March 5, 2010

The Bigger Government, the More Established Its Religion

Justin Katz

An editorial in the Rhode Island Catholic points to another Catholic charity pushed out of business by redefinition of the ground out from under it:

Time and time again proponents of homosexual marriage have promised churches and religious institutions they have nothing to fear from their radical proposal to redefine marriage. Yet last week Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington announced that it is ending its foster care and public adoption program after the District of Columbia said the charity would be ineligible for service because of the new law recognizing homosexual "marriage." The D.C. City Council's law recognizing homosexual "marriage" required religious entities which serve the general public to provide services to homosexual couples, even if doing so violated their religious beliefs. Exemptions were allowed only for performing marriages or for those entities which do not serve the public.

For 80 years Catholic Charities has provided high quality social services to the most vulnerable in our nation's capital. It seems surprising that the local D.C. government would want to put the Catholic Church out of the foster care business. Corporal works of mercy are no less important to the life of the church than its sacramental ministry. Forbidding the church to perform them is a serious blow to its religious liberty. Why would the government do that? Under the guise of equality and tolerance they seek to impose the radical homosexual agenda to redefine marriage and family life at all costs; even violating the religious freedom of the Catholic Church. Their commitment to equality is apparently so strong that they are willing to put Catholic Charities out of business because it won't promote an agenda that it views as morally wrong.

As we've noticed before, and with even more advanced evidence from Europe, the tendency is for government to define religious liberty ever more narrowly. The extreme would be a proclamation that one is permitted to believe however one wants, but not actually to pollute the public discourse with those beliefs by doing anything so secular and communal as speaking publicly.

Churches stop too soon in their assessments of such controversies, though. Sure, it's a violation of their liberties for the government to mandate that they treat marriages identically even when their constituent parts are substantially different. But right now, they're engaged in dueling civil rights claims, making it a political matter, not a principled one, who will win.

What the Catholic Church, especially, ought to be considering is that, were it not for pervasive government involvement in charitable endeavors, the threat to religious charities would be minimal. Yet, one often hears Catholic priests and other religious officials advocating for even more expansive government involvement in social welfare. Once government takes on the responsibility as a hub for good works, it will inevitably define how and to whom they must and can be provided, and once that definition is available to the political process, special interests, such as the homosexual movement, will seek to turn it toward their own ends.

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This is also a reason why Catholics should think carefully before supporting school vouchers . .

Posted by: brassband at March 5, 2010 2:18 PM

The founders would have called you papists (not in a good tone) and not been really happy with your tying in of church and state!

Thomas Jefferson:
"“In every country and every age, the priest had been hostile to Liberty.”
“Religions are all alike -- founded upon fables and mythologies”
“The Christian God is a being of terrific character - cruel, vindictive, capricious, and unjust”

John Adams:
"We ought to consider what is the end of government, before we determine which is the best form. Upon this point all speculative politicians will agree, that the happiness of society is the end of government, as all divines and moral philosophers will agree that the happiness of the individual is the end of man. From this principle it will follow, that the form of government which communicates ease, comfort, security, or, in one word, happiness, to the greatest number of persons, and in the greatest degree, is the best.

All sober inquirers after truth, ancient and modern, pagan and Christian, have declared that the happiness of man, as well as his dignity, consists in virtue. Confucius, Zoroaster, Socrates, Mahomet, not to mention authorities really sacred, have agreed in this.

If there is a form of government, then, whose principle and foundation is virtue, will not every sober man acknowledge it better calculated to promote the general happiness than any other form?

Fear is the foundation of most governments; but it is so sordid and brutal a passion, and renders men in whose breasts it predominates so stupid and miserable, that Americans will not be likely to approve of any political institution which is founded on it.

Honor is truly sacred, but holds a lower rank in the scale of moral excellence than virtue. Indeed, the former is but a part of the latter, and consequently has not equal pretensions to support a frame of government productive of human happiness.

The foundation of every government is some principle or passion in the minds of the people. The noblest principles and most generous affections in our nature, then, have the fairest chance to support the noblest and most generous models of government."

John Adams

Posted by: Stuart at March 5, 2010 4:11 PM

Nice quote, Stuart. But it does not support the (snidely put) point of your comment.

