Thursday, March 30, 2006

Adopting Another Big Lie

If providing adoption services is truly important to the mission of the Catholic Church, why don't it fund Catholic Charities adoption programs?

Brylcreem adOur own speciously arguing governor, the pomade king, Cap'n Brylcreem, will forever carry the weighted chain of the religious freedom lie that is permeating rightwing speech like the spreading stench of an unmucked stable. This recent talking point attempts to align the Bushies with the mythic glories of our colonial past. Our ancestor fled religious persecution in England and Europe, coming bolding to this harsh new land to found a nation based on liberty, notably religious freedom.

Before we begin singing, let's keep even the roots claim in a bit of perspective, specifically:
  • Many colonists fled theocratic oppression from a church-monarchy combine. Intrusion of religion in laws and other governance was a repressive then as what many extreme rightwingers and George the Lesser would like to institute here.
  • Religious freedom in colonial days nearly always meant liberty for the specific dogma and practices of the colony's founders. They would flog, drive out and even kill heretics. The same often went for the natives.
  • Our constitution said and promised nothing of religious freedoms. It was only after the Revolution, after the drafting of the constitution that they got around to amendments, including one mandating that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."
  • The first amendment most decidedly does not mean that churches can do whatever they want. Its original purpose is to prevent establishment of a national/state religion. Secondarily, it is to prohibit the preference of one religion over another.
When the Cap'n or religiously dogmatic columnists such as Kathryn Lopez or Kathleen Parker turn this on its head, get out the shovel.

All three would have their lip-moving readers believe that expecting Catholic Charities to obey the same rules as any other agency -- only for state-funded and regulated adoptions -- is anti-religion, anti-Catholic, and unAmerican. The Cap'n told this lie and compounded it with a conservative-voter brown-nose ploy in his slither toward the POTUS nomination. The other two are among the many conning conservatives who like the ring of arguments that they know to be false. They also know that their readers are as likely as not to buy into it, just so they don't have to think.

To the Catholic Charities issue. The RC hierarchy was not forced to do anything. They decided to forgo the government money and refused to pay for doing God's work on their own. Let's keep a few points in mind, specifically:
  • The adoption services have nothing, nothing to do with the RC worship, masses or otherwise.
  • If they choose to obey Jesus' admonishments in secular acts that feed the hungry, clothe the poor and so forth, they know that they have exited the sanctuary and must deal with the people -- and laws -- of the larger world.
  • The $1 million and change that Massachusetts has provided them to act as adoption contractor agency comes with such strings as obeying the state's civil-rights rules.
  • If the church and its current anti-gay Pope choose to, if you pardon the expression, divorce themselves from association with letting same-sex couples adopt kids, that indeed is their religious liberty.
  • Of course, they don't get the $1 million plus a year if they choose to do that, which the hierarchy here did.
  • However, that is between 2% and 3% of Charities' budget. Having grown up in non-profits, I know that that kind of swing is common, lean years and fat years. They can continue on their own dime, if the Archbishop and Bishops agree that it is part of their mission and worthwhile.
  • They can get the money from various donations or seek other grants or simply re-budget until the numbers work. Other charitable organizations do it all the time.
This is not and has never been about liberty, or as the Cap'n's cynical throw-away legislation is titled The Act Protecting Religious Freedom. This is an effort to show preference of one religion over others, as forbidding in the First Amendment. It is a callous lie to undermine civil rights. It is most decidedly an anti-gay statement in the run-up to the next Presidential election.

What is sickening is for the cynics on the right to use loaded lies about the poor Church being forced to stop its adoption services. Make no mistake. A regime change in the Vatican suddenly made anti-gay politics and posturing okay or mandatory, in Boston and elsewhere. That coincided with rightwing aims here.

We mustn't let the shallow manipulators use our documents of liberty for their nefarious ends.

It's possible that Sean Cardinal O'Malley is likewise sick at this boss' decision. Yet, if that's so, he's such an obedient soldier, he's not likely to do the right thing. In the larger set of his goals and struggles, this is small beer...except for the kids stuck in foster care or orphanages by the malice of the church hierarchy.

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