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Washington Catholic Bishops demean gay parents

Timothy Kincaid

January 16th, 2012

Arrogance can be blinding. And the arrogance that the Roman Catholic Bishops hold in their perception of their role in society often leads them to make statements that only make sense to those who share their presumptions, prejudices and undying belief that the Catholic Church dictates what is real simply by declaring it so.

And in their blinding arrogance, Bishops in the State of Washington have released a letter that is so disdainful of gay parents, adoptive parents, and those who require help with fertility that I believe it will only serve to further illustrate how ignorant and out-of-touch the Catholic Church has become. Perhaps staying within the realm of religious doctrine their words could be given some respect, but posed as declarations about objective reality and public policy, their advice on the proposed marriage bill is laughable … and disgusting.

Married couples who bring children into the world make particular sacrifices and take on unique risks and obligations for the good of society. For this reason the state has long understood that it has a compelling interest in recognizing and supporting these mothers and fathers through a distinct category of laws. Were the definition of marriage to change, there would be no special laws to support and recognize the irreplaceable contribution that these married couples make to society and to the common good by bringing to life the next generation.

Upholding the present definition of marriage does not depend on anyone’s religious beliefs. Washington State’s present law defining marriage as “a civil contract between a male and a female” is grounded not in faith, but in reason and the experience of society. It recognizes the value of marriage as a bond of personal relationships, but also in terms of the unique and irreplaceable potential of a man and woman to conceive and nurture new life, thus contributing to the continuation of the human race. A change in legislation would mean that the state would no longer recognize the unique sacrifices and contributions made by these couples, thereby adding to the forces already undermining family life today.

You see, heterosexuals make “sacrifices and contributions” that are “unique and irreplaceable”. The rest of you are just slackers.

Those same-sex couples who adopt kids who are past the preferred adoption age – slackers. Those same-sex couples who adopt kids who are born addicted to heroin – slackers. Those same-sex couples who adopt kids who are mixed-race and hard to place – slackers. Those same-sex couples who adopt kids who are infected with HIV or have other special needs – slackers. These same-sex couples who carefully plan to have a family and wait until they can afford to do so without being a burden to anyone else – slackers. Those same-sex couples who step in when heterosexuals abuse and rape and torture their own offspring and who give endless hours of love and attention – there’s no sacrifice or contribution to society there. Nope, just slackers.

And you can ask anyone in adoption services – anyone in child protection – anyone in foster care administration who they turn to when no one else is willing to take a kid. It isn’t the Catholic Church; they care so little for children that they’d close adoption services rather than be seen treating their gay neighbors like themselves. And it’s not just a meme or a stereotype or PR, it’s a simple fact – gay couples take the kids that no one else will take. The damn slackers.

But when little Mary Catherine McPlaidskirt and Michael Joseph Illpullout have their backseat tryst and then rush into a Holy Union before they pop out the 6,988,281,769th human – and immediately get on public assistance – they are making “particular sacrifices” and taking on “unique risks and obligations for the good of society”.

Fortunately, this is not only offensive to gay couples, it’s offensive to those who have friends who are gay or infertile or adopted or who have ever been in a position where they were unable to provide for a child and took the responsible step of seeking a better home. Frankly, it’s insulting to anyone with even a modicum of mental capability.

Keep it up, Catholic Church. You may just reach the place where your opposition is so absurd and spiteful that it is all that is needed to ensure success.

Comments

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StraightGrandmother
January 16th, 2012 | LINK

You know this just pisses me off to no end!!!

There is an article in LiveScience about the scientific research showing that children are not harmed when adopted by a sexual minority couple. This thing looks like it is going viral, with now over 9,000 comments about 200 a minute are being added. I read it about 12 hours ago and there were only 1,200 comments which is still a LOT of comments. This ties exactly right in with the article you just wrote, no there is nothing “special” about heterosexual parents Bishop in Washington! The children are fine.

http://news.yahoo.com/why-gay-parents-may-best-parents-131902676.html

Steve
January 16th, 2012 | LINK

It’s also offensive to straight couples who don’t want children

Lynn David
January 16th, 2012 | LINK

It’s what they do best.

