Friday, November 13, 2009

Catholic Church in D.C. considers dropping city contracts if same-sex marriage plan passes

Religion should never put a stranglehold upon a government or a government entity; nor should a government place unreasonable burdens upon a religious organization. But the Catholic Church in Washington D.C. is trying to do just that, effectively blackmailing the district in order to get its way.

The Catholic Church provides services to tens of thousands of people within D.C. through contracts it has established with the district. But because the city might pass an ordinance that would legalize same-sex marriage and other protections for gay and lesbian couples, the Catholic Church is considering opting out of the contracts, leaving the city and thousands of people who depend on the services the Church provides in the dark.

To be sure, the Catholic Church has some legitimate concerns. The city would exempt the Church from having to perform marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples. But the Church is concerned because, should the ordinance become law, it might mean that the Church would be forced to provide services in a non-discriminatory manner.

These concerns, however, don't justify the Catholic Church's actions. The set of circumstances here brings up an important question: Who Would Jesus Extort? It may seem silly to some, or maybe even offensive, but that is exactly what the Catholic Church in D.C. is doing. It's exerting its control over the city by refusing to provide services because it disagrees with a policy position the city has taken.

What else could you call such actions? The Catholic Church has a right to express its displeasure with the city's mandates, and to question whether the Church should be forced to help those it doesn't necessarily want to help.

But by threatening the city in this manner, the Church is acting in a very selfish way -- a path that was rejected by a certain Son of God nearly two thousand years ago. The Church has the right to do this...but somehow, from a Christian perspective, it just doesn't feel right.

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