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Left-Wing Anti-Catholic Bigotry In Philly

From The Becket Fund: [1]

Sharonell Fulton and other foster parents asked a Philadelphia court late yesterday [2] to end a new City policy that is leaving foster homes sitting empty while the City is in a foster care crisis. In Sharonell Fulton, et al. v. City of Philadelphia [3], the City must answer for its decision to stop allowing Catholic Social Services to place children in foster homes, solely because the City disagrees with the agency’s religious beliefs – a decision the City is threatening to make permanent on June 30.

In March, the City of Philadelphia issued an urgent call for 300 [4] new foster parents to provide loving homes for some of the over 6,000 kids in Philadelphia foster care. That same month, the City abruptly barred Catholic Social Services, one of the city’s top-rated foster agencies, from placing children with foster families. This decision makes it exponentially harder for hundreds of children in need of foster care to find homes. Foster homes are sitting empty, even as the city begs for more families to help in its foster care crisis.

“What justice is there in taking stable, loving homes away from children? If the City cuts off Catholic Social Services from foster care, foster moms like me won’t have the help and support they need to care for special-needs kids,” said Sharonell Fulton, a foster mother. “I have relied on Catholic Social Services for support for years, and the City is taking away this help and causing harm and heartache to countless families like mine.”

Sharonell has been a foster parent for over 25 years and has opened her home to over 40 children, including two children currently in her care. She strives to provide a loving, stable home and treat each child as if they were her own. To do that, Sharonell relies on Catholic Social Services’ help, including around-the-clock support and access to information and resources.

Catholic Social Services and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia have been serving children throughout Philadelphia for over a century. Their Catholic mission drives them to find loving homes for all children in their care, regardless of the child’s race, color, sex, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity. Catholic Social Services currently serves over 100 children in foster homes. No family or individual has ever complained that the agency’s Catholic mission prevented them from fostering or adopting a child.

Here’s a link to the court filing. [2] Excerpt:

8. Ms. Fulton could not provide the extensive care that these special needs children require without the support she receives from Catholic Social Services. Catholic Social Services has provided Ms. Fulton with training, resources, support, and professional guidance as to how to best care for special needs children. She has been able to call social workers at any hour and receive an answer from someone she knew and trusted. These social workers have become like family and have shown great love and care to her foster children. By contrast, Ms. Fulton previously 4 received training from a government agency, and has noted the stark difference between that agency’s treatment of her and Catholic Social Services’ care and compassion. She is aware that other foster parents have been unsatisfied with the support they receive from other foster agencies. Ms. Fulton believes that she would not receive the kind of support she needs to serve children with serious medical problems if she were with another agency. If the City terminates its contract with Catholic Social Services, or refuses to renew the contract in June, Ms. Fulton’s two current foster children will be immediately transferred away. Because of their extensive medical needs, she anticipates these children will have a very difficult time being placed, and it is very unlikely they will be placed with a foster parent that has the same capacity and training as Ms. Fulton to address these special needs.


9. Ms. Fulton shares the religious beliefs of Catholic Social Services. As an African American woman, Ms. Fulton has experienced discrimination in her life. It is insulting and hurtful for her to observe the government of the city in which she lives needlessly denigrate and publicly condemn her own religious beliefs in such a discriminatory fashion.

The City of Philadelphia would rather have orphaned children taken away from Christian foster parents who rely on Catholic Social Services, and leave other orphaned children outside of families, than tolerate Catholic beliefs. Note well that neither Catholic Social Services nor the Archdiocese of Philadelphia is trying to stop the placement of children with gay couples; it’s only declining to do so itself based on its longstanding religious convictions.

For liberals and city officials, that is intolerable, apparently. You would think that given how many Philadelphia children without parents are desperately in need of foster care, the city would be doing all it can to get those kids placed in loving homes. The city finds no problem at all with Catholic Social Services … other than the fact that it operates by Catholic principles regarding family structure. If they can’t make Catholic Social Services violate its corporate conscience and kneel before militant progressivism, well then, those children will have to suffer.

The cruel pettiness and anti-Christian hatred shown by the cultural left in cases like this shocks the conscience. One hopes the court will deliver some sanity and compassion to this dispute. Still, my religious conservative readership had better take a lesson: on LGBT issues, the cultural left is driven by anti-Christian spite that they would even see orphaned children — including children with severe medical disabilities that no one wants to care for — and the families who want to love and care for them suffer rather than yield a single inch.

Such is the “tolerance” they told us they wanted. Don’t be fooled. The cultural left will not stop until all Catholics (and other Christians) to the right of gay Jesuits are driven out of the public square. And then they’ll only stop their crusade long enough to catch their breath.

