Help gays or hurt orphans: Catholic Church decides

Well, I was going to write about Ash Wednesday, and how I forgot about it (bad Catholic!) until I noticed a friend at journalism school with the telltale black smudge on her forehead, and then asked her if she regularly goes to Mass, which she doesn't, and then thought how interesting it is that on the one day a year when being Catholic becomes publicly visible, so many non-practicing Catholics still walk around with the equivalent of a sign on their heads reading "I'm a follower of Jesus Christ" - but then a friend from college alerted me to this little gem from the Washington Post which I deemed much more important.

Michelle Boorstein writes:

"The Catholic Archdiocese of Washington has ended its 80-year-old foster-care program in the District rather than license same-sex couples, the first fallout from a bitter debate over the city's move to legalize same-sex marriage."

I've written about this before, but it bears repeating. The Catholic Church is letting us know where its priorities lie. Before helping orphans and the homeless, their top initiative is to deny same-sex couples the rights and dignity afforded to them by law. Their tactic is juvenile at best, and does nothing to further their "cause." I will point out that no foster children are being dumped into the street; they're being transferred, and the city will surely confer its $20 million contract on another provider. In other words, services will not be lost, but the Church loses its opportunity to serve.

The Church argues that it goes against their principles to recognize same-sex partnerships and marriages, and that when the new marriage law goes into effect in D.C., they would be required to do so for employees. My understanding is that they also do not want to remain a contractor to a city that recognizes same-sex marriages, regardless of what the Church is or is not forced to legally acknowledge.

I'm not going to argue the Church's position on gay rights in a blog post (well, not again, anyway). Let's, for a moment, simply accept their moral position as unyielding. Fine. Why pull out of providing social services in D.C.? Is it really worth it, just to avoid obeying the laws the city has enacted? What will this do to help anyone - even the anti-gay movement?

I can't help but return, on the first day of Lent, to the most important and basic question the Church seems to be forgetting, no matter how cliche it has become - what would Jesus do? The answer to this is not always as easy as the people who manufacture bracelets and T-shirts might have us believe, but it's pretty simple.


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