Catholic Charities Denies Health Benefits To Spouses
March 3, 2010 1:45 PM   Subscribe

I am writing to you to inform you of an important change to our group health care benefit plan that will take effect on March 2, 2010 due to a change in the law of the District of Columbia.

It is an irony that many who have marched under the banners tolerance and open-mindedness, now that they have power, show that it never really was about either of those things. It appears it was really about power and imposition.
posted by Joe Beese (163 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
fffffffffffuuuuuuuuuu
posted by Oktober at 1:48 PM on March 3, 2010 [7 favorites]


Is there anyone on Earth who didn't see this coming a thousand miles away?
posted by The World Famous at 1:48 PM on March 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


Didn't the Archdiocese threaten to do this before the election? It shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that they're willing to throw their weight around.
posted by muddgirl at 1:49 PM on March 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


douchebags!
posted by Mach5 at 1:49 PM on March 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


Wow, talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face.
posted by doctor_negative at 1:50 PM on March 3, 2010 [6 favorites]


Similar to the decision to shut down orphanages instead of let gay people adopt.

You can't blame them though, they are just exercising their religious imperative not to help people who are sinners, Jesus was very clear about not wanting to help them.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:50 PM on March 3, 2010 [105 favorites]


Yes. Fuck. As a social worker who works in the District, this really pisses me off. Indeed, no social worker should be able to work at Catholic Charities at this point, as this stance violates the NASW Code of Ethics, at least in my reading. Catholic Charities already shuttered their foster care program so they would not have to put kids in danger by potentially exposing them to gay germs. Dorothy Day where have you gone!
posted by OmieWise at 1:51 PM on March 3, 2010 [7 favorites]


Dear Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church:

We'll let you have your "scare quotes" if you let YOUR OWN EMPLOYEES have benefits. Deal?
posted by kittyprecious at 1:51 PM on March 3, 2010


That is really shitty.
posted by infinitywaltz at 1:51 PM on March 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


And actually, I have no problems with companies agreeing that it is discriminatory to offer benefits for opposite-sex partners and not to same-sex partners, and to end the discriminatory practice by not offering benefits to any partners.

After all, the fewer people who rely on employer-financed health care, the more people who will support single-payer, and the fewer people who will (like me) be forced to get a marriage license to ensure health benefits.
posted by muddgirl at 1:52 PM on March 3, 2010 [10 favorites]


I guess they decided that if gay marriage wasn't going to actually be a threat to traditional marriage, they were damn well going to make it one.
posted by maqsarian at 1:52 PM on March 3, 2010 [67 favorites]


Except, reading The Sexist article, this isn't what the Charity is doing, of course, as current employees are grandfathered in. They're just being dicks.
posted by muddgirl at 1:53 PM on March 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


We're taking our (medicine) ball and going home.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:53 PM on March 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


You can't blame them though, they are just exercising their religious imperative not to help people who are sinners, Jesus was very clear about not wanting to help them.

Without getting into the question of whether same-sex marriage actually is a sin (since the Catholic Church undisputably believes that it is), is there not a difference between helping people who are sinners and facilitating what is seen as a sin? I don't remember Jesus saying anything about how those who commit certain sins are entitled to benefits because they committed the sin. (Again, I'm not trying to say that it is, in fact, a sin here, but just that the Church's position is both logical and consistent with its own doctrine - and with the biblical account of Jesus spending time with sinners.)
posted by The World Famous at 1:55 PM on March 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Religious organizations such as Catholic Charities could be denied licenses or certification by the government, denied the right to offer adoption and foster care services, or no longer be able to partner with the city to provide social services for the needy.

So the Archdiocese is going to stop offering social services because they believe the city will threaten to stop their social services. Wait, what?
posted by Think_Long at 1:55 PM on March 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Does the Catholic Church refuse to help homeless individuals who are gay? Because I've got some news for them . . .
posted by Think_Long at 1:56 PM on March 3, 2010


is there not a difference between helping people who are sinners and facilitating what is seen as a sin? I don't remember Jesus saying anything about how those who commit certain sins are entitled to benefits because they committed the sin.

I don't think Jesus was very clear on which sick people we aren't supposed to help.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:57 PM on March 3, 2010 [24 favorites]


So the Archdiocese is going to stop offering social services because they believe the city will threaten to stop their social services. Wait, what?

It is going to stop offering social services because it believes that the city will require it to offer social services in a manner that runs in direct violation of the Church's doctrines.
posted by The World Famous at 1:57 PM on March 3, 2010


I am writing to you to inform you of an important change to our group health care benefit plan that will take effect on March 2, 2010 due to a change in the law of the District of Columbia.

People are going to quit. They will pay.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:58 PM on March 3, 2010


"If we want to protect marriage, we must first destroy it. First, we'll eliminate benefits for people we don't discriminate against." - Catholic Church
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:58 PM on March 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


This is so Christ-like.
posted by amethysts at 1:58 PM on March 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


So the Archdiocese is going to stop offering social services because they believe the city will threaten to stop their social services. Wait, what?

Yeah, that's pretty much how it is. If I recall correctly, it was pretty much guaranteed that they would have been shut down.
posted by charred husk at 1:58 PM on March 3, 2010


I don't think Jesus was very clear on which sick people we aren't supposed to help.

I'm sorry. Are you arguing that the Archdiocese should actually be giving employment-related benefits to everyone on the planet, regardless of who works for them? The accusation above appeared to be that Jesus somehow preached that the Church must give spousal health benefits to people because they commit a sin.
posted by The World Famous at 1:59 PM on March 3, 2010


...same-sex marriage isn’t the only invalid marriage under Catholic doctrine. For instance:

* A Catholic and a Jew married by a rabbi and not a priest.
* A Catholic and a Baptist married by a minister and not a priest.
* A Catholic and anybody not married by a priest.

... Except that the cases above would be toxic PR, requiring the Church to say:

We won’t give the same employment benefits to Catholics married to Jews (in a Jewish service) as we do to Jews married to Jews (in a Jewish service) or to Catholics married to Catholics (in a Catholic service).

posted by Joe Beese at 2:00 PM on March 3, 2010 [21 favorites]


Sorry, "shut down" is probably the wrong term. Needless, they'd be in violation and no one agreed to give them a get out of jail free card.
posted by charred husk at 2:02 PM on March 3, 2010


Also, they may have a problem here. You can drive a goddamned truck through the DC Human Rights Act. Its laughably easy to present a claim upon which relief can be granted under the Act.

Expect litigation.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:02 PM on March 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Shorter: The Church hates gays more than it loves straights.
posted by quin at 2:03 PM on March 3, 2010 [24 favorites]


I don't think Jesus was very clear on which sick people we aren't supposed to help.

Let me just flip to Mark 1:40-45...

And there came a leper to Him, beseeching Him, and kneeling down to Him, and saying unto Him, If Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean.

And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, repulsed, Thou art fruity, and thus I shanst as thou be filth. But I haveth an idea.

And as soon as He had spoken, immediately the benefits departed from the fruity leper, and he was cleansed of the copays.

posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:04 PM on March 3, 2010 [36 favorites]


I'm sorry. Are you arguing that the Archdiocese should actually be giving employment-related benefits to everyone on the planet, regardless of who works for them? The accusation above appeared to be that Jesus somehow preached that the Church must give spousal health benefits to people because they commit a sin.

Pretty sure that was a reference to the social services decisions the church has made WF.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:04 PM on March 3, 2010


1. Organization expresses beliefs on a matter.
2. People try to force organization to violate those beliefs.
3. Organization refuses to cooperate, citing said beliefs.
4. People get angry at organization for remaining steadfast in its beliefs.

Net result = worse situation for all than before process began. Did people really expect a Catholic organization to cheerfully do things that are expressly un-Catholic? There are a million arguments for why the Catholics should change their position on the matter, but all of us on the outside looking in have no business making them. Let the Catholics, y'know, make their own decisions. And don't associate yourself with them if you disagree.

The world is not a better place when organizations are coerced into hypocrisy.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 2:04 PM on March 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Also, whoever thought "The Sexist" was a good name for a blog column?
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 2:05 PM on March 3, 2010


What a bunch of pigs. I'm sorry, I know this is not exactly a topic that has gone down well in recent weeks, but here's the difference: I am not saying all Catholics are jerks. I am saying these ones in charge are. (So unless the Archbishop's on MetaFilter, kids, this isn't directed at you). I cannot reconcile their actions with the beliefs of EVERY OTHER CATHOLIC I KNOW, including the one I live with (in sin! woo!).

Call me crazy, but isn't a church made of and for its people? Not its rulers? The people ARE the church. The Catholics I know are community-minded, tolerant, a bit more liberal than average, educated, family-oriented. They have gay aunts, uncles, kids, cousins...and they love them just as much, and want them to be happy, healthy, safe and EQUAL.

I wish the Catholic Church could be taxed into oblivion -- money and exerting power over those who have less of it are the only things their leaders care about.

Fuck me, this makes me ANGRY.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 2:06 PM on March 3, 2010 [3 favorites]




I'm sorry. Are you arguing that the Archdiocese should actually be giving employment-related benefits to everyone on the planet, regardless of who works for them? The accusation above appeared to be that Jesus somehow preached that the Church must give spousal health benefits to people because they commit a sin.


