Colson v. Human RightsMarch 9, 2010 — Deacon Duncan
Well, you had to know this was coming. Catholic Charities has announced that, in order to avoid paying benefits to same-sex couples, they will deliberately deprive all employees of their standard benefits. So naturally Chuck Colson is declaring that religious freedom is under attack, though he’s predictably inaccurate about who is doing the attacking.
According to Colson, the DC city council ought to be blamed for the decision freely (if intolerantly) made by the leadership of the Catholic Charities.
On March 3, same-sex “marriage” became legal in the District of Columbia. In connection with the new law, the D.C. Council insisted that, as a city contractor, Catholic Charities had to offer the same benefits to same-sex couples that it did to heterosexual ones.In other words, Catholic Charities had to choose between church teaching and ministering to the city’s neediest residents.
Really, Chuck? Respecting the equality and dignity of all men and women is against church teaching? Because the DC city council isn’t telling anyone in the Catholic Charities that they have to go out and engage in homosexual intercourse. Nor are they denying that the church is legally authorized to preach that homosexuality is a sin, bigoted as that doctrine may be. All they’re saying is that organizations that receive taxpayer dollars must not practice social injustice towards those whose taxes are paying to support them.
It’s really no different than the Biblical teaching of “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s” and “Submit yourselves to those in authority over you”—words that were written in a culture that worshiped Caesar as a god and practiced both homosexual and heterosexual cult prostitution. Yes, you may live in a world whose moral standards are different from your own, but you still need to keep up with your social obligations, of which the first and foremost is your obligation to respect the rights of others.
Sadly, this New Testament attitude is once again completely ignored so that Colson and his fellow false martyrs can wallow in self-pity.
There’s no recognition that what the Washington Post called a “bitter debate” between the District and the Archdiocese was, in fact, a profound infringement of religious freedom–an infringement done at the behest of a tiny minority within a tiny minority.
And it’s so unfair to make people respect the human rights of minorities, isn’t it Chuck? After all, if you can’t oppress a tiny minority, who can you oppress?
Nor was there any acknowledgment that these kinds of infringements aren’t limited to government contractors. Ordinary people are being asked to choose between their livelihood and obedience to their faith-like photographers, landlords, and caterers.
You will also search in vain for mainstream media coverage of the indispensible role played by Christian institutions in caring for the vulnerable and marginalized. Almost 25 percent of the world’s AIDS patients are cared for in Catholic institutions alone. Christian hospitals in the U.S. serve a disproportionate percentage of the urban poor.
All we read about, however, is the Catholic Church’s “stubbornness” or “recalcitrance.”
That’s right, Chuck. Because you guys aren’t just being stubborn and recalcitrant, you’re being dishonest. It’s the Catholic Charities who are using their already underpaid workers as expendable pawns, deliberately mistreating them—voluntarily!—for mere propaganda purposes.
Nobody is denying that Catholic Charities has helped some of the DC area’s poor people. No one is even telling them they can’t continue to do so. The only “infringement” limiting the CC’s outreach is the same sort of “infringement” that disallows human sacrifice as a legal religious practice: our religious freedom is limited to those practices which do not cause material harm to others.
But no respectable religion should find that restriction inconvenient. There are plenty of good deeds that do not require us to practice social injustice, intolerance, or other human rights abuses. The Catholic Charities are perfectly free to continue serving the needy just as they always have. It’s their free choice whether to regard the needs of the poor above their desire for grandstanding and displaying their “righteousness” before men.
It may be that their religion does indeed insist that they display profound bigotry and prejudice towards certain minority groups. Shameful as that may be, it is protected by the Constitution, and they have the right to believe and preach that religion all they want. In many ways, it’s preferable that they do, so that the general public will plainly see the depths of their moral depravity. But should there be any sincere desire to do genuine good, the door remains open, as it always has. They are free to continue to serve.
It’s a black mark against Christianity that believers like Chuck Colson would treat basic respect for human rights as though it were such a terrible attack on the Christian faith. Yet that’s the substance of his long, petulant rant. Boo hoo, Christians aren’t being allowed to harm minorities they disapprove of, how unfair. That makes us so mad we’re going to harm our own people as well. So there.
Jesus must be rolling over in his grave.