Skip

A Step In The Right Direction
June 1, 2011 3:50 PM   Subscribe


 
A lot of Christians couldn't get less Christ-like if they tried. How douchey do you have to be to punish adoptee children for the state's decision?
posted by five fresh fish at 3:54 PM on June 1, 2011 [60 favorites]


hooray for Illinois.
posted by homerica at 3:55 PM on June 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


yay

*waves tiniest gay pride plag ever*
posted by Salvor Hardin at 3:57 PM on June 1, 2011


Officials cited a lack of clarity in the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Unions Act, which does not specify whether religious child welfare agencies must place children with couples in civil unions.

I don't know quite where or how to look for this information, but are Catholic Charities' foster and adoption programs required to adhere to state nondiscrimination laws (race, sex, marital status, etc.) since they take state money?
posted by rtha at 3:58 PM on June 1, 2011


In response, some Catholic charities are ending foster care and adoption services to avoid serving same-sex parents.

Yes, it's a very Christian organization...
posted by Mental Wimp at 4:00 PM on June 1, 2011 [6 favorites]


I don't think any organized religion ought to be in the business of doling out support for foster care and adoption services. The government should be doing that to begin with.
posted by Renoroc at 4:03 PM on June 1, 2011 [21 favorites]


In response, some Catholic charities are ending foster care and adoption services to avoid serving same-sex parents.

In related news, some people are first-class assholes.

Go Illinois.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 4:08 PM on June 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


In response, some Catholic charities are ending foster care and adoption services to avoid serving same-sex parents.

Awesome, they found a new way to fuck kids!
posted by jscott at 4:08 PM on June 1, 2011 [66 favorites]


Adoption tends to be very biased towards Christians even though it's often state-funded. It's fucked up. These "charities" are fucked up.
posted by the young rope-rider at 4:10 PM on June 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't think any organized religion ought to be in the business of doling out support for foster care and adoption services. The government should be doing that to begin with.

I agree. Unfortunately, that's the exact opposite view from the way the country as a whole is moving. Remember Bush's move to get government funds into the hands of religious charities because they're supposedly more effective at serving target groups than the government?

Yeah, compassionate conservatism and the invisible hand of the market. This is where it leads. *sigh*
posted by hippybear at 4:10 PM on June 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Good. Now maybe we can work on getting rid of the failed "separate but equal" idea.
posted by -1 at 4:12 PM on June 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hey everybody, maybe we can't rely on charity (and specifically religious groups) to supply basic social needs. That should be the takeaway here. Charity is nice but is simply not stable enough to replace government programs. I'll go ahead now and assume no one runs with this story.
posted by 2bucksplus at 4:12 PM on June 1, 2011 [11 favorites]


I don't even know what to do with a governor who is not a tremendous embarrassment.
posted by shakespeherian at 4:12 PM on June 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Catholic Charities pulled out of the business so that they won't have to sully themselves by consorting with queers. This is the sort of thing that just makes me want to smack someone.

So instead of doing that, I spent my lunch hour hanging out by the Federal Building downtown, chatting up some really, really happy dykes who are getting hitched tomorrow after 21 years together! Their smiles were so big you could have gotten lost in them.

I'm still not happy with the CC, but I don't want to smack anyone anymore, so there's that.
posted by heyho at 4:13 PM on June 1, 2011 [12 favorites]


Yes, thanks for that heyho.

HURRAH FOR NOW HAPPILY HITCHED SAME-SEX COUPLES! Ride them like you stole them, newly-weds.
posted by jaduncan at 4:15 PM on June 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


In fairness, you can't take the Catholic Church to be indicative of mainstream religion.

Wow, is that a dumb statement. It's one thing to lump all Christians into the same as the end-of-the-world-is-on-Friday kooks, but Catholics comprise a pretty significant percentage of Christians.
posted by zardoz at 4:20 PM on June 1, 2011 [8 favorites]


I literally never thought I'd see the day when another state's decision to grant civil unions felt like a non-victory.

In the end, I guess, that shows how far the push for marriage equality has really gotten us (see also), so I'll take my meh-ness as victory in and of itself.

Really sucks that they would do that to kids, though. Hypocritical asshats.
posted by mudpuppie at 4:22 PM on June 1, 2011


the same as the end-of-the-world-is-on-Friday kooks

Doofus. It was a SATURDAY.
posted by grubi at 4:22 PM on June 1, 2011


In fairness, you can't take the Catholic Church to be indicative of mainstream religion.

Then what the hell is? There are over a billion Roman Catholics in the world.
posted by DecemberBoy at 4:26 PM on June 1, 2011 [6 favorites]


In fairness, you can't take the Catholic Church to be indicative of mainstream religion.

