January 24, 2007

So much for the consistent ethic of life

The head of the Catholic Church in England has given an ultimatum that the Church would rather leave hundreds or thousands of children homeless than to place even one child for adoption by a gay couple. Some new laws passed last year say that adoption agencies can't decide not to place a child just because of the orientation of the adopters, just as they already couldn't withhold a placement based on race.

Though often billed as gay rights legislation, it's really more about the children: it's simply awful to hold adoptable children hostage, making them wait longer to be placed, essentially just to make a point. But your friend and mine the Roman Catholic Church evidently has more important things to think about than, you know, helping children, and so they're calling the government's bluff.

In response, the government—evidently more reluctant than the Church is to sacrifice the welfare of the children—is considering an exemption for Catholic adoption agencies.

The worst part is, Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor is attempting to frame this as discrimination against the Church, firing up a great big martyr complex and trying to pin this one on the government.

Thanks, Catholicism! Chalk one more up for the consistent ethic of life.

"I think Solomon would agree that the only fair solution here would be to cut Joe Lieberman in half lengthwise." --Mike McCool

Posted by blahedo at 9:23pm on 24 Jan 2007
I wish that I could feel a little shocked or surprised by this. I don't. I feel sad and angry. I very much hope the government will not cave in. I am sick and tired of the Catholic Church being allowed to do evil which would be or should be illegal if anyone else tried it. Until now, most of the damage I have seen has been to women, but it surprises me not at all they are extending this to interfere with gays and children as well. In some Catholic hospitals, the treatment of ectopic pregnancies was and perhaps still is complete removal of both fallopian tubes. This was the only option given to women. Die or let us sterilize you. Catholic Churches enforcing no birth control, no sterilization, no reproductive choices at all in many areas by negotiating to sell hospitals to the only other health care providers in a region with agreements that the hospital will not allow women any choices other than the very few approved of by the Catholic Church. This does obvious harm to women in the area, but by removing competition it drives up prices as well as removing what is likely the only hospital run by a charity in the region, the poor will suffer most. But what do they care, they don't care that the poor suffer as long as they can force their will on women. Posted by lee at 7:04am on 25 Jan 2007
One of the things that angers me is that clearly the Catholic Church as the capacity to do good, and we have seen them do good over the years, but then to leverage the power they have built up by performing these services to then go out and defeat good laws and take choices and rights from people.
America first saw nuns out of the convent during the civil war. They came out to aid the wounded and dying risking their lives and their way of life in service of others. Before that they rightly feared that their presence in communities would be resented and could cause terrible repercussions.
From that point forward, Catholics began to be more visible in American public life. Taking benefit and refuge in the laws in America which allow religions to practice, have benefit of no or little taxes, and do not permit discrimination on the basis of religion. Catholics moved into public life and built hospitals and ran charities that have done untold good, giving many access to health care who would not otherwise have it.
But now, they face changes in America that the Catholic Church doesn't like and are holding the unfortunate they help hostage, refusing to follow and actively undermining laws designed to see that all people are treated with equal dignity. Such are not the actions of the compassionate. Such are actions of the arrogant and seem to run counter to many of the values that I am told the Church holds.
I am reminded of Vernor Vinge's Fire Upon the Deep and the superior power and the skroderiders. Posted by lee at 9:01am on 25 Jan 2007
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