Oh, Yes, So Very, Very Tolerant

The forces of “tolerance” are on the move again, and have found their most recent victim.  The Archdiocese of Washington, faced with an unjust law that would have required them to recognize the validity of same-sex “marriages”, has been forced to withdraw from foster care and adoption services.

The basic facts are very simple.  The District of Columbia government was dead set on recognizing same-sex “marriages”, and had little regard for anything that stood in their way or any of the consequences.   Remember, the City government refused to allow the proposed bill to be voted on as a referrendum, refused to grant a reasonable religious exemption despite repeated requests by the Archdiocese, and imposed such a rigorous schedule for compliance with the law that Catholic Charities had little choice but to close down their program.  This was accompanied by a propaganda campaign that accused the Church of turning her back on the poor, even though, all along, it was the City government that was shoving the Church out the door.

This is not unprecedented.  Catholic Charities in Boston was forced to surrender its adoption services in the face of the Massachusetts same-sex “marriage” law, after the state legislature refused to grant an exemption.  And a few years ago, here in New York, we were lucky that the Court of Appeals struck down a New York City law that would have required all city contractors to recognize same-sex “marriages” — but they rejected the law on technical grounds, not because of the infringement of religious liberty.

Nor will it be the last time that it happens.  Other cities and states are likely to try similar tactics.   The legal community is unlikely to help.  After all, the Administration has nominated a person to serve on an important federal civil rights panel who believes that when “gay rights” and religious liberties collide, the rights of churches should lose.

In his famous letter in 1790 to the Hebrew Congregation in Newport, Rhode Island, President George Washington pledged that the government of the United States would respect the religious liberty of all, demanding only that they be good citizens.  The letter is worth quoting here:

The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy — a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship.  It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for, happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.

President Washington’s promise is not being honored, in the city that bears his name.  Will it be honored elsewhere?

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2 Responses to “Oh, Yes, So Very, Very Tolerant”

  1. Evan says:

    It does not seem to be sufficient to you to leave your refusal to marry to people of the same gender within your church walls. You seek to prevent other religious institutions – whose belief would permit this – from doing it as well. If you fail to recognize their right to do this, why should they recognize your right to refuse to do this?

    The case mentioned in this article regards publicly funded programs. I don’t see how you can expect to receive public monies, and still apply parochial restrictions. Not paying taxes an church real estate, not paying commercial rates on utilities already constitute a substantial subsidy. If, in addition to that, you accept public monies directly, you should understand that you cannot apply your parochial ideas, at least not to the programs using those monies. It is important to note in this context that the Roman Catholic faith is not the majority faith in the United States. If this is so objectionable, you have merely not to accept public contracts. Nobody is questioning those other subsidies mentioned above!

  2. Ed Mechmann says:

    So, if your Church receives government benefits or subsidies of any kind, it loses its First Amendment rights to free exercise of religion, association, and speech. Here’s the question: if that approach is correct, then what prevents the government from insisting on conformity from individuals as well, all of whom also receive some government benefits (e.g., tax credits or deductions)?

    This approach leads to the tyrant state that insists on conformity, and will ensure that all elements in society are brought into line.