As I read Justin's post, he is pointing out the need for churches and other private charities to avoid entanglement with government money, and the irony that their leaders are doing just the opposite by advocating that government take a greater role in what used to be their realm of social service. Justin's point is exactly the opposite of what you describe.

Posted by: BobN at March 5, 2010 6:35 PM

Honestly, Justin always comes to the same conclusion, no matter what the issue it - it's tough to see what he is really saying!

He appears to be saying that we should not be like Europe, since the government there are not down on homos like he is.

He also seems to be saying that government SHOULD NOT BE a hub for good works, while the founders seem to say the exact opposite.

I also read into his post that he thinks churches should be part of the debate about the civil rights of life partners (marriage, etc.)
They should be no part of that discussion! We already know that mormons like a lot of wives and to keep 'em down, that the Muslims like to keep theirs locked up (some of them) and that the priest in Catholicism can't keep their hands off the boys. Those things are civil matters - crimes, so to speak, under the laws of our land.

The governments job is to extend happiness (in the political sense, which is freedom), to AS MANY PEOPLE as possible. That means pagans, gays, etc,

And, yes, EVERYTHING is a political matter. And, yes, of course the government decides how and to whom.....that's the whole idea of civil rights! Those that ARE NOT getting the same treatment as others SHOULD GET IT.

Pretty simple, really. Does justin think that because he marries, that he should get tax breaks, employment benefits or ANY other rights that someone who decides to co-habilitate or stay single does not?

Maybe, Justin, you should write a bit more clearly. Europe is ahead of us in NOT letter those who think the world was created 6,000 years ago dictate public policy.

Is that a GOOD thing or a BAD thing?

I say it's a GOOD thing. The further that the cults stay away from the public square, the better off we will be.

Maybe Justin should define for us that European narrowing which he says we "see". I see an expansion, not a narrowing.

As to the charity and good works - I have worked for various charities including Catholic ones. Many of them do great work.

However, any church or charity that refuses to serve a population because it "so violated their religious beliefs" is, IMHO, full know what. I have read the Sermon on the Mount and seen the works of Mother Theresa and saw nothing which said "if you don't agree with the lifestyle of the poor and the meek, then you should not help them".

Maybe Justin can point me to that scripture.

Posted by: Stuart at March 5, 2010 7:00 PM

Once a religious institution(1) takes on the responsibility as a hub for good works, it will inevitably define how and to whom they must and can be provided, and once that definition is available to the political process, special interests, such as the religious institutions(2), will seek to turn it toward their own ends.

(1)Justin uses the word "government". I have substituted the words "Religious institution"
(2)Justin uses the words "homosexual movement". I have substituted the words "religious institutions".

What an all purpose vehicle. Just insert your own words for the italicised ones and your particular point of view will be served. One size fits all!

Posted by: OldTimeLefty at March 5, 2010 8:04 PM

You on the Left are misreading Justin's and my comments. I believe you are doing so intentionally.

It makes all the difference in the world if the charitable institution is private or government. In the first place, the Founders were very clear that it was not the business of government to be involved in charitable activities. To the extent that a private institution makes its own rules for whom/what it will cover, that is a private matter and interferes with nobody's rights. If there are segments of the population that are unserved because of such choices by the donors, there is nothing to preclude another private charity from filling the gap. But when government pushes in it tends to insist on a monopoly and starts ordering everyone else around. Not exactly the moral high ground.

Lefty's attempt at using a "substitution" principle in this context is simply nonsensical. He thinks he is clever but in fact he is merely puerile.

Posted by: BobN at March 5, 2010 8:42 PM

Bob, please quote the part of the constitution where the founders made it clear that the government should not be involved in (what you call) charity?

Charity is a funny word, so I would change that to "public or general welfare", etc.

Every single thing that government or a charity (or any human) does can be construed as benefitting one person or group more than another.

For instance, the founders clearly saw roads, canals, shipping navigation and other such projects as being part of their job and helping the general welfare. Yet, some homesteaders might have never left their towns and hills and never used any of those improvements.

Ben Franklin founded Pennsylvania Hospital...for the POOR. On the cornerstone of that building, it says" By the bounty of the GOVERNMENT and of many private persons, was piously founded for the relief of the sick and miserable..."

So, what is that all about?
I think it is clear.

Posted by: Stuart at March 5, 2010 9:00 PM


Thomas Jefferson "We have formed a Constitution suitable for a Christian nation, and no other."