A top-down dogmatic structure containing just under a sixth of the world's population. I think it can.
posted by kafziel at 4:26 PM on June 1, 2011 [6 favorites]


zardoz: "In fairness, you can't take the Catholic Church to be indicative of mainstream religion."

Wow, is that a dumb statement. It's one thing to lump all Christians into the same as the end-of-the-world-is-on-Friday kooks, but Catholics comprise a pretty significant percentage of Christians.


Comments are getting deleted all over the place in this thread, but the person who originally posted the comment used that fuckin' "I'm being sarcastic 'hamburger' thing" in small font below the comment.
posted by gman at 4:28 PM on June 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yay anything to keep the Catholics away from the kids.
posted by Sailormom at 4:32 PM on June 1, 2011 [9 favorites]


Thanks, gman, I just spent the last couple minutes rereading the articles to see where that line came from.

Don't the mods usually leave a note when things get deleted?
posted by The Hamms Bear at 4:33 PM on June 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why are these bigots even allowed to manage adoption in the first place? Its like creating a Kosher Food Bank to serve a poor neighborhood. Err, the food will be fucking Kosher. Lets stop prentending that faith organizations can ever be secular, fair, unbiased, positive, socially responsible, and unbigoted. To them we're just meaningless pawns in their culture wars.
posted by damn dirty ape at 4:39 PM on June 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


Yay Illinois! Joining the civilised world!

Boo for the Catholic Church, actively fighting against it. IIRC, the Catholics did basically the same thing here in the UK. The govt said that adoption and fostering agencies can't discriminate based on orientation and, rather than provide services to gay families, the Catholic agencies simply shut down. (This is just a memory of news reports at the time; hopefully someone more informed can correct me or fill in the gaps)

I actually think it's not a terrible outcome. If the Catholics kept their services going, it's safe to assume that those services would be homophobic in practice, if not on paper. Maybe it's better to just be rid of them, so properly egalitarian services can take their place?
posted by metaBugs at 4:42 PM on June 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Dear Illinois,

You did a good thing. I guess we can't call you FIBs anymore.

Love,
Wisconsin

P.S. You still suck at driving.
posted by desjardins at 4:50 PM on June 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


While I don't understand how the, "If I don't get to win, then I'm taking my ball and going home." mentality of the church teaches/benefits/supports anyone or sends any message other than, "sorry kids, dogma is more important than you", I do agree that I'm personally happy to see the church end their involvement, however pitiful their reasoning.
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 4:53 PM on June 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just remember, when it comes to civil unions, it's already been determined in other states that Separate Is Not Equal. Not by a long shot.
posted by hippybear at 4:57 PM on June 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Isn't it clear that the Catholic church is a parasitic, antisocial organization with no regard for its "flock"? What's the difference between the Catholic church and blatently criminal organizations, apart from the fact that it doesn't have its own hitmen? Is it because of the Vatican? "Hey! We have land - we're a country and nobody can touch us!"

Even Father Sarducci is sad.
posted by sneebler at 5:03 PM on June 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Comments are getting deleted all over the place in this thread, but the person who originally posted the comment used that fuckin' "I'm being sarcastic 'hamburger' thing" in small font below the comment.

Yeah, that was me. Yeah, it did say hamburger underneath it. Yeah, it was meant to be ironic.

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea máxima culpa. It wasn't meant to be trolling, and my apologies go to the thread and mods.
posted by jaduncan at 5:05 PM on June 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Congrats, Illinois!

It's a good start!

Also, Catholics, that shit might play in Uganda, but if you want any first-worlders to fill your coffers in the next sixty years or so, you're going to have to have one of those pretend revelation moments, like Mormons did with black people.
posted by klangklangston at 5:17 PM on June 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


As previously in Massachusetts in 2006.

(That was my third FPP forever ago. Wow, I've been on Metafilter for a long time.)
posted by andreaazure at 5:20 PM on June 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


In honour of the good news, I'm going to Come on Feel the Illinoise!
I haven't decided which track is more appropriate for the bad news. John Wayne Gacy, Jr, or, and I think the latter, 'We apologize for the inconvenience but you're going to have to leave now."
posted by Lemurrhea at 5:36 PM on June 1, 2011


Amazing how intolerant a thread about greater tolerance in legislation can be. I don't agree with Catholic Charities' position or the beliefs that have led them to it, but I don't understand the vitriol here. A tolerant society is one in which people are (conditionally) free to act according to their beliefs, even if those beliefs are wrong. You can hate them for it if you want, but that seems like a pretty poor plan for increasing tolerance.
posted by howfar at 6:12 PM on June 1, 2011


Amazing how intolerant a thread about greater tolerance in legislation can be. I don't agree with Catholic Charities' position or the beliefs that have led them to it, but I don't understand the vitriol here. A tolerant society is one in which people are (conditionally) free to act according to their beliefs, even if those beliefs are wrong. You can hate them for it if you want, but that seems like a pretty poor plan for increasing tolerance.

