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Maryland Catholic Conference: spending taxpayer money is a religious liberty

Timothy Kincaid

August 24th, 2012

The language of Maryland’s ballot question is quite clear about how the marriage equality law will impact religious institutions:

“… protects clergy from having to perform any particular marriage ceremony in violation of their religious beliefs; affirms that each religious faith has exclusive control over its own theological doctrine regarding who may marry within that faith; and provides that religious organizations and certain related entities are not required to provide goods, services, or benefits to an individual related to the celebration or promotion of marriage in violation of their religious beliefs.”

But the Maryland Catholic Conference disagrees: (Catholic Review)

However, the MCC says the law only purports to protect religious freedoms.

“According to the actual legislation, religious organizations that accept any sort of state or federal funds are excluded from religious liberty protections. They are not exempt, and there are no protections for individuals,” the MCC said.

“Marylanders should not be fooled into thinking we can redefine marriage and still protect religious liberty,” it added.

Because “religious liberty” includes the liberty to tax non-Catholics and use the funds to push Catholic dogma. Yeah, I don’t think so.

For me the question isn’t whether religious organizations that accept any sort of state or federal funds should be excluded from religious liberty protections, but why are there religious organizations that are receiving state or federal funds at all? “Charity” is not the same thing as spending tax dollars.

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Priya Lynn
August 24th, 2012 | LINK

“For me the question isn’t whether religious organizations that accept any sort of state or federal funds should be excluded from religious liberty protections, but why are there religious organizations that are receiving state or federal funds at all? “Charity” is not the same thing as spending tax dollars.”.

I think the motivation is the same one that leads government to hire private sector outfits to do various jobs – “The government is incompetent and wasteful so we should get non-government organizations to do government work whenever possible.”.

Steve
August 24th, 2012 | LINK

It’s called outsourcing. And religious organization constantly abuse it to attach strings (or better: chains) to their so-called “charity”

Mark F.
August 24th, 2012 | LINK

He who pays the piper is entitled to call the tune. Turn down the money if you don’t like the music.

David Waite
August 24th, 2012 | LINK

I’ve been asking this question and verbally making the “charity” observation for 55 years. Seeing you ask it makes me ask in amused amazement, “What’s in a name?”

“For me the question isn’t whether religious organizations that accept any sort of state or federal funds should be excluded from religious liberty protections, but why are there religious organizations that are receiving state or federal funds at all? “Charity” is not the same thing as spending tax dollars.”

My insistence on an answer to this question has always caused my ‘progressive’ associates to label me an “extreme liberal” and other, less flattering designations, and caused some in my ethnic community to label me a traitor. Congratulations on escaping that unpleasant and lonely fate.

F Young
August 24th, 2012 | LINK

“For me the question isn’t whether religious organizations that accept any sort of state or federal funds should be excluded from religious liberty protections, but why are there religious organizations that are receiving state or federal funds at all?”

Absolutely agree!

When did the prohibition of the establishment of religion become the right of churches to be subsidized by government?

Steve
August 24th, 2012 | LINK

By the way, Catholic Charities (the organization) is largely tax payer funded. They received almost 3 billion (yes, billion!) dollars in public money in 2010. That’s 62% of their revenue. In comparison, only 140 million (or 3%) came directly from the church. The rest were donations.

Richard Rush
August 24th, 2012 | LINK

All this tax money going to religious organizations is just one reason that I always say, “the most profitable lesson that scammers-in-training will ever learn is that religion is their best friend.”

Hunter
August 25th, 2012 | LINK

I have no objection to religious organizations receiving public money to support their social welfare efforts, but they must follow civil law, including non-discrimination laws. (As witness the Catholic Charities’ attempt to blackmail the state of Illinois over adoption by same-sex couples. The state said “Kiss your funding good-bye.” CC closed their adoption services and a number of other organizations — both religious and secular — stepped in immediately to fill the gap.)

It’s code: “religious liberty” means “religious supremacy.” There’s a basic principle of American society that is under assault here: believe what you will, but you can’t impose those beliefs on everyone else, especially not with government funding.

It strikes me that the hardest struggle in the past half-century or so has been to remove the religious assumptions from the law books. That’s really the root of the opposition to same-sex marriage: the laws inappropriately reflect religious dogma, and the more conservative religious elements are fighting tooth and nail to keep things just as they were in the seventeenth century.

Lord_Byron
August 25th, 2012 | LINK

“For me the question isn’t whether religious organizations that accept any sort of state or federal funds should be excluded from religious liberty protections, but why are there religious organizations that are receiving state or federal funds at all? “Charity” is not the same thing as spending tax dollars.”

Because religious conservatives see it as their constitutional right to get tax payer money and think there should be no reason to deny them the money. Many GOP groups are pushing for such things as school vouchers that would allow families to launder money to religious organizations.

Plaintom
August 26th, 2012 | LINK

Catholic Charities does seem to be a misnomer. Charities run by Catholics spending tax payers money would be more accurate.

CPT_Doom
August 26th, 2012 | LINK

For the record, Catholic Charities, as I understand it, was set up as the secular, charitable arm of the Church explicitly to avoid church/state problems. It was supposed to be independent, so it could abide by local laws and the Church would not appear to be breaking it own rules. That is why fully 20% of the board of directors of Catholic Charities in Boston quit in protest when Sean O’Malley first tried this “religious liberty” crap there.

It is also fascinating to learn that adultery, fornication, heresy and blasphemy are no longer serious sins to the Catholic Church. After all, the same laws that protect gays and lesbians protect people who make those lifestyle choices, and the Church has NEVER complained. You see, the state “redefined” marriage when it allowed divorce decades ago, so that train has long left the station.

jerry
August 26th, 2012 | LINK

When christian organizations cry the lament that they are being denied liberty I find that their complaint is that they are being denied the ability to discriminate against all others outside their own little sect of the main cult.

And for those who claim governments can not provide services effectively, they should check out the VA medical service.

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2005/0501.longman.html

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