After years of debate and months of final preparations, the military can no longer prevent gays from serving openly in its ranks. Those weren’t exactly their words, but that is what they are saying. Three hundred US bishops met in Baltimore and decried their waning religious freedom.
- Alabama’s recent crackdown on immigration, which prevents undocumented citizens from receiving religious services.
the chair of the committee sponsoring this bill stated clearly that if a congregation has undocumented immigrants worshiping in the church he would personally insure that in addition to the immigrants being arrested, the clergy would be arrested for harboring them.
- A New York town clerk who faces legal action for refusing to administer same-sex marriages
Rose Marie Belforti is a 10-year town clerk and a life-long Christian.
“I take the bible very serious. For me it is the foundation of my own perceptions. So that is my truth,” Rose said.
- Catholic charities are considered discriminatory for not placing foster children with same-sex couples
Diocese-affiliated programs at Belleville and elsewhere have trained and monitored foster parents under contract with the state for years, but those programs have said they won’t do so for same-sex couples. The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services subsequently announced it was pulling foster care contracts from those programs because, the agency said, their policies were at odds with the state’s own laws.
- U.S. Department of Justice’s opposition to the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as a legal union between a man and a woman, and the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy,
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted Nov. 10 to repeal a federal law defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
But according to a number of lawmakers, it does not appear the legislation would have enough votes to pass the full Senate or the House if it makes it that far.
The U.S. bishops had urged the committee not to repeal the legislation, calling it important for human rights and the common good.
“DOMA advances the common good in a manner consistent with the human dignity of all persons,” Bishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of Oakland, Calif., chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, wrote in a Nov. 2 letter to committee members.
After years of debate and months of final preparations, the military can no longer prevent gays from serving openly in its ranks.
- American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit against the Department of Health and Human Services that says it is unconstitutional for the department to contract the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to help victims of human trafficking.
It has been interpreted through the written instructions by HSS to groups requesting grants through the Trafficking Victims Protection Act that “strong preference” will be given to organizations that offer referrals for the “full range of legally permissible gynecological and obstetric care” to mean the Catholic group “could have been denied funding under those instructions because of the Church’s opposition to abortion and contraception.”
Although the first point regarding the Alabama Law certainly seems to infringe upon the rights of religious freedom, it is part of a larger bill that puts the onus on all service providers in the state to identify and inform on illegal immigrants. Certainly a serious issue, but much larger than religious freedom alone.
All of the other points boil down to the bishops feeling that laws should be written to include religious exemptions. One of the purposes for laws in states should be to protect minorities or vulnerable groups from discrimination and to ensure they have equal rights especially to government services.
The case of the town clerk in New York is quite simple. Her job is to administer laws and state regulations, even the ones she doesn’t like. If she refuses, there are consequences.
The refusal of Catholic Organizations to follow non-discriminatory laws or have government funding revoked is entirely appropriate. The issue is not religious freedom, it is a failure to follow the law. They have the freedom to ignore the law, but if they do they will not receive public money. A LGBT group that refused to assign foster children to straight couples would not, and should not, receive government either.
It is within the rights of any individual or group to lobby for or against any piece of legislation they disagree with. However, the Bishops are claiming that the government’s refusal to support their particular point of view impinges upon their rights. I struggle with the concept that ensuring equal rights for one group impinges on the rights of another in any way other than impinging on their ability to discriminate.
In the end that’s what it boils down to. The Bishops are complaining about limits to their ‘right’ to enforce their bigotry on the entire citizenry.