You Christians: fight this now, but prepare for what’s coming. [5]

UPDATE: The first comment, right out the door, is from a liberal. Here it is, and here is my answer:

Doesn’t that cut both ways. Haven’t Christian adoption agencies shut down to prevent LGBT people from adopting?

Seems like both sides are dug in deep and you only call out the other which makes sense no one likes to call out their own side. I find your constant diatribes about anti-Christianity rather empty and often over blown. I can attest that these sort of stories are what pushed me away from the faith. Christianity is strong and strong things change with life.

[NFR: Empty and overblown because you’re not the one suffering from anti-Christian bigotry. There is no way for both sides to “win” on this one. The Catholic Church has deep, consistent teachings about family and sexuality. They are now unfashionable, true, but this is something integral to the Church’s teaching. The Catholic Church also has a long history of social services to the needy. If the Catholic Church’s health care and other social services disappeared tomorrow, you know who wouldn’t feel the pain? Well-off and middle-class people. You know who would? Poor people — and there are few people more poor than severely handicapped orphans. You need to ask yourself why your anti-Christian bigotry is so strong that you would compel Catholics and other Christians who are giving their lives and their treasure to helping the poorest of the poor to violate their consciences. I’m sick to death of this progressive preening. — RD]

UPDATE.2: What we have here is a sort of Progressive Integralism, with the foster children that stand to be removed from (or not placed with) Christian foster families via Catholic Social Services playing the same role that Edgardo Mortara did in the 19th century Papal States.

You remember that story, right? An illiterate housemaid baptized a baby within the Jewish family for which she worked. When news got out, Pope Pius IX, who was the temporal ruler of that territory, declared that the child, Edgardo Mortara, had to be removed from his family because having been baptized, he could not be denied a Catholic upbringing. It caused a huge international scandal at the time.

So now we have a case where the sanctity of homosexuality has been declared by the liberal state, such that foster children must be taken out of Christian homes if there is any chance that their “baptism” into the secular state religion might be compromised, even by appearance. Ordinary human decency and compassion cannot be allowed to interfere with the remorseless exercise of the state religion’s authority.

And there are actually people today who believe that liberalism is neutral. Don’t you believe it for a second.

UPDATE.3: “But what if an adoption agency refused to place kids in interracial homes. You wouldn’t support them working with the city, would you? How is this different?”

For one, race and sexuality are not the same thing. But we have been over that topic exhaustively here.

For another, yeah, I probably would support that agency, as long as there were more children needing homes than there were homes for them. Some progressives advocate the idea that black children should be placed in black homes, Hispanic children in Hispanic homes, et cetera, as a matter of cultural defense. I think this is wrong, but if an otherwise competent child placement and social services office only wanted to work on black-to-black foster placements, or Muslim-to-Muslim, whatever … well, why not? I don’t have to agree with their methodology to be grateful that there are more people involved in trying to find homes for kids who need parents. I may believe that the people running the hypothetical black-to-black agency hold racist anti-white beliefs, but I can live with that as long as I can be confident that they are putting orphans who need families in good homes.

I would be significantly less ticked off about this thing in Philly if there were no shortage of foster homes for these motherless and fatherless children. Where are all the nice, right-thinking liberals in Philly, doing for these poor children what Christians like Sharonell Fulton are doing?

UPDATE.4: I’m thrilled to hear from two frequent liberal commenters. First, Adamant:

Oklahoma just passed a law preventing this very thing.

Fact: There is no existing substitute for religious organizations in adoption, child placement, and foster care in the US.


Without these organizations, the system, shambolic as it is, simply collapses, and the sum total of human misery increases greatly.

Supporters of this nonsense are the same small, blinkered souls that get a perverse glee at the thought of nuns being forced to buy contraception.

To my liberal brothers and sisters; do you have a plan to replace these organizations and the means to execute that plan, ready to go? If not, please sit down and STFU. If your highest and best use isn’t the care and protection of vulnerable children, you don’t have a policy: you have a pose.

Now, from the irreplaceable Franklin Evans:

This one is literally close to home. I’ve lived in Philly nearly my entire adult life, raised three children here, and actively contributed to the long evolution from LGBT scapegoats to becoming integrated and full participants in our community. There are some things here that some might find interesting, even if they don’t agree that they are relevant.

For many years, the school district budget saw a significant drain on resources because by law they were required to deliver educational services to parochial and private school students whose schools were by law exempt from providing, combined with the fact that they were not entitled to the enrolled-student subsidy from the state for the students of those schools. In short, Catholic schools have long enjoyed getting those services for free.

Contrast that to the many religiously sponsored community services who must not proselytize to the children under their care if they either receive city funds or provide services to city-funded institutions. One center, which my children attended through their before- and after-school programs, fired one employee for violating their clear policy to comply with that restriction.

