Archive - Jun 6, 2011

Government May Suck, But So Do You

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Memo to purveyors of the faith-based shell game: YOU ARE DUMB.

Time for another dispatch from Sane World, that distant plane where logic and reason actually hold sway. For example, on Sane World, Sarah Palin would not actually be able to get away with claiming that her version of the history of Paul Revere - that he rang his bells to warn the British that they couldn't take away America's right to bear arms - WASN'T A MISTAKE.

Because on Sane World, there are people who would know that it is a mistake, and would say so. OK, technically that's slightly incorrect, because in Sane World, nobody would be asking the part-time waitress at the Alaska Dairy Queen what she thinks about Paul Revere in the first place. But you get my drift.

In Sane World, conservatives would still claim that we can slash the government's social safety net without actually hurting poor people, because the poor have always been helped by charities. Especially faith-based charities. The same faith-based charities that, here in Crazy World, got a front row seat in the Bush administration, as part of an office that the Obama administration continues to this day.

Now, in Sane World, all you would need is a large, well-documented example of a case in which a faith-based charity decided that the bigotry mandated by their deity in one book totally and utterly supersedes the helping of the less fortunate mandated by their deity's son in the next book, and everyone in Sane World would realize that while the government's way of helping people might be bureaucratic, convoluted, and inefficient, at least they're generally not pricks about it.

Here in Crazy World, on the other hand, a branch of a pedophilia-enabling bunch of ritualized cannibals can decide to cut off services to everyone in three Illinois cities because the state's new civil unions law would mean letting gay couples adopt or take in foster children, and a startlingly small number of people in the public and private spheres are suggesting that maybe relying on faith-based organizations to provide necessary social services is an awful fucking idea.

This came up a year and a half ago, if you recall, when the District of Columbia passed its domestic partnership law. The situation now is the same as the situation then, except the DC threat's been carried out, and on a statewide scale.

Catholic Charities in Rockford, Joliet, and Peoria have stopped accepting applications from adoptive parents or potential foster homes because they didn't get an exception that would let them continue providing services to straight, married couples or single individuals only. In other words, they made their priorities perfectly clear: let us help only the people we approve of, or we won't help anybody at all.

They say the new law puts them in a position of violating their teachings. Which isn't really true. What it does is force them to confront the fact that two of their teachings are incompatible with each other. They decided that hating gay people took preference over helping children. That's their prerogative. But they weren't forced into making that decision. They could have just as easily decided that helping the tiny number of gay Catholics that would have dared seek out their services was a sacrifice they could make in order to continue helping people.

The law forced them to choose between hating and helping, but the law didn't make them choose hating. They chose it freely, because when push comes to shove, hate's where their heart is.

And knowing that, in Sane World, no government would ever rely on Catholic Charities, or any other faith-based organization, to provide necessary services. Allow them to? Sure. No reason to stop them. But governments can't be referring people to them, or hoping they'll take up the slack and cut their budgets, because you never know when some perceived threat to their doctrine will make them shoot the hostage and walk away.

In a sane world, they cannot be trusted to hold up their end of the safety net. But here in Crazy World, we hand sociopathic bigots the ropes and cross our fingers, because the alternative would mean taking a little extra money away from rich people.