The argument is Jesus would probably feel that everyone deserves health care, regardless of their status as sinners.


When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?

When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?'

And the king will say to them in reply, 'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.'


If the Archdiocese COULD help everyone, I would certainly expect them to. I don't think even Judas lost his health care coverage.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:06 PM on March 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Did people really expect a Catholic organization to cheerfully do things that are expressly un-Catholic?

Health care for sinners is un-Catholic?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:09 PM on March 3, 2010 [6 favorites]


Ironmouth: "Also, they may have a problem here. You can drive a goddamned truck through the DC Human Rights Act."

Just looked it up...

Part B. Employment.

§ 2-1402.11. Prohibitions.

(b) Subterfuge - It shall further be an unlawful discriminatory practice to do any of the above said acts for any reason that would not have been asserted but for, wholly or partially, a discriminatory reason based on the actual or perceived: ... sexual orientation...


The memo in the first link makes it very clear that this is a "would not have been asserted but for" situation.
posted by Joe Beese at 2:09 PM on March 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


And don't associate yourself with them if you disagree.

Oh I try. Lord how I do try.
posted by aramaic at 2:09 PM on March 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Does Catholic Charities stop paying health benefits to a spouse if an employee gets a (civil) divorce? Or is an actual sundering of a marriage for all practical purposes, which as far as I know is not recognized by the Catholic Church, seen as less morally objectionable, especially when it lets you save money?
posted by chinston at 2:09 PM on March 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Are you arguing that the Archdiocese should actually be giving employment-related benefits to everyone on the planet, regardless of who works for them?

It is a perfectly fair comment to note that this behavior is wholly un-Christ-like.

That said, in most modern American business operations — even non-profit orgs — there is a certain expectation of the benefits that a full-time job provides, even if the benefits are meager or marginal.

The Catholic Church is expressly, loudly saying that the social contract that everyone more or less agrees to in this country doesn't apply to the Church, only because they don't like gay people.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:13 PM on March 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Come on everyone, we're talking about gay people here.

serious business.

They do things that are like, ick.
posted by Theta States at 2:13 PM on March 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


I just read over the second link, and I'm confused.

Pope writes "But the true fact is that the Bill would force us out since to accept or administer even $1.00 of DC money would put us under a whole series of unacceptable rules"

Does this mean that prior to this the government of Washington DC was giving money to the Roman Catholic Church? WTF?

I'm also confused as to some of the objections the letter he quotes raises: "As a result, religious organizations and individuals are at risk of legal action for refusing to promote and support same-sex marriages in a host of settings where it would compromise their religious beliefs."

Just prior to this the Monsignor acknowledged that the bill explicitly stated that no religious outfit would be required to perform gay marriages. What else do they want?

Are they lying in their claims about what this bill mandates?
posted by sotonohito at 2:15 PM on March 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


There are a million arguments for why the Catholics should change their position on the matter, but all of us on the outside looking in have no business making them. Let the Catholics, y'know, make their own decisions. And don't associate yourself with them if you disagree. The world is not a better place when organizations are coerced into hypocrisy.

That argument goes nowhere, providing that you agree with the basic notion of anti-discrimination law, which is that employers don't get to be blatantly racist, sexist, etc, simply because it's theoretically possible for a black person, woman, etc, to go work somewhere else instead.

What's happening is that an employer is demanding a special exemption from a universally applicable law on the grounds that its bigotry is enshrined in centuries of religious tradition.

Nobody's forcing them to be an employer if they don't want to play by the rules of being an employer. The unemployment that would result, if they decided to stop being an employer, would be a Bad Thing. But the alternative is a world in which anti-discrimination law is optional, and in which democracy can be held to ransom by special pleading. That's way worse.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 2:15 PM on March 3, 2010 [35 favorites]


Without getting into the question of whether same-sex marriage actually is a sin (since the Catholic Church undisputably believes that it is), is there not a difference between helping people who are sinners and facilitating what is seen as a sin?

There might be.

But.

I don't know that the RC Church asserts that gay marriage is sinful. Fucking people the same sex as you, sure, but I don't know that the RC Church teaches that if you just fuck your same-sex roommate, that's one sin, but getting a civil marriage to that person is an extra bonus sin on top.

And in any case, providing medical care to homosexuals is in the "helping people who are sinners" category, not the "facilitating a sin" one. By casting the net so wide that healing the sick somehow becomes too sinful to bear, anything RC Charities do that might conceivably assist a homosexual somewhere is also "facilitating" their sin by making it easier to not be dead.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:16 PM on March 3, 2010 [6 favorites]


Jesus this, Jesus that. The Catholic Church is not all WWJD, that argument carries absolutely no weight.

I am reminded of The Name Of The Rose, where one of the Pope's evil emissaries says something like "Ultimately this is not about whether Jesus was poor or rich, this is about whether the Church should be rich or not". I guess the Church decided it ought to be rich.
posted by dirty lies at 2:16 PM on March 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Winsome Parker Lewis : The world is not a better place when organizations are coerced into hypocrisy.

I don't know, their turn around on Galileo (while long overdue) was a refreshing indication that modernization and reconciliation was possible, if something were to successfully spur that process into working faster with regard to acceptance of gays, the world would definitely be a better place for people affected by this.
posted by quin at 2:17 PM on March 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


In 1959 Prince Edward County in Virginia closed its entire public school system to avoid integrating black and white students into the same schools. This is the same thing.
posted by XMLicious at 2:18 PM on March 3, 2010 [32 favorites]


This is pretty much the most classless thing they could have done. It's like they're actively trying to keep gay-friendly people away.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 2:19 PM on March 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


People are going to quit. They will pay.

I hope so, but the current employees are all grandfathered in. How many people walk out over two-tier arrangements when they're in the top tier?
posted by enn at 2:20 PM on March 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


The argument is Jesus would probably feel that everyone deserves health care, regardless of their status as sinners.

Right. And that's an argument that the Church should be providing health care not only to the spouses of its employees, but to everyone in the world, regardless of whether they're married to one of the Church's employees.

It is a perfectly fair comment to note that this behavior is wholly un-Christ-like.

It's fair. I think it's blatantly incorrect, given that the issue is whether the Church should grant health benefits to people because they have entered into a same-sex marriage with one of the Church's employees, and I don't think any reasonable interpretation of Christ's teachings can support the argument. But it's fair.

Health care for sinners is un-Catholic?

A more expensive way that the Church might have dealt with the legal issue could possibly have been to grant health care benefits not based on marriage to an employee, but by simply telling every employee that they are allowed to add one person - spouse, partner, or otherwise - to the plan. I'm not a Catholic, but I suspect that that would have taken care of the doctrinal issue.

But unless I'm misunderstanding the issue, it's not a question of "health care for sinners." It's a question of whether committing the "sin" (same sex marriage) should be recognized by the Church as an act that specifically qualifies someone for benefits to which they would not have been entitled if they had not committed the "sin." That's the basis for my alternative proposal above (just letting each employee designate one additional beneficiary, regardless of marriage).
posted by The World Famous at 2:21 PM on March 3, 2010


I love Monsignor Charles Pope's attempts in the comments to explain that they aren't doing anything wrong, that they still count as (as one of the earliest commenters rebuked them) feeding the least among them.

Again, let me state WE are not walking away from the poor. Rather it is the City that will, according to its own legislation exclude us from using city money to serve them.

As if the city had just, you know, of its own denied the charity any money.
posted by kenko at 2:23 PM on March 3, 2010


"The committee rejected concerns raised in testimony by the ACLU,"

Can somebody tell me what the ACLU's concerns are here? I tend to think of the ACLU as having nothing to do with the Catholic church, so that part intrigued me.
posted by circular at 2:25 PM on March 3, 2010


"Again, let me state WE are not walking away from the poor. Rather it is the City that will, according to its own legislation exclude us from using city money to serve them."

"And the angel said unto him, "Stop hitting yourself!" But he could not stop, for the angel was hitting him with his own hands.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 2:26 PM on March 3, 2010 [39 favorites]


A more expensive way that the Church might have dealt with the legal issue could possibly have been to grant health care benefits not based on marriage to an employee, but by simply telling every employee that they are allowed to add one person - spouse, partner, or otherwise - to the plan.

As I understand it, this is what the Archdiocese in San Francisco did when they found themselves in a similar situation. So this is maybe less "CATHOLIC CHURCH SUCKS" and more "WASHINGTON ARCHDIOCESE SUCKS."

For the sake of accuracy.
posted by iminurmefi at 2:27 PM on March 3, 2010 [6 favorites]


The World Famous: "... unless I'm misunderstanding the issue... It's a question of whether committing the "sin" (same sex marriage) should be recognized by the Church as an act that specifically qualifies someone for benefits to which they would not have been entitled if they had not committed the "sin.""

If their position is that gay spouses aren't entitled to health benefits because they're not married in the eyes of the Catholic Church, also not entitled would be all these folks.

