Friday, August 26, 2011

The 2011 moral cases of Illinois & Indiana

In June, the state of Illinois officially legalized same-sex "civil unions." As a result, adoption and foster care agencies like Catholic Charities were told by the state they would lose all state funding unless they provided services such as adoption or foster care to same-sex couples.

The idea of a same-sex "civil union" is offensive to the moral beliefs of the Catholic Church. This is probably a far more complex issue into which the average person has ever delved. The Catholic Church considers the sexual faculties as a divinely given gift properly ordered in the context of a heterosexual marriage, with openness to procreation. Procreation itself is considered a divine privilege here on earth, a participation in God's "creative" capabilities. As Dr. Alice Von Hildebrand so adeptly said: "the spouses are collaborating with their Creator, in order to bring a new life into existence. This is a privilege not even granted to the angels; the importance and beauty of which needed to be recognized." And it is a rejection of the "complementarity" (CCC#2357) of the man and woman God created. Use of the gift beyond these privileges is seen as an affront to Him who bestowed the gift.

One could write books on the subject, but suffice it to say, the Church has earnest reasons for not facilitating the advancement of "same-sex couples." It may also be worth noting that Catholic Charities of Illinois provides a multitude of other services besides adoption, such as school counseling, private family and marriage counseling, physician referral services, crisis pregnancy care, long term care ombudsman services, and more.

Prior to 2011, Catholic Charities had been allowed to refer unmarried or gay couples to other agencies. And in the face of the new legislation, lawyers for Catholic Charities insisted they would maintain that action:
Pointing to a clause in the Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Unions Act that [Catholic Charities] believe protects religious institutions that don't recognize civil unions, the agencies said they would refer those couples elsewhere and only license married couples and single parents living alone. (Chicago Tribune)
Long story short, Judge John Schmidt recently supported the state of Illinois' threat of deprivation of tax dollars to Catholic Charities on the grounds that "No citizen has a recognized legal right to a contract with the government." Schmidt did not address the issue of religious freedom. And the state maintained its refusal to honor the Church's offer to refer homosexual couples to other agencies.

So, in the face of the state's ultimatum, and considering itself without the funds needed to continue that ministry, Catholic Charities was in the position to either leave the business of adoption and foster care, or violate its own moral beliefs. They chose the former, and some 2,000 children in foster care are now the objects of shuffling.
Speaking of contracts, the state of Indiana has had its own moral issue this summer––abortion. Governor Mitch Daniels signed into law a bill (H.B. 1210) that states:
An agency of the state may not: (1) enter into a contract with; or (2) make a grant to; any entity that performs abortions or maintains or operates a facility where abortions are performed that involves the expenditure of state funds or federal funds administered by the state.
The entity most outraged by this is Planned Parenthood, which aborted some 5,580 babies last year in the state of Indiana. Defenders of PP say that they do not use Medicaid dollars to fund abortions. But according to the State of Indiana's Department of Health audit, PP's
financial statements provide no record that PPIN [Planned Parenthood of Indiana] makes any effort either to segregate Medicaid reimbursements from other unrestricted revenue sources or to allocate the costs of its various lines of business, whether abortion, family planning, cancer screenings, or other services. ... Medicaid, as a revenue line, is shown with other unrestricted sources of income ... This indicates that, while PPIN may not receive Medicaid reimbursements related directly to abortions (as federal and state laws generally prohibit), the Medicaid reimbursements it does receive for other services are pooled or commingled with other monies it receives and thus help pay for total operational costs.
In the middle of this whole issue, the Obama Administration has threatened to withdraw federal funding from the State of Indiana entirely unless it repeals the recent law. According to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services:
Federal law prohibits federal Medicaid dollars from being spent on abortion services. Medicaid does not allow states to stop beneficiaries from getting care they need — like cancer screenings and preventive care.
But if the State of Indiana's Department of Health audit is correct, Planned Parenthood has ultimately been using federal dollars to fund abortions.

The matter remains in the courts at this time.

In both the Illinois and Indiana cases, we see two moral issues on which the Church has been vocal: Same-Sex Couples and Abortion. In each case, there is a governmental party siding against the Church's view: The State of Illinois vs. Catholic Charities and The U.S. Government vs. the State of Indiana who seeks to remove federal dollars from entities that do abortions.

The other parallel seen here is the matter of contracts. In Illinois, the judge ruled that no one has the right to a contract. Had this principle been enforced in Indiana, Planned Parenthood may have found itself at a loss to remain in the abortion business just as Catholic Charities in Illinois considered itself forced to leave the adoption and foster care business.

The troubling thing about both of these stories is how there is a governmental party coercing another institution into committing an act that institution considers immoral. One need only read international news to learn that the government of China has forced women to have abortions in the name of their "one-child policy" begun in 1979. Unto today, Chinese officials are known to utilize violent measures against those who violate the one-child rule. I don't think it's a slippery slope to suggest that "immoral" mandates such as taxpayer funded abortions is a step down a scary road.


  1. Nicely written article. Being raise up in foster homes my self and being a victim of homosexuality while at the tender age of less then 6, I can say this. I fear for those children that this judges and other law makers decisions has effected.