Thursday, November 12, 2009

Who would Jesus blackmail?

A high proportion of the atheists and agnostics I know are, or have been Roman Catholic and I have to say a good number of my favorite comedians as well. The sense of alienation and the sarcasm of such people no mystery to me when I read stories like the Washington Post's piece on the Archdiocese of Washington DC and its threat to discontinue being all charitable and Christlike about feeding and sheltering the homeless and hungry if a proposed bill allowing same sex marriage passes.

Although the Church would not of course be required to perform or to lend their floor space to such unions, they would be required to obey the same laws forbidding discrimination against gay men and lesbians as the rest of us.
"The city is saying in order to provide social services, you need to be secular. For us, that's really a problem" said Archdiocese spokeswoman Susan Gibbs.

No, the city is saying that to be a partner with a publicly funded service, you don't hold the city hostage until they deny civil rights to law abiding citizens. Consider the homeless of the streets, shall we let them starve if only two gay men are allowed to marry? Shall we let them die if we allow people to divorce? What other taboos must we as citizens observe before the Archdiocese of Washington will deign to obey Biblical commandments to help others?

I do understand that they have a problem recognizing certain lay employee's right to share employment benefits, I just can't see Jesus making an issue of it or attempting to use the homeless as a hostage if the Romans refused to implement Jewish law.

Of course the peanut gallery will respond with nonsense about religious persecution and freedom and there will be no reasoning with them, but if a religious test to receive public services is repugnant, the demand that the public go along with their dogma or the poor will not be served is more so. It's another example lending credibility to all the warnings about "faith based" initiatives. It's another example illustrating just why Congress shall make no laws concerning an establishment of religion.

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