That those folks get the benefits despite being unentitled gives the lie to any claim that this is about the Catholic doctrines of marriage.
posted by Joe Beese at 2:29 PM on March 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think it's blatantly incorrect, given that the issue is whether the Church should grant health benefits to people because they have entered into a same-sex marriage with one of the Church's employees, and I don't think any reasonable interpretation of Christ's teachings can support the argument.

I think it is correct, even without any legal framework that defined "same-sex marriage" in Christ's time: Jesus giving health care to lepers (or, metaphorically, any other social pariahs) is a useful parable that translates well to the modern age. Especially given how the Catholic Church would otherwise treat GLBT people, if the law would only let them.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:29 PM on March 3, 2010


Right. And that's an argument that the Church should be providing health care not only to the spouses of its employees, but to everyone in the world, regardless of whether they're married to one of the Church's employees.


YES, that is my argument. Everyone deserves the care in the first place, there is no subset of people that Jesus would not help if he could, and there is no way to disqualify yourself from this pool even if you sin.

Again, if the Archdiocese had the power to give everyone health care, I would expect them to.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:30 PM on March 3, 2010


If their position is that gay spouses aren't entitled to health benefits because they're not married in the eyes of the Catholic Church, also not entitled would be all these folks.

I don't think that's their position. As I understand it, their position is that marrying someone of the same sex should not be a triggering event for entitling someone to health benefits.

Jesus giving health care to lepers (or, metaphorically, any other social pariahs) is a useful parable that translates well to the modern age.

Jesus didn't decide who to give health care to based on whether or not they were the spouse of someone who worked for him. He also didn't take government money to fund his healing operation.
posted by The World Famous at 2:33 PM on March 3, 2010


This just makes me sad. As a former Roman Catholic, born and raised in the church, receiver of as many of the holy sacraments as I was eligible for, I am just sad. I stopped going to church for the garden variety reasons most young adults espouse, and have stayed away as my opinion of organized religion has evolved. I don't want to hate the church, because I still enjoy going to mass - the ritual, the smells, the songs, the familiarity brings me back every once and awhile. But this, this - I can't take this. I thought their resistance to birth control was out of step with modern times and not compassionate. I thought their take on abortion consistent with their dogma, but not consistent with a woman's right to choose what happens to her body, and I therefore couldn't support it. I didn't agree with their failure to allow women to serve as clergy, or to allow priests to marry. I didn't agree with Rome's failure to address the problem of pedophilia within its ranks more aggressively and transparently. I didn't agree with it's stance on homosexuality, and now its stance against same sex marriages. Catholic Charities has not always been a bad organization. Indeed, they have done some amazing works throughout the years. Catholic Charities is staffed by great people, most of whom do not agree with what the higher-ups are getting on about. Someone upthread said that the Roman Catholic Church hates gays more than it loves straight people, and finally, that really does appear to be true. It just makes me so sad. My occasional trips to church may finally be over.
posted by msali at 2:36 PM on March 3, 2010 [14 favorites]


It's like they're actively trying to keep gay-friendly people away.

They are. Remember a few months ago when the Catholic Church decided it would let Anglicans join, even allowing married priests in violation of longstanding Catholic tradition? They were explicitly appealing to Anglicans who had become dissatisfied with the progressive changes to the Anglican church, such as the ordination of women and openly gay men into the clergy.

The Catholic Church has drawn its line in the sand. To it, homosexuality is not just "a wrong thing you should not do", it's "an evil thing that must be countered". This is an extremist view, and the Church has been taking active measures to recruit and retain and mobilize extremist sympathizers.

I'm curious whether there are any prominent Catholic politicians in the country who support gay marriage. If so, I wouldn't be surprised to see the church's next step being to deny communion to those politicians, much as they have done for uppity pro-choice Catholic politicians.
posted by Riki tiki at 2:38 PM on March 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Jesus didn't decide who to give health care to based on whether or not they were the spouse of someone who worked for him.

No, but he did decide to give health care to people who are otherwise shunned by society, and he didn't get hung up on what the law decided was an acceptable definition of leper, etc.

You're hung up on the word "spouse" for some reason, choosing to not to consider the lesson the parable is actually trying to teach to you.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:39 PM on March 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


Classy. One of Hannah Arendt's descriptions of creeping fascism: they tell you the terrible consequences are inevitable, and to avoid being wrong they ensure that those consequences come about.
posted by zvs at 2:42 PM on March 3, 2010 [6 favorites]


My occasional trips to church may finally be over.

I'd say that depends on your local parish. You'd be amazed at what actually happens on the ground in a nice, liberal church. I'd say more but I don't want our dick of an arcbishop to get wind of what we're up to - he's already dismantled one parish.
Donate time instead of money so you don't feed the beast. Focus on the "community" part of communion instead of what you hear on TV. Good can still be done from the trenches.
posted by charred husk at 2:44 PM on March 3, 2010 [5 favorites]



Jesus didn't decide who to give health care to based on whether or not they were the spouse of someone who worked for him.


Right, since he believed everyone should be helped when they were sick, he never got a chance to explain in which situations you should refuse to help the sick. Terrible oversight.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:44 PM on March 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


Can somebody tell me what the ACLU's concerns are here? I tend to think of the ACLU as having nothing to do with the Catholic church, so that part intrigued me.

The Washington Archdioces wanted a number of exemptions carved into the legislation that has granted gay marriage in the District, as of today.

Well, gay marriage applications anyway. Since the filthy gays failed to get their Special Rights and only got equal rights they were able to start applying today but must still wait the 3 days before licensing just like everyone else.

Anyway. The CC leadership here didn't like the repercussions of this law and wanted a number of exemptions put in that would allow them to continue doing business as usual. The ACLU testified in the hearings as well. There's extended discussion of it in this chat but the ACLU bit is here:


Denton, Md.: Hasn't the ACLU also voiced its opinion to the D.C. Council on this? They also asked for broader protections for religious groups, right? The Council should listen when the Church and the ACLU are agreeing on an issue.

Patrick J. Deneen: The ACLU testified at the testimony that the proposed legislation represented a narrowing of religious liberty. They proposed a broader religious exemption than the originally proposed bill. The original bill proposed no religious exemptions for any religious organizations that serves the general public(whether they use public funding or not). The ACLU argued for broader exemptions than are in the current legislation - for instance, the ACLU argued for the protection of private individuals who would refuse - on the basis of faith commitments - to provide goods or services for the solemnization of marriage. The current proposed legislation does not provide for any such exemption of private individuals. Here the argument was made not (only) by religious institutions, but the ACLU.

posted by phearlez at 2:46 PM on March 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


No, but he did decide to give health care to people who are otherwise shunned by society, and he didn't get hung up on what the law decided was an acceptable definition of leper, etc.

I think Christ's mandate is to give to all.

You're hung up on the word "spouse" for some reason, choosing to not to consider the lesson the parable is actually trying to teach to you.

I'm hung up on the word "spouse" because this is a thread about same-sex marriage and the Catholic Church's understandable refusal to change its doctrine in order to consider same-sex marriage to be a qualifying event for the granting of spousal health benefits to its employees.

And unless you have already been going to bat against the Catholic Church for years based on the fact that it has given spousal health benefits to its employees for years without granting those same benefits to non-spouses, I respectfully submit that you, too, are hung up on the word "spouse." Why would the fact that a same-sex couple can now get married in DC make any difference in the question of whether the Church ought to grant health benefits to the sexual partners of its employees? Doctrinally, has the Church been violating Christ's mandate by failing to grant health care benefits to anyone with whom its employees cohabitate or have regular sexual relations, regardless of marital status? Why does marital status matter in the question of whether Catholic Charities should give them health benefits?
posted by The World Famous at 2:47 PM on March 3, 2010


If their position is that gay spouses aren't entitled to health benefits because they're not married in the eyes of the Catholic Church, also not entitled would be all these folks.

I don't think that's their position. As I understand it, their position is that marrying someone of the same sex should not be a triggering event for entitling someone to health benefits.


Yes but there's a reason for that position and the reason is that gay marriage is invalid under Catholic law. The problem is that other invalid marriages don't give rise to the same position on those marriages. Ergo, the validity of the marriage is not the real issue, and something else is...

Here's a visual:

Acquiring a gay spouse ----> invalid marriage ----> doesn't "trigger benefits"
Acquiring a Jewish spouse, without a priest ----> invalid marriage ----> does "trigger benefits"

See? It's problematic.
posted by r_nebblesworthII at 2:52 PM on March 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


From the comments of the article:

Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?
posted by yeti at 2:52 PM on March 3, 2010 [7 favorites]


Why does marital status matter in the question of whether Catholic Charities should give them health benefits?

I don't know, why don't you ask them?
posted by r_nebblesworthII at 2:53 PM on March 3, 2010


Why would the fact that a same-sex couple can now get married in DC make any difference in the question of whether the Church ought to grant health benefits to the sexual partners of its employees?

Not to keep harping on you but... it matters because the church takes public money. If it takes DC's money, it can't discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. So, it chose to stop granting health benefits to all new employees so it wouldn't have to grant them to some gay employees. I mean, didn't you read the articles? How can you even say what you just said if you, I mean... ?
posted by r_nebblesworthII at 2:55 PM on March 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Acquiring a gay spouse ----> invalid marriage ----> doesn't "trigger benefits"
Acquiring a Jewish spouse, without a priest ----> invalid marriage ----> does "trigger benefits"

See? It's problematic.