Regan DuCasse
January 16th, 2012 | LINK

It’s offensive because NO parental couples take care of their children ALL ON THEIR OWN!
They rely on a huge community of people and extended members of society to get the job done.
Us adults who have no children are taxed more heavily, work longer hours are relied on when there is a failure of the parents, or there is some other need in a familial void.
Those of us with supposed more disposable income, are expected to share it, however involuntarily, with EVER EXPANDING welfare cases.

The insult to gay couples who dedicate their lives to the care and support of OTHER PEOPLE’S children is infuriating no end.
And who ARE biological parents to their children don’t deserve this insult.

In fact, the CC is drawing a very, clear primitive and barbaric line that incites tribal rivalries and civil destruction.
When it’s all said and done, what they are doing is making the children of gays or non biological children worth less to society.
Abandoned and orphaned children, by not having a tribe or clan to claim them, might as well be in the wilderness to suffer greater hardship and if they die, so what.
So in their way, the CC has devolved into LESS civilized and compassionate behavior and incites the flock to be hostile and distrustful of those who don’t belong in their estimation.

I mean, seriously…don’t they question taking their cues from an age and people in 66 books who murdered first borns, nailed people to crosses, and enslaved them?

Sir Andrew
January 16th, 2012 | LINK

The message from the bishops would make perfect sense were the laws benefiting those who “bring to life the next generation” were going to be repealed in order to allow gays to marry. And that is certainly the implication of their statement. But it just ain’t so.

The laws that benefit straight parents will remain in place. It’s just that they will also benefit those of other familial categories. And this is what upsets them–the idea that gays will be allowed benefits that they think only god’s straight creations should enjoy. This has nothing to do with children, or the sacrifices or promotion of the family, and everything to do with keeping gays from the rights to which they’re entitled.

Their argument is cut from the same cloth as the one that firmly states marriage is a union between a man and a woman. That declaration implies that if gays marry, there will be no more unions between a man and a woman; that that category will cease to exist under the law.

The catholic church, which is entitled to no capital letters in my world, continues to reach out to see how many people it can harm; punishing anyone within their grasp who doesn’t accept catholicism as the one and only choice. And many who actually do.

It is reminiscent of their glorious march through central and south america, destroying every person they could find who wouldn’t convert to their religion. Or the similar attacks on Europeans during the Inquisition and auto da fe. True people of god, they are.

Tony P
January 16th, 2012 | LINK

I still find it ludicrous that anybody even listens to those charlatans anymore.

Their credibility has taken hits in the past 25 years, particularly on the priestly abuse scandals that were covered up at the cost of the kids who were molested by those priests.

WMDKitty
January 16th, 2012 | LINK

On the one hand, it’s the RCC.

On the other, they’re kinda right about assisted reproduction (IVF).

The way I see it, if you want a child, you can adopt, or go the “natural” route. If, for whatever reason, you can’t go the “natural” route, you should adopt.

Why? Because it’s the Greater Good. Providing a home and a forever family for a child who doesn’t have those things is clearly more important than adding more people to this already over-burdened planet.

I’m adopted, myself, and my only interest here is seeing that these children who are waiting DO find a forever family. They deserve no less than any other child, and it kills me to see people passing them over because they’re not perfect, super-healthy ANGLO newborns. (For the record, I fail to see why people are soooo hung up on things like OMG, the kid’s mixed-race, or has a disability, or is five days over the age of two, or other, equally silly “imperfections”.)

WMDKitty
January 16th, 2012 | LINK

@Regan — I’m adopted. My parents are my parents, not through any bond of blood, BUT BECAUSE THEY RAISED ME.

When you said, “The insult to gay couples who dedicate their lives to the care and support of OTHER PEOPLE’S children is infuriating no end,” you implied that adoptive families are not “real” families, that adopted children don’t “belong” with the people who are caring for them.

That’s offensive.

Jerry
January 16th, 2012 | LINK

People need to remember the treatment of children by the Bigots of the Roaming Hands of the Pedophile Protection Cult.

mike walsh
January 16th, 2012 | LINK

As a gay male in a continuing 37 year committed relationship,I can say that this kind of shit is one of the reasons I am no longer a practicing Catholic. Is it any wonder that the Catholic Church is running television commercials trying to tell us non-practicers that if we want to get back those “warm-fuzzies”, Come Back to the Church. The RC church is alienating more Catholics by unbelievable numbers. I had enough abuse as a child by a mother who should never have been a parent to let me know I would make a lousy parent and consequently have no desire for children. Kudos to all the same-sex couples who are loving, caring parents. Especially the Catholic ones!!

