The USCCB is trying to resuscitate a federal license-to-discriminate that died in committee in 2017.

Joseph E. Kurtz

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, who chairs the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee for Religious Liberty, is lobbying Congress to permit discrimination with taxpayer funds.

Img: Catholic Sun

The Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act is a federal bill that would bar states and municipalities from requiring adoption agencies to comply with nondiscrimination laws even though they are doing the work of the state with taxpayers’ dollars. It is targeted at permitting LGBT inequity in the name of religion. As you might imagine the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is promoting this license to discriminate.

It is children who suffer as a result of this prejudice. Gay couples, for example, provide a disproportionately large supply of adoptive and foster parents. There are, on average, about 450,000 kids in foster care. About 100,000 of those children are eligible for adoption. There is a real need for adoptive parents.

Every year, nearly 25,000 teens “age out” of the foster care system due to a shortage of adoptive parents. Many of those kids are instantly homeless. They have a 2% to 3% likelihood of higher education. 70% of girls who age out will be pregnant before the age of 21. Each of these young people was abused or neglected. Now our society makes them throw-away kids and young adults. The Church wants to participate in the damage.

What dreams do foster kids have? How dependent are those ambitions on being adopted? We have a surplus of damaged kids and the Church has the inhumanity to turn away prospective parents. Would Jesus approve of this stupidity?

The pampered prelates directly responsible for this irrationality are Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development; Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, chairman of the Committee for Religious Liberty; and Bishop James D. Conley of Lincoln, Nebraska, chairman of the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage.

According to them, the exclusion of Catholic adoption and foster care agencies “has already happened in Massachusetts, Illinois, California, the District of Columbia, and is in progress or litigation in New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan and at the federal level. In each of these places, religious agencies have been or are being driven out of offering adoption and foster care services due to their beliefs.”

In Massachusetts, for example, Catholic Charities had been placing kids with gay couples — quietly. In 2004, with marriage equality, the bishops closed the adoption agencies in Massachusetts. It was really quite cynical. They terminated these services in order to have an argument in opposition to same-sex marriage; one that they employed incessantly. National Organization for Marriage used the argument nearly 700 times.

Now they are using the same argument to justify discrimination. In 2003 Cardinal Ratzinger (future Pope Benedict), then Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith wrote, regarding gay couples:

Allowing children to be adopted by persons living in such unions would actually mean doing violence to these children, in the sense that their condition of dependency would be used to place them in an environment that is not conducive to their full human development. This is gravely immoral …

Ratzinger was wrong. The Vatican makes determinations in the abstract. We know (and many Catholic bishops know) that the science overwhelmingly supports adoption by loving gay couples. Now the Church is claiming that it is better to allow for throw-away kids than — God forbid — LGBT parentage. Using Ratzinger’s own language, this is gravely immoral. Discrimination is immoral. Further damaging damaged children is immoral.

Much of scripture is immoral by today’s standards (we do not seem to murder brides who are not virgins, but I cannot be certain). Apparently Catholic bishops have ancient texts that someone has yellow-highlighted to bring the supposedly anti-LGBT verses to their attention.

It means that children must suffer and that is unforgivable in spite of the fact that this measure is not going to become law in the current session. It is the intent that we will remember. One more board of bigotry on a structure that is unstable.

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.