By: Shannon Ralph
In a move that both saddens and outrages me as a person raised in the Catholic faith, Catholic Charities of Rockford, Illinois has decided to shut down its adoption and foster-care programs for good rather than abide by a new law that would require it to place children with gay or unmarried couples. The Rockford Diocese has stated that it is being “forced” to terminate state contracts worth $7.5 million after lawmakers in Illinois did not pass an amendment that would exempt religious groups from provisions of the state’s new civil unions laws. Diocese officials have said allowing gay and lesbian people to adopt children through Catholic Charities would violate teachings of the Catholic Church.
I applaud the lawmakers of Illinois for refusing to let organizations hide behind the banner of religious freedom as they discriminate against their fellow Americans. As we all learned in school, the separation of church and state is one of the founding principles of our country. Religious institutions should be leading the call for justice and equality, not railing against it.
One has to wonder what will happen to the roughly 350 children currently in the Rockford Diocese’s foster-care program when the new law goes into effect the 1st of June? And what about their foster families? And the 58 caseworkers and staff who depend on their jobs through the Rockford Diocese to care for their own families? Way to screw up 400+ lives in the interest of bigotry, people. I am not so sure Jesus would approve.
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