Bill Donohue

Monday, Blowhard Bill Donohue claims that he knows what’s best for children.

Blowhard Bill, of the Catholic League, is a divorced man who has taken it upon himself to be the unofficial apologist for all things Catholic. The Church can do no wrong according to the camera-immersive Donohue. Donohue has proffered the idea that victims of predatory priests are liars who are out for a payday. Donohue claims that most of the victimized children were post-pubescent — as if that makes it okay.

Donohue has also claimed that most victims were not raped but fondled as if a kid being forced to give a priest a blowjob makes that priest less of a monster than one who forces anal sex on a kid. Donohue has even suggested that some of the boys are responsible for having lured priests into having sex with them.

Earlier today I wrote about the settlement between Michigan and a group seeking to remove religious exemptions from the privileges of child welfare agencies who are doing the work of the state with taxpayer money. In simplest terms if an agency elects to take taxpayer dollars then it should conform to the state’s nondiscrimination law.

To Blowhard Bill Donohue this is an attack on religious freedom:

Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s attack on religious freedom:

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is keeping her campaign promise to put her radical agenda ahead of the best interests of children.

In 2015, Michigan’s legislature passed a law to protect the religious freedom of faith-based foster care and adoption agencies, assuring that they wouldn’t be forced to choose between their values and their mission to find homes for children. The bill was supported by the Michigan Catholic Conference.

Well of course the measure was supported by the Michigan Catholic Conference. There is no way in hell that Catholic Charities is going to place a child — even a gay child — with a gay couple. According to then Cardinal Ratzinger (future Pope Benedict) in 2003:

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…

As for the 2015 law, it is not that simple. Jay Kaplan, lead counsel for the ACLU of Michigan in the subject case (Dumont v. Gordon):

…we believe that the law states that once an agency accepts a child from the State, it cannot then refuse to provide services, including services to prospective foster care parents. Catholic foster care and adoption services agencies do not have to place kids with gay parents in their own private capacity. It’s just when they receive contracts from the government to act on behalf of the government they cannot discriminate, but that’s what they have been doing in Michigan.

Catholic Charities might sue the state or they could wait until they turn away a gay couple who sues them. Either way, the law is going to be challenged. Blowhard Bill is perturbed to say the least:

In a settlement with the ACLU, she [AG Nessel] has decreed that the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services must end state contracts with faith-based agencies, rather than allow them to make child placement decisions in accord with their religious beliefs.

Once again, Nessel demonstrates her contempt for the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious freedom, decreeing that faith-based agencies must check their religious principles at the door before they will be allowed to provide services for children in need.

Let’s examine the supposed “First Amendment’s guarantee of religious freedom.”

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…

If religious groups have special privileges to discriminate on the basis of religion is that not respecting its establishment? Where does “free exercise” say anything about conduct other than holding certain beliefs and worshiping as one chooses? Where does the First Amendment allow for free exercise to include the imposition of beliefs and practices on others?

And what about the rights of kids in the system to Equal Protection and Due Process? Gay couples are probably far more likely to adopt children or provide foster care than straight couples. Eliminating a large swath of potential parents due to Catholic dogma does not serve those children as they should be served.

And what about the rights of taxpayers? Most taxpayers support marriage equality. It follows that most taxpayers oppose discrimination in adoption. Therefore, they are likely to oppose having their tax dollars spent in a fashion that discriminates against a minority.

Catholic Charities, for its part, has a right not to participate in state-funded programs. No one is forcing the organization to provide adoption services. According to the most recent tax return available only about 5% of its revenue is derived from adoption and foster care placement services on which it loses about $1 million annually. International and refugee services contribute far more revenues and most of what the organization receives comes from charitable contributions (if we separate out program service revenue).

The point is that Catholic Charities can decide not to provide child welfare services and hardly notice the difference. It actually saves money. Why is the organization so determined to engage in a discriminatory endeavor and why is Blowhard Bill Donohue so determined to apologize for a discriminatory endeavor?

Finally we get to Donohue’s take on what is best for children:

Worst of all, by excluding faith-based agencies from the state’s foster care and adoption program, Nessel shows utter contempt for all the children served by those agencies. As the Michigan Catholic Conference observed, this settlement “does nothing to protect the thousands of children in foster care looking for loving homes.”

Bill Donohue cares about children as long as they don’t embarrass the Catholic Church by having the temerity to be sexually assaulted. Sorry Bill. Those kids are better served by agencies that do not discriminate because they are able to work with a larger pool of potential parents which means more opportunities for their adoption. Moreover, the AG is excluding no one. She expects these agencies to conform to common-sense rules. It is excluding gay couples which does a disservice to the children.

To put it another way, Catholic Charities is probably placing children with Jews, Hindus, Buddhists and Muslims. Doing so is no less insulting to the faith than placing kids with gay parents. After all, they are denying children the right to be saved by Jesus. Where is your opprobrium Bill? Or are they discriminating on the basis of religion too?

Related content:

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.