that prevented discrimination against adopting children by homosexual couples made no distinction between public or privately funded agencies. The Catholic Charities were prevented, no matter what the source of funding, by the intrusive Massachusetts law. Should you question this read the Bostonglobe article, Catholic Charities stuns state, ends adoptions
    Gay issue stirred move by agency
    .

  • Peter Leavitt

    Todd, the state law that prevented discrimination against adopting children by homosexual couples made no distinction between public or privately funded agencies. The Catholic Charities were prevented, no matter what the source of funding, by the intrusive Massachusetts law. Should you question this read the Bostonglobe article, Catholic Charities stuns state, ends adoptions
    Gay issue stirred move by agency
    .

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Peter (@24), do you know what you’re talking about? You might want to read more than just that one article. Say, for example, this one:

    O’Flaherty said that over a dozen years ago the Legislature adopted the law barring contractors from discriminating against gay couples, and said lawmakers would be unlikely to entertain the bishops’ request. … He said he would oppose granting such an exemption to any social agency that contracted with the state, although he said he respected the church’s right to follow its own doctrine on the issue.

    (Emphasis mine.) Catholic Charities was under contract from the state’s Department of Social Services.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Peter (@24), do you know what you’re talking about? You might want to read more than just that one article. Say, for example, this one:

    O’Flaherty said that over a dozen years ago the Legislature adopted the law barring contractors from discriminating against gay couples, and said lawmakers would be unlikely to entertain the bishops’ request. … He said he would oppose granting such an exemption to any social agency that contracted with the state, although he said he respected the church’s right to follow its own doctrine on the issue.

    (Emphasis mine.) Catholic Charities was under contract from the state’s Department of Social Services.

  • Peter Leavitt

    O’Flaherty, is spouting Blarney and avoiding the issue here. Every adoption agency in Massachusetts, regardless of funding source, must get a state license to practice.that requires no “discrimination” against gay homosexuals. The “contract” with the state that O’Flahery is referring to has to do with the license.

    Maggie Galagher dealt with this issue as follows:

    But getting square with the church didn’t end Catholic Charities’ woes. To operate in Massachusetts, an adoption agency must be licensed by the state. And to get a license, an agency must pledge to obey state laws barring discrimination — including the decade-old ban on orientation discrimination. With the legalization of gay marriage in the state, discrimination against same-sex couples would be outlawed, too.

    Cardinal O’Malley asked Governor Mitt Romney for a religious exemption from the ban on orientation discrimination. Governor Romney reluctantly responded that he lacked legal authority to grant one unilaterally, by executive order. So the governor and archbishop turned to the state legislature, requesting a conscience exemption that would allow Catholic Charities to continue to help kids in a manner consistent with Catholic teaching.

    To date, not a single other Massachusetts political leader appears willing to consider even the narrowest religious exemption. Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey, the Republican candidate for governor in this fall’s election, refused to budge: “I believe that any institution that wants to provide services that are regulated by the state has to abide by the laws of the state,” Healey told the Boston Globe on March 2, “and our antidiscrimination laws are some of our most important.”

    It’s simply not true that Catholic Charities could “discriminate” against homosexual couples through privately financed adoptions.

  • Peter Leavitt

    O’Flaherty, is spouting Blarney and avoiding the issue here. Every adoption agency in Massachusetts, regardless of funding source, must get a state license to practice.that requires no “discrimination” against gay homosexuals. The “contract” with the state that O’Flahery is referring to has to do with the license.

    Maggie Galagher dealt with this issue as follows:

    But getting square with the church didn’t end Catholic Charities’ woes. To operate in Massachusetts, an adoption agency must be licensed by the state. And to get a license, an agency must pledge to obey state laws barring discrimination — including the decade-old ban on orientation discrimination. With the legalization of gay marriage in the state, discrimination against same-sex couples would be outlawed, too.