Eric in Oakland
January 17th, 2012 | LINK

” For this reason the state has long understood that it has a compelling interest in recognizing and supporting these mothers and fathers through a distinct category of laws.”

But that simply isn’t true. That “distinct category of laws” does not recognize and support mothers and fathers exclusively or primarily. Those laws recognize and support partnerships, whether the participants are willing and able to have children or not.

Sacerdotus
January 17th, 2012 | LINK

Once again the Bishops are taken out of context. This is not an attack on others. It is a reaffirmation of the unique and natural union of a male and female couple in matrimony. Nothing can be equal or identical to this.

Blair Martin
January 17th, 2012 | LINK

I’m sorry, I have to leap in from a long way away and defend Regan. WMDKitty, I don’t see where or how Regan has been offensive? I see Regan saying that all of society is involved with the raising of children through the contribution of tax dollars for services and the like, that LGBTQ parents who raise adopted children are also being slandered by this offensive statement by the bishops along with anyone who is raising biological children in a same gender relationship. I simply don’t see what Regan has said can be drawn to infer that adopted families are not real families?

Blair Martin
January 17th, 2012 | LINK

No Sacerdotus, these bishops are not being taken out of context. Their own statement, “…the unique and irreplaceable potential of a man and woman to conceive and nurture new life, thus contributing to the continuation of the human race. A change in legislation would mean that the state would no longer recognize the unique sacrifices and contributions made by these couples, thereby adding to the forces already undermining family life today.”, is an outright lie. You cannot spin this as being “misquoted” or “taken out of context”.

They clearly state that if the definition of marriage was moved from a narrow, restricted definition to one that embraces all two person relationships that the State will then denote as “marriage” (male/female, female/female, male/male) that somehow a series of laws and privileges (they don’t say what) will be cancelled or devalued and that the nature of human society will be irrevocably demeaned (again, they do not say in what precise way). In short – they are lying and wish others to believe their lies.

WMDKitty
January 17th, 2012 | LINK

@Blair Martin — She clearly emphasized the phrase “OTHER PEOPLE’S children.” That pretty much translates to “your adopted child isn’t really yours.”

Blair Martin
January 17th, 2012 | LINK

WMDKitty – I cannot speak for what Regan intended, obviously, though I am still struggling to see how you can draw that inference from the words “other people’s children”. I’ve read and re-read the sentence, both within the whole paragraph, then taken it out, put it back and I still cannot see where you are coming from.

What I see from Regan’s statement is what I said before – single people or non-parenting couples are contributing their tax dollars (usually at a higher rate than married parenting couples) along with their own charitable donations of time, resources and money in raising all children in society.

Therefore, let’s take my own case as a single male with no children, the tax dollars from people like myself in my country are used for a variety of tax breaks and programs that support families, children and parents. All well and good, that is part of the social contract for which I’ve signed by virtue of being a member of this society in which I live.

Even if we were to say that the first part of Regan’s statement also referred to couples who were raising adopted children (where the birth parents were living or not is immaterial)it is still correct, in my view, to say that those children were at some point “other people’s”. Regan doesn’t infer that the adopted child isn’t “…really yours”. Sorry, however I truly believe you’ve got the wrong end of the stick here. I believe Regan was meaning that all people who make a contribution to society and instrumental in some way, shape or form in helping families of all stripes to raise those children.

(I know it’s the middle of the night there in the USA and what I am saying might be entirely moot in a few hours should Regan come back online and contribute a clarifying remark or two.)

Timothy Kincaid
January 17th, 2012 | LINK

Ah but Sacerdotus, I would be more willing to believe that this was a confirmation of the glory of Penis-in-Vagina instead of an attack on gay people if it gay people weren’t the ones being asked to sacrifice.

Oh, no, let me correct that. “.. If gay people weren’t being forced against their will to sacrifice so that the Catholic Church can affirm and glorify the mystic holiness of Penis-in-Vagina.”

