Jesurgislac’s Journal

March 2, 2010

Catholic Charities reminds employees that promoting homophobia more important than caring for the sick

CEO of Catholic Charities to staff: “I am writing to you to inform you of an important change to our group health care benefit plan that will take effect on March 2, 2010 due to a change in the law of the District of Columbia. It is important to note that the existing health coverage of current employees will not be affected by the change. New employees and current employees requesting revisions in benefit coverage will be affected by this change.” – Letter from Catholic Charities president and CEO to staff

Because same-sex couples will be able to get married, and because Catholic Charities are not allowed to offer health care coverage to spouses in mixed-sex marriages only, they have the choice of denying health care to all spouses who become eligible to join the plan after 2nd March – which will bar all couples in same-sex marriages, as they won’t be able to get married until after that date – or continue to offer health-care coverage to all spouses, even if that means some lurking closety gay spouse of an employee of Catholic Charities finds himself the recipient of health care that the Catholic Church believes he does not deserve.

Which are the two great precepts of Charity and the seven Corporal Works of Mercy?
1. ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God hate gay people with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind, and with thy whole strength’.
2. ‘Thou shalt love promote homophobia to thy neighbour as to thyself’.

1. To feed the hungry except for queers;
2. To give drink to the thirsty except for queers;
3. To clothe the naked except for queers;
4. To harbour the harbourless except for queers;
5. To care for the sick promote homophobia;
6. To visit the imprisoned except for queers;
7. To bury the dead except for queers.

This isn’t even their first-response reaction to finding out they’d have to act like they thought gay people deserved health care as much as straights do: on 17th February the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington formally announced that they believe promoting homophobia is more important than caring for children, too.

You have to wonder: how long can the Catholic Church go on promoting the idea that for Catholics homophobia is a core value which comes before everything else? Mormons got away with promoting the idea that racism is a core value for their faith for well over a century: does this mean Catholicism will be able to push homophobia as a required doctrine into the 2080s?

I hope not, but there is a positive side here: prior beliefs claimed by Catholics that corporeal works of mercy mattered led to Catholic charities becoming heavily involved in social services, with their own pro-lifer tweaks and biases helping to promote pro-life beliefs among the helpless. If the Catholic Church is now taking the position that promotion of homophobia comes before everything else, and therefore it must refuse to provide social services where it is not allowed to promote homophobia, maybe this will mean a gradual drawing away of the power of the Catholic Church to affect society negatively?

It’s ugly, though. There isn’t really an upside. The power of a strong Church determined that its followers shall promote bigotry as a core value of their faith is just… ugly.

9 Comments »

  1. Just one of many reasons I am not one for organized religion and their structured official convictions.

    Comment by Mike Lovell — March 2, 2010 @ 4:47 pm | Reply

  2. The idea is that you can’t do something bad so that something good will come of it. The way we see it, treating homosexual unions the same way we treat heterosexual unions (marriage) would be a morally bad act, because it would be officially sanctioning homosexuality, and we as Catholics don’t do that.

    There’s an actual reason that we don’t want to encourage homosexuality or treat it as being similar to heterosexual marriage. I can explain the reasons why we’re opposed to homosexual relationships, if you’re interested in listening.

    Comment by Austin Nedved — March 10, 2010 @ 9:19 am | Reply

    • I believe I have heard already heard all the excuses homophobic Christians come up with for why their God hates queers so promoting homophobia is more central to their faith than anything else, thanks. I am sadly not speaking from a position of ignorance: as the target of your Church’s bigotry, I make a point to stay informed.

      If you want to tell me what reason you think the Catholic Church has for promoting homophobia as more central to Christianity than the Sermon on the Mount (as a for example) feel free: I moderate first-time commenters because it’s the most effective way of keeping off spambots, but otherwise I ban only for personal attacks/foul language (and I have a fairly narrow if rigid definition of what constitutes that).

