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updated: 1/11/2012 5:29 AM

Examing funding of Catholic Charities

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The Catholic Church is crying foul because the state of Illinois has stopped funding adoption and foster care agencies, including Catholic Charities, that refuse to place children with same-sex couples. Church leaders are seeking an exemption from this funding requirement, claiming it "violates" the basic teachings of the church.

What if tomorrow the church decides that its "moral conscience" makes it impossible to place children with parents of mixed races and/or religions. Would taxpayers be expected to fund this discrimination as well? While the First Amendment prohibits government from "interfering with the expression of religious beliefs," it says nothing about having to fund this expression, especially not when it violates the law. In 2010 Catholic Charities received nearly $2.9 billion, or about 62 percent of its annual revenue, from tax dollars, and only 3 percent from the church. Remaining revenue came from investments and miscellaneous sources.

If parishioners and the Vatican want to keep Catholic Charities agencies operating with discriminatory practices, they will have to put their money where their mouths are. I would go so far as to propose that all religious groups that act like special interest groups or lobbyists be treated as such and receive no government funding.

Sheryl Jedlinski


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