Catholic Culture Solidarity
Catholic Culture Solidarity

sinners in the hands of an angry state

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Jan 30, 2007

In the UK, the government is refusing to give Catholic adoption agencies the liberty to follow Catholic teaching in the matter of gay households. The Minister for Education Alan Johnson gives the rote rationale:

"I've never seen the case for an exemption. To me this is legislation to prevent discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and you cannot do that and at the same time allow discrimination in one area."

Note what's going on here. In ordinary discourse, the wrongness of discrimination has to do with discrimination that results in deprivation of something of value (e.g., housing, school admission, etc.). But in this case that doesn't apply: the Church has no monopoly on adoption services, and, regrettably, the Church's prohibition in favor of the child doesn't prevent gays from adopting or even incommode them. They can freely go to alterative agencies to effect their project. That's to say, the Church's so-called discrimination -- more accurately termed "discretion guided by moral sanity" -- has zero restrictive effect on the disfavored group.

Then why is it intolerable to let the Church practice this harmless instance of "discrimination"? Because the state has deemed it to be sinful in itself. Even if no person is wronged in a juridically intelligible way, the state has taken upon itself the duty to enforce a code of gay-positive morality. Anthony Esolen already spotted the game being played out in Massachusetts:

Then why the compulsion? Homosexuals in Massachusetts can already adopt children; it is unlikely that anyone will have been seriously inconvenienced by the Church's policy. The conclusion seems inescapable: the Church was given the ultimatum not so that homosexuals would benefit, but so that the Church would be hurt, either by a capitulation that would signal its subservience and irrelevance evermore, or by a curtailment of the freedom of Catholics to practice their faith in the public square.

Trade places with the other team for a moment and imagine how -- if you were an Andrew Sullivan or a Peter Tatchell or the editor of the Tablet -- you'd want the dominoes to fall. In their position, you want a weakened Church, you want a Church cut off from her own teaching, you want a purely ceremonial association of off-duty social workers presided over by moral geldings. The adoption discrimination ruse is a gambit too good to pass up. If you understood progress the way Barney Frank understands it, you realize the Catholic Church is your prime obstacle in the path forward.

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  • Posted by: - Jun. 14, 2010 7:02 PM ET USA

    It's interesting: when I point out to people that barrenness is not the path to the future (even on a secular, natural level), there is really nothing that they can, or do, say. But, of course, it is RELIGION which is disappearing from the face of the earth (we are told): not the secular, sterile mindset. Sure.