Those form an abstract comparison point which subsequently pales when placed against the foster care services. The principle is the same, and very important, but when it comes to the care and safety of children in need, we simply must not make political footballs of them.

In this case, not only is the city wrong, it is egregiously wrong. If they must level the “playing field” in foster care — Catholic Services is by far the best funded of all the available foster care services — they can do so on the existing breadth of options for same-sex couples, along with making sure that all the foster care services are linked with needy children in an equitable fashion.

UPDATE.5: As for you readers who are trying to draw an equivalence here, and say that both Catholic Social Services and the City of Philadelphia come off looking bad here, by restricting the placement of foster children, you should consider that this is a superficial equivalence. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that you’re correct, and both sides are being selfish. Only one of those sides has the power to stop foster placements entirely: the City. It cannot be the case that willing gay foster parents aren’t receiving placements because of CSS’s stand; there are far more kids needing placement than there are placements. All CSS is doing is declining to make placements that conflict with its deeply-held principles. Fine, call them a bunch of horrible mackerel-snapping bigots, or do your best to change their mind. But do not pretend that there are kids in Philly who are going without foster parents because of the CSS policy. CSS is not the only foster placement game in Philly. If it was, you’d have more of a point. This is only about grinding the face of the Church, and the face of those poor children, and Christian families who want to foster them.


132 Comments (Open | Close)

132 Comments To "Left-Wing Anti-Catholic Bigotry In Philly"

#1 Comment By Susan Brower On May 18, 2018 @ 8:40 am

Good ole Philly is really shooting themselves in the foot again. The city of the birth of our constitution and of brotherly love is taking the rights of their some of their children and religious population away. Way to slap our constitution and forefathers in the face Philly. Disgraceful. I am a pediatric nurse and noncatholic who is ashamed to say I work in Philly now.

#2 Comment By David J. White On May 18, 2018 @ 8:54 am

The gay couple (like the opposite sex couple) who has healthy reproductive organs, can conceive naturally

A gay couple can conceive “naturally”? Only with the participation of someone outside the couple. They sure can’t conceive with each other. Which means that *as a couple* they cannot conceive “naturally.”

100% of gay couples are sterile *as a couple*.

#3 Comment By Franklin Evans On May 18, 2018 @ 9:28 am

Sam, I respect your attempt to drag my general-case question back to the current topic, but doing that fails to answer the general case.

Go ahead and define “service”, then build your logical argument. This particular topic is looking very much like a deceased equine without your attempted answer.

#4 Comment By Craig On May 18, 2018 @ 9:36 am

“A more proper role for charities in this process would be providing services and education for families that already have children placed with them (And there would be nothing wrong with a Catholic charity only providing these services for Catholics that fit their definition, in my opinion), rather than actually implementing public policy on behalf of the state without the same kind of oversight or rules that the state has.”

Robert, as someone who is currently going through the foster care licensing process, this is not an accurate summation of their role.

In order to serve as a placement agency, CSS has to offer/administer trainings to potential parents in accordance with federal/state/local regs. What topics are covered, the length of classes, etc., are all mandated. They don’t have a large degree of discretion, except as to dates/times classes are offered. Potential parents have to provide background information (finances, criminal history, family life, etc) in accordance with f/s/l regs. That process/requirements is the same across all agencies.

Once parents are licensed, the agency acts as a go-between to help find children that would be a good fit in that home. The agency has no power to force a foster parent to accept a child and cannot force the state to place a child there. Those decisions are left to the state caseworker and the parent. Foster parents have to fill out a ream of monthly paperwork on medical visits, medication administration, school progress, etc. CSS acts as an intermediary to accept the paperwork and verify it is in compliance.

So CSS operates under the same rules and regs the state has. They are not a chaos agent doing whatever they want.

CSS simply says, “In certain situations, you are asking us to violate our sincerely held religious beliefs when helping place children and those parents should go elsewhere to another agency or work directly through the state.” Philadelphia’s response: “We don’t want your help, bigot.”

#5 Comment By Rob G On May 18, 2018 @ 9:51 am

“I’m not denying that a strongly religious-intolerant movement is emerging. I’m trying to suggest to you that you won’t and don’t elicit sympathy from liberals when your worldview is also intolerant, and when a society founded on your principles would display the same bigoted pettiness you decry in your post.”

In other words, deeply-held religious principles = bigoted pettiness.

But it’s not conservative religious folk that are the ones going around trumpeting “Diversity!” and “Tolerance!” 24/7.

Never forget the Liberal Rules of Tolerance:

1) All is tolerated except intolerance.
2) We get to define intolerance.

“And so again, it makes it hard to sympathize when you suspect that Mr. Dreher’s ideal society would not extend marriage and adoption rights to same-sex couples. Or am I wrong on that point?”