    Cardinal O’Malley asked Governor Mitt Romney for a religious exemption from the ban on orientation discrimination. Governor Romney reluctantly responded that he lacked legal authority to grant one unilaterally, by executive order. So the governor and archbishop turned to the state legislature, requesting a conscience exemption that would allow Catholic Charities to continue to help kids in a manner consistent with Catholic teaching.

    To date, not a single other Massachusetts political leader appears willing to consider even the narrowest religious exemption. Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey, the Republican candidate for governor in this fall’s election, refused to budge: “I believe that any institution that wants to provide services that are regulated by the state has to abide by the laws of the state,” Healey told the Boston Globe on March 2, “and our antidiscrimination laws are some of our most important.”

    It’s simply not true that Catholic Charities could “discriminate” against homosexual couples through privately financed adoptions.

  • kerner

    I think there are other factors at work here. The concept of “family” health insurance, according to which an employer insured insured the health of not only the employee, but of numerous other people, was generated in a culture in which only the husband was employed outside the home and the wife was totally dependent on the husband her financial needs. The reason that situation existed, was that the wife was expected to spend all her employable time as a homemaker, which usually involved bearing and rearing children. That is no longer the norm. Add to this the fact that the health insurance by employer model is becoming increasingly strained for many reasons (mostly economic) unrelated to ethics.

    What I’m suggesting is that it may have dawned on Catholic Charities that it has little incentive to insure the health care of hordes of able bodied adults that it does not employ, and that it could save a bunch of money by simply not insuring any of them.

    I think the moral imperative to not sanction homosexual unions may be one additional reason to do this. But I’ll bet it wasn’t the only one.

  • kerner

    I think there are other factors at work here. The concept of “family” health insurance, according to which an employer insured insured the health of not only the employee, but of numerous other people, was generated in a culture in which only the husband was employed outside the home and the wife was totally dependent on the husband her financial needs. The reason that situation existed, was that the wife was expected to spend all her employable time as a homemaker, which usually involved bearing and rearing children. That is no longer the norm. Add to this the fact that the health insurance by employer model is becoming increasingly strained for many reasons (mostly economic) unrelated to ethics.

    What I’m suggesting is that it may have dawned on Catholic Charities that it has little incentive to insure the health care of hordes of able bodied adults that it does not employ, and that it could save a bunch of money by simply not insuring any of them.

    I think the moral imperative to not sanction homosexual unions may be one additional reason to do this. But I’ll bet it wasn’t the only one.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Peter (@26), sorry, but no. The license to which that article refers is not for all adoption agencies, it is only for those that contract to operate as on behalf of the state, as Massachusetts does not run its own adoption agency. Here is more information on the topic:

    The Mormon church’s adoption arm in Massachusetts is still operating, even though it does not place children in gay and lesbian households. How can this be? It’s a matter of public accountability, not infringement on religion. Catholic Charities acted as a state contractor, receiving state and federal money to find homes for special-needs children who were wards of the state, and it faced the loss of public funding if it did not comply with the anti-discrimination law. In contrast, LDS (for Latter-day Saints) Family Services runs a private adoption service without public funding. Its work, and its ability to follow its religious teachings, have not been altered.

    The Mormons can discriminate because they do not act on behalf of the state. The Catholics could have done the same. They chose not to.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Peter (@26), sorry, but no. The license to which that article refers is not for all adoption agencies, it is only for those that contract to operate as on behalf of the state, as Massachusetts does not run its own adoption agency. Here is more information on the topic:

    The Mormon church’s adoption arm in Massachusetts is still operating, even though it does not place children in gay and lesbian households. How can this be? It’s a matter of public accountability, not infringement on religion. Catholic Charities acted as a state contractor, receiving state and federal money to find homes for special-needs children who were wards of the state, and it faced the loss of public funding if it did not comply with the anti-discrimination law. In contrast, LDS (for Latter-day Saints) Family Services runs a private adoption service without public funding. Its work, and its ability to follow its religious teachings, have not been altered.