You'll note that no one is proposing to refuse to serve catholics, or wind up their businesses rather than have to deal with them on an occassional basis. No is is arguing that all catholics should be killed, persecuted, punished or banned. And all that, despite the fact many people here disagree with the catholic church and the catholic church has shown itself to be bigoted and irrational regarding many issues. Including this one.

That is the very definition of tolerence: The ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:23 PM on June 1, 2011 [12 favorites]


Putting children without homes and/or parents in the middle of this is also not very tolerant.

But in response to your comment, howfar, there aren't really many intolerant comments toward Catholic Charities or toward the religion itself, mostly angry responses to how they chose to handle things.

I mean, so much for ministering to the poor and those in need on the chance that those who come to give a child a loving home might be gay. How about leaving the kids out of this and dealing with things like adults instead?
posted by cmgonzalez at 6:26 PM on June 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Amazing how intolerant a thread about greater tolerance in legislation can be. I don't agree with Catholic Charities' position or the beliefs that have led them to it, but I don't understand the vitriol here. A tolerant society is one in which people are (conditionally) free to act according to their beliefs, even if those beliefs are wrong. You can hate them for it if you want, but that seems like a pretty poor plan for increasing tolerance.

I pretty much see it as them saying they have roughly the same respect for equality as the KKK. They are *explicitly* withdrawing to avoid having to accept treating citizens with equal respect. That is done at the cost of the services provided to children who more often than not have no adult guardians at all. I'm genuinely curious why you wouldn't see the stance as worthy of extreme distaste.
posted by jaduncan at 6:28 PM on June 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Tolerate intolerance" is pretty much a non-starter.
posted by klangklangston at 6:29 PM on June 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'm genuinely curious why you wouldn't see the stance as worthy of extreme distaste.


I disagree with the stance and deplore its effect. The problem is that it is motivated by a genuine, although incorrect, moral conviction. Arguing against the conviction seems sensible, attacking the actions of those who hold it seems counter-productive.

"Tolerate intolerance" is pretty much a non-starter.

That is where we disagree. We don't make society more tolerant by becoming more intolerant ourselves.
posted by howfar at 6:47 PM on June 1, 2011


"That is where we disagree. We don't make society more tolerant by becoming more intolerant ourselves."

We do disagree. Further, I'd wager that you disagree.

The argument is pretty simple: We aren't absolutely tolerant — I have no problem saying that if your religious beliefs include molesting children, then it's OK to be intolerant of that belief, because that belief brings actual harm to other members of society. Likewise, as beliefs become more public, the potential for harm is greater. I see no problem in tolerating people's right to be racist up to a point, but as that racism has the potential to impact people or the institutions we create, it isn't unreasonable to require that those institutions serve the public at the very least by not being racist.

We should not let it continue, we should not tolerate it.

Now, given that these lines can be drawn and be legitimate, is there a good reason to condemn this intolerance?

Yes. First off, it's institutional (and a voluntary institution at that) intolerance of gays. If a religious group said that they were withdrawing from providing adoptions because they might have to place children with black families, we'd have no problem roundly condemning that — it's more important as a society to appear equitable than it is to preserve the rights of racists to act racist, especially with public money. Even without the issue of public money, it would still be right to condemn the actions of the racists there — they are acting out of concord with the basic ideals of this country (and what should be the ideals of all countries).

We draw lines as a society all the time, from when it is permissible to kill someone to whether it is permissible to deny citizens their civil rights based on prejudice. Framing the drawing of those lines as "intolerance" is a wrong-headed mistake and paints bigots as victims.

It is the Catholic organizations that are acting poorly in this situation, not those who are calling them out, and the real liberties denied gays and lesbians far outweigh the imaginary tolerance that these Catholic organizations deserve for their beliefs.

Further, by framing this as intolerant of Catholics, you implicitly affirm the framing that homophobia is an integral part of Catholicism. It is my fervent hope, especially as someone who routinely defends my religious friends from simplistic atheist snark, that homophobia is not necessary to be a good Catholic or a good Christian. I do not have to tolerate the opinions of those who believe it is — this is not a family reunion.
posted by klangklangston at 7:08 PM on June 1, 2011 [25 favorites]


If a religious group said that they were withdrawing from providing adoptions because they might have to place children with black families

I often try to make this comparison (gays:today::blacks:1950s) in my head when deciding whether to condemn some act or decision that seems like it might not pass the anti-gay smell test, and it's very useful if you think they're equatable categories. Of course, the comparison simply doesn't hold if you believe that homosexuality is a sin, as do most people who support this stuff. Then you're back to square one (i.e., I fundamentally disagree with the Catholic Church). How you can intellectually convince someone that something they believe to be truly evil is acceptable, I really just have no idea.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 7:20 PM on June 1, 2011