You’re wrong because the point simply doesn’t apply. How is Rod’s, or the Catholic Church’s, or anyone else’s worldview pertinent here? (By the way, conservatives tend not to speculate about “ideal societies.”) Even if someone “would not extend marriage and adoption rights to same-sex couples,” how does that opinion affect the matter at hand?

#6 Comment By Ben H On May 18, 2018 @ 10:37 am

You’re not going to convince people. Someone with the warped idea that the foster care system is designed for the benefit of foster parents, not orphans, is so off base that they are going to be immune to rational argument.

#7 Comment By Andy On May 18, 2018 @ 11:01 am

My parents were foster parents in Philly in the ’90s. Our family fostered a black baby and wanted to adopt him. The agency wouldn’t let it happen because we were white and they wanted to put him with a black family. I don’t know if this has changed as I know elsewhere in the country a white couple I know has adopted a black child.

#8 Comment By Myles Hagar On May 18, 2018 @ 11:36 am

Here is yet another example of state interference and control to fix something that is not broken and create “issues” and “concerns” were none exist. There was no problem with the Catholic foster homes in reality. Did I read that correctly?

#9 Comment By K. On May 18, 2018 @ 11:59 am

I think I need a leftist dictionary that defines terms such as:
It all seems so confusingly unsorted and contrived. For instance, I thought liberals valued liberty, freedom and above all else. The left seems to value more government, except—and this is the paradoxical part, government as defined strictly along and by and in “personal,” not, “individual,” terms. An individual, Catholic, Christian, atheist etc. has a right to think what they want and implement, especially help for the poor or orphaned, etc. what they too want. Blocking that by government “restriction” is nothing but a personal attack on freedom, as opposed to what I said earlier, an individual’s rights. It seems then, that their government, that is, the left’s; manufactures itself around and advocates for contemporary and faddish values; as opposed to long standing institutions where each, no matter of race, creed or sexual orientation have liberty or the right to breathe the air we feel. I’m tired of these types telling me I need to free myself from ignorance, from misery, as defined in on their terms, their definitions of liberal, diversity, tolerance, etc. This, in the end, amounts to nothing but good old – fashioned totalitarianism disguised. And the longer this nonsense infests and leaks into current institutions, the harder it will be to get back to some true definition of LIBERALISM—the right to be free and think whatever you feel.

#10 Comment By MarkedMan On May 18, 2018 @ 12:56 pm

The soup kitchen analogy is ridiculous. Here’s a more accurate one: an Orthodox soup kitchen applies to be a city licensed soup kitchen and accepts government funds for various, but not all, of its expenses. It opens up but tells gay homeless people they are not welcome, but are perfectly free to go to a “separate and equal” soup kitchen if they can find one.

And by the way, as someone who has read Rod for even longer than six months, I have also seen him reference the “gay discrimination is not race discrimination” argument that played out sometime in the past, but have not seen any links to that argument. Rod, No doubt you are sick of the whole thing but it would be fairer to new readers if you just took the time to find a link to the post you feel best describes your position and then just dump it in whenever it comes up. Heck, you could even ask your long time readers to find it for you.

#11 Comment By Rick67 On May 18, 2018 @ 1:07 pm

Without these organizations, the system, shambolic as it is, simply collapses, and the sum total of human misery increases greatly. (Adamant)

I appreciate such comments. Because sometimes the line is thrown around in our dominant culture that religious is bad, religious causes so much suffering and misery, and what good does religion accomplish anyways? It is tempting sometimes to say “tell you what, how about we eradicate religion right now, let’s play Thanos in Avengers: The Infinity War and vaporize this pestilence that drags humanity down and for centuries has prevented us from reaching the progressive Promised Land that is always around the corner and never seems to arrive”.

Now yes we fall into the trap of responding to secular measures of “good and useful” by pointing out all the good works Christians accomplish. I am reminded of the journalist (whose name is escaping me) who asked rather imperiously “and what good does religion accomplish anyways?” and some Christian leaders rather foolishly responded with “wow what a great question” as if the Christian faith must somehow measure up to secularist expectations.

You nailed it right on the head. On the one hand secularists challenge the Church with “and what good do you accomplish anyways?” and when the Church *is* doing something good they step in and say “oh no you don’t! not if you’re going to cling to your un-progressive convictions”.

#12 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On May 18, 2018 @ 2:10 pm

And the longer this nonsense infests and leaks into current institutions, the harder it will be to get back to some true definition of LIBERALISM—the right to be free and think whatever you feel.

Since when has liberalism meant anything of the sort? Liberalism is the right of landowners to dispense with ancient rights of tenants while doubling down on their own, evict farmers in the name of private property, setting them adrift on the highways and byways, and hang Luddites who object to working by a damn clock in dank dark factory. And forward from there.