Do they not see same-sex sexual relations as a more egregious sin than sexual relations within an opposite-sex marriage that was not officiated by the Church? Maybe I don't understand Catholic beliefs as well as I thought I did.

Not to keep harping on you but... it matters because the church takes public money.

Yes, my question was rhetorical.
posted by The World Famous at 2:58 PM on March 3, 2010


I'm hung up on the word "spouse" because this is a thread about same-sex marriage and the Catholic Church's understandable refusal to change its doctrine in order to consider same-sex marriage to be a qualifying event for the granting of spousal health benefits to its employees.

When we get down to brass tacks, the Church is really using this issue as a passive-aggressive wedge, to drive hatred of the nasty sodomites who took your bennies away.

So, just to be clear, being focused on the word "spouse" really misses the forest for the trees, for the larger issue at hand.

If the Church could have its way, it would probably be back in the Middle Ages, having the kind of political control needed to put in place the policies it wants. Maybe even going back to torturing or castrating a gay or two here and there. In the meantime, it's stuck with having control only over its own business interests and trying stunts to bully and push people around.

If the scripture is any indication, Christ did not treat social pariahs the way his followers do today. The actions of the Catholic Church are indeed un-Christ-like, on that basis alone.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:00 PM on March 3, 2010


Jesus wept.
posted by Randwulf at 3:02 PM on March 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


If the scripture is any indication, Christ did not treat social pariahs the way his followers do today. The actions of the Catholic Church are indeed un-Christ-like, on that basis alone.

You and I are in absolute agreement on this. Well, except that I'm not sure I'd refer to such people as "his followers," notwithstanding their self-application of that title.
posted by The World Famous at 3:02 PM on March 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Assholes.
posted by ericb at 3:04 PM on March 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Doctrinally, has the Church been violating Christ's mandate by failing to grant health care benefits to anyone with whom its employees cohabitate or have regular sexual relations, regardless of marital status?

The church (not merely the RC Church but the small-c catholic church) violate's Christ's mandate every day there is a hungry person who isn't fed, a thirsty person who isn't given something to drink, a stranger who isn't taken in, a naked person who isn't clothed, or someone sick or in prison who isn't looked after.

On the one hand, this is what grace and forgiveness are for, and part of the general stuff people make confession for together in the liturgy. I have sinned through my own fault in what I have done and in what I have left undone. Or, We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.

On the other hand, it sure as shit isn't something to be consciously choosing more of.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:08 PM on March 3, 2010 [8 favorites]


Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?

Yeah, but read the reply from the Monsignor.

Slavery is no longer a viable option for you so I do not recommend it. Although the scriptures permitted it it is no longer legal and might get you in trouble. Further, the slavery of the ancient world was of a different kind than the African Slavery of the New World and West Indies. In the ancient world slavery existed on account of several things. Either one owed a debt that could not be paid so they and or their family accepted slavery as an option to debtors prison. Or Sometimes non capital crimes had been committed and once again slavery was accepted as an option to prison. Lastly, and most commonly slavery was imposed on the soldiers (and their families) of a losing side in war. It was an option to excution. This cultural background explains why the scriptural texts do not outright condemn slavery as we might expect. As you can see it served as a less harsh option than prison or debt. But the slavery of the New World was intriniscally unjust since it enslaved people who had committed no crimes, owed no debt and had not prosecuted a war. It went by the same name but was a different reality. This led the Church to condem the practice beginning in the 17th Century. A number of southern bishops actually excommunicated Catholics for advocating slavery. This was all due to the recognition that the slavery being practiced was instrinsically unjust as stated above. After two centuries of struggle to make this point, abolitionists finally got the practice outlawed. So, Geoge I do not recommend that you sell you daughter even for a high price, since it is illegal and might get you into trouble. And don’t try to use scripture to ease your conscience :-) since modern slavery is not the same institution that scripture silently tolerated.


So if slavery is legal in your country, and someone owes you money or commited a crime against you or fought for the other side of a war...go ahead!
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:11 PM on March 3, 2010 [6 favorites]


World Famous - I appreciate your participation in this discussion, it's actually clarified a lot of things for me. I don't agree with this at all, but at least it follows some sort of internal logic. Not Christ-like, but very catholic bureaucracy-like.
posted by Think_Long at 3:13 PM on March 3, 2010


I couldn't tell if I was getting Troll'd or Christian'd in the comments section of that first link. Some people are so beyond a lost cause.
posted by june made him a gemini at 3:13 PM on March 3, 2010


Jesus wept.

I think the biggest problem with this post is the use of the past tense.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:13 PM on March 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


Very related.
posted by mullingitover at 3:16 PM on March 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


My occasional trips to church may finally be over.

I'd say that depends on your local parish.


I tried to do this once, to think of my parish and forget my archdiocese, or think of Sr. Helen Prejean and forget Pope Benedict. I agreed to disagree on so many things--everything msali said and more--so I could call myself Catholic and attend church without feeling like a total hypocrite. But then I couldn't help but think that a Catholic parish--subversive or open-minded as it may be--was still the fruit of what was becoming a more and more poisonous tree.

I stuck around too long because I liked the incense and the ritual and the look of the stained glass. Agnosticism is a lot more peaceful than pacing that Catholic cafeteria line, wondering if there's anything left you can put on your tray.
posted by sallybrown at 3:17 PM on March 3, 2010 [5 favorites]


Jesus didn't decide who to give health care to based on whether or not they were the spouse of someone who worked for him. He also didn't take government money to fund his healing operation.

All the more reason we should consult him on these matters! Oh, wait. Does he have a riff on airline food or will I have to consult a different text for that timeless insight?
posted by joe lisboa at 3:20 PM on March 3, 2010



The Catholic Church is trying to monopolize gay sex!
posted by bukharin at 3:23 PM on March 3, 2010


I think the biggest problem with this post is the use of the past tense.
He'll weep again when he comes back?
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 3:24 PM on March 3, 2010


The World Famous: "Do they not see same-sex sexual relations as a more egregious sin than sexual relations within an opposite-sex marriage that was not officiated by the Church? Maybe I don't understand Catholic beliefs as well as I thought I did."

I'm having trouble understanding your reasoning.

Heterosexual spouses who are not married according to Catholic doctrine are committing the sin of fornication - assuming they have sex. [No jokes please!] Despite that sin, despite their not being married in the eyes of the Church, the mere fact of their civil marriage is enough to trigger CC's health benefits.

Literally the only difference between that situation and the current one with homosexual spouses is that the sin involved is sodomy rather than fornication. So the only justification for CC's actions would be that fornication isn't a sufficiently grave sin to deny someone health benefits over - but that sodomy is.

Is that codified in an encyclical someplace?
posted by Joe Beese at 3:24 PM on March 3, 2010 [5 favorites]


The silver lining in this cloud is that people who are denied benefits may just have their eyes opened a little.

The Church basically was the repository for all intellectual thought and were the custodians of logic for a thousand years or more, until the Enlightenment. You ain't gonna beat 'em on logical grounds. They define tautology.

That being said, this is a fair deal on their part. They comply with the law. That's why we pass laws. To get compliance, gain changes in policy. It's entirely within the Church's purview to comply with the law in any way they wish, so long as they comply.

If you want more change in policy, you need more change in law.

And yes, this is a shitty thing for them to do. It is by far not the most egregiously shitty thing the Catholic Church has ever done. And they are being shitty to their own clients and parishioners. Heh. How about that.
posted by Xoebe at 3:25 PM on March 3, 2010


So in other areas where same-sex marriage is legal (Canada, for instance), do Catholic churches and charities just not give benefits to their employees' spouses?
posted by jeather at 3:27 PM on March 3, 2010


He'll weep again when he comes back?

I think the implication here is that he weeps now for what is being done in his name.

Personally, I like to think this is a not fully realized view; I like to imagine that it makes him throwing-the-money-changers-from-the-temple pissed about this kind of thing.
posted by quin at 3:28 PM on March 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


So in other areas where same-sex marriage is legal (Canada, for instance), do Catholic churches and charities just not give benefits to their employees' spouses?

True in Boston.
posted by zvs at 3:31 PM on March 3, 2010



So in other areas where same-sex marriage is legal (Canada, for instance), do Catholic churches and charities just not give benefits to their employees' spouses?


Those poor Canadians with no Church based health care. :P
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:32 PM on March 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm having trouble understanding your reasoning.

Heterosexual spouses who are not married according to Catholic doctrine are committing the sin of fornication - assuming they have sex. [No jokes please!] Despite that sin, despite their not being married in the eyes of the Church, the mere fact of their civil marriage is enough to trigger CC's health benefits.

Literally the only difference between that situation and the current one with homosexual spouses is that the sin involved is sodomy rather than fornication. So the only justification for CC's actions would be that fornication isn't a sufficiently grave sin to deny someone health benefits over - but that sodomy is.