As you know, I am not a great fan of the Roman church. For all of that, I will not deny the good works they have done, ably and faithfully.

As Washington,DC is largely Black and therefore rarely Catholic, it is tempting to think that the effect on Catholic Charities is not an "unintended consequence". Nonetheless, I think it probably was. Few people understand the ramifacations of granting a "civil right". Governments cannot fund organizations which deny them. Taken as a simple statement, you are free to believe as you will but the government is not required to fund it. I am not sure everyone realizes how far reaching that can be. If questioned separately, I think most people would favor the continued existance of Catholic Charities.

Posted by: Warrington Faust at March 5, 2010 9:46 PM

"He also seems to be saying that government SHOULD NOT BE a hub for good works, while the founders seem to say the exact opposite."

Since you reference "honor" and "virtue". I would say that until they are restored to the men who serve in government, they will not be a "hub for good works".

Let us take President Clinton. Had he subscribed to anything where he pledged his life, his fortune and his "sacred honor" would anyone take that as other than rhetoric? Many would take it as a joke.

Posted by: Warrington Faust at March 5, 2010 9:54 PM


The issue isn't of funding. It's of licensure. As in MA, if the Catholic adoption service declines to place children in households that do not consist of a married man and woman, they cannot place children anywhere.

Posted by: Justin Katz at March 5, 2010 10:20 PM

BobN either shut up or put up an argument. The puerility is in the name calling. The ignorance is in the refusal to examine statements conscientiously.

Oh, BobN, by the way. I had hoped you'd have had the fortitude to stick to your vow to ignore my comments. Instead you take cheap shots without really responding. Consistency proving too difficult for you?

Posted by: OldTimeLefty at March 5, 2010 11:44 PM


My mistake. I understood "the District of Columbia said the charity would be ineligible for service" to mean that they would not be assisted with funding.

Sometimes we must be wary of what we wish for. Consider what would happen in Boston if the parochial schools had to close. I believe they have 16,000 students. Could the public schools absorb them? Would the parents regard that as a viable alternative?

Admittedly, I see the cause of this, "homosexual marriage", as aberrant and a "flash in the pan". Those of us familiar with history know that there have been periods where homosexual relationships were permitted, usually followed by periods of extreme repression. I suppose my problem is with believing that it is not a choice (perhaps not consciously made) and that they are "born that way".

Posted by: Warrington Faust at March 6, 2010 2:57 AM

>>>eving that it is not a choice (perhaps not consciously made) and that they are "born that way".

That statement is a bit confusing, to say the least!
If it is not consciously made, then it is not what we would call a "free will choice" made by a adult.

There are LOTS of problems with the way we approach sexuality....and LOT more of them on the Hereto side (due to the larger number of adherents....

Justin would be better off putting his anger into saving women from being raped and a LARGE percentage are......NOT BY CHOICE.

But, and let me guess this.....Justin and other RI righties probably spout stuff about "life". That is, you must make certain that every sperm and egg grows into a full adult human being......the right is always about "right to life"...that is, UNTIL THE KIDS ARE BORN. At that point, they dump them into poverty, send them to war, take away their health care and flip them the bird.

Oh, thou Hypocrites....

But back to the founders. Any quote from Thomas Jefferson which purports to show this national being religious in the normal sense is 100% BUNK. The man did not attend church and was a child of the "enlightenment"...which at the time were called liberals. He was a Deist as were most of he founders. He was a man of science, not of faith.......

Old Ben Franklin was too. To show how far we have gone backwards, consider that Ben Franklin was NEVER asked throughout his entire public life if he was a adherent to Christianity. Finally, when quite old, he was asked in a letter...and answered that he DID NOT BELIEVE in the divinity of Jesus. That is pretty clear! You can't wish that one away! At the same time, the good doctor quipped that he "expected to find out soon enough"...funny guy!

In any case, those on the right who think their ideas and ideals are aligned with the founders are very wrong! The founders would have CRINGED at many of the present conservative notions. They honestly thought we were past that (fairy tales, etc.)

It really shows how advanced they were!

Posted by: Stuart at March 6, 2010 8:36 AM

Stuart, it's very simple. I thought even you might understand it. Your question itself reveals your bad will in this discussion. I say that because I don't believe you are either stupid of ignorant of the historical facts. It is impossible to carry on a reasonable conversation with you Leftists because you are so combative and lie so shamelessly.