There was no problem with the Catholic foster homes in reality. Did I read that correctly?

I think you did.

Someone with the warped idea that the foster care system is designed for the benefit of foster parents, not orphans, is so off base that they are going to be immune to rational argument.

That is exactly what is sordid about the “freedom for gay couples to adopt” movement. Its not about finding homes for children, or the best homes, but about affirming the beauty and equality of gay couples. I say that fully aware that many same sex couples actually just desire to raise children, which is a natural human desire not apparently erased by same-sex attraction. I suspect there are plenty of children who would be better off with a same-sex adoptive couple than bouncing around the foster care system. But keep all these factors in perspective.

The move to put children in private foster homes rather than orphanages is a ‘progressive’ idea…

Progressive ideas have their flaws and weaknesses. Foster homes can ALSO open children up to massive neglect and abuse. And, if there are currently no acceptable foster homes available, a well-run orphanage may be the best available option. I’ve seen times when an effort was made to build a modest group home along that line, and some liberal advocacy agency in Massachusetts wrote a boiler-plate objection that what the children need are families… entirely ignoring the fact that the children who could have benefited from a modernized orphanage didn’t have families. Liberals love to pontificate, but often fall way short on delivering practical solutions.

#13 Comment By Rob G On May 18, 2018 @ 2:36 pm

~~Here’s a more accurate one: an Orthodox soup kitchen applies to be a city licensed soup kitchen and accepts government funds for various, but not all, of its expenses. It opens up but tells gay homeless people they are not welcome, but are perfectly free to go to a “separate and equal” soup kitchen if they can find one.~~

No, that’s not the same. No one’s being denied service. It’s the children who are being placed, not the prospective parents; no children are being turned away.

#14 Comment By Fran Macadam On May 18, 2018 @ 2:42 pm

Satan’s twofer: if not abortion destroying the body, then perversion destroying the soul!

#15 Comment By Fran Macadam On May 18, 2018 @ 2:47 pm

MarkedMan: Feeding the homeless or providing shelter is not an endorsement of anyone’s sins, whatever they might be. We minister to all those stricken by HIV, regardless of whether sinful choices led to the condition or not, whatever they may or may not be.

#16 Comment By Lert345 On May 18, 2018 @ 3:56 pm

Shouldn’t it be up to the biological parents of the children to set any restrictions?

#17 Comment By redfish On May 18, 2018 @ 4:05 pm

“But what if an adoption agency refused to place kids in interracial homes. You wouldn’t support them working with the city, would you? How is this different?”

From my point of view, the more adoption agencies, the better.

And if the city is working with a large number of adoption agencies, and not one or two, then you have a wide berth to choose from. If one adoption agency decided not to adopt a child to ultra-religious people it determined to be fundamentalists and dangerous in their beliefs, and was biased in that prescription, there would be another that wasn’t as biased.

The most important thing for adoption agencies is the children needing adoption aren’t discriminated against, not the potential parents, and that they’re competent in finding good homes for them. Ultimately the ones with horrible methodologies would be weeded out over time through incompetency.

Rod is right that adopting black kids to only black homes, Hispanic kids to only Hispanic homes, may not be the right methodology, but its not the worst thing in the world, either, and nothing much to freak out about it.

#18 Comment By sara On May 18, 2018 @ 6:53 pm

My initial reaction was to agree – CSS should be able to place kids as they choose. But, as my college business law prof used to say, the law defines where my rights end and yours begin. What is the law? If you receive state funding, you have to comply with anti-discrimination rules? If that is the case and CSS receives state funding, then there is a problem. I don’t know if this is the law, just pointing out that this is how laws work and that SOME laws apply here. I guess we will find out when the court case is decided.

When you say that “the left” is anti-Christian, Christian hating, etc. I have to ask – are you anti-lgbt? lgbt hating? Before you get your knickers in a twist, consider what I’m saying here. You have your religious beliefs that you want respected. Gay people have their beliefs that they want respected. Some of the people in between believe in equal civil rights and also believe in freedom of religion. The question of where and how to draw lines isn’t as simple as making an emotional appeal about children. I would like for it to be done so that CSS could place children as they always have but I don’t know what law applies.

Are there people on the left who hate Christianity and have a seriously nasty grudge? Absolutely. But the majority of the people who are supporting this sort of thing are doing it because they believe in equal civil rights, not because they are “anti-Christian” just as you support what you do because of your religious beliefs rather than hatred of lgbt people. (Think about your grilling racism post. It is EASY to blow someone supporting something you don’t into them hating you when it brings you into a conflict like this.)

