Sunday, January 3, 2010

San Francisco vs. the Christians: The Court Decides

Religious freedom doesn't mean much to many people who don't practice a religion, but it cannot be denied that defending freedom of religion, at the very least, defends one's ability to choose one's own values and then act on them, provided that those actions don't deprive others of the same ability.

The City of San Francisco is presently governed by a body of legislators who have chosen to believe that same-sex couples are entitled to all the benefits of heterosexual couples, including parenting children.

As in all things, Nature has something to say about that. To parent children, same-sex couples must introduce a member of the opposite sex into the equation at some point. For some same-sex couples, the answer is adoption. However, Catholic Charities in San Francisco has refused to place children in their care into same-sex households.

Scandalized, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in early 2006 passed a resolution (Resolution 168-06, click here) condemning the Catholic Church's refusal to offer children for adoption by gay couples. A week later, the Board officially condemned a rally of 25,000 Christian teenagers gathered to oppose a popular culture that glamourizes violence and sex, including abortion and homosexuality.

San Francisco's Board of Supervisors labeled the Catholic Church's refusal to require parentless children to be raised by homosexuals as "hateful," "discriminatory," "insulting," "callous," and "showing a level of insensitivity and ignorance which has seldom been encountered by this Board of Supervisors."

As opposed to (one cannot help observing) the tact, sensitivity, and enlightenment displayed by San Francisco's answer to the traditional religious community, namely, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence (shown) whose motto is, "Go and sin some more." (I am not making this up.) It should be noted that San Francisco's Catholic churches do not prevent the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence from participating in Catholic religious services. But the Church is not putting little babies into their hands.
Catholic doctrine teaches, for example, that allowing children to be adopted by homosexuals 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," the center explained. "Such policies are gravely immoral and Catholic organizations must not place children for adoption in homosexual households."
And what did San Francisco's elected legislature think of that rally of 25,000 Christian evangelical  teenagers eager to follow that antique guideline known as the Ten Commandments? The Board of Supervisors called their rally a "fascist mega-pep rally" of "virtue terrorism." Got that? San Francisco feels "terrorized" when faced with non-fisting adolescents.

At present, the 9th Circuit Court is considering a challenge to San Francisco's resolution condemning the Catholic Church for its moral teachings. The challenge was brought by the Thomas More Law Center, which presented oral arguments to the Court on December 17, 2009.

The Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution does not permit government hostility toward religion. Robert Muise, who argued the case before the eleven-judge panel, said, "If the full court allows this government attack on Catholics to stand, it will likely further embolden anti-Christian attacks by government." Bill Donohue, speaking for the Catholic League, pointed out that Board of Supervisors' "invective and bigoted comments" tell "what will be happening under the 'hate crime law' recently signed by President Obama."

On the other hand, according to Muise, "Should the full court ultimately render a decision in our favor, this case will establish much needed precedent for claims alleging government hostility toward religion."



  1. This is a really interesting story (which I completely missed) and perhaps illustrates the true meaning in the concept of "separation of Church and State" and the conflicts that can arise from it.

    I hope you keep following this.

  2. Thanks, Yukio. I shall.

    Catholic adoption agencies in the US and UK are being forced to choose between following traditional Catholic teachings and recent civil "anti-discrimination" legislation. A number of Catholic charities here and across the Pond have closed their adoption agencies as a result, but others have chosen to abandon traditional religious teachings.

    It is heartbreaking, I think, to be forced to choose between one's commitment to serve innocent children and one's deeply held religious beliefs about the role of the family, particularly when the commitment to serve rises directly from the religious belief. The loss to the children involved as a result of this conflict is, of course, beyond reckoning.