27 September 2011

Is the State of Illinois lying about future of children placed with Catholic Charities?

We received yesterday the not unexpected news, sad as it is, that Judge John Schmidt has denied Catholic Charities' request to stay his earlier ruling and to reconsider his decision.

From the State Journal-Register, with my emphases and comments:

The state Department of Children and Family Services can begin canceling its adoption and foster care contracts with Catholic Charities, Sangamon County Circuit Judge John Schmidt ruled Monday.

Schmidt denied Catholic Charities’ emergency request to stay his earlier ruling that the group has no right to state contracts to provide such services [which isn't the issue.  The issue at hand is whether the State can refuse to give contracts because of an organization's religious belief.  It is a matter of discrimination based on religion]. Schmidt also refused to reconsider that decision [we didn't really expect him to change his previous ruling].

“I see no reason to issue that,” Schmidt said of the stay request and the reconsideration motion.

Catholic Charities next will turn to Illinois’ 4th District Appellate Court in hopes of staying Schmidt's ruling, according to attorneys for Catholic Charities agencies associated with the Springfield, Peoria, Belleville and Joliet dioceses.

Catholic Charities says it faces irreparable harm if the contracts are canceled, including the possible layoff of hundreds of employees.

State officials did not renew the contracts after Catholic Charities said its religious principles do not allow it to place foster and adoptive children in the homes of unmarried couples, including those in civil unions [kudos to Chris Wetterich for getting it right].

DCFS contends Catholic Charities ' policy violates the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act [they have still apparently read neither the title of the Act nor the Act itself]. The agency ended its contracts with the charity in the four dioceses in June.

Lawyers for the state said no child will lose his or her caseworker or supervisor if the state transfers Catholic Charities clients to other agencies, a point disputed by Catholic Charities [this is either a statement of absolute ignorance or a blatant lie, and this wouldn't be the first time the State has lied to us about the Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Unions Act.  If the contracts with Catholic Charities are ended - as the State intends and shows of sign of doing - in what way could the 2,000 children placed with Catholic Charities possibly keep their caseworkers?!  The only way this is possible is if other agencies hired Catholic Charities' caseworkers.  But if this wouldn't ensure that the children could keep their caseworkers because a caseworker would be forced to violate his or her conscience.  That statement from the lawyers for the State is ludicrous].

“That claim is almost impossible,” said Peter Breen, executive director and legal counsel for the Thomas More Society, which represents Catholic Charities. “Basically, they would have to recreate Catholic Charities without the Catholic.”

Breen called for the state not to begin transferring adoption and foster care cases to other agencies until appeals are completed.

The state could perfectly well allow this process to conclude,” Breen said [but they won't.  The State is seeking to complete eject the Church from the public square.  Once the Church is forced out of foster care and adoptions, legislators will push to make the Church's teaching about homosexuality a hate crime, mark my words; we've seen it happen elsewhere, and in this same fashion and order].

Apart from the children, Catholic Charities will lose 50 percent or more of its revenue if the state succeeds in canceling its contract with the group. The agency also will have to pay out accrued vacation and face other expenses if it has to lay off employees.

In the Springfield diocese, about half of Catholic Charities’ 190 employees are associated with adoption services and foster care, said Steven Roach, the group’s executive director. But Roach called it premature to discuss when layoff notices will be sent out.

“The real damage is when you separate the kids from their caseworker,” Roach said. “It will happen.”

Officials with DCFS could not be reached for comment Monday, but a spokesman said a week ago that it is more important that the transitions be done correctly than immediately [I'll believe that when I see it].

Harvey Grossman, legal director for the American Civil Liberties of Union, said the ACLU agrees with Schmidt’s decision. Studies show gay and lesbian couples do as well as parents as opposite-sex couples, he said [and there are studies to prove the contrary].

“They (Catholic Charities) do not have the right to impose religious values on those who are wards of the state,” he said [but apparently the ACLU and DCFS does have the right to impose anti-religious values on those who are wards of the State.  I've grown very tired of the liberal double standard].

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