To make my point about seeing things from your own side, I’ve taken some of your main sentences and swapped the subjects around:

“Catholic Social Services would rather have orphaned children outside of families than tolerate gay couples. You would think that given how many Philadelphia children without parents are desperately in need of foster care, the Catholic Social Services would be doing all it can to get those kids placed in loving homes. The cruel pettiness and anti-lgbt hatred shown by the cultural right in cases like this shocks the conscience. on LGBT issues, the cultural right is driven by anti-lgbt spite that they would even see orphaned children — including children with severe medical disabilities that no one wants to care for — and the families who want to love and care for them suffer rather than yield a single inch. Such is the “tolerance” they told us they wanted. Don’t be fooled. The cultural right will not stop until all gay and transgender people are driven out of the public square and back into the closet.”

I’m not saying that they are right to shut down CSS. What I am saying is that being pro-lgbt-rights does not equate to anti-Christian.

Like DKR (I think?), this made me think of the fights over defunding planned parenthood and other clinics all over but particularly in Texas which now has the worst maternal survival rate in the country. Shutting down clinics that provide vital services to poor people who can not otherwise get access to those services is not preventing abortion. Similarly, separating parents and children when they apply for asylum isn’t humane either. They have “lost” kids who have been separated from their parents in that system – over a thousand of them. The human cost of pettiness on both sides is enormous.

#19 Comment By MM On May 18, 2018 @ 7:00 pm

Jenkins: “Since when has liberalism meant anything of the sort? Liberalism is the right of landowners to dispense with ancient rights of tenants while doubling down on their own, evict farmers in the name of private property, setting them adrift on the highways and byways, and hang Luddites who object to working by a damn clock in dank dark factory. And forward from there.”

I can’t be the only one who sees absolutely nothing wrong with this. Thanks goodness for Western Civilization! 🙂

#20 Comment By John On May 18, 2018 @ 8:53 pm


(For the record I am an ex-Catholic gay agnostic so I have no use for religion and certainly nothing good to say about their “family values” which to me just comes across as a euphemistic buzzword for saying they are anti-gay.)

Anti discrimination laws by necessity have a religious exemption clause because the First Amendment protects their freedom to religious exercise and freedom from religious establishment (yes the separation of church and state which the religious conservatives scoff at protects them too).

Adoption agencies and parochial schools that are run by or affiliated with a religious institution are considered a part of the institution. I have but one exception to this rule – religiously affiliated hospitals – because they are the places people of all an no faith go to in a desperate time of need. In many cases it is a matter of life or death, so no one caught in that desperate situation should discriminated against even if the hospital in question is religious and the wishes of the patient, as well as his or her designated POA must be respected.

Aside from that I have to agree with those who say that the concern here are the needs of the foster children and whether they are being discriminated against. Are they being denied placement on account of their race, gender, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or religious affiliation?

The city can and probably should consider the special needs of the foster child and placing the foster child in a family that would need those needs.

I would think that a Catholic child should be placed with Catholic parents, and a Jewish child with Jewish family.

I would also think it unwise to place a gay, lesbian or transgendered identifying child (say we are talking about teens) in a home consisting of Mormons or Southern Baptists.

But none of this would be a problem in the city contracts with a variety of adoption agencies, secular and religious. There would be a really big problem if the city was only contracting with the Catholic agencies. That is not the case. The more adoption agencies there are, the better.

These idiots in city government are only making a bad situation worse. They can let a variety of adoption agencies place in need children with a parent or they could raise the children themselves.

#21 Comment By Les Govment On May 18, 2018 @ 9:10 pm

I was raised Catholic, and although I quit being a Catholic nearly four decades ago, I stand in support of Catholic Charitie’s stance on gay adoption.

Every child deserves a good mom and dad, including every child who needs to be adopted.

Rather than take up a lot of space here, my take on gay adoption can be found here:

[6] then scroll down to “Gay Adoption”

— Les Govment [7]

#22 Comment By David J. White On May 18, 2018 @ 10:11 pm

Your picture of the LOVE sculpture and the caption about the “City of Brotherly Love” reminds that I often tell students that the first Philadelphia in the ancient world was in Egypt, and was named for Ptolemy II, who was given the nickname “Philadelphus” because he married his sister (brotherly love indeed!). So, Philadelphia is actually the City of Incest.