Tom Elliott
January 17th, 2012 | LINK

The Catholic Church has only one purpose in mind when it speaks out against same-sex marriage and that is merely to maintain “marriage” as God intended it, as nature reveals what God’s intention was. If a loving union of hearts were all that is involved in “marriage” then I think the RC Church could accommodate same-sex marriage. But once procreation become a concomitant purpose – normally, i.e. where there is no sterility – then “marriage” can only be heterosexual. And procreation, not adoption, is very much a part of the natural and revealed definition of marriage.
The question of same-sex couples raising adopted children is on another level of discourse, not dogmatic or theological, but merely prudential and psychological. The RC bishops think it would skew the perception of the child to grow up in such an environment, he or she would come to see homosexuality as normal.
What is really wrong with the bishops’ statements on homosexuality is that they never seem to give homosexuals any credit for being decent, loving people by and large. They never seem to empathize with their need of love and companionship. They never reach out. Bishops are more accommodating of divorced and remarried men and women than they are of same-sex couples, even though the Church’s moral teaching condemns their union too. I’ve never heard priests invite same-sex couples to attend Mass the way they do remarried divorcees. But this probably has more to do with their fear of public reaction than with any real insensitivity. We live in a homophobic culture.

PF Mac
January 17th, 2012 | LINK

The statement sounds reasonable to me. And let’s give them credit for stating their position clearly yet not disparagingly.

Timothy Kincaid
January 17th, 2012 | LINK

Catholic apologists are going to have a tough sell convincing me that their position on civil marriage law is merely adopted from those observed in nature.

And if they wish to argue that it is family structure that they mean, I wonder just which primates they are looking at which justifies their position. Bonobos, perhaps?

Ben In Oakland
January 17th, 2012 | LINK

Kitty– that’s not Regan AT ALL>

If it helps you, she is talking about the products of other people’s reproduction. Putting it more strongly, she is talking about the unwanted, castoff products of irresponsible heterosexual reproduction.

Regan has one of the biggest hearts and sondest minds on the planet. I can assure you, she was not making adopted children and fmailies less than.

Ben In Oakland
January 17th, 2012 | LINK

Tom Elliott– what nature are you referring to?

Nature doesn’t have marriage– it is strictly a man-made proposition. Nature has mating. Some species are monogamous for life, otehrs are not.

Celibacy, on the other hand, cannot be observed in nature. Religion cannot be observed in nature. Catholicism especially cannot be observed in nature.

“If a loving union of hearts were all that is involved in “marriage” then I think the RC Church could accommodate same-sex marriage.”

Nonsense. There is no requirement anywhere, in any jurisdiction or in any religion– that people reproduce if they are married. Even the Nuptial Mass– when god wills children– does not require it. Love isn’t required either, by church or by state.

Spare me the nonsense that the church is concerned about the children. There are 70,000 children with same sex parents in California ALONE.

You give away your game here: “The RC bishops think it would skew the perception of the child to grow up in such an environment, he or she would come to see homosexuality as normal.”

This is strictly a theological (and bigotry based) postion.

And since gay people have children– either their own biological children, or the castoff, unwanted, products of irresponsible heterosexual procreation

Ben In Oakland
January 17th, 2012 | LINK

Well, that didn’t make as much sense as I wanted. I wish I could type better.

And since gay people have children– either their own biological children, or the castoff, unwanted, products of irresponsible heterosexual procreation, please spare me the nonsense that the church is concerned about the children. There are 70,000 children with same sex parents in California ALONE.

You give away your game here: “The RC bishops think it would skew the perception of the child to grow up in such an environment, he or she would come to see homosexuality as normal.”

This is strictly a theological (and bigotry based) postion.

Hunter
January 17th, 2012 | LINK

Sacerdotus — two points

“Bringing new life into the world” — Birds do it, bees do it, stray cats do it, unwed teenagers do it, and none of them are married. It’s a normal biological process. In fact, about half the time, married couples do it by accident.

The rest of it is an attempt by theoretically celibate old men to control their flocks — you control sex, you control the population.

I ran across a quote that I think is appropriate here: Tradition doesn’t need to have meaning to be traditional, all it needs is repetition.

Ned Flaherty
January 17th, 2012 | LINK

Opposing social justice is, under Catholic theology, a mortal sin, yet church officials recommit this sin, day after day and year after year. They waste millions of dollars donated by the faithful, just to oppose social justice for all LGBT people, Catholics and non-Catholics, in cities, states, and nations around the world.