Okay, a) Catholic Charities OF ROCKFORD. Not of Chicago. Not of the entire state. Of ROCKFORD. I know it's fun to demonize Catholics, but at least report correctly. You can still demonize the Diocese of Rockford.

and b) There are something like 28 counties in the state that are served ONLY by Catholic hospitals and healthcare, because the state decided those counties were too expensive to keep state-run hospitals in. There was a Supreme Court case a couple years ago because the only health plan willing to provide insurance for state employees in similarly rural counties was a Catholic-run plan; there wasn't enough profit in it for anybody else. Around a third of Chicago schoolchildren attend Catholic schools (a majority of them non-Catholic, I believe), and the city system does not have the capacity to house those students. If the state of Illinois, or individual citizens thereof, do not like the way the Catholic Church runs social services, then they should adequately fund social services and quit outsourcing around a third of their social service responsibility to the Catholic Church. The Catholics of the state of Illinois pay taxes to the state and then donate to their churches to pay for what the state can't be arsed to do. The state isn't interesting in providing services to the poor. The Catholic Church (largest among the many religious organizations in Illinois providing social services) picks up their slack.

Basically, you can pay higher taxes and actually fund the necessary services, or you can keep your taxes where they are and let religious organizations provide them for you.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:39 PM on June 1, 2011 [7 favorites]


*isn't interestED
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:40 PM on June 1, 2011


I cannot find the article but I recall reading that Catholic Charities is also going to jettison their housing services programs because they cannot discriminate against gay couples. Rather than work with gay couples they will just stop serving everyone. Genius.

The writing is on the wall for them...truly a shame that they cannot follow their own precepts.

As a Chicagoan...yay for my state!
posted by zerobyproxy at 7:48 PM on June 1, 2011


If a religious group said that they were withdrawing from providing adoptions because they might have to place children with black families, we'd have no problem roundly condemning that

No, I'd have no problem thanking them for stopping doing something they're plainly unsuited to.

you implicitly affirm the framing that homophobia is an integral part of
Catholicism


What would typically be characterised as homophobia in mainstream discourse is part of mainstream Catholicism. I wish this were not the case, but if wishes were horses we'd all be eating steak. Pretending that the aspects of mainstream Catholicism we disagree with are just a doctrinal mistake promotes false tolerance and false diversity. Tolerance is about accepting that reasonable people disagree, not playing make-believe that they don't.
posted by howfar at 8:17 PM on June 1, 2011


Catholic Charities is ending foster care and adoption services to avoid serving same-sex parents.

Oh...well as long as its for a good cause. What the fuck is the world coming to?
posted by hal_c_on at 8:19 PM on June 1, 2011


if wishes were horses we'd all be eating steak

Okay I am never eating supper at your house.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:20 PM on June 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


" Then you're back to square one (i.e., I fundamentally disagree with the Catholic Church). How you can intellectually convince someone that something they believe to be truly evil is acceptable, I really just have no idea."

Except that we're not back at step one — we are still right to condemn it and not tolerate it. We make decisions all the time as a society as to what expressions will be tolerated, and in this case as there is a demonstrable harm, it is not simply a case of live and let live.

Look, I'm a strong proponent of Lockeian tolerance, and I'm a Mill liberal. However, liberalism is not neutering. You are not at the point of simply fundamentally disagreeing and unable to take further action — it is right to both condemn intolerance and to deny it public sanction.

"No, I'd have no problem thanking them for stopping doing something they're plainly unsuited to. "

That's facile. Doing the right thing for the wrong reason doesn't mean that the reasoning can't be criticized.

"What would typically be characterised as homophobia in mainstream discourse is part of mainstream Catholicism. I wish this were not the case, but if wishes were horses we'd all be eating steak. Pretending that the aspects of mainstream Catholicism we disagree with are just a doctrinal mistake promotes false tolerance and false diversity. Tolerance is about accepting that reasonable people disagree, not playing make-believe that they don't."

There are two points here, and I'll take the latter first:

Reasonable people do not disagree about gays and lesbians. Reasonable people may differ on whether there is a God or not or several. They may disagree on modes of salvation, on acts versus grace, on whether Christ is coming back or was ever here.

But reasonable people cannot disagree that gays and lesbians deserve the same rights in society, even if it contravenes their religious beliefs.

So, no, accepting that reasonable people disagree isn't the answer any more than it's the answer to human sacrifice. It was not reasonable for people to disagree over interracial marriage either.

Secondly, while mainstream Catholicism is homophobic, it is not necessarily so — the Episcopalians are not very homophobic, and getting less so. Catholicism has a long tradition of social justice, and if the leadership desired, they could take a significantly less politically active stand regarding LGBT rights. Even by emphasizing other priorities, doctrine itself wouldn't have to shift much to have a huge effect — not being actively hateful would do wonders for the Church.