    The Mormons can discriminate because they do not act on behalf of the state. The Catholics could have done the same. They chose not to.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Kerner (@27), your assumptions put you in the position of accusing the Catholics of being dishonest, saying that this was done because of same-sex marriage (and timing the change right before same-sex marriage becomes legal, as well), while (you claim, at least partly) doing it for financial reasons. You’re free to assume that, but I’d prefer you back up your bet with something substantive.

    Also, isn’t the fact that a wife’s spending her time as a homemaker “is no longer the norm” something that pro-family folks tend to lament? Do the Catholics (again, in your assumption) really want to encourage two-working-parent families by their policies? Furthermore, if indeed Catholic Charities’ (CC) employees’ spouses are working (and if they have benefits through their employer), then it doesn’t cost anything to CC. CC only incurs a cost if the spouse’s job doesn’t extend benefits to them. At least, that’s how it is at my company.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Kerner (@27), your assumptions put you in the position of accusing the Catholics of being dishonest, saying that this was done because of same-sex marriage (and timing the change right before same-sex marriage becomes legal, as well), while (you claim, at least partly) doing it for financial reasons. You’re free to assume that, but I’d prefer you back up your bet with something substantive.

    Also, isn’t the fact that a wife’s spending her time as a homemaker “is no longer the norm” something that pro-family folks tend to lament? Do the Catholics (again, in your assumption) really want to encourage two-working-parent families by their policies? Furthermore, if indeed Catholic Charities’ (CC) employees’ spouses are working (and if they have benefits through their employer), then it doesn’t cost anything to CC. CC only incurs a cost if the spouse’s job doesn’t extend benefits to them. At least, that’s how it is at my company.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Todd, don’t believe everything you read in the L.A. Times, especially in connection with an article opposed to Proposition Eight. I’m well informed on Massachusetts issues related to gay marriage and adoptoon; I’ve not heard of a Mormon adoption agency in Massachusetts. If there were one , it would be required to have a state license that stipulates strict adherence to non-discrimination against homosexual couples.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Todd, don’t believe everything you read in the L.A. Times, especially in connection with an article opposed to Proposition Eight. I’m well informed on Massachusetts issues related to gay marriage and adoptoon; I’ve not heard of a Mormon adoption agency in Massachusetts. If there were one , it would be required to have a state license that stipulates strict adherence to non-discrimination against homosexual couples.

  • http://wipfandstock.com/store/As_Though_It_Were_Actually_True_A_Christian_Apologetics_Primer Matt C.

    Frank,

    allowing liberty to people to make their own moral choices regarding their own lives and those of consenting other adults is not the same as “damaging him with falsehoods”.

    True, but placing official marks of esteem on immoral choices is not the same as merely allowing the liberty to make them. It’s honoring the immoral behavior which involves the falsehood, and that is the point at question here. None of the other things you mention are being called marriage or being honored as though they were (or in any other way, really; legal or not).

    I don’t really disagree with any of the principles in your posts, but I do think you’re mischaracterizing the situation. Nobody here is suggesting criminalizing monogamous homosexual coupling. The situation is that the local government has honored it (not simply legalized it) by erroneously referring to it as marriage (or as other local governments have done, given it an equivalent legal status to marriage), and is coercing others into following them into this error. Generically speaking, refusing this temptation by resisting the coercion is the appropriate course of action (although there are certainly better and worse ways of resisting).

    As you say, gay monogamy is not a great option. I hope we would agree that marriage is a great option (although not necessarily one that everyone can or should participate in). Why should we treat them as though they are the same when they are not?

  • http://wipfandstock.com/store/As_Though_It_Were_Actually_True_A_Christian_Apologetics_Primer Matt C.

    Frank,

    allowing liberty to people to make their own moral choices regarding their own lives and those of consenting other adults is not the same as “damaging him with falsehoods”.

    True, but placing official marks of esteem on immoral choices is not the same as merely allowing the liberty to make them. It’s honoring the immoral behavior which involves the falsehood, and that is the point at question here. None of the other things you mention are being called marriage or being honored as though they were (or in any other way, really; legal or not).