Again, my understanding of Catholic doctrines may be incomplete here. I assumed that, when the rubber hits the road, as it were, the Catholic Church views homosexual sexual relationships as a more grave sin than sex between married spouses in non-Catholic marriages, and that it specifically views same-sex marriage as a sin in and of itself, whereas it does not view, say, a Methodist marriage in that same light.

I also understood, perhaps incorrectly, that the Church is not taking benefits away from anyone based on them getting married to a same-sex partner, but that it is only refusing to grant new health benefits to people who believe that, by virtue of the fact that they have become the same-sex spouse of a Catholic Charities employee, they are entitled to such benefits.

What's clear, I think, is that the Church could easily (if very expensively) have found a way to resolve its doctrinal conundrum by giving health benefits to more people (basing the granting of such benefits on some factor other than marriage to avoid the problem of giving benefits to people as a reward for their getting same-sex married), but that it instead decided to "solve" the problem by giving benefits to fewer people.
posted by The World Famous at 3:34 PM on March 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


I stuck around too long because I liked the incense and the ritual and the look of the stained glass. Agnosticism is a lot more peaceful than pacing that Catholic cafeteria line, wondering if there's anything left you can put on your tray.

If you're just there for the sake of still being Catholic, then yeah. That's why I mentioned community. For some, the Catholicness of church isn't the important part, it is the community you are a part of on a local level. It is a pretty edge case, though, so I'll make no attempt to hold this hill, much less unto death.
posted by charred husk at 3:34 PM on March 3, 2010


Seems to me that if this organization ever extended health benefits to second spouses -- that is, people whom the employee married after their own divorce, where there was no annulment -- then they're on very shaky ground. Divorce, after all, is considered a "grave moral evil," and any marriage that takes place after one isn't a Catholic marriage.
posted by KathrynT at 3:40 PM on March 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


I have generally had health benefits from employers in Quebec, which include such things as dental care, prescriptions, eye care, sometimes physiotherapy, etc. I have never worked for a religious organization, though, so I don't know what happens with the rule that they are required to cover commonlaw/de facto spouses (people who live together for 12 months or have a child together) for religious organizations.

I have, similarly, no idea what would happen with religious organizations in other provinces who had previously given health benefits to their employees.
posted by jeather at 3:42 PM on March 3, 2010


Wow, the THIS IS WHY WE CAN'T HAVE NICE THINGS school of political statement. I hope this backfires hard.

Still, I think tying health care to employment is like tying your children's education to employment. Imagine if your kids couldn't go to school because your spouse's employer didn't offer school.
posted by drowsy at 3:45 PM on March 3, 2010 [6 favorites]


The silver lining in this cloud is that people who are denied benefits may just have their eyes opened a little.

What's more likely - the people who elect to work there gain some understanding and empathy or they use this as another cause for feeling persecuted?

The comments in that other link lead me to believe it's the latter. Here's my favorite:


Kari says: Is it more important to be kind, or is it more important to be right? Seriously. Food for thought.

Msgr. Charles Pope says: I’ll sign up for being right.

He goes on to say he thinks you can do both, and question it as a false dichotomy, but really...
posted by phearlez at 3:46 PM on March 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Nobody's forcing them to be an employer if they don't want to play by the rules of being an employer. The unemployment that would result, if they decided to stop being an employer, would be a Bad Thing. But the alternative is a world in which anti-discrimination law is optional, and in which democracy can be held to ransom by special pleading. That's way worse.

Catholic Charities not being an employer in DC would affect way more than just the employees. In DC, Catholic Charities is sort of like what the G Train is to New York: shitty, broken, basically arbitrary, and ill-designed from the get-go. It is also, like the G-Train, extremely necessary for the thousands who use it every day because there's just nothing else out there fulfilling the need, and the people it serves are at the very bottom rung of society.

Catholic Charities, in other words, has DC kind of over a barrel here. They run the shelters, soup kitchens, and mental health clinics for the city's very large homeless population, and though DC gives them some funding to do so, DC couldn't do it without them. DC has no money.

This is still very dirty pool by Catholic Charities, and on an issue that in an ideal world (or even a non-ideal, but sane and kind world) they would simply be willing to accept if not celebrate. But there's someone at the Archdiocese, and we all know this type of person, who has put their foot down on the boundaries of the issue. "We cannot cease to provide for the poor and needy," this person says, "but we also cannot recognize that which is abhorrent to our beliefs." And with that, we get this bullshit as "the only solution" even though it's only an answer because the premises were faulty to begin with.

Hard to change Church Doctrine, however, from the political stage. WHat would be a nice solution for all would be that, since the district is giving them some money to begin with, that the district pass some legislation earmarking a portion of that money for spousal benefits, and setting up an arrangement whereby those checks are cut and signed by the District instead of the Church.

An even better solution would be that the Church just get over this, of course. I was at the Moultrie Building for a status hearing this morning and it was a joy to see all the people lining up for the marriage licenses they could finally exercise their rights to receive. There were almost no protesters that I saw, but a lot of people (seemingly straight in the large degree, from my completely instinct-based scanning of the crowd) came out to celebrate and support the change for the better. The Archdiocese can learn from them. But it won't in the near term, and there are things DC can do for now which can solve the stupid issues until then.
posted by Navelgazer at 3:47 PM on March 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


The World Famous: "I assumed that, when the rubber hits the road, as it were, the Catholic Church views homosexual sexual relationships as a more grave sin than sex between married spouses in non-Catholic marriages, and that it specifically views same-sex marriage as a sin in and of itself, whereas it does not view, say, a Methodist marriage in that same light."

And CC's actions appear to bear out your assumptions.

What remains unclear is where they might be coming up with this stuff - other than the usual "Ewww... buttsecks."

I'm pretty sure it's not the New Testament.
posted by Joe Beese at 3:51 PM on March 3, 2010


What remains unclear is where they might be coming up with this stuff - other than the usual "Ewww... buttsecks."

Really? I'm pretty sure the Catholic Church's doctrinal prohibition against same sex sexual relations is pretty deeply grounded in Catholic doctrine throughout the ages. Since the Catholic Church doesn't really go for the "literal interpretation in the Bible and nothing else" approach of some Christian sects, I'm not sure the argument that the Bible doesn't unambiguously condemn same-sex relations gets much traction here.
posted by The World Famous at 3:56 PM on March 3, 2010


They run the shelters, soup kitchens, and mental health clinics for the city's very large homeless population, and though DC gives them some funding to do so, DC couldn't do it without them. DC has no money.

I think that's a bit of an overstatement. CC is a contractor for these services and both organizations get something out of the relationship. DC gets to spend $X and get, in theory, more than $X worth of services because CC adds donor and grant dollars onto that.

CC gets a funding commitment which, aside from letting them do good works, they leverage to get more dollars from donors.

I only add 'in theory' above because to the best of my knowledge there's nothing in CC's contract that requires them to put more money down on top. If they had a bad fundraising year maybe they have nothing more to throw down.

I also would disagree with the assessment that DC has no money. Here's the contract summary for the Archdioceses' services for foster care, a service which they turfed over to another organization because of this same bill. That's a 2.3 million dollar contract if it's maximized and funded.

Here's the statement about withdrawing, which includes some idea of how far that money was going:

With a priority on ensuring continuity of care for the foster families and children, Catholic Charities worked closely with D.C.’s Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA) to seamlessly transition the program to the NCCF. This transition includes seven staff, 43 children and their biological families, as well as 35 foster families.

43 children at 1M is $23,000 per kid, assuming the contract was only billed out at the 1M level. That's back-of-the-envelope calculations since I don't have easy access to how much CC really collected for their foster services in 2009, but my gut reaction is that the city wasn't getting a level of service on this particular cause that no other organization could provide.
posted by phearlez at 4:04 PM on March 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Since the Catholic Church doesn't really go for the "literal interpretation in the Bible and nothing else" approach of some Christian sects, I'm not sure the argument that the Bible doesn't unambiguously condemn same-sex relations gets much traction here.

You are correct. When the spokespeople from the Church rail against SSM, they don't do so by quoting Leviticus or anything like that. The basis comes from the whole Theology of the Body set of teachings that includes their stance on birth control. tl;dr version - sex exists for the purposes of procreation.

If there is any good from that, it is that these teachings are not from infallible pronouncements and are not based on actual rules of the bible. This means that the Church could theoretically reverse itself some day. I wouldn't hold my breath, though.
posted by charred husk at 4:07 PM on March 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


The priest from the link says that the homosexual prohibitions from Leviticus stand because Jesus did not specifically overturn them in the New Testament.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:12 PM on March 3, 2010


I think the implication here is that he weeps now for what is being done in his name.

Personally, I like to think this is a not fully realized view; I like to imagine that it makes him throwing-the-money-changers-from-the-temple pissed about this kind of thing.


I'm not sure why anyone would bring up "what Jesus would do" since most Christians aren't that interested in doing what Jesus would do. They are interested in fellowship, following rules, having a closer "relationship" with God through prayer, but actually being like Jesus? Too hard. Too unrewarding on earth. In my opinion the most unchrist-like Christians are the Catholic Church hierarchy from Bishops on up the ladder. Their jewels, their costumes, their way of life, is ridiculously aristocratic and prideful-- antichrists, if you will. Can you imagine if Jesus really existed and came to earth to pay a visit on the Pope? One look around the treasures of the Vatican and he would choke on his own anger spittle.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:15 PM on March 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


Do Christians Have to Obey the Old Testament?

