Home > Uncategorized > Lending A Hand.

Lending A Hand.

Today I read an article forwarded to me by my husband in The Washington Post. I am normally not a Post reader, but this article in particular was begging for me to discuss it. Essentially, the article states that the Catholic Church is threatening to take away its social service contracts if DC passes a law to prevent organizations from discriminating against gay men and women. This doesn’t mean, the article points out, that the religious organizations have to allow weddings to be held in their buildings, BUT it does mean that they cannot enforce discriminatory practices over charity work.

Now, I was in this discussion recently with many other readers of Matt Cheuvront’s blog Life Without Pants, when he posted about the recent passing of anti-gay marriage legislation in Maine. I am a full supporter of gay marriage, and I know that can be a controversial viewpoint. But really, I was utterly shocked at this piece of local news.

I haven’t officially changed my New York license, but I am a DC resident, and to see this become such a divisive issue over homeless shelters and AIDS clinics has really made me ashamed. The article discusses Catholic Charities, whose $10 million dollars of funding for programs directly impacts over 70,000 people.

As a nonprofit fundraiser, I know the value of $10 million dollars in aid money. It is priceless. In this economy, charities are suffering because of a lack of funding.

Many may think I am completely wrong to pass judgment on these organizations – and you may be right. Charities, regardless of their religious affiliations, have their agendas. I know this first hand, and maybe even perpetuate it each day. It is part and parcel to competing with the companies that have the dollars and a great deal of the power. Are we as constituents and concerned citizens able to demand that our nonprofits and our charities be as ethical as our corporations?

To a certain extent, yes. We have the 501c3 tax status in the U.S. that gives nonprofits certain privileges as a result of doing good for the community. What if that good has somehow been lost because of a particular belief?

I am thoroughly interested in the discussion, and would love to hear more thoughts.

On a personal level, though, I urge the DC City Council to pass the anti-discrimination legislation.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. December 4, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    This is upsetting. Though now not religious, I was raised Catholic, and my family is Catholic on both sides. My extended family isn’t one to discuss politics too much though, and my immediate family sees nothing wrong with LGBTs. (Though, I do not my parent’s stance on same-sex marriage.) My siblings and I are full supporters of same-sex marriage.

    I disagree with the Church on this. One, I feel this is an inappropriate response. It punishes people who are in need, the very people Catholics are taught to help. Two, rather than pulling out, would it not make more sense to treat those they disagree with lovingly rather than denying them?

    That is a tough question though about whether non-profits should be required to be ethical. Here I would say yes, as the belief is preventing the point of their charity in the first place. So clearly there is a problem.

    This is an issue I have only just began to openly discuss and attempt to defend. People are right about when it affects you personally, it does make a difference.

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