    I don’t really disagree with any of the principles in your posts, but I do think you’re mischaracterizing the situation. Nobody here is suggesting criminalizing monogamous homosexual coupling. The situation is that the local government has honored it (not simply legalized it) by erroneously referring to it as marriage (or as other local governments have done, given it an equivalent legal status to marriage), and is coercing others into following them into this error. Generically speaking, refusing this temptation by resisting the coercion is the appropriate course of action (although there are certainly better and worse ways of resisting).

    As you say, gay monogamy is not a great option. I hope we would agree that marriage is a great option (although not necessarily one that everyone can or should participate in). Why should we treat them as though they are the same when they are not?

  • kerner

    tODD:

    First, I assume fallen people operating in a fallen world. Maybe I’m being cynical, or just realistic. Besides, is it necessarily dishonest to have multiple reasons for doing something, but only mention one ? I just strongly suspect that there’s a budget dierctor somewhere that is breathing a sigh of relief.

    As for whether I should be lamenting the passing of the one bread winner family, it is beside my point. For a family to live on one income today requires thinking outside the box. It can be done, but no longer by conventional means.

    The health care situation also is what it is. Health insurance premiums have risen and continue to rise. The reasons for this are complex, but one of them surely is that the number and variety of required benefits has multiplied. Health plans are now being told they have to cover an employee’s children till they are 27 years old. In some cases employees are getting the right to name “significant others” (gay or straight) they are not married to as additional insureds. Now in DC Catholic Charities has to swallow this, or not.

    The wisdom of tying health care to employment has been questioned for a lot of reasons lately. While Catholic Charities’ scruples may be a good one, that doesn’t mean it’s the only one they have, even though it’s the only one they are talking about.

  • kerner

    tODD:

    First, I assume fallen people operating in a fallen world. Maybe I’m being cynical, or just realistic. Besides, is it necessarily dishonest to have multiple reasons for doing something, but only mention one ? I just strongly suspect that there’s a budget dierctor somewhere that is breathing a sigh of relief.

    As for whether I should be lamenting the passing of the one bread winner family, it is beside my point. For a family to live on one income today requires thinking outside the box. It can be done, but no longer by conventional means.

    The health care situation also is what it is. Health insurance premiums have risen and continue to rise. The reasons for this are complex, but one of them surely is that the number and variety of required benefits has multiplied. Health plans are now being told they have to cover an employee’s children till they are 27 years old. In some cases employees are getting the right to name “significant others” (gay or straight) they are not married to as additional insureds. Now in DC Catholic Charities has to swallow this, or not.

    The wisdom of tying health care to employment has been questioned for a lot of reasons lately. While Catholic Charities’ scruples may be a good one, that doesn’t mean it’s the only one they have, even though it’s the only one they are talking about.

  • Booklover

    We leaned back and played tiddly-winks while the Catholics fought for the rights of the unborn to live. We will probably bring out the game again and play idly while the Catholics fight for the sanctity of the family.

    All of the definitions will be changed in our children’s world, because we sat by and did nothing, all in the name of “love.” Our children will wonder why we were unable to define “holiness.”

  • Booklover

    We leaned back and played tiddly-winks while the Catholics fought for the rights of the unborn to live. We will probably bring out the game again and play idly while the Catholics fight for the sanctity of the family.

    All of the definitions will be changed in our children’s world, because we sat by and did nothing, all in the name of “love.” Our children will wonder why we were unable to define “holiness.”

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Peter (@30), you told me, “don’t believe everything you read in the L.A. Times,” but failed to provide any reason as to why. Because you said so? Because you have evidence that what they say is wrong (please provide it)? Am I to believe only the links that you provide (to the Boston Globe, for example)? Frankly, I have reason to believe that things I read in the L.A. Times are more accurate than, for example, things I read in your comments.