Further, I know a lot of Catholics who aren't homophobic — I don't think homophobia is integral to their faith. I think it's rather insulting to Catholics to hold otherwise.
posted by klangklangston at 8:58 PM on June 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


One more thing — This intolerance is not just harming gays and lesbians, but also children who have absolutely no one else to look out for them. I don't have trouble condemning that either.

(Though I will include the general caveat that in my socialist utopia, we fund these things adequately through the secular state with the idea that there but for the grace of God go I, or whatever the secular equivalent is.)
posted by klangklangston at 9:06 PM on June 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


One thing not reported in this article is that Catholic Charities of Rockford were willing to refer these couples to other agencies to be served. They were told that was against the law.

While, yes, I think it is despicable, all sorts of religious groups would do the exact same thing. They believe homosexuality is wrong, there is no changing the mind of people who are that closed minded.

It saddens me as I was raised Catholic, the Church has meant a lot to me at times in my life, but, I will say that Catholic Charities also will not work with a couple in which one member of the couple is a cancer survivor. Believe me, I tried to work with them as my husband and I would love to adopt a child. We both love children, but, because I'm a cancer survivor it isn't allowed with them.
posted by SuzySmith at 9:52 PM on June 1, 2011


(Though I will include the general caveat that in my socialist utopia, we fund these things adequately through the secular state with the idea that there but for the grace of God go I, or whatever the secular equivalent is.)

Absolutely. When the state retreats you are pretty much forced to accept whatever remains, because kids need services.
posted by jaduncan at 9:54 PM on June 1, 2011


Cool. Maybe next they'll work on those regressive policies towards transgender people.
posted by jiawen at 10:08 PM on June 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Firstly, yay! for Illinois moving in the right direction.

Secondly - klangklangston I agree with your post, and really like it - right up until talking about how mainstream Catholicism is not necessarily homophobic.

"such acts are always violations of divine and natural law". Sounds pretty homophobic to me, despite the weasel words from the church.

I know there are practicing homosexuals, and many tolerant straight people, who consider themselves to be 'good Catholics'. I just don't see how. Isn't it the core requirement for belonging to a church, that you embrace their beliefs and teachings? You don't pick and choose. It's not a club, or a political party where you can debate or disagree. The church is the ultimate authority.

While many mainstream Catholic parishoners - at least in western countries - may not be homophobic, the mainstream Catholic Church certainly is. So when you say "I think it's rather insulting to Catholics to hold otherwise", I disagree. They are voluntary members of an organisation that espouses such views, through words and action. Too bad if they are insulted.
posted by joz at 1:03 AM on June 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I really should make this a cut and paste comment with only a few changes at some point - but as I haven't, here's an off the top of my head version.

Tolerance isn't writing the word "Welcome" over yourself and lying down in front of the door. It is a No Kicking sign. Or to use a metaphor it is a rule that no one gets to try to push anyone else out of the boat. We are all in this together. And if someone is trying to push other people out of the boat (as the "you should tolerate the intolerant, so neh!" arguments always boil down to), the tolerant response is to gently restrain them until they stop. But they will lash out at you so then you need to defend yourself.

The intolerant but justifiable response is to put on hobnail boots of your own. What do you do when someone starts kicking someone else? They've already broken the rules - the principle of tolerance merely establishes what those rules are. And you need some means of enforcing those rules.
posted by Francis at 1:24 AM on June 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I guess if the Catholic Church decided it would accept gay parents adopting through their agency, then teh gheyz would teach those children not to hate gays… the opposite of CC dogma… no good Catholics coming from that union, so to hell with 'em. It boggles the mind. But it won't boggle for long. Without any parishoners, they're going to have a hard time continuing the fundraising.

The money shot from the article:

"I am very sorry that they would give a greater priority to their commitment to continue discriminating than the health and welfare of Illinois children."
posted by readyfreddy at 2:47 AM on June 2, 2011


Isn't it the core requirement for belonging to a church, that you embrace their beliefs and teachings? You don't pick and choose.

People have been ignoring that "rule" for years with the Catholic Church.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:45 AM on June 2, 2011


"Isn't it clear that the Catholic church is a parasitic, antisocial organization with no regard for its "flock"

The Catholic Church amazes me. They do crazy stuff like this, and then you look at their record in South and Central America, and elsewhere, where they have stood up to depots and dictators and torturers and it is frankly amazing. How can an organisation do so much good for the poor in one place but not extend that humanity to UK/USA on issues like this?
posted by marienbad at 4:21 AM on June 2, 2011


Francis - Tolerance isn't writing the word "Welcome" over yourself and lying down in front of the door. It is a No Kicking sign.
I really like this metaphor, thanks!

marienbad - They do crazy stuff like this, and then you look at their record in South and Central America, and elsewhere, where they have stood up to depots and dictators and torturers
...and fight long, hard and bitterly against the provision of condoms to HIV-ridden populations and, indeed, against allowing women and couples in areas where rape and too-large families are problems to control their fertility in any other way. I've never seen a report on it, but I'd be willing to bet that they promote homophobia in those communities too.

