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(Cross-posted at BlueGrit)
As anyone who follows the stirring "moral" debates that happen south of the border probably already knows, there has been a row in Massachusetts over the "right" of the Catholic Church to impose their insane "values" on others, even to the detriment of children. Basically, Catholic Charities of Boston acts on behalf of the state and places children in foster homes. However, in a violation of the state's non-discrimination laws, the Vatican instructed the organization to stop placing children in homes with same-sex parents.
Article after self-righteous article have condemned this move, this one even making the ridiculous assertion that the "religious freedom" of the Catholic Church has been a missing angle from the debate. I don't know how exactly such a statement can be made, given how many articles, some of them civil, some of them downright homophobic, I have already read on the subject of the supposed "violation" of the Catholic Church's rights.
Some facts which are often missing from the debate include the fact that every single board member of Catholic Charities of Boston disagreed with the Vatican's decision and had to be brow-beaten into taking their homophobic stand, and in fact eight of them stepped down in protest. There is also the fact that, of the 720 children they have placed in homes over the past 2 decades, only 13 of them were placed in homes with same-sex parents. That's less than 2%. And finally, Catholic Charities acted on behalf of the state, not as an independent organization.
With all that in mind, the entire issue becomes much clearer.
First of all, the right to religious freedom is irrelevant here. Regardless of religion, regardless of personal moral code, and regardless of any belief one may have about anything, the fact is that if you are acting on behalf of the state, then you must accept the rules of the state.
Second, many people have blamed gays, in expressions of typical bigotry, for putting their rights ahead of the needs of children, including Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who is becoming more and more anti-gay by the day as he prepares for a run at the Republican presidential nomination in 2008. However, if gays are fair game here, then so is the Catholic Church. Is it not fair to say that the Vatican is putting the needs of children secondary to their own outdated "moral" code, so much so that they forced the well-meaning and good-hearted members of the organization to go against what they clearly felt was best for the children?
Third, the children placed with same-sex parents were placed in such households not because of gay rights activists or because of political correctness - they were placed in those homes because the members of Catholic Charities felt that same-sex parents, whether they agreed or disagreed with the concept, were better than no parents at all, something any reasonable person would agree to, especially if said reasonable person knows anything about the nightmarish foster care system. The options were simple - gay parents, or not parents at all. With that in mind, who is truly being unreasonable here? The phantom "gay rights activists", who did nothing, or the Catholic Church which proactively shut down an organization that wanted nothing more than to help children in any way possible?