Charity Begins at Home

March 14th, 2010

As reported by Catholic Charities adds hiring stipulation (Washington Post 3/13/10), Catholic Charities of Washington (CCDC) is now requiring new employees to sign a document stating that they will not “violate the principles or tenets of the church.” For further background, read Catholic Charities’ health-plan change called ‘devastating’ (Washington Post 3/05/10), and our earlier posts Gays in the Church, The Threat to Marriage, Dear Archbishop Wuerl, DC Archbishop Opposition to Gay Marriage, Render Unto Caesar, Gay Pets, Suffer Little Children, The Blood of Christ (Not) Shed for You, and Sour Grapes.

“I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come again to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. AMEN.”– The Apostle’s Creed

I don’t have a problem when a religious group insists

That they can hire only co-religionists.

(I’ll address later, if I have the chance,

What happens when the group starts accepting government grants.)

First, the hiring issue,

Which to me, isn’t an issue.

Religious groups can hire

Anyone that they desire.

If they want, no one denies

That the Baha’i Temple can just hire Bahais,

Or that a synagogue, if they choose.

Can require that employees be Jews.

Now, to the issue of religious group government funding,

Which the ACLU has proposed de-funding.

They make a good point that taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay

Salaries for jobs they wouldn’t be eligible to get anyway.

I look at this more from the practical side

Of the services that religious groups provide.

If they implement government programs fairly and smartly,

They should be able to get government funding, partly.

The “partly” is important because religious groups should be able

To bring their own resources to the table.

Significant self-funding should be the pre-condition

For any government-religious group coalition.

That also fulfils the Constitutional requirement

That government funds can’t on religion be spent.

Church “profit” from government grants would create

Negative impact on separation of church and state.

But what worries me more than either of these things,

Is the risk that CCDC’s new policy brings

That people will be fired not because of their religions

But because they don’t agree with Archbishop Wuerl’s decisions.

Will CCDC fire people who get a divorce?

(A lot of Catholics do that, of course.)

Will they fire people who have an affair?

(Something about which an employer usually doesn’t care.)

Will they fire those who break the commandment not to covet,

Or who see Life of Brian and admit they love it?

Will they fire people who masturbate?

(Think of all the job openings that would create.)

Will they fire people who use birth control?

(Do we really think that’s an employer’s role?)

Will they fire women who get an abortion?

(That would be a form of religious extortion.)

Or will they just fire people they find out are gay,

Or who disagree with what Church leaders say?

Will they fire people because they find out that

They registered to vote Democrat?

Will they fire people that dare to speak out

And say condemning gays isn’t what Jesus was about?

Will they fire people who say the Church should change

So as not the next generation of believers to estrange?

This kind of thing has happened before,

And now it will certainly happen even more.

At St. Leo’s in Fairfax, former nun and music director Sylvia Mulherin was fired from her position

Because she said that women in the Church hadn’t yet achieved a truly equal position.

The Post compares CCDC’s policy to World Vision’s approach

Which they on their website broach.

They require employees to sign a statement that they agreed

With either the organization’s tenets or the Apostle’s Creed.

But World Vision is a multi-denominational organization,

Which means they don’t consider gays, birth control, or divorce an abomination.

And anyway, no one can be fired

For not doing what the Apostle’s Creed required.

That is clearly not the case

With the Catholic Charities case.

This policy gives the Church another power to abuse

In enforcing submission to their taboos.

Archbishop Wuerl, the rest of this poem is addressed to you,

As criticism of the things you do.

I’m sure you’re behind this new policy

(Your fingerprints are easy to see).

Your gay foster care solution

Was CCDC’s partial dissolution.

And you cut new employee health benefits

Because DC’s same-sex marriage law gave you fits.

When you did that, former CCDC executive Tim Sawina wrote to declare his protest,

And many other employees said they were similarly unimpressed.

Sawina (a former priest) said it was wrong (he doesn’t have to toe the line since he doesn’t work there any longer),

And if you don’t believe being gay’s a sin, it’s even wronger

You know, there’s nothing about gays in the Apostle’s Creed

(I’ve re-produced it above for you to re-read),

Yet nothing seems to get your more upset

Than the risk that you might gays unwittingly abet.

I know that most non-CCDC employees don’t care,

But I feel sorry for the people that work there.

They’ve done good work in service of society and God.

And don’t deserve to be ridden over roughshod.

It’s too bad that you appear to care more

About maintaining orthodoxy than helping the needy and poor.

You’ve already given up on helping adoptees,

And don’t seem to care about CCDC employees.

Forgive me, but as bosses go, you’re a jerk,

And I’m sure you’re making CCDC a terrible place to work.

CCDC is already a shadow of its former self,

And you have no one to blame but yourself.

If CCDC survives, it will be in spite of your “leadership”

(CCDC employees: you have the sympathy of me and my readership).

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