#23 Comment By Grant On May 18, 2018 @ 10:30 pm

Not sure why you’re having such a hard time understanding my point Rod. First, I’m Catholic, and understand the teaching on homosexuality quite well. Second I’m conservative. Third, I’ve actually met you at a Dulles Colloquium, and you even used a story I told you to support your Benedict Option. So I don’t need to be educated.
The Catholic Church teaches that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered, but there’s nothing sinful about being gay per se. So it’s not immediately obvious to me why Catholic Charities would oppose letting a gay couple adopt. The Church also teachings that contraception is sinful. But it allows couples who contracept to adopt. And as I mentioned in my anecdote, it allows non-conventional families to adopt (unmarried woman).
Craig’s analogy to a kosher deli doesn’t just limp, it’s quadriplegic. Eating pork is against the law for Jews. Just like anal sex is against the law for Catholics. Nothing about letting a gay couple adopt contravenes this. As I said, letting a gay couple adopt would probably reduce the thing that Catholics think is wrong.
Again, I’m a pious Catholic. I’m just not allergic to gays. And the de-facto opposition to gay adoption does not make rational sense to me. Hence my suspicions, which are perfectly reasonable to hold

#24 Comment By Glaivester On May 18, 2018 @ 11:59 pm

Or, in other words, you seem to know nothing about how schools are funded in Pennsylvania. Would you care to do the research, or just sit in ignorance?

What? How schools are funded has very little to do with David’s point.

Until two years ago, the two sources of funding for Philadelphia public schools was property taxes (and a portion of them, not the entire revenue stream) and state subsidies based on enrollment. Parents who chose to put their children in private schools (including parochial) have never been exempt from those taxes, any more than childless taxpayers would be.

No one has suggested that people who put their kids in private schools are exempt from tax-paying. The point simply is that it is not true to act as if they are free-loading. Yes, the school district is providing some services without getting state subsidies, but the number of children in the public system is also decreased, which saves the district some money – depending on how much of the school’s budget comes from the state subsidies.

My ire gets into play when people assume that they are directly supporting something with their taxes. I respectfully object to the phrasing “my taxes pay for this” especially in the public schools context.

And my ire gets into play when people act as if a taxpayer is freeloading when his private school gets the use of some service that public schools get.

We either all recognize the societal value of educated children, or we await the imminent social collapse of a new generation of workers who can’t add, barely read and understand nothing about how government works.

No one here is suggesting that all education should be privatized, or that people have a right to determine how all of their tax dollars are spent.

But unless you can show that parochial schools are a NET drain on the school budget (i.e. that the money saved by people educating their children elsewhere does not make up for the state-unreimbursed cost of providing some services for parochial school students), don’t act as if the parochial schools are freeloading.

#25 Comment By Sean On May 19, 2018 @ 10:43 am

I don’t know if I agree with Dreher that Catholicism and Christianity have come under attack in the way he makes it out to be. He must know something that I don’t. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy Dreher’s writings whether I agree or not. All that said, I do agree that we should not throw the baby out with the bad water. If Catholic services are doing good things like finding homes for needy orphans, than that’s a good thing and maybe the city should take that into consideration.

#26 Comment By William N Lanigan On May 19, 2018 @ 2:21 pm

Jesus clearly said that love of God is the first and greatest commandment, and that love of neighbor comes in second and is like it, not equal to it. Consequently, if you do something for “your neighbor” that is against God’s law, you are not loving God. We have to do as much as possible for our neighbors, but only if what we do is not against God’s laws. Giving children to gay couples is against God’s law. Consequently, what looks like hypocrisy to (usually godless anyway) liberals makes perfect sense to Christians.We can only go so far, and as far as we can go is not objecting to non-Catholic social service agencies to place children anywhere they want. Just leave us out of it. But they never will.

#27 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On May 19, 2018 @ 8:05 pm

I can’t be the only one who sees absolutely nothing wrong with this.

No, you’re not. But you have just defined yourself as a liberal, and worse, as the class enemy. See you at the barricades.

You have your religious beliefs that you want respected. Gay people have their beliefs that they want respected.

Everyone has rights the state must respect by not interfering. That doesn’t mean we have to respect the choices our fellow citizens have a right to make. Religious can be religious, whether gays like it or not. Gays can be gay, whether religious like it or not. Gays can disparage churches, and traditional religious adherents can warn against the sin of homosexuality. And we don’t have to listen to each other.

#28 Comment By MM On May 19, 2018 @ 9:11 pm

Jenkins: “But you have just defined yourself as a liberal, and worse, as the class enemy.”

Come and get me, tough guy. Us vs. them, take their stuff, petty jealousy, that’s about the intellectual extent of your worldview. 🙂

I also can’t be the only one who sees the irony of an old Obsolete Lefist complaining about private property rights, contract law, and technological advancement in the 18th Century… on a privately owned, copywritten, internet website in the 21st Century.

Hilarious and pathetic, at the same time…

#29 Comment By Greg_In_Calif On May 19, 2018 @ 10:48 pm

I am one who adopted a child through from the state in a foster-then-adoption process, and as such, am well familiar with this. I don’t know what the rules for such adoptions are in Pennsylvania, but here (CA) a child available for adoption was assigned to one agency, responsible as sole representative for his/her placement. Therefore, if an agency considers only straight legally married couples as adoption parents and no one else (singles, unmarried straight couples and same-sex married or unmarried couples), and such ‘perfect’ candidates are not found, the child will rot in a normally pretty awful foster care system for years and may never be adopted.