I know that the Church does a lot of good -- I used to know a girl working on a wonderful project in Zambia that's primarily funded by a Catholic group -- but let's not pretend that it doesn't also do colossal harm to those same people as a direct consequence of its core beliefs. Whether they manage to have a net positive effect on the populations that they interact with is far from clear-cut.
posted by metaBugs at 4:47 AM on June 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


There are something like 28 counties in the state that are served ONLY by Catholic hospitals and healthcare, because the state decided those counties were too expensive to keep state-run hospitals in.

Let me rephrase that. There are something like 28 counties in the state that are served largely by state funded healthcare that is subcontracted to Catholic run organisations because a low bureaucracy charity is more efficient than either the private sector and a religious "charity" is tax exempt and therefore has lower overheads than the private sector can match - and the Republicans have been doing their best to make the directly state provided services inefficient.

As for a Catholic hospital having anything to do with Catholic funding, I can only find one report that gives anything approaching hard numbers on how much funding has anything to do with the direct impact of the Catholic Church.
Using California as a study state, the analysis found that for religious hospitals, 46 percent of all revenues came from Medicaid or Medicare, 51 percent was patient revenue from other third-party payers, such as commercial insurers, and only 3 percent was classified as non-patient revenues.

Of those non-patient revenues, the majority came from county appropriations (31 percent) and income from investments (30 percent). Only 5 percent derived from unrestricted contributions, such as charitable donations from church members. So, at best, charitable contributions made up a tiny faction (.0015 percent) of religious hospitals’ operating revenues.
So as we can see unles the state of California is a radical outlier (something I'd like some evidence to demonstrate if it is), the Catholic funding of Catholic hospitals doesn't do much more than pay for the badges and the ministers. To even imply that this is an act of significant charity by the Roman Catholic Church, as opposed to very good PR is, to me, disingenuous. It is the state providing for the poor to be treated in the hospitals - the religious funding in them is minimal. The state simply subcontracts the care - and there are good reasons to want to be a religiously badged hospital.

Around a third of Chicago schoolchildren attend Catholic schools (a majority of them non-Catholic, I believe), and the city system does not have the capacity to house those students.

Three issues you are conveniently ignoring here. First, that the state actually provides the funding for those schools - again, this is state provided with Catholic subcontractors. Second that the state built the capacity it needed - it would have needed more without the Catholic provision. Thirdly, there's long been a tradition of "Give me the child and I will give you the man" among the Roman Catholic Church. Education is a PR program - if you can run it at break even it's very good marketing.

If the state of Illinois, or individual citizens thereof, do not like the way the Catholic Church runs social services, then they should adequately fund social services and quit outsourcing around a third of their social service responsibility to the Catholic Church. The Catholics of the state of Illinois pay taxes to the state and then donate to their churches to pay for what the state can't be arsed to do.

Oh, I absolutely agree that the state of Illinois should quit outsourcing to the Roman Catholic Church. But outsourcing is a legitimate way to ensure service provision assuming there aren't special exemptions provided for the organisations like the RCC to allow them to not provide adequate services. As for the churches actually paying - the only numbers I've checked are the medical ones. If California is a typical case (unlikely but it's as close as we have), 46% of Catholic hospital revenue comes from the state. Private charity adds approximately 0.003% to this value. In what world is adding an extra 0.003% "doing what the state can't be arsed to"?
posted by Francis at 4:57 AM on June 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


My mom said Catholic Charities was a joke in regards to adoptions even back in the 70s when she and my dad tried obtaining a child. They were all into "oh you're too old (what? My mom was 27). "Oh you don't make enough" (my dad made enough to support us). And other bullshit reasons.

I think their name is a joke.
posted by stormpooper at 6:31 AM on June 2, 2011


I agree with your post, and really like it - right up until talking about how mainstream Catholicism is not necessarily homophobic.

I think there has to be made a distinction between mainstream Catholicism and mainstream Catholics. The former can be somewhat monolithic, and is represented particularly poorly by charities like this and otherwise left-of-center politicians in the US. The latter are more diverse and individual members and households tend to be a lot more tolerant of the gays, contraception, and even abortion to a certain extent.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:32 AM on June 2, 2011


"As for a Catholic hospital having anything to do with Catholic funding, I can only find one report that gives anything approaching hard numbers on how much funding has anything to do with the direct impact of the Catholic Church. "

Fortunately, you can examine the individual hospitals' 990s that they file with the IRS and see exactly how much funding comes from charity. Having recently examined a local Catholic hospital's 990 for an unrelated property tax exemption issue (I oppose the property tax exemption in question, if it matters), I can say it was a fairly substantial proportion at this local hospital.