    For example, you say that you’re “well informed on Massachusetts issues related to gay marriage and adoptoon”, and yet go on to say that you’ve “not heard of a Mormon adoption agency in Massachusetts”. Is this part of your whole aversion to Google? Because it’s not that hard to find. It’s called LDS Social Services of Massachusetts, and it’s located in Nashua.

    And guess what? They don’t allow gays to adopt. In fact, they only deal with LDS members who are “sealed to each other in the temple”. And guess what? Mormons don’t “seal” gays. And yet, contrary to your entire argument, they operate in the state of Massachusetts.

    In case you’d forgotten, this was all pointed out to you late last year, in a comment that you yourself replied to.

    The fact remains that Catholic Charities is having to change its behavior precisely because it has become entangled in the state. In the case of adoption, it willingly acted on behalf of the state of Massachusetts. In the case of gay marriage, it engaged in contracts with Washington D.C.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Peter (@30), you told me, “don’t believe everything you read in the L.A. Times,” but failed to provide any reason as to why. Because you said so? Because you have evidence that what they say is wrong (please provide it)? Am I to believe only the links that you provide (to the Boston Globe, for example)? Frankly, I have reason to believe that things I read in the L.A. Times are more accurate than, for example, things I read in your comments.

    For example, you say that you’re “well informed on Massachusetts issues related to gay marriage and adoptoon”, and yet go on to say that you’ve “not heard of a Mormon adoption agency in Massachusetts”. Is this part of your whole aversion to Google? Because it’s not that hard to find. It’s called LDS Social Services of Massachusetts, and it’s located in Nashua.

    And guess what? They don’t allow gays to adopt. In fact, they only deal with LDS members who are “sealed to each other in the temple”. And guess what? Mormons don’t “seal” gays. And yet, contrary to your entire argument, they operate in the state of Massachusetts.

    In case you’d forgotten, this was all pointed out to you late last year, in a comment that you yourself replied to.

    The fact remains that Catholic Charities is having to change its behavior precisely because it has become entangled in the state. In the case of adoption, it willingly acted on behalf of the state of Massachusetts. In the case of gay marriage, it engaged in contracts with Washington D.C.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Todd, …It’s called LDS Social Services of Massachusetts, and it’s located in Nashua.

    Sorry to rain on your parade. Nashua is in New Hampshire, not Massachusetts. The Mormons, being an admirably clever group, located their adoption agency in a state that so far retains a modicum of freedom of religion. New Hampshire is that state that liberals love to hate for its motto of “Live Free or Die.”

  • Peter Leavitt

    Todd, …It’s called LDS Social Services of Massachusetts, and it’s located in Nashua.

    Sorry to rain on your parade. Nashua is in New Hampshire, not Massachusetts. The Mormons, being an admirably clever group, located their adoption agency in a state that so far retains a modicum of freedom of religion. New Hampshire is that state that liberals love to hate for its motto of “Live Free or Die.”

  • Joe

    I took a read through the DC law last night. The exemptions clause does not allow CC to avoid the impact of the law. It does contain an exemption that would allow them to refuse to hire non-Catholics but that is the extent of the religious exemption.

    And to Don’s earlier comment – this applies regardless of any work they do with or for the gov’t etc. It applies to all employers period.

  • Joe

    I took a read through the DC law last night. The exemptions clause does not allow CC to avoid the impact of the law. It does contain an exemption that would allow them to refuse to hire non-Catholics but that is the extent of the religious exemption.

    And to Don’s earlier comment – this applies regardless of any work they do with or for the gov’t etc. It applies to all employers period.

  • Joe

    Peter, I think your desire to try to prove tODD wrong has obscured a bigger point. Couldn’t the Catholics simply move their operations across the boarder and run it the same why the Mormons run theirs? Thus, avoiding the impact of the law and still providing adoption services? I support the basic premise that the state should not force a religious organization to violate its own teachings, but when the state ignores this it is up to the Church to get creative and figure out a way to keep serving its neighbors.

