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But at least it was said…
Yay Anchoress! I’ve missed you.
The left is in total denial on this issue. The media refuses to cover it. Catholics who continue to support Obama deny there is anything going on with this administration attacking religious values because they had to hang up those values to support him in the first place. Not sure how many in NH are going to be favorable to this comment, but suspect that it will play larger in areas of the country that have to be won to win the presidency. I note Romney jumped on this as he saw the applause.
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Mr Gingrich is uninformed on adoption services. DC, too, I think. The poor-Catholics meme plays very poorly to my ears. Conservative Catholics want the government money, but they don’t want to be bothered by the alternatives.
I’m glad they moved on. They were out of their element.
[They were out of their element? Where they out of their element when they were founding hospitals and orphanages for decades before any sort of local government thought of doing the same? Were they out of their element for the 100 or so years that they successfully, by all accounts, placed children in homes? Or were they only suddenly out of their element, because they refused to stop being who and what they were on demand? -admin]
I watched it and was pleased the old Newt is back. By the old Newt I don’t mean the one from some years ago, I mean the one who took on the media and the administration in the first debate. That’s when we all loved him.
["All" is probably not accurate! LOL -admin]
Todd, When an agency, religious affiliated or not, is finding adoptive parents for FOSTER children they have every right to be paid with the state money which is supporting those children.
If the Scientologists, or Westboro Baptists or PZ Myers decided to get into the adoption business and made adoption decisions based primarily on their own religious beliefs, would you say they had the right to get paid by the state to do so? If the answer is yes, then at least I grant you a certain amount of intellectual honesty and philosophical consistency. If not, then it’s just an appeal to give one church a privileged position in government.
The fact that Catholic agencies are forced to play ball with the government to facilitate adoptions shows that the reach of the govenrment has grown too long over the last half century.
In Illinois, Catholic Charities is being forced out of providing foster care services. They were not “out of their element.” Catholic Charities had one of the best permancy rates of any other foster care organization in the state. Permancy is returning children to a safe home either to birth parents, relatives or adoptive parents.
Foster care is not a money making activity for foster parents or agencies. Catholic Charities in Illinois is a struggling non-profit and has been for years. Saying Catholics are only after government money is a laugh. My prediction is that the cost of providing foster care will rise dramatically ion Illinois. Catholic Charities has a long history of providing cost effective services.
You are right, doc.
Also, the fact is, that Baptists, Catholics and many other religious people pay taxes, and support the government; not all taxpayers are atheists/secularists/agnostics. and, yet, despite this, they’re not allowed any freedom to run their own institutions, as they see fit?
(I agree with doc, that the government’s arm has grown too long, and it’s been pushing its way into too many things, and regulating far too much.)
(Government is, of course, always happy to use unpaid, volunteer labor from religious organizations, to feed the poor, help clean up communities, etc.; it’s only when they start getting “uppity”—i.e., not going along with various government sponsored social experiments, that the government disapproves of their aid.)
“They were out of their element? Where they out of their element …?”
The Republicans, my friend. Mr Gingrich and the Republicans are uninformed on adoption.
“When an agency, religious affiliated or not, is finding adoptive parents for FOSTER children they have every right to be paid with the state money which is supporting those children.”
They also have an obligation to follow the rules the state attaches to said money. Now, there are other ways for the Church to facilitate adoption, as well as address the moral concern about children being raised by people other than a married couple. That bishops and Catholic charities offices choose not to engage on other levels is a moral and tactical mistake.
In my diocese, adoption services ended not because of any outside pressure, but because the caseload is so light (seven in the final five years) that it makes more sense to refer people to other agencies.
My friends, you may find it fashionable to ignore the village liberal here, but trust me on this: I’m an adoptive parent. I know the system. I know CC people. And I know the alternate route to facilitating adoptions in keeping with the Church’s moral standards. But if you want to use orphans to bash gays, by all means, shovel yourselves in deeper …
[You know, Todd, you're NOT the only "liberal" here, if that is what you must insist on constantly announcing. You're just the only one, my friend, who is kind of insufferable! -admin]
It’s far from a constant announcement, my friend. I do confess “the,” and neither “only” nor “sort-of.” Unlike some Catholics, I don’t see a difficulty in being both orthodox and liberal. But like you, I often wear my political and ideological preferences rather openly and proudly. Twin siblings of different mothers, as it were. Good to have you back from vacation. I’ve missed sparring on your site.
[I don't claim to have a problem with anyone being "orthodox" and "liberal." My own sense is that mature Catholicism really doesn't hew to either the "liberal" or "conservative" label -- not truly; it's too big to be limited by the narrowness of either camp. I just weary of your constant need to reduce everything to "liberal" or "conservative" when so often, a thing is not actually about either, but about -- as Mark Shea puts it -- "the elites and the rest of us." But whatever. Spar away. -admin]
Conservatives are always to blame.