      However, you should bear in mind that I have had this kind of discussion with Christians anxious to justify their homophobia in terms of Christianity before

      If you want to do that, you can begin by responding:
      The idea is that you can’t do something bad so that something good will come of it.

      So, in the view of the Catholic Church, denying someone healthcare isn’t bad? And how does a Catholic justify this in terms of Matthew C25, verses 41-45?

      Comment by jesurgislac — March 10, 2010 @ 8:38 pm | Reply

      • So, in the view of the Catholic Church, denying someone healthcare isn’t bad?

        No, we don’t believe that we necessarily have a duty to provide healthcare for the spouses of employees. Refusing to provide them with healthcare is not a morally bad act. Treating homosexual unions and heterosexual marriage the same way is a morally bad act, so we cannot and will not do it.

        And how does a Catholic justify this in terms of Matthew C25, verses 41-45?

        The obligation to care for the poor does not mean that we have an obligation to provide people’s spouses with health insurance, especially when doing so would promote homosexuality.

        As I said, we’re opposed to homosexuality for a reason. We’re trying to socially construct sexual relationships as lifetime committments. Ideally, if people view sexual relationships as long-term committments rather than indefinite arragements that exist for their own gratification, they would treat their marriages that way. However, assocating sexual relationships with lifetime committments requires banning contraception, since it enables the sort of attitudes towards sexual relationships that we’re trying to condemn.

        Unfortunately, you can’t meaningfully ban contraception for the gay community. When you’re dealing with homosexual relationships, you’re dealing with the sexual relationships of people in a community whose defining trait is their built-in contraception. Homosexual unions, unlike heterosexual relationships, do not have the potential to be constructed as lifetime commitments. Where we want to take marriage, those sort of relationships cannot follow.

        Comment by Austin Nedved — March 10, 2010 @ 10:20 pm

    • In fact, your assertion that it’s more important to show your homophobia that to treat people equally and with fairness would appear to be a direct example of Glenn Becks Christianity.

      Comment by jesurgislac — March 12, 2010 @ 11:38 am | Reply


  3. No, we don’t believe that we necessarily have a duty to provide healthcare for the spouses of employees.

    And yet Catholic Charities used to, but decided to stop providing healthcare in favor of promoting homophobia. A curious interpretation of the Sermon of the Mount!

    Refusing to provide them with healthcare is not a morally bad act. Treating homosexual unions and heterosexual marriage the same way is a morally bad act, so we cannot and will not do it.

    Ah. So you basically deal with Matthew C25 by just arguing that Jesus didn’t know what he was talking about – at the end of days, God will not ask what you did for the sick or the poor, He will ask “how did you show that you’re homophobic?”

    The obligation to care for the poor does not mean that we have an obligation to provide people’s spouses with health insurance, especially when doing so would promote homosexuality.

    So again – the position of the Catholic Church is that Jesus didn’t properly understand that the real moral obligation is not to help the sick but to show everyone how homophobic you are?

    We’re trying to socially construct sexual relationships as lifetime committments.

    And this means you’re opposed to same-sex couples having lifetime committments….?

    . Ideally, if people view sexual relationships as long-term committments rather than indefinite arragements that exist for their own gratification, they would treat their marriages that way.

    So either lesbian and gay people are not in your view “people”, since if they were people ideally you would want them to view sexual relationships as long-term committments – and you would want to support their getting married?

    ?However, assocating sexual relationships with lifetime committments requires banning contraception, since it enables the sort of attitudes towards sexual relationships that we’re trying to condemn.

    I see. So, in countries which have not banned contraception, it is impossible for anyone to have a sexual relationship with a lifetime committment. I must tell my parents (married for 48 years and counting) they’ll be quite surprised to find out that according to the Catholic Church, because they used contraception regularly and successfully until my mum decided she’d had all the children she wanted and had a tubal ligation, they’re bound to split up before they die. Technically, I suppose no one can be quite certain of a lifetime committment until one partner dies: oddly enough, the two lifetime committments that spring to mind immediately were both same-sex partnerships.