"First, that the state actually provides the funding for those schools - again, this is state provided with Catholic subcontractors."

No, it does not. The state or federal government provides certain funding that follows specific students (special ed services, for example; some textbook funding; also frequently low-income student technology grants), but the tuition for the students does NOT come from the state. In fact, it's forbidden in article X, section 3 of the state constitution. I'm really unclear how you could think that the state pays for students in Catholic schools. It is a SIGNIFICANT subsidy to the city of Chicago to take 1/3 of its students off the rolls.

I'm going to remove this thread from my history because it seems clear to me that there is a level of ignorance and hatred on display here that is not interested in things like facts (there has yet to be any acknowledgement that this is one small diocese and not the ENTIRE BILLION CATHOLICS WORLDWIDE ... or even other dioceses in the state with Catholic Charity-provided foster care services). I was going to say more about responses to this legislation from Illinois Catholic communities (almost uniformly positive and even celebratory), but I'm just so angry right now I can hardly type. It seems like most people in this thread know very little about Catholicism and some seem to have never even MET a Catholic.

But I suppose I should be used to it by now, that I am not welcome to call myself a liberal as long as I also call myself a Catholic, and that I will continuously be told that I am lying about my politics or it's simply "impossible" for me to disagree with my faith or work to change it from the inside; that I am a hypocrite and a bigot by my very nature and I can't change that; and that I am simply not welcome. I've got the memo, thanks.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:18 AM on June 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


And BTW, this thread should really be about "Hooray, Illinois! You're now only slightly less awesome than Iowa!" It was a great day to be an Illinoisian, a great day to be downtown by the courthouse, a great day to see dear friends finally getting their licenses so their families can be recognized by the state.

But I totally get that "Catholics suck" is a much more important message than "Gay rights are awesome!"
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:20 AM on June 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Secondly - klangklangston I agree with your post, and really like it - right up until talking about how mainstream Catholicism is not necessarily homophobic.

"such acts are always violations of divine and natural law". Sounds pretty homophobic to me, despite the weasel words from the church.

I know there are practicing homosexuals, and many tolerant straight people, who consider themselves to be 'good Catholics'. I just don't see how. Isn't it the core requirement for belonging to a church, that you embrace their beliefs and teachings? You don't pick and choose. It's not a club, or a political party where you can debate or disagree. The church is the ultimate authority.
"

I think your confusion comes from the way that I'm using "necessarily."

I mean it in a strict sense, in that it is not necessary to be homophobic in order to be Catholic. I think current church leadership does believe it to be necessary, and is pushing a harder line on it, but that's also tied with echoing the homophobic culture of most developing countries where the Church is expanding — likewise, Catholicism is evaporating in America, with calcified old bigots left behind as younger believers find other churches.

I will say that American Catholics have a long history of ignoring what Rome says — American Catholics used to support abortion (the numbers have shifted somewhat as more moderates have left the church). With American Catholics, there's a lot of, "This is what we say, but this is what we do."

Which is why I remarked upthread that Catholicism is going to need to either get rid of or deprecate the homophobic teachings if they want to survive in the West after the current generation of Catholics dies off.
posted by klangklangston at 8:11 AM on June 2, 2011


I'm really unclear how you could think that the state pays for students in Catholic schools.

Mea culpa. I'm from Britain where we do have state funded faith schools. I hadn't realised that the American ones were all private (which leads to a whole different set of arguments on the impact of private education on the surrounding schools).

Having recently examined a local Catholic hospital's 990 for an unrelated property tax exemption issue (I oppose the property tax exemption in question, if it matters), I can say it was a fairly substantial proportion at this local hospital.

"A fairly substantial proportion"? Give me numbers or facts or links or you're just spouting hot air. Hospital budgets are massive.

It seems like most people in this thread know very little about Catholicism and some seem to have never even MET a Catholic.

That may be your perception. Some of us have been to mass, can use the catechism, and read a lot of what comes out of the Vatican.

But I suppose I should be used to it by now, that I am not welcome to call myself a liberal as long as I also call myself a Catholic, and that I will continuously be told that I am lying about my politics or it's simply "impossible" for me to disagree with my faith or work to change it from the inside; that I am a hypocrite and a bigot by my very nature and I can't change that; and that I am simply not welcome. I've got the memo, thanks.

