Catholic Church Uses D.C.’s Homeless As Pawns In Gay Marriage Debate

After last Saturday, when Catholic bishops used their Congressional influence to push the Stupak amendment, I am not feeling particularly kindly toward the Catholic Church.  But this article, published yesterday in the Washington Post, is simply appalling.  On Wednesday, the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. announced that it will not continue the social service programs it runs for the District if the city doesn’t change a proposed same-sex marriage law.  This is a change, needless to say, that would affect tens of thousands of D.C.’s most vulnerable citizens, especially the one-third of D.C.’s homeless who go to city-owned shelters managed by the Church.  Overall, the Catholic Church serves 68,000 people in the city.

The Archdiocese is justifying its stance by saying that although under the new bill, religious institutions would not be required to perform same-sex marriage services, they would have to comply with city laws regarding discrimination against gay men and lesbians – i.e., they couldn’t discriminate anymore.  “If the city requires this, we can’t do it,” Susan Gibbs, spokeswoman for the archdiocese, told the Post. “The city is saying in order to provide social services, you need to be secular. For us, that’s really a problem.”

Except – the law wouldn’t really require secularism, would it?  Because the Catholic Church would not be required to marry same-sex couples, and Catholic churches and cathedrals would be free to deny their spaces to anyone but heterosexual couples.  I don’t want to start pointing fingers here, and I certainly don’t want to sound anti-religious – in fact, the Mormon Church of Latter-Day Saints recently upheld a piece of Salt Lake City legislation that prohibited bias based on sexual orientation or gender identity.  Michael Otterson, the director of public affairs for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said: “The church supports these ordinances because they are fair and reasonable and do not do violence to the institution of marriage.”  Surely, this outlook should make sense also to the Catholic Church, since the proposed does not require them to readjust their stance on marriage.

But arguments about how the law will affect the Church aside, let’s think for a minute about the devastating impact that a removal of Church support would have on Washington, D.C. itself.  Tens of thousands of people depend fully on Church-run services to survive.  The idea that the Church would put those people in jeopardy because of an ideological difference is absolutely appalling.  And the idea of using these vulnerable people as pawns in a political game simply reflects badly upon the Church – which is so often lauded for its focus on good works and charity.  Where is the Church’s moral obligation to feed the hungry and care for the sick?  Are they really going to let go of that fundamental tenet in order to make a point about gay marriage?

Photo courtesy of Flickr Photostream.


Monica M.
Past Member 7 years ago

"It is sad what our world is came to that people does not have GOD in there heart and soul. Those whom say they are christians and believe in GOD when they go out side the box and sin every momment has lost GOD from their lifes. We all make mistakes. But, those whom always go and follow the devil with the sins out their and follow the wrong path Does not have GOD truely in their heart. Because to go to Heaven we have to be saved after all sins. I am not catholic I am southren baptist and those agianst any churches rights is not a christian because you can change man laws but, you can not change the bible LAWS which was made by JESUS CHRIST WHOM WAS KILLED ON CROSS BECAUSE HE WAS JEW A CHOOSEN ONE." you using caps lock when spelling God doesn't make you right, it just makes you look fanatical and dumb.Wedding Planning Bay Area

Annmari Lundin
Annmari L7 years ago

Catholic church never sees to amaze. Hiding pedophilic priests and judging the victims. Now saying homeless people or gay marriage. The richest institution in the world and still seek money from their parishoners. Wish all members would quit supporting that church, but there are still stupid people around so that won't happen, no matter what the catholic leadership do. This behaviour is just another reason for me to urge for a religion free world!

Suzanna van der Voort

I don't care if you believe in the god of the sun, the lightning, the thunder, the earth and what so ever...but when you use (abuse) your religion for discrimination, torture, war and more, than you religion is a WRONG! A true righteous and "worthy" god, will teach you to respect each other without exception in gender, color or religion. A "worthy" god teach you to live in harmony which each other and ALL living creatures. It is a deep shame that the leaders of a "church" are using the religion for blackmail, discrimination and for war. A true god stands for love and harmony, no matter what!

Robert B.
Robert B8 years ago

Any church is worthless if it does not have 1 Corinthians 13 as its guide:

1If I speak in the tongues[a] of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames,[b] but have not love, I gain nothing.
4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Dan Greigo
Dan Greigo8 years ago

The catholic curch does not like the idea of gay marriage because back in the day when they where being "Persecuted" (I say this with hints of sarcasm because this was done because the catholics thought bathing and health care was frivolous and un-needed.... hmm seems like thats wrong)by the predominantly pegan Romans who did not frown upon Gay practices. Seems a bit petty, doesnt it?

Amanda Yunker
Amanda R8 years ago

The church should be an example to its followers. What is this teaching the Catholic people? To manipulate circumstances to get your way? This is far from godly.

Teresa Wlosowicz
Teresa W8 years ago

I'm not surprised, because I'm Polish and I know how the Catholic Church in Poland interferes with politics, imposes its own principles on public life (also as regards certain laws that are enacted, such as one of the most restrictive anti-abortion laws in Europe) and, first and foremost, bleeds the state budget of money.

Leia P.
Leia P.8 years ago

the catholic church is the most evil organization in history

Margarita Ruiz
Margarita Ruiz8 years ago

The issue here is not whether or not the Catholic Church will allow gays to marry, but whether or not they will continue to help the homeless. These should be separate issues, but the church is trying to merge them. If the church chooses to stop helping the homeless, then they should themselves stop receiving tax exemption and state funds for the charitable acts that they are no longer doing. For the record, I am Catholic, though as time goes by I wonder less and less whether it is for me, but I digress.

As for the argument that the Catholic Church will face lawsuits for discrimination for not marrying gays, that's just a load of bull. For Centuries, the Catholic church has been allowed to deny baptisms, weddings, funerals, and any other sacrament on the basis of:
-not wanting to have children
-being previously married by the church and divorcing
-wanting to get married in a building other than a church
-marrying someone not Catholic
-not being an active member of the church
..etc, etc, etc

These issues can be differ from parish to parish and diocese to diocese, but the fact remains that they have never been sued because they have the right to refuse a sacrament. Nobody can force them to marry homosexuals, and no homosexual has asked them to. So no, nobody has attacked or pressured them.

Hopefully they will cease this nonsense and return to their charitable works. They can't afford any more bad PR after their history with molestation.

pam w.
pam w8 years ago

It's a sad thing when people have to PROSELYTIZE in public places.