Any religion may preach that its own members they are “intrinsically disordered,” “amoral,” and “evil” if it wishes, as shown by the Pope’s own words toard his own flock. But no religion has any excuse to oppose social justice for all human beings worldwide.

It’s time for Catholic churchgoers to demand an independent public audit showing all dollars spent on anti-LGBT propaganda, lobbyists, campaigns, and politicians. The Church has never disclosed these expenses to anyone, so it’s time for the donors discover where their dollars are going, and stop funding such fascism.

Regan DuCasse
January 17th, 2012 | LINK

WMD Kitty,
What I was saying about other people’s children, was the care that gay people give as TEACHERS, MEDICAL CAREGIVERS, CLERGY, not PARENTS.
I wasn’t talking about ADOPTED children, but the children of one’s entire community.
The children who are cared for by parents and non parents and STRANGERS alike.
Gays and lesbians participate in the tax base that pays into welfare and other public support of OTHER PEOPLE’S CHILDREN.
In effect making ALL children a collective responsibility. And I’m sick of the anti gay behaving as if gay people are not a part of the raising, support and care of children whether they are the parents of those children or not.
Understand now?
You took offense for no reason.

Timothy Kincaid
January 17th, 2012 | LINK

Hunter,

You referenced Cole Porter’s classic Let’s Fall in Love. The lyrics are most apt to this conversation especially if we recall that Porter was a gay man, that bees don’t actually fall in love, that the “birds and bees” subject was a euphemism for discussing sex, and that everything Porter wrote had a subtext.

When the little bluebird
Who has never said a word
Starts to sing Spring
When the little bluebell
At the bottom of the dell
Starts to ring Ding dong Ding dong
When the little blue clerk
In the middle of his work
Starts a tune to the moon up above
It is nature that is all
Simply telling us to fall in love

And that’s why birds do it, bees do it
Even educated fleas do it
Let’s do it, let’s fall in love

Cold Cape Cod clams, ‘gainst their wish, do it
Even lazy jellyfish do it
Let’s do it, let’s fall in love

I’ve heard that lizards and frogs do it
Layin’ on a rock
They say that roosters do it
With a doodle and cock

Some Argentines, without means do it
I hear even Boston beans do it
Let’s do it, let’s fall in love

When the little bluebird
Who has never said a word
starts to sing Spring spring spring
When the little bluebell
At the bottom of the dell
Starts to ring Ding ding ding
When the little blue clerk
In the middle of his work
Starts a tune

The most refined lady bugs do it
When a gentleman calls
Moths in your rugs they do it
What’s the use of moth balls

The chimpanzees in the zoos do it,
Some courageous kangaroos do it
Let’s do it, let’s fall in love

I’m sure sometimes on the sly you do it
Maybe even you and I might do it
Let’s do it, let’s fall in love

And, for those still confused, Porter wasn’t talking about falling in love.

Regan DuCasse
January 17th, 2012 | LINK

Oh and…
I was thinking about a gay couple I know, who gave up their finance and computer tech jobs to put each other through the toughest nursing college on the West Coast.
They have been nurses for over a decade now. They are a long time couple, but they have no children.
But they care for OTHER PEOPLE’S CHILDREN in the course of their nursing.
One of them is a pediatric nurse.

I think you get my point by now. Don’t feel insulted. I lost both of my parents by the time I was fifteen. I understand all too well that parents are not immortal, nor immune to any circumstance that makes the nuclear unit so praised by the CC, impossible to maintain.
Families reconfigure, children are adopted, children are cared for after all.

Again, don’t take offense. My phrasing could be misunderstood I see.
But I hope you know me better than thinking I don’t understand the bonds that are between adoptive parents and their children as valid and equally strong and important.

Sorry you misunderstood.

Regan DuCasse
January 17th, 2012 | LINK

And Thanks Blair, you were EXACTLY right about my comment!

Richard Rush
January 17th, 2012 | LINK

For a moment, lets shift our focus from the vile bishops to some really good news:

48 Catholic schools in Philly to close, reorganize

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia plans to shutter about a quarter of its Roman Catholic high schools and close or combine nearly 30 percent of its elementary schools mainly because of rising costs and low enrollment, officials said Friday. . .