If Conservatives are not to blame. . .
See Rule #1.
Governments love religious organizations helping them out.
Unless, of course, they insist on staying true to their values, and remaining, well—religious.
Then, they don’t like them so much.
Some well-intentioned ladies at a church I used to go to, found out the hard way that there’s no way of keeping government out of charity, when they began passing out free offee and doughnuts to homeless men, who came by the church on mornings when the ladies were cleaning it. They weren’t using government money to buy the coffee and doughnuts, but the powers-that-be were most upset with them, all the same. Nobody had given them permission, you see, to go out and practice free-lance charity; government had to be in it; government wanted to be in it, and government was going to be in on it, come Hell or High Water.
(By the way, Todd—this is why the church facilitating adoptions by other means—what means did you have in mind, by the way?—isn’t going to work. When the government finds out, the government will butt in, on one pretext or another. As many hapless souls have discovered, when persecution begins, it begins with nitpicking laws, hedging you in—forcing you out of public participation.)
“Constant” strikes me as an exaggeration. Your blog content is strongly political, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that people engage you in a political way. You self-identify as a conservative. I poke. It’s just that simple. Nothing to do with either you or I being an elitist. Just a conversation.
In this conversation, I happen to think Mr Gingrich is parlaying his lack of depth on adoption into a way of scoring political points. But he’s a politician, so I would expect that of him.
I just don’t see any of this as an attack on religious values. There are other ways to promote, demonstrate, and spread religious values, other than taking government money to follow government rules. Many Catholics, regardless of ideological leanings, seem to lack curiosity about that. That’s not political or anti-religion so much as it is human nature.
By the way, I’ve yet to be convinced others totally embrace the “ideology narrows Catholicism” notion. I think it’s largely true, but in the mouths and pens of some, like Cardinal George, it’s like that “spiritual but not religious” plank–it’s become a cliche. What does it mean in the life of a believer? Hopefully something more than a conversation-stopper.
[I don't think it's an exaggeration. I can't remember the last time you commented on anything without immediately doing the "that's just a conservative boogeyman" sneer, regardless of the issue. I think it's just a habit & you don't even realize you're doing it. -admin]
Well, I promise to keep an eye on it.
I comment pretty frequently at Greg’s and while I’m critical of conservatives there, I don’t think it’s as pronounced as it is here.
“Sneer” is a caricature, however.
“Stubborn” I will accept. I think an ideological or political conversation is something to relish.
By the way, I don’t have anything personal against conservatives. Many of them are extremely intelligent and demanding foils in discussion–though I would be hard-pressed to take any preisdential candidates terribly seriously at this point. But that’s another story.
[Well, there you and I are in agreement. I don't find any of these candidates the least bit compelling, myself. Which is a shame, because I will nevertheless end up voting for one of them against the guy currently in the WH. And btw, "sneer" is not a characture, but I haven't the patience you have for sorting through individual words...sigh. -admin]
“(W)hat means did you have in mind, by the way?”
Thanks for asking.
Flooding the market of prospective parents with Catholic married couples, with and without children.
If non-married couples adopting children is so wrong, why aren’t bishops more concerned about it happening in the secular sphere, too? Why are they making a big public show of laying off Catholic charities social workers when these men and women could be promoting adoption as a solution for parentless children rather than a “cure” for childlessness?
The Church has no power over people who buy infants, or who engage in IVF. But pastors could promote adoption more vigorously as a solution for 130,000 American orphans, not to mention foster care for a third of a million other kids. That they don’t tells me one of two things: a lack of moral imagination or this is some way of scoring a point in the culturewar.
Plus the “poor, persecuted us” meme is really tiring.
[It ain't a meme. It's an awareness and a sounding alert that this administration is intent on putting religion "in its place" which is somewhere out of the public arena, and restricted to the "privacy" of one's home or church. If you're tired of it already, I have no idea how you're going to endure what's ahead, especially once it actually starts touching you personally. I suppose that will be when the rubber meets the road. And btw, touching on your other comment, it's true -- you're much less deliberately antagonistic (and more likeable) over at Greg's place. But I understand it. You seem to think you need to needle, over here, in order to stand out! -admin]
The Bishops could preach to unmaried couples in the secular sphere—-but the secular sphere wouldn’t listen. So why waste the bishops’ time and energy?
As for foster care—one reason many people, religious and non-religious, might not be pushing it more, is that, frankly, it’s a disaster. Los Angeles foster care, for instance, has “lost” hundreds of kids from its system; where are they? Chee, don’t ask us. . .