Rod says: ‘… do not pretend that there are kids in Philly who are going without foster parents because of the CSS policy. CSS is not the only foster placement game in Philly. If it was, you’d have more of a point.’. As you see, perhaps, they do.

It’s absolutely true that there many, many more children available for adoption from the state, than candidates (even when all categories included). But great majority of them are either black or Latino, or born with ‘special needs’ (read: significant health problems) or both. Healthy white or even mixed race children are rare to non-existent. In many cases straight and gay singles and gay couples adopted such ‘unadoptable’ children and were able to raise them and make them thrive. It’s been well documented.

Obviously, for people who insist that ‘every child deserve a father and a mother’ and nothing else will do, such adoptions and such families are morally wrong and another sign of our modern decay. Rod doesn’t make clear whether he thinks being adopted and raised by a gay couple who are in all aspects are good parents is preferable to not being adopted at all. But to me , the choice is clear.

As it says in Matthew-7, you’ll recognize them by their fruits. And those are good fruits.

#30 Comment By Franklin Evans On May 20, 2018 @ 8:51 am


I suggest you read my subsequent posts on the schools tangent.

In none of them, taken individually and certainly taken as a gestalt, suggest that parents are free-loading while putting their children in private or parochial schools instead of public schools. I posted the facts about school budgets and funding sources, and you are welcome to research them for Pennsylvania and draw any conclusions you wish.

In the end, this tangent is an important part of but not the entirety of the politicization of public education and the injury — yes, measurable detriments — done to children and teachers. You are welcome to critique my view of Pennsylvania, but you are not welcome to extend it to the entire country except in cases where another state has similarities to Pennsylvania.

If you do that research, by the way, you’ll find that there can be no numeric comparison between school budget outlays and how many children are enrolled at non-public schools. Over a period of decades, a list of pressures on public school budgets have distanced that comparison to nearly over the horizon. The instability of property tax bases, the several unfunded state mandates — required services not covered by the state subsidy, and for any state chartered school district, meaning, if they don’t have a home rule charter, they are ruled by the legislature — which local districts cannot afford unless they increase tax revenue, is a very prominent example.

#31 Comment By Franklin Evans On May 20, 2018 @ 8:58 am

Public school politics in the archdiocese of Philadelphia has always included the notion that parents should be permitted to take their property taxes with them to their private or parochial schools. It’s a cyclic controversy, waxing and waning depending on other local political footballs being or not being in play. Lately, with the advent of charter and for-profit schools, coupled with the now defunct School Reform Commission having replaced the school board and pushing those and other “reforms” through, Philadelphia is facing a multi-year deficit which the schools can not just ill-afford. It means continuing health hazards — asbestos, mold, etc. — and a complete disconnect between schools and the communities they want to serve. Imagine a world where there is one nurse for six schools, and children with prescription medications cannot take them because the law requires them to be kept and dispensed by a registered nurse while the children are in school. It exists right now, right here, and the politicians use it to blame the schools when their own budget votes caused it.

#32 Comment By Curious Cat On May 27, 2018 @ 6:49 pm

Rod, I wonder if you don’t yourself suffer from the same blind spots you accuse your opponents of having. You don’t think it’s possible for folks to be genuinely opposed to the idea that an adoption agency would refuse to place children with same-sex couples unless they are anti-Catholic bigots who want nothing less than the eradication of Christian beliefs from the public square?

I’ve seen you ask many times on this blog for people on “the other side” to understand that Christians have deeply held beliefs and to respect those beliefs even when one might not agree with it. But I don’t see any of the same respect or understanding from you, to be honest. In your picture of things, there can’t be people of goodwill who are fighting against CSS’s policy because they honestly believe it will be a worse picture for children and for society; no, it has to be that they are anti-Catholic bigots.

You can’t think of any good policy arguments for why CSS’s policies are bad? Must they be grounded in animus?

One reason I support the city’s position is that while I agree there are going to be short-term costs in terms of the number of successful child placements, in the long run, the benefit is that we will return to a child-centered focus where the best parents – whether they are gay or straight, black or white, Catholic or not – will be given the privilege (not the right) to adopt. I think in matters of adoption, the state has a rational and legitimate interest in articulating that this evidence-based benchmark is what counts. In time, other organizations will rise up to the occasion to fill in the current gaps – those that are willing to place children with the best parents regardless of sexual orientation or any other irrelevant criteria.

I don’t think this has anything much to do with anti-Christian hatred or anything like that. I might find Christian beliefs amusing or antiquated, and I might disagree with CSS’s placement policies, but how does that amount to bigotry?