The system’s current enrollment of 68,000 students is the same number the archdiocese served in 1911. It also represents a 35 percent drop in the student population since 2001. . .

The archdiocese already had closed 30 schools during the past five years, leaving 178 schools in the city and four surrounding counties. . .

Nationwide, Catholic schools have lost more than 587,000 students since 2000, according to the National Catholic Education Association. At least 1,750 schools have closed.

As the vile bishops become evermore entrenched in their bigotry, the people they rely on to pay the bills seem to be moving on. (I’m not attempting to establish a cause and effect here.)

PC
January 17th, 2012 | LINK

“Were the definition of marriage to change, there would be no special laws to support and recognize the irreplaceable contribution that these married couples make to society and to the common good by bringing to life the next generation.”

Finally, Catholic bishops admit they want special rights for heterosexuals! I say heterosexual couples should be given the same rights as everyone else and not benefit from special laws! Seriously, why should 36 hour marriages receive special rights and privileges, codified in special laws, compared to 30 year relationships?

WMDKitty
January 18th, 2012 | LINK

@Regan — Yeah, I misread it, though I’d suggest, in the future, you don’t put so much emphasis on the “OTHER PEOPLE’S children” when discussing things like adoption.

Also, please stop referring to adoptees and fosters as “unwanted” and “discarded” — the vast majority of cases are children who were wanted and loved, but the bio-parents could not (for whatever reason) take care of them.

Blake
January 18th, 2012 | LINK

The Catholic Bishops have given us more evidence of the effect which prejudice against LGBT people has on logical reasoning.

& Tim, you’re the Coliseum.

Timothy Kincaid
January 18th, 2012 | LINK

Blake, good guess, actually ;)

Regan DuCasse
January 18th, 2012 | LINK

WMDKitty, if you’re reading this. I didn’t refer to any children as unwanted or discarded.
I might be parsing here, but although Ben interpreted his own comment that way, the intention is a matter of communicating a reality, and in no way is an intention of demeaning those without families.

WMDKitty
January 19th, 2012 | LINK

Ben directly referred to adoptees and fosters as “the castoff, unwanted, products of irresponsible heterosexual procreation”

Are you seriously saying that’s not offensive? Because it IS offensive, and it’s inaccurate. It’s an oddly pervasive myth, really, when the truth is that most adoptees and fosters are very much WANTED AND LOVED. But due to circumstances, the bio-parents were unable to care for them. It’s that simple.

And if he “didn’t mean it that way”, he should have used different words.

ebohlman
January 19th, 2012 | LINK

The bishops seem to have a rather skewed vision of where the responsibility in parenthood lies. Raising children is hard work that requires plenty of sacrifice. It’s something that most adults can do, but I’ve never subscribed to the zero-sum notion that work is only valuable to the extent that you’re one of the few people who can do it. In this case, it takes a lot of effort and the result is, in a broad sense, the creation of value. So it’s praiseworthy work. It’s also something that in no way requires that both of the people doing it be heterosexual.

Conceiving children, OTOH, isn’t hard work that requires sacrifice, especially for the male partner in a heterosexual relationship (and of course the RCC hierarchy is all male). Being a (good) Dad to your kids is a matter of hard work and sacrifice. Being a biofather to your kids is a matter of thrusting until you squirt; plenty of seriously messed-up 14-year-old boys can do it and have done it. If you don’t take the radfem position that female heterosexual desire is purely a matter of false consciousness and that straight sex is traumatic to the female partner (and very few people take that seriously), conceiving (as opposed to raising) a child is mostly a lot of play with very little work (of course, gestating a child involves a fair amount of sacrifice on the part of the eventual mother, but I don’t think that’s what the bishops are talking about, nor do I think they’d have the proper perspective to talk about it). I really smell “no-cost virtue” here, much like the person who gives up smoking for Lent when he’s never smoked in the first place.

Ben in Oakland
January 19th, 2012 | LINK

Kitty … That’s just me, not regan. It is a particuLar sore spot for me, because heterosexuals frequently reproduCe without thought for the consequences. Gay people pick up the pieces, and we are damned by the likes of the RCC for being responsible and loving.

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