Not to mention that foster families are frequently as abusive—if not more so—than the families the kids were originally taken from. Foster Care needs to be fixed, before it becomes an actual solution. As for not pushing adoption—Catholics, Orthodox and evangelicals do. Unfortunately, they’re up against a culture that pushes abortion, or unwed, single mothers raising children (an almost surefire recipe for poverty) instead of adoption.
Also, see my entry above, about those nice church ladies, trying to feed homeless people. Let the church come up with their own, alternate system, and, sooner, rather than later, government will be demanding what they’re up to, and wanting in on it. . .
Unfortunately, when a government starts putting a certain religion, or group of people, “in its place”, not only does it start coming after them with niggling rules and regulations; it also claims to be championing some kind of greater good; i.e., the elimination of those evil capitalists, the counter-revolutionaries, the non-Aryans, etc., etc., etc., who are supposedly victimizing Aryans, the People, good Bolsheviks, etc., etc., etc. As you said, “Poor, persecuted me” memes do get tiresome. However, gays and unmarried couples have had a lot of success pushing them. . .
There is also the legal question. Many single parents are unwilling to give their children up for adoption—and social workers, etc., will encourage them to keep their children, rather than giving them up to a two-parent couple. Often, mothers have reclaimed their children, right on the verge of adoption. Unwed fathers can interfere as well. They can have no intention of marrying their “baby mommas”, or even of supporting their kid, but if their child is put up for adoption, it’s “Don’t go giving away my child!”
Also, the adoption process has been made long, hard and complicated, not because of Catholic bishops, but because of lawyers, and well-meaning, but bone-headed, social workers and bureaucratic types.
“Also, the adoption process has been made long, hard and complicated, not because of Catholic bishops, but because of lawyers, and well-meaning, but bone-headed, social workers and bureaucratic types.”
Part of the long process–it was well over two years for me and my wife, longer than an elephant’s gestation–was to ensure the best possible fit for the children for whom we were considered.
Lawyers were not part of the process. Our adoption was finalized by a judge in family court. But social workers have an obligation to the children in their care, wouldn’t you say? The process should be long, hard, and complicated, for the good of the children, wouldn’t you agree?
By the way, the social workers we spoke with had a hierarchy you might find interesting. Maintaining a birth family was paramount. Adopting to a relative was a strong consideration, if possible. Otherwise, married couples preferred over unmarried, heterosexual over homosexual, couples over singles. The social workers I knew, though they worked for the state, were quite aware that demonstrably stable couples were the best possible candidates for adoptive children. My wife and I were grilled. While it may not have been pleasant, it was needful.
Actually, Todd, no—I wouldn’t agree with that at all.
Making adoption long, hard and complicated discourages many would-be parents from adopting, and it’s bad for the child to lanquish in foster care, being bounced around from one house to another, remaining in the hands of an abusive birth parent, or with relatives (who might have raised said abusive parent), spending too much time in some sort of legal limbo, with no settled home, and no stable family—no, that’s not good at all.
Social workers supposedly have an obligation to the children in their care—and it’s one they often fulfill very imperfectly, as witness all those cases where children are killed by abusive adults, whether in foster care, or at the hands of birth parents—those birth parents whose rights social workers consider “paramount”—even though the workers swear up and down they saw no signs of abuse, and were completely in the dark as to what was going on (Isn’t knowing what’s going on supposedly what they get paid for?) We just had a case like that here, in my home town. The murdered child was severely underweight, covered with burns and bruises. . . and the social worker assigned to the case—well, it was a case “See no Evil”, “Hear no Evil”, “Speak no Evil.”
And, of course, there are all those So-Cal kids “missing” from foster care. And the fact that, once you hit 18, foster care kicks you out, whether you’re ready for the adult world or not. . .
It’s a flawed system. And it’s not the fault of Catholic Bishops, or some evil Conservative cabal. . .
“Actually, Todd, no—I wouldn’t agree with that at all.”
Too bad. If you found yourself in a situation in which you would have to place your own children with absolute strangers, I suspect you would be a little more circumspect about it.
In your reply, I note you see adoption as a solution for childlessness rather than being an orphan.
There are a lot of people who want kids. Or they think they want a child because of some romanticized notion of what parenthood involves. We met those people, too, in the world of adoption. We were certainly aware of failed adoptions, and the ill-equipped foster parents who thought they could keep up. All the more reason for the bishops to promote adoption among Catholic families and experienced parents.
Elizabeth Scalia is a Benedictine Oblate and the Managing Editor of the Catholic Portal at Patheos. She is an award-winning writer and a regularly-featured columnist at [Read More...]
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