The notes from the debates in the Constitutional Convention and the Federalist Papers all make clear that the federal government has only the enumerated powers and none other.

Here are some direct quotes from various Founders that clarify the issue:

“When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.”
-Benjamin Franklin

“To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.”
-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Joseph Milligan, April 6, 1816

“A wise and frugal government … shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.”
-Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1801

“Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated.”
-Thomas Jefferson

“When all government, domestic and foreign, in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the center of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another and will become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we separated.”
-Thomas Jefferson to Charles Hammond, 1821. The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, (Memorial Edition) Lipscomb and Bergh, editors, ME 15:332

“The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.”
-Thomas Jefferson, letter to E. Carrington, May 27, 1788

“The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. If ‘Thou shalt not covet’ and ‘Thou shalt not steal’ were not commandments of Heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society before it can be civilized or made free.”
-John Adams, A Defense of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America, 1787

James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, elaborated upon this limitation in a letter to James Robertson:
“With respect to the two words ‘general welfare,’ I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators.”

In 1794, when Congress appropriated $15,000 for relief of French refugees who fled from insurrection in San Domingo to Baltimore and Philadelphia, James Madison stood on the floor of the House to object saying, “I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.”
-James Madison, 4 Annals of congress 179 (1794)

“…[T]he government of the United States is a definite government, confined to specified objects. It is not like the state governments, whose powers are more general. Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government.”
-James Madison

“If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the general welfare, the government is no longer a limited one possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one subject to particular exceptions.” James Madison, “Letter to Edmund Pendleton,”
-James Madison, January 21, 1792, in The Papers of James Madison, vol. 14, Robert A Rutland et. al., ed (Charlottesvile: University Press of Virginia,1984).

“An elective despotism was not the government we fought for; but one in which the powers of government should be so divided and balanced among the several bodies of magistracy as that no one could transcend their legal limits without being effectually checked and restrained by the others.”
-James Madison, Federalist No. 58, February 20, 1788

“There are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.”
-James Madison, speech to the Virginia Ratifying Convention, June 16, 1788

Posted by: BobN at March 6, 2010 8:44 AM

Let's hold charitable services hostage over a vote on gay marriage that didn't turn out the way the right liked.
That's what this comes down to, basically.
We know what Jesus thought of the Pharisees.

Posted by: rhody at March 6, 2010 5:00 PM

That's a perversion of the truth, Rhody. Catholic Charities in Washington, as in Massachusetts, would gladly continue adoption services according to its beliefs (that children should be placed in married man-woman households) regardless of marriage law or the activities of other adoption services. It's the state that's saying "our way or no way," using the Catholic desire to offer charitable services as a weapon against the Church.

Posted by: Justin Katz at March 6, 2010 5:07 PM

Justin is polite, whereas I am fed up. "Perversion of the truth" = shameless lie, garnished with adolescent sarcasm.

Posted by: BobN at March 6, 2010 6:47 PM

If we're letting our views on gay marriage get in the way of helping kids who need it, as a society we're cutting off our nose to spite our face. Claiming the state is holding the kids hostage, to me, is a lame excuse.
Not calling anybody a 'phobe, the product of 13 years of Catholic education, I don't believe the Jesus I studied was a 'phobe.

Posted by: rhody at March 6, 2010 7:42 PM

It's a new fad in town.

Christians have now hooked onto this thing....whining about how they are so discriminated upon!

It's actually pretty funny. They simply have to follow similar rules as everyone else. We are free to practice NO or ANY religion as long as we also follow the rules of the country and state, etc.

Poor majority.....let me cry a tear. Soon after that, I will cry for the plight of the rich white guys like myself.

Fortunately, I know many REAL christians and catholics and not a SINGLE ONE of them has ever pulled that whining card...and most do not step into the political arena...except, of course, to protest war (seems Justin didn't pick up on those Values, but thinks homos are the only subject in the bible)

Time to listen to the Pope again.

Just for interest, Justin, can we now have your confession on the suffering that you have caused for MILLIONS by your support of the neo-cons and the wars?
Or, are you still a warmonger? I don't see a lot of posts about that.

Posted by: Stuart at March 6, 2010 7:57 PM
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