27 October 2010

More anti-Catholicism, this time from San Francisco

Friend and reader William passed along this post from The Catholic Key about an apparently legal case of anti-Catholicism from the City of San Francisco (with my emphases and comments):

Last Friday, an eleven-member panel of the Ninth Circuit Court dismissed a claim by Catholics in San Francisco that the City Board of Supervisors violated the Establishment Clause when they denounced Church teaching and urged the Archbishop of San Francisco to defy the Vatican [I thought First Ammendment protected against the government impeding in the free exerceise of religion]. A little background is warranted.

Early in 2006, Cardinal William Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, issued a statement clarifying that Church agencies should not place children for adoption with same-sex couples [there's no real surprise here]. The statement had particular significance for Levada’s former Archdiocese of San Francisco, whose Catholic Charities agency had been placing children for adoption with same-sex couples.

In response to Cardinal Levada’s statement, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a resolution denouncing the Vatican’s foreign meddling, demanding Levada retract his “hateful,” “insulting,” “discriminatory,” “callous” and ignorant directive, and urging current San Francisco Archbishop George Niederauer and Catholic Charities “to defy all discriminatory directives of Cardinal Levada.” [Why have they not passed a similar resolution against the Muslim faith?]Members of the Board of Supervisors also threatened to remove funding from Catholic Charities’ other programs unless they did defy the Vatican [might that not be coersion?] (The City was not funding the adoption program at Catholic Charities) [more].


  1. Although I happen to disagree with the Church's policy of not placing children into homes in which same-sex couples are loving parents, it does seem clear that the SF City Board of Supervisors DID violate the establishment clause. If I do not want my Church dictating everyone else's choices in civil law, I also do not want my government (or anyone's city government) to dictate what any religious faith can teach or sanction or condemn.

    Thanks for posting this. On both the left and the right, we need to be vigilant about maintaining the establishment clause (even if Christine O'Donnell in Delaware is doubtful as to its existence).

  2. O'Donnell is correct. At best, the First Ammendment separates the State from the Church, but it says nothing about the Church being involved in the life of the State.