About two weeks ago or so, the Catholic Diocese of Washington, D.C. threatened to cease providing services to the poor in the city if the city went forward with a bill allowing same sex marriages. When I read this, I was instantly appalled.
How could the Catholic Church make a decision like this? When did politics take the place of compassion in the Church? I know this decision could not have been on the grounds of morality after all those years of the Church turning a blind eye and a deaf eye to the myriad of horrendous cases of sexual abuse by its priests.
But I will not go on a rant. I will instead turn the floor over to my friend and fellow blogger soulrebelj who blogs at Black Everyday. He approaches the issue much better than I ever could and in fewer words without all the emotion. When you finish, show him a little soul with your comments and do go over and check out his blog.
The Catholic Church has given Washington D.C. an ultimatum. The letter, sent by the Archdiocese, is a threat to stop helping the 1/3rd of Washington D.C.'s homeless currently receiving social services if they pass same-sex marriage legislation. Morally questionable or not, this move is good for us all.
The line separating church and state is long overdue for redrawing. The Vatican, which operates as its own independent nation, should not be writing US policy--at least not without Americans referring to the Pope as Supreme Leader or Ayatollah. In this Democracy, citizen elected leaders are meant to create the policy.
That's where the line separating church and state gets blurred.
Shouldn't the Catholic Church be allowed to spend their money wherever they please? Correct, however using money to influence government policy is called lobbying, and lobbyists have [albeit weak] rules very different from the tax benefits and freedoms granted to religious institutions. Between the Catholic Church and 1/2 the policymakers claiming to be on the “religious right,” separation of Church and State is practically obsolete. To say religion has no influence over US policy is a joke. As these institutions continue to flex their economic muscle, we need to even up the playing field. If you want to play the bribery—I’m sorry--lobbyist game, you need to play by the lobbyist rules. Religious institutions need to be under the same category as other non-profit organizations.
There is no separation of Non-Profit and State. In fact, the opposite is true--we expect them to advocate for policy change beneficial to their cause (Republican National Committee, The Young Turks, etc). Churches, on the other hand, are operating the same way under the illusion of neutrality—an illusion which grants them unprecedented access to policymakers. Nobody would blink twice to hear Politician X meeting with or even quoting Minister X. If, however, Minister X was instead just Mr. X, leader of Non-Profit X (ie, Acorn), the rest of the political alphabet would be up in arms. They would demand every email, text message, or note passed among the two, and scrutinize any policy which appeared beneficial to Non-Profit X. They would demand the revocation of Non-Profit X's status, and attack the credibility of Non-Profit X (assuming Non-Profit X supported their rivals).
Both the Catholic Church and the politicians vying for their votes should consider this policy change. Threatening to “re-allocate funds” if disagreeable bills are passed is too blatant to be ignored. What we allow the Catholic Church to do today, we must allow the Muslim Church to do tomorrow. If Muslims had the same fiscal standing as the Vatican, would we be as willing to accept them using the same level of influence? If the GOP's response to Obama using Bush initiated policy is any indication, the answer is a resounding no.
Then again this is a church matter, and maybe non-Catholics shouldn't be involved with church decisions. It's not like...never mind.