  • Joe

    Peter, I think your desire to try to prove tODD wrong has obscured a bigger point. Couldn’t the Catholics simply move their operations across the boarder and run it the same why the Mormons run theirs? Thus, avoiding the impact of the law and still providing adoption services? I support the basic premise that the state should not force a religious organization to violate its own teachings, but when the state ignores this it is up to the Church to get creative and figure out a way to keep serving its neighbors.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Joe, my understanding is that the Archdiocese of Boston Catholics regarded operating an adoption agency across Massachusetts State lines as unethical.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Joe, my understanding is that the Archdiocese of Boston Catholics regarded operating an adoption agency across Massachusetts State lines as unethical.

  • Joe

    How is it unethical? Forgive me if its obvious, but I don’t see anything unethical about it.

  • Joe

    How is it unethical? Forgive me if its obvious, but I don’t see anything unethical about it.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Peter (@35), you seem to have missed the point that the Nashua office is where LDS Social Services is located not only for Massachusetts (and New Hampshire), but also for Rhode Island, Vermont, Connecticut, and Maine. It’s a regional office, not an attempt to avoid Massachusetts law. Or do you also think the fact that their branch for Alabama is located in Georgia, and their branch for Alaska is located in Washington, etc., is also an attempt to avoid adoption laws in Alabama, Alaska, and other states?

    But fine, I’ll put in a call to them later.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Peter (@35), you seem to have missed the point that the Nashua office is where LDS Social Services is located not only for Massachusetts (and New Hampshire), but also for Rhode Island, Vermont, Connecticut, and Maine. It’s a regional office, not an attempt to avoid Massachusetts law. Or do you also think the fact that their branch for Alabama is located in Georgia, and their branch for Alaska is located in Washington, etc., is also an attempt to avoid adoption laws in Alabama, Alaska, and other states?

    But fine, I’ll put in a call to them later.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Todd, the simple point is that in Massachusetts it is illegal for churches to operate an adoption agency that “discriminates” against homosexual supposedly married couples. Your argument from the beginning has been that the Catholic Church could continue to adopt if only it would not accept state funding. Now you’re squirming and shifting your argument to some sort of regional basis. Why, other than as a way around the Massachusetts law, would something called LDS Social Services of Massachusetts be located in Nashua N.H, a place near the Massachusetts line ?

  • Peter Leavitt

    Todd, the simple point is that in Massachusetts it is illegal for churches to operate an adoption agency that “discriminates” against homosexual supposedly married couples. Your argument from the beginning has been that the Catholic Church could continue to adopt if only it would not accept state funding. Now you’re squirming and shifting your argument to some sort of regional basis. Why, other than as a way around the Massachusetts law, would something called LDS Social Services of Massachusetts be located in Nashua N.H, a place near the Massachusetts line ?

  • DonS

    Joe @ 36: My earlier comment (@ 16) was simply based on my reading of the article to which Dr. Veith linked, plus one other. So, I’ll defer to your legal research.

    It is not at all surprising that the D.C. government would overreach in such an egregious way. It does continually surprise me, however, that courts routinely permit such overreaching. How did the First Amendment right to freedom of religion become so vitiated?

  • DonS

    Joe @ 36: My earlier comment (@ 16) was simply based on my reading of the article to which Dr. Veith linked, plus one other. So, I’ll defer to your legal research.

    It is not at all surprising that the D.C. government would overreach in such an egregious way. It does continually surprise me, however, that courts routinely permit such overreaching. How did the First Amendment right to freedom of religion become so vitiated?

  • http://corporate-tai-chi.com D

    Death does not have a sect or religion. I know little about religion, but, by definition, it is un-Christian to be heartless. To remove health care insurance could result in compromised life or death. Therefore, this move is an un-Christian act.

  • http://corporate-tai-chi.com D

    Death does not have a sect or religion. I know little about religion, but, by definition, it is un-Christian to be heartless. To remove health care insurance could result in compromised life or death. Therefore, this move is an un-Christian act.


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