The answer is no.

Galatians 3:23–25 (NIV)
23 Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. 24 So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.

Ephesians 2:15 (NIV)
15 by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace,

Matthew 22:37–40 (NIV)
37 Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Seriously that whole Leviticus argument is bs. Jesus abolished our requirements to follow the OT.

And the churches continue to cite that crap.
posted by Ironmouth at 4:16 PM on March 3, 2010 [10 favorites]


In an ideal world, Pope John XXIII would solve these problems.
Maybe not.
posted by ovvl at 4:16 PM on March 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


The priest from the link says that the homosexual prohibitions from Leviticus stand because Jesus did not specifically overturn them in the New Testament.

Which is funny, because my priest says that Leviticus is no longer the law. Msgr. Charles Pope may be higher ranked, but I bet my priest has got more academic cred. Maybe we should have a priest fight?
posted by charred husk at 4:21 PM on March 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Call me crazy, but isn't a church made of and for its people? Not its rulers? The people ARE the church.

I would agree if you were talking about Protestants, but the Catholic Church is about the Church which is an institution. It's not like it has democratically elected leaders who represent the views of their congregation.

The Catholic Church is top down, the Pope makes edicts then they are supposed to be carried down and out. It is the priests job to represent the views of the Church to the people.

I love all of my Catholic family and will even join them in Mass from time to time, but I am not a fan of the Church as a whole.
posted by MrBobaFett at 4:21 PM on March 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


The priest from the link says that the homosexual prohibitions from Leviticus stand because Jesus did not specifically overturn them in the New Testament.

Well I don't know about that...

"What goes into a man's mouth does not make him 'unclean,' but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him 'unclean.'" Matthew 15:11

It is, at best, a gray area.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:24 PM on March 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


I don't think that's their position. As I understand it, their position is that marrying someone of the same sex should not be a triggering event for entitling someone to health benefits.

Then this doesn't have a damn thing to do with religion. The Church commits no sin by complying with the law as written. Not a one. So it can still object, while still paying benefits.

This is all about political posturing and acting like a baby because they do not run the state and the state has decided that it will not follow the Church's teachings.

This was transparent political blackmail. Which the Church will back down from. Perhaps they get a face-saving thing, but in the end, they will pay.

here's the thing. They don't even have to hire gays. they can hide behind the First Amendment and not hire gays who are married. This is total BS. I think they will find their power far less than they believe. Maybe they think Jesus will come down and fix it. I'm not holding my fucking breath.
posted by Ironmouth at 4:25 PM on March 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


The argument is Jesus would probably feel that everyone deserves health care, regardless of their status as sinners.

Right. And that's an argument that the Church should be providing health care not only to the spouses of its employees, but to everyone in the world, regardless of whether they're married to one of the Church's employees.


Counselor, I am suprised to see you resorting to the blatantly obvious straw man. This simply does not cut it.
posted by Ironmouth at 4:26 PM on March 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Matthew 22:37–40 (NIV)
37 Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Seriously that whole Leviticus argument is bs. Jesus abolished our requirements to follow the OT.


I'm pretty far from a scholar of ancient scripture. But as I understand it, there is significant disagreement as to the nature of Christ's replacement or, in the alternative, fulfilment (whatever that means) of Mosaic law. While I understand and respect that your own interpretation falls quite extremely on one side of that debate, I think your characterization as "bs" of christian doctrine relying on application of some aspect of Mosaic law is perhaps a bit too dismissive.

Then this doesn't have a damn thing to do with religion. The Church commits no sin by complying with the law as written. Not a one. So it can still object, while still paying benefits.

It is complying with the law by not giving benefits to same-sex spouses.
posted by The World Famous at 4:30 PM on March 3, 2010


From the second link: The definition of marriage that is being rejected is some 5,000 years old and stretches all the way back to the earliest pages of Scripture.

Huh?

That'd be polygamy, kids.
posted by desuetude at 4:34 PM on March 3, 2010 [6 favorites]



The argument is Jesus would probably feel that everyone deserves health care, regardless of their status as sinners.

Right. And that's an argument that the Church should be providing health care not only to the spouses of its employees, but to everyone in the world, regardless of whether they're married to one of the Church's employees.

Counselor, I am suprised to see you resorting to the blatantly obvious straw man. This simply does not cut it.


No, I posted what he was replying to. I agree entirely with that characterization of my argument. If the Church could do that they should.

There is no "but he sinned" or "we would be legitimizing his sin!" or "we would be recognizing a marriage that is sinful" that comes in to it since no one you have the capacity to help should not be helped if you are following Jesus.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:39 PM on March 3, 2010


or maybe they're suggesting that gay people should become Christian Scientists.
posted by Hammond Rye at 5:01 PM on March 3, 2010


fffffffffffuuuuuuuuuu

Foo?
posted by armage at 5:05 PM on March 3, 2010


Does this mean their earlier support of spouses from marriages outside of the church is a tacit condoning of adultery?
posted by BrotherCaine at 5:36 PM on March 3, 2010


The Catholic Church is the most fucked up religion that doesn't involve UFOs at some point.
posted by Legomancer at 5:43 PM on March 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


I would also be so down with a priest fight.

Yeah, well, they do have a lot of rules, and the first one is never talk about priest fight club.
posted by The World Famous at 5:51 PM on March 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


I fail to see why anyone in this day and age is still a part of this archaic cult. Last year when the CC had a fit over the 9 year old child in Brazil who needed an abortion to save her life, I decided it was time to finally become excommunicated. I did a bit of googling and found out that mere excommunication would not prevent them from using my name to inflate their numbers, already at the dubious billion plus mark. If you really want to leave once and for all, you need an act of formal defection.(pdf) They may not be the worst religion out there, but religious moderates create a favorable climate for extremists.
posted by ambulocetus at 6:05 PM on March 3, 2010 [4 favorites]



Meh. Just more religionist crap. Christian today. Muslim tomorrow and some other religion the next day.
posted by notreally at 6:07 PM on March 3, 2010


I dunno, I find it hard to be any more outraged about this than I have been over every politcal act of utter contempt, cruelty, dehumanization and degradation the Catholic Church has recently seen fit to visit upon LGBT people and their supporters.

So the Church is letting its true colors show. Well, fancy that. I hope this brazen political bullying opens some eyes.
posted by treepour at 6:22 PM on March 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


So the Church is letting its true colors show. Well, fancy that. I hope this brazen political bullying opens some eyes.

Seriously? When has the Catholic Church not let its true colors show?
posted by The World Famous at 6:33 PM on March 3, 2010


The Catholic Church is the most fucked up religion that doesn't involve UFOs at some point.
posted by Legomancer at 5:43 PM on 3/3 [1 favorite]

I don't know... how about Ezekiel?
posted by zoinks at 7:25 PM on March 3, 2010


[few comments removed - we still have a HOTGRAR religion thread in MetaTalk, if all you have to add is bile, go there, thank you.]
posted by jessamyn at 7:43 PM on March 3, 2010


Probably these arguments have been made up-thread, but I believe CC's position is inconsistent because, until just very recently, they were content to hire, to place foster kids with, and to extend benefits to the spouses of people who were divorced and remarried (who are by their own definition living in a state of sin) as well as those who were married by different and often non-Christian churches. Being gay is not distinguished by the Catholic Church as being a worse sin than any of a host of other sins that the CC never directly addressed in their hiring or child placement practices.
posted by newdaddy at 8:01 PM on March 3, 2010


Being gay is not distinguished by the Catholic Church as being a worse sin than any of a host of other sins that the CC never directly addressed in their hiring or child placement practices.

That's not the case. As World Famous mentions above, divorce and remarriage are not considered by the Church to be as serious as homosexual relations and/or sodomy.

Divorce and remarriage are grave sins and are also potentially mortal sins. Homosexuality/sodomy are, on the other hand, according to the definition of Aquinas, not only mortal sins but also one of the four categories of "sins that cry to heaven for vengeance."
posted by blucevalo at 8:25 PM on March 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


By the way, the other three categories are: (1) willful murder; (2) taking advantage of the poor; (3) defrauding the workingman of his wages.
posted by blucevalo at 8:32 PM on March 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


Jesus wept.

I think the biggest problem with this post is the use of the past tense.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:13 PM on March 3 [2 favorites +] [!]



It's not used as much nowadays but when we were kids the people around our parents and grandparents age would use the John 11:35 verse "Jesus wept" as a substitute for swear words around our young ears. It usually expressed exasperation anywhere between a mild groan to full-on holding the words in and about to explode.
posted by Randwulf at 9:29 PM on March 3, 2010


The idea of separation of Church and State wasn't just created to protect atheists, ya morons, it was created to protect you and your crazy, bigoted, un-Christlike beliefs. If you didn't want the State meddling in your crazy, bigoted, un-Christlike beliefs, you NEVER SHOULD HAVE TAKEN MY TAX DOLLARS AND SIGNED A CONTRACT WITH THE STATE. Your contract is with the Pope and I'm pretty sure Dude has plenty of money to spare. Go apply with him for some funding. Stop spending my tax dollars to build monopolies of "charity" that you then wield as a weapon to create wedge issues that further attempt to influence the government process.