I had a long answer to that and where this attitude could come from, but then was reminded of a recent XKCD. (That said, if you are voluntarily out of communion with the Roman Catholic Church over certain Catholic teachings - as a few Catholics I know are - you have my deepest respect).
posted by Francis at 9:46 AM on June 2, 2011


I had missed a big chunk of your comment, Eyebrows, but this stuck out: "I was going to say more about responses to this legislation from Illinois Catholic communities (almost uniformly positive and even celebratory), but I'm just so angry right now I can hardly type. It seems like most people in this thread know very little about Catholicism and some seem to have never even MET a Catholic.""

A lot of my family is Catholic, specifically Irish Chicago Catholic. My father left the church early on, but my grandmother was fervent her whole life.

Within that context, I can very much say that the Church as a whole has moved rightward over my life, and certainly over the lives of my parents. I can also say that attendance has declined, and that a lot of the people left are those who are comfortable with the rightward shift.

I can also say that toward the end of my grandmother's life, one of the most heartbreaking things was that the church she had worked for so hard and so long largely abandoned her. A new (but older), more conservative priest took over her congregation and, despite a cordial working relationship, never visited her once in the hospital. The church had been a huge part o her life, and while many of her friends had already died, it was depressing to see that one of the most important roles that the church can take — that of comforting the sick and weak — was abdicated by a priest who preached against "moral contagions" in the community.

So, I think I've been pretty even-handed in my criticisms of Catholicism, and pretty clear on distinctions between church leadership and Catholics as a whole. But while I know it can be frustrating to be beset on all sides, to not get credit for striving to return your church to the concerns of social justice that so animated it in the past, but realize that the church itself has moved and that for those without the attachment of faith or community, that move is apparent and troubling.
posted by klangklangston at 10:19 AM on June 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!

...but everyone expects this. Catholic Charities, meh. Illinois, I salute you. And I plan on coming to visit and spend money in your state because that's a the little bit I can do to show my support.
posted by Kokopuff at 10:51 AM on June 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


There was a midnight wedding today (you need to wait 24 hours after the license issue) with several gay couples, with a bunch of services donated by local wedding industry vendors (mein wife's wedding dj company among them). Bet that was a fuuuuuuun party :D
posted by jtron at 12:36 PM on June 2, 2011


Woo! Can't wait until everyone can get fully married, but this is a nice step.
posted by agregoli at 1:52 PM on June 2, 2011


But I suppose I should be used to it by now, that I am not welcome to call myself a liberal as long as I also call myself a Catholic, and that I will continuously be told that I am lying about my politics or it's simply "impossible" for me to disagree with my faith or work to change it from the inside; that I am a hypocrite and a bigot by my very nature and I can't change that; and that I am simply not welcome. I've got the memo, thanks.

I fail to see where anyone here has called you a liar, a hypocrite or a bigot. If you are working to change the church from the inside, that's great. Good for you.

But the very fact that you are doing so indicates that things about the church that require change.

If an organisation expresses a view (e.g. homosexuals are bad and are going to hell), and you subscribe to that organisation, then people will, understandably, associate you, the individual, with the views expressed by that organisation. That sucks for you. But that's the cross you chose to bear when you decided to change that organisation from the inside.

If I joined the NRA, I wouldn't complain that people thought I supported gun ownership.

That you are not a bigot or a homophobe is a good thing. The fact that you trying to change those parts of your church that have failed to keep up with the development of society is a good thing. And yes, everyone is aware that the church is not a monolith, that there are more and less progressive parts of it. But the leadership of the Catholic Church, in Rome, is one of the less progressive parts. And they are the most visible public face.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:44 PM on June 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


But the leadership of the Catholic Church, in Rome, is one of the less progressive parts. And they are the most visible public face.

And rather insistent that if you disagree with them about these things, you are not Catholic and not welcome in the Catholic Church. And fund their campaigns of hate with the money given by people "working to change it from the inside".
posted by kafziel at 5:01 PM on June 2, 2011


Rather like Dave Chapelle changing the KKK from within.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:15 PM on June 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


"While we understand leaving this work will be very painful for our client families, employees, volunteers, donors and prayerful supporters, we can no longer contract with the state of Illinois whose laws would force us to participate in activity offensive to the moral teachings of the church — teachings which compel us to do this work in the first place," said Frank Vonch, director of social services for the Diocese of Rockford, which includes Kane and McHenry counties.

Jesus Wept...
posted by WinstonJulia at 7:27 PM on June 2, 2011


I have identified the root problem: they follow the teachings of a church, instead of the teachings of Christ.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:55 AM on June 3, 2011


or work to change it from the inside;

So you're working your way up to Pope?
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:45 AM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]




Do churches have the right to public monies? I'll bet this goes poorly for the separation of church and state. A court that can decide corporate money is free speech could easily decide public money is religious charity.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:44 PM on June 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


« Older Attention all competitors: This is your one minute...   |   The queers won the battle, but the war will go on Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post