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Catholic Archdiocese of Washington thinks anti-gay bigotry more important than helping the poor

Jesus of Nazareth, that old semi-mythical Jewish mystic that Christians of all stripes claim to follow, reportedly told his followers on several occasions that they should care for the poor and hungry. For example, in Luke 3:11, "The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same." Or, Mark 10:21, "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

Nowhere in any of the gospels does he address the issue of gay marriage. Nada. Not a word on the topic.

We might then conclude that, according to Jesus (at least, as reported in the Gospels), helping the poor is much more important -- indeed, given the many-to-zero ratio of mentions, infinitely more important -- than preventing the government from recognizing same-sex unions.

Yet, the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington has decided that it is more important for them to protect their anti-LGBT bigotry than to continue their work on behalf of the poor. They are threatening to discontinue social service programs in D.C. if they aren't permitted to discriminate:

The Catholic Archdiocese of Washington said Wednesday that it will be unable to continue the social service programs it runs for the District if the city doesn't change a proposed same-sex marriage law, a threat that could affect tens of thousands of people the church helps with adoption, homelessness and health care.

Under the bill, headed for a D.C. Council vote next month, religious organizations would not be required to perform or make space available for same-sex weddings. But they would have to obey city laws prohibiting discrimination against gay men and lesbians.


After the vote, the archdiocese sent out a statement accusing the council of ignoring the right of religious freedom. Gibbs said Wednesday that without Alexander's amendment and other proposed changes, the measure has too narrow an exemption. She said religious groups that receive city funds would be required to give same-sex couples medical benefits, open adoptions to same-sex couples and rent a church hall to a support group for lesbian couples.

Peter Rosenstein of the Campaign for All D.C. Families accused the church of trying to "blackmail the city."

"The issue here is they are using public funds, and to allow people to discriminate with public money is unacceptable," Rosenstein said.


"The problem with the individual exemption is anybody could discriminate based on their assertion of religious principle," Mendelson said. "There were many people back in the 1950s and '60s, during the civil rights era, that said separation of the races was ordained by God."

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