    Unfortunately, you can’t meaningfully ban contraception for the gay community.

    Well, yes, of course you can. But shouldn’t you have to demonstrate, first, that countries where contraeption is illegal have longer relationships than countries where contraception is legal? You’ve yet to prove that this stunning assertion of yours – that magically if you make contraception illegal people will make lifetime committments to each other – applies to mixed-sex relationships, either.

    Homosexual unions, unlike heterosexual relationships, do not have the potential to be constructed as lifetime commitments. Where we want to take marriage, those sort of relationships cannot follow.

    Do explain how you redefine “lifetime committment” to exclude the many examples of two gay men, or two lesbians, who meet, marry, and stay together till one dies. (Or don’t marry, if marriage is illegal for them where they live.) Presumably by “Lifetime committment” you don’t mean the obvious – two people who love, honor, and cherish each other till death do they part, since otherwise your claim that same-sex couples can’t/don’t do that would be simply absurdly false.

    Comment by jesurgislac — March 10, 2010 @ 11:11 pm | Reply

  4. “We’re trying to socially construct sexual relationships as lifetime committments.”

    Marriage is a serious, legally binding commitment. While it can be broken, most people do not break it casually, and thus it increases the likelihood of a lifetime commitment. Allowing gay marriages and treating them as equal to heterosexual marriages would give Gays the same motivation to form this long term commitment that heterosexuals have. Treating their commitments as fake is more likely to make them want to give the whole thing up (though most of them won’t do that just for you, the culture as a whole can have a lot of influence.)

    “However, associating sexual relationships with lifetime commitments requires banning contraception, since it enables the sort of attitudes towards sexual relationships that we’re trying to condemn.”

    I see your point here to an extent, in that contraception reduces the risks associated with casual sex. However there are two problems with it. First, it requires an environment in which pregnancy is about the worst thing that can happen to an unmarried girl, which a) goes against your claimed belief that children are blessings, and b) doesn’t exist any more and would require massive brutal injustices to bring back. A more logical way to reduce casual sex would be to treat it as something serious and emotionally relevant.* The second issue is that it has nothing to do with your point. People who are all about casual sex do not want to get married, so removing contraception only in marriage isn’t going to affect anything.**

    “Unfortunately, you can’t meaningfully ban contraception for the gay community.”

    I know it’s been said a thousand times, but you can’t meaningfully ban contraception for many other people either. Are you going to ban cancer survivors, people with triple x, women on methotraxate, people with reproductive birth defects, the elderly, etc. from marrying? for that matter, are you actually going to ban contraception for perfectly fertile people? and if not, why would you try to prevent gay people from marrying?

    “Homosexual unions, unlike heterosexual relationships, do not have the potential to be constructed as lifetime commitments.”

    Your reasoning for this being that homosexuals can’t have biological kids (since they can pass STIs, so pregnancy is the only thing prevented by their “natural contraception.”) Knowing several couples both heterosexual and homosexual who have no kids, and have nevertheless been together longer than I’ve been alive, I find this assertion hard to take seriously. And, knowing couples who have adopted children, and are stable despite little Jimmy not looking like them, I have to wonder how much of your logic relies on your refusal to let homosexuals raise children through adoption.

    *you know, the sort of thing that can result in PTSD if it’s forced on you.
    **This is what you’re talking about. “Gays can’t get married because they have contraception and contraception isn’t allowed in marriage.” Allowing them to have sex only outside of marriage implies that contraception is fine, as long as you’re *only* using it for casual sex.

    Comment by Ari — March 18, 2010 @ 7:47 pm | Reply

  5. [...] I also point you to this blog post by a cool guy here on WordPress. http://jesurgislac.wordpress.com/2010/03/02/catholic-charities-reminds-employees-that-promoting-hom… [...]

    Pingback by The Catholic Church Easter Mouthoff Madness « Dowzocalypse — April 2, 2010 @ 6:21 am | Reply


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