Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, has denounced the “targeting” of Christian Care Providers that subscribe to a traditional understanding of marriage as between a man and a woman in a speech Monday at a conference on religious liberty at the Justice Department in Washington, DC.
In order to continue serving society effectively, the Church must have “the space to serve with integrity,” Kurtz said, which means not being penalized for its biblical views on marriage.
“When activists try to force Christian ministries to violate their consciences, they force Christians into a bind. Service is in our DNA, but so is the truth about the human person,” the archbishop said.
Kurtz noted that the Obama administration’s HHS mandate imposed on all employers, including religious employers with moral objection, to provide contraceptives, including abortifacients, to their employees.
“The HHS mandate greatly alarmed the bishops because it would require people of faith to make an impossible choice between paying extraordinary fines or violating the faith that calls them to serve the poor,” Kurtz said.
Although the Trump administration has removed the mandate, Kurtz said that Catholic child welfare organizations are still being targeted for discrimination for their adherence to a traditional understanding of the family.
“One of our biggest concerns is the ability of our child welfare organizations to place the foster children with families consistent with our teaching,” the archbishop said, referring to the Catholic practice of not placing children with same-sex couples.
While the number of children requiring help from child welfare organizations grows, in particular due to the opioid crisis, local government is cracking down on Christians.
“Yet, as a real crisis emerges, faith-based child welfare providers are being targeted for closure because of the convictions about the family. Service providers who have a track record of excellence have been shut down,” Kurtz said.
The archbishop referenced the city of Philadelphia’s attempts to force Catholic foster care providers to place children with homosexual couples, as well as an ACLU suit against the state of Michigan because of its law allowing foster care agencies to reject same-sex couples as placements out of religious or moral conviction.
“Faith-based organizations have a crucial role to play in adoption and foster care,” Kurtz said, and they are a natural expression of the Christian call to service.
“There are some who claim that faith-based organizations must give up our convictions when we partner with the government to provide much-needed social services,” Kurtz observed, while insisting that this must never be the case.
“Faith-based organizations are some of the most trusted groups within our society and excluding them makes no sense in a holistic society like ours,” he said.
“We’re very grateful for all the service done by people of faith every day both in our country and around the world. Religious freedom is vital to the common good,” he said.
Earlier this month, a Catholic bishop described handing children over to same-sex couples as a form of “child abuse.”
“Entrusting children to so-called homosexual couples constitutes in the last analysis a moral abuse of children, the smallest and most defenseless,” said Bishop Athanasius Schneider in an interview with Italian media.
The bishop said gay adoption “will go down in history as one of the greatest degradations of civilization. Those who daily combat this gross injustice are the true friends of children and the heroes of our age.”
An auxiliary bishop of Astana, Kazakhstan, Schneider told the Italian Il Giornale that the “Catholic Church, just like every human person with good sense and sound reason, has always rejected homosexual activity.”
Handing children over to homosexual couples “is a violation of the fundamental right of every child to grow up and be raised by a dad and a mom,” he said.
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