Faith-based government funding is a conflict of interest for the State and a conflict of interest for religion. It's asinine. When liberals even nip at the idea of influencing society with State funds, you get blowback like the whole ACORN fiasco.
posted by Skwirl at 9:43 PM on March 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


Divorce and remarriage are grave sins

Actually, divorce is not a sin by itself. It can be legitimate to divorce a spouse (for instance one who is abusive.

Seriously that whole Leviticus argument is bs. Jesus abolished our requirements to follow the OT.

And the churches continue to cite that crap.


And you think that Catholics just never noticed? Might they just possibly have other arguments?

As I understand it, this is what the Archdiocese in San Francisco did when they found themselves in a similar situation. So this is maybe less "CATHOLIC CHURCH SUCKS" and more "WASHINGTON ARCHDIOCESE SUCKS."

Quite possibly it's a "WASHINGTON ARCHDIOCESE IS POORER" issue.
posted by Jahaza at 10:28 PM on March 3, 2010


I'm new to this thread, so I'll just ask one question.

Why doesn't the Church (RC and others) liquidate all their assets and feed everyone on the planet that is hungry and buy medicine for everyone that is sick?

Wouldn't Jesus want that?
posted by Splunge at 12:43 AM on March 4, 2010


Why doesn't the Church (RC and others) liquidate all their assets and feed everyone on the planet that is hungry and buy medicine for everyone that is sick?

There is some truth to that, especially in terms the Pope's fancy clothes and other Vatican excesses. But mostly the reason is that you don't sell your fishing pole for five fish when you can catch many, many more over your lifetime.
posted by charred husk at 6:08 AM on March 4, 2010


Not to minimize the issue, but please don't mistake the forest for the trees nor the people of Catholic Charities for the hierarchy.

I'm a Catholic, and my mom works with C.C. in another city. They work hard to help people (homeless, mentally ill, substance abusers, &c., &c.) who the system won't help, and they do it on a shrinking budget with little new blood among the volunteers.

I don't think my mom hates gays (she never said anything about it to me, anyway), unless perhaps they're the people cutting her budget or making crazy people live on the streets. And she doesn't shun divorcees or people who marry non-Catholics or even me when I forgot to abstain from meat on a Friday in Lent. She's just working hard to help other people. I doubt that her bishop or archbishop or any of the cardinals called her up and asked her input when they were formulating this plan.

From what I can tell from 1500 miles away, I believe that she's in the "think globally, act locally" mode of trying to improve what's within her influence. And I applaud her for that.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:40 AM on March 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


But mostly the reason is that you don't sell your fishing pole for five fish when you can catch many, many more over your lifetime.

I'm pretty familiar with this Jesus dude, and I'm pretty sure he'd disagree with you.
posted by muddgirl at 6:42 AM on March 4, 2010


Not to minimize the issue, but please don't mistake the forest for the trees nor the people of Catholic Charities for the hierarchy.

I'm not sure how much "blaming the workers" has been going on in this thread, but, I'm pretty sick of the "good Catholic/good Christian" argument, where "good" means people who don't support the hateful policies. I'm not sure what supporting the hierarchy means if it isn't identifying yourself as a Catholic and accepting the money of an organization that promulgates hateful and unjust policies. I don't think you both get to do that and claim innocence.
posted by OmieWise at 6:53 AM on March 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


But mostly the reason is that you don't sell your fishing pole for five fish when you can catch many, many more over your lifetime.

Is that according to the gospel of Jude Wanniski?
posted by blucevalo at 7:35 AM on March 4, 2010


I do have a question for the Catholics. You say your local parishes are good and thus you continue to attend, I can see that. But how do you justify giving money? From what I understand the parishes send money back up the hierarchy and some of what you donate ends up going upstream and supporting the parts of the Church you don't like.

Or do you donate? If not, do you drop in a note to the effect that you are withholding donations until Church position changes?

Because that's the part that bothers me: people of good will supporting an organization that is actively doing harm.
posted by sotonohito at 8:07 AM on March 4, 2010


I see this extending to the dependents of employees who are gay.

I really see some teenage kid telling his/her parents he/she is gay, and the parents trying to keep it shushed up not so much out of shame but out of fear said child will lose health benefits ....

Slope thy name is Slippery.
posted by zizzle at 9:49 AM on March 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm pretty familiar with this Jesus dude, and I'm pretty sure he'd disagree with you.

Since you know him so well, would he tell the Red Cross to sell all their offices to raise money for Haiti?
posted by charred husk at 10:10 AM on March 4, 2010


Or do you donate? If not, do you drop in a note to the effect that you are withholding donations until Church position changes?

Our church asks for "time, talent or treasure". I donate the first two and only the latter on holy days when all of the collections go to a single charity.
posted by charred husk at 10:15 AM on March 4, 2010


Dude, Jesus wouldn't give a shit about the Red Cross. The Red Cross doesn't claim to be a Christian organization.

Did Jesus tell Simon and Andrew to keep on fishing and donate 10% to the poor? Hells no.

Was Jesus all, "Hey moneylenders! I'm cool with what you're doing as long as some of that money is diverted to a charitable organization?" No again.

Was Jesus all "Hey Pharisees! It's totally cool what you're preaching about the prostitutes and the lepers, as long as you're also, you know, being nice to them! I totally understand that you're using your economic power as a method of evangelizing!" I don't think I even have to answer that one.
posted by muddgirl at 10:19 AM on March 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


That'd be polygamy, kids.

If you don't think that many denominations haven't, especially those with episcopal polity* haven't considered going back to those specific "good old days" to turn around their slipping numbers, you have a more generous view of certain people than me.

* - I'm not sure I'm using that word right -- what I mean are churches who have a hierarchy that isn't usually made up of old men who don't have to answer to people like me or their congregations but give out orders from on high.

Interestingly enough, yesterday the congregation at the church I've started attending announced it also going to deny a benefit to straight couples because of a church's stand on same-sex marriage. Except my church is doing the exact opposite.

Since The United Methodist Church has rules prohibiting the celebration of same-sex marriages by clergy and on local church property, my church has decided that no one, straight or gay, will be married by the pastor or on church property.

It's a fuck-off to the church governance and other congregations, but it's such a stronger stand than signing another petition, which, to their credit, they've been doing for 20 years.
Honestly it's these kinds of motions that are the only thing that will get people to change their mind -- or even think about it. And when they do think about it, when it comes to

1) telling church officials to screw themselves when they were wrong or
2) denying people health care to make a point,

you don't need to be a biblical scholar to know #1 is WWJD.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:35 AM on March 4, 2010


Might they just possibly have other arguments?

I know they do. It's just that those arguments are equally bad.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 10:41 AM on March 4, 2010


Did Jesus tell Simon and Andrew to keep on fishing and donate 10% to the poor? Hells no.

You're right. He told them to quit their jobs and form an organization for the purpose of converting people.

And he told everyone that they should give what they have in abundance to the poor (if you have two coats, give one to someone who needs one, he said). And he told soldiers to be content with their wages, not to do violence to anyone, and not to falsely accuse people (imagine how things would have turned out differently for him if they had followed his advice).

Dude, Jesus wouldn't give a shit about the Red Cross. The Red Cross doesn't claim to be a Christian organization.

Who says he only cared about organizations that claim to be Christian?

Was Jesus all "Hey Pharisees! It's totally cool what you're preaching about the prostitutes and the lepers, as long as you're also, you know, being nice to them! I totally understand that you're using your economic power as a method of evangelizing!" I don't think I even have to answer that one.

He didn't tell them that prostitution is not a sin, if that's what you're trying to imply. There is a whole list of disagreements that Jesus had with the Pharisees. The question of whether or not prostitution is a sin was not one of them.
posted by The World Famous at 10:49 AM on March 4, 2010


Except, reading The Sexist article, this isn't what the Charity is doing, of course, as current employees are grandfathered in. They're just being dicks.
posted by Breckenridge at 10:50 AM on March 4, 2010


He told them to quit their jobs and form an organization for the purpose of converting people.

Exactly. He told them to live on the faith, hope, and charity of others. He said to be meek and humble. I don't see a lot of humbleness in the Archdiocese blog post, but maybe I'm biased.

Who says he only cared about organizations that claim to be Christian?

I'm saying that no one can judge the Red Cross based on Christian standards, because they don't claim to be a Christian organization. We can judge the Roman Catholic Church on Christian standards, because they are a Christian organization. We can look on the work of the Red Cross and say they are of the world, and trying to help the world. We can look on the work of the RCC and ask, "Why are they of the world?"

(if you have two coats, give one to someone who needs one, he said)

The RCC, and their associated archdiocese in the US, have more than two coats. Most of the 80% of Americans who claim to Christians have more than two coats. This is my fundamental problem.

He didn't tell them that prostitution is not a sin, if that's what you're trying to imply

It's actually not what I'm trying to imply. It doesn't seem to me that Jesus cared very much about sexual sins in the first place, but that's beside the point.
posted by muddgirl at 11:02 AM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Exactly. He told them to live on the faith, hope, and charity of others. He said to be meek and humble. I don't see a lot of humbleness in the Archdiocese blog post, but maybe I'm biased.

So, I don't get your argument, then. Are you saying that Catholic Charities should shut down, stop helping people, and cast all of its employees out on the street to live off of the charity of others? Based on your characterization of Jesus' advice to his disciples, it seems that you're arguing that Jesus would not only support Catholic Charities' decision not to provide health care to its employees' spouses, but that he would advise them to let everybody go so that they can be unemployed and have no income or health care like Simon and Andrew. I don't think that's what Jesus would suggest.

The RCC, and their associated archdiocese in the US, have more than two coats. Most of the 80% of Americans who claim to Christians have more than two coats. This is my fundamental problem.

If it has two coats, why does it need government funding in order to stay in operation? The Roman Catholic Church has a lot of valuable old stuff, but it's not as rich as it looks.
posted by The World Famous at 11:10 AM on March 4, 2010


Exactly. He told them to live on the faith, hope, and charity of others. He said to be meek and humble. I don't see a lot of humbleness in the Archdiocese blog post, but maybe I'm biased.

This little side-thread didn't actually have to do with the Archdiocese. I think we pretty much agree that they're being jerks. The side thread was started when sotonohito asked why the Church didn't liquidate itself to help the needy of the world.

We can look on the work of the RCC and ask, "Why are they of the world?"

That's really the crux of it, isn't it? From my vantage point, if the Church also wants to be a charitable organization on a larger scale in this day an age it has to be of the world in order to properly distribute and organize to those in need. Even if it didn't get involved in providing aid directly, it would still need assets for places to gather and ways to communicate.

The RCC, and their associated archdiocese in the US, have more than two coats. Most of the 80% of Americans who claim to Christians have more than two coats. This is my fundamental problem.

Yes. I never claimed the Church was fine as it is. My original complaint was to the suggestion that it should give away all its coats and cease to exist.
posted by charred husk at 11:33 AM on March 4, 2010


“I'm a Catholic, and my mom works with C.C. in another city. They work hard to help people (homeless, mentally ill, substance abusers, &c., &c.) who the system won't help, and they do it on a shrinking budget with little new blood among the volunteers.”

Precisely. And this move by C.C. makes all of that much harder. Before this I saw Catholic Charities as a fairly benign organization (albeit slipping a bit over the years). Saw a lot of people doing a lot of good work actually. Now? Not so much. And who want's to help out if it's conditional in this way?

There’s a difference between participating in an organization when there are options to act honorably and compassionately oneself despite any given policy and participating in an organization where, by policy, execution of compassion in a certain way is restricted.

I don’t think it reflects on anyone’s personal behavior. But by no means do I think someone could legitimately argue they are a decent human being –because- of their association with the church. Not when policy is executed in such a way.

One cannot use an evil action with reference to a good intention and charity is no substitute for justice withheld (to paraphrase Aquinas).
posted by Smedleyman at 3:03 PM on March 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


I see this extending to the dependents of employees who are gay.

I really see some teenage kid telling his/her parents he/she is gay, and the parents trying to keep it shushed up not so much out of shame but out of fear said child will lose health benefits .... .


How on earth do you see this? The new policy is specifically avoiding picking out gay people by not giving to any new spouse. If it were extended to dependants, it would be 'no new dependants get health insurance', not 'if your dependant is gay they don't get insurance'.
posted by jacalata at 7:17 PM on March 4, 2010


What everyone is missing is the Papal list of sins that don't count and those that do.


Those that don't count: (you can still show up at church, donate money, get health insurance, and be pope)

1. Supporting and waging war
2. Persecuting Jews
3. Discriminating against women
4. Ignoring or distorting the words of the key figure of your religion
5. Turning a blind eye to murder and persecution of Jews
6. Imposing dogma that causes over population which leads to poverty
7. Putting dogma and beliefs above the welfare and well being of human beings
8. Rampant materialism, as long as the church gets it's cut
9, Creating images of God and worshiping them
10. Covering up decades of the sexual abuse of children


Sins that do count (those that exclude your from showing up at church, donating money, getting health insurance, and being pope)

1. Being gay
posted by empty vessel at 8:48 PM on March 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Sins that do count (those that exclude your from showing up at church, donating money, getting health insurance, and being pope)

1. Being gay


Actually, I don't think being gay disqualifies someone from getting health insurance as an employee of Catholic Charities (at least that's not in any of the stuff that I've read). It's being the same-sex spouse of a Catholic Charities employee that, while it will not disqualify you from getting health insurance from them if, for example, you are also their employee, it will not in and of itself qualify you for that benefit.
posted by The World Famous at 9:57 PM on March 4, 2010


their turn around on Galileo (while long overdue) was a refreshing indication that modernization and reconciliation was possible

Mm, yes. I'm sure we're all looking forward to hearing the apology tendered for their dickfaced behaviour on this matter, 400 years from now.
posted by elizardbits at 4:13 AM on March 5, 2010


Ex-official criticizes Catholic Charities
posted by OmieWise at 4:47 AM on March 5, 2010


Sins that do count (those that exclude your from showing up at church, donating money, getting health insurance, and being pope)

1. Being gay


Actually, you could be gay and become pope. Technically it is same sex intercourse that is considered a sin in the Church, not actually being gay. Since the pope is required to be celibate, he wouldn't be committing any sin in the eyes of the Church. Now, getting him votes in conclave would be an entirely different matter.

And I know that I just corrected your accusation of the Church being hideous with a different way in which the Church is hideous. I just get riled up when people are factually incorrect in their anti-catholic trolling.
posted by charred husk at 5:48 AM on March 5, 2010


their anti-catholic trolling

I'm so glad someone has the guts to point out that it isn't the Catholic Church that's the problem in this instance, but people criticizing the Church. I might have been fooled by the newspapers into thinking this was something that the Church didn't bring on themselves.
posted by OmieWise at 6:21 AM on March 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


In other news: Vatican Hit By Gay Sex Scandal.
posted by ericb at 7:16 AM on March 5, 2010


Omniwise, maybe you missed the part where I said the Church was still being monstrous. I was having some pedantic fun.
posted by charred husk at 7:29 AM on March 5, 2010


ericb You mean "gay prostitution scandal", or possibly "gay sexual exploitation scandal" as documents indicate that many of the so-called prostitutes were undocumented workers seeing the necessary paperwork to become documented and therefore the question of their actually consenting to be prostitutes is less clear than it might otherwise be.

At this point I'm pretty much convinced that anyone at or above the level of Bishop has to be actively evil and seeking to harm their fellow humans. Of course, that is hardly unique to Catholicism, I'm pretty much convinced that the overwhelming majority of religious authority figures are actively evil. Maybe there are exceptions, but really, at this point anyone who trusts their children around any religious figure is an idiot.
posted by sotonohito at 8:34 AM on March 5, 2010


And I know that I just corrected your accusation of the Church being hideous with a different way in which the Church is hideous. I just get riled up when people are factually incorrect in their anti-catholic trolling.


I stand corrected. No trolling intended, I am pointing the finger right back at myself. In my conservative evangelical days (17 + years ago) I was every bit as self righteous and obtusely narrow minded as the Catholics in the OP. The primary difference is that the conservative evangelical folks tell you that they\God love you as they discriminate against you.


Revised Post

What everyone is missing is the Papal list of sins that don't count and those that do.


Those that don't count: (you can still show up at church, donate money, get health insurance, and be pope)

1. Supporting and waging war
2. Persecuting Jews
3. Discriminating against women
4. Ignoring or distorting the words of the key figure of your religion
5. Turning a blind eye to murder and persecution of Jews
6. Imposing dogma that causes over population which leads to poverty
7. Putting dogma and beliefs above the welfare and well being of human beings
8. Rampant materialism, as long as the church gets it's cut
9, Creating images of God and worshiping them
10. Covering up decades of the sexual abuse of children


Sins that do count (those that exclude your from showing up at church, donating money, getting health insurance, and being pope)

1. Being in a loving openly gay relationship\civil union\marriage
2. Have gay sex with some above the legal age of consent (now I' trolling)
posted by empty vessel at 7:51 PM on March 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, sorry for being a pedantic prick, empty vessel. I'll point a finger at myself as well

Good list, btw.
posted by charred husk at 9:46 PM on March 5, 2010


I am now advocating for the separation of church and God.
posted by empty vessel at 10:04 PM on March 5, 2010


I think that already happened. Nobody's bothered to tell the church yet.
posted by charred husk at 10:43 PM on March 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Imagine if your kids couldn't go to school because your spouse's employer didn't offer school.

Or, if your parents are gay.
"A preschool student at a Catholic school in Boulder will not be allowed to return next school year because of what is going on at home. The student's parents are two women and the Denver Archdiocese says their homosexual relationship violates the school's beliefs and policy."
posted by ericb at 7:13 AM on March 6, 2010


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