JOLIET, January 27, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In a hard-hitting statement Illinois Bishop Daniel Conlon has decried his state’s refusal to provide funding to Catholic adoption agencies over their refusal to adopt children to homosexuals, and defended the Church against charges of discrimination.

“Are a bigot? If you are a believing Catholic, chances are many people will consider you a bigot,” the bishop wrote. “To believe, as Catholics do, that homosexual acts are disordered, as well as immoral, is considered a form of prejudice against people with same-sex attractions.”

The state stripped funding from Catholic adoption agencies this past summer after the legislature passed a same-sex civil unions bill. Though the bill’s promoters had actively campaigned to dispel the “myth” that it would affect faith-based adoption agencies, after it passed the state immediately moved to end its contracts with Christian adoption agencies that refused to offer same-sex adoptions.

Conlon, who is the Bishop of the Diocese of Joliet, announced in November in a joint statement with Bishop Edward Braxton of Belleville and Bishop John Paprocki of Springfield, that they would no longer be pursuing litigation against the state to force continued funding of Catholic adoption agencies.

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The November statement, re-printed in this month’s magazine, said that the decision to drop the litigation “was necessitated by the fact that the State of Illinois has made it financially impossible for our agencies to continue to provide these services and the courts have refused to grant a stay for these operations to continue while further appeals are pending.”

Most Catholic Charity affiliates in the state will be closing their doors, although the child welfare agency in the Diocese of Belleville, now called Christian Social Services of South Illinois, has broken with the Church and says it will comply with the law.

“For years, the Department of Children and Family Services had contracted with Catholic Charities to assist with funding for adoption and foster services,” Conlon wrote in his commentary. “Then, one day the Catholic Church became a discriminatory organization, and its ability to function as a religious institution was curtailed.”

“How does this happen?” he asked. “In my view, the United States, and the Western world in general, has thrown overboard its traditional moral values that are based on the Judeo-Christian code.”

The bishop condemned the new value which he said has replaced the old code, namely, “the will of the individual.”

He noted that laws which upheld the traditional structure of marriage and family life were predicated on an understanding that “marriage was good for society.” In contrast, marriage is now seen as “just a matter between two people.”

Because of this, he said, Church teaching is now seen as “discriminatory,” and the ironic result is a trampling of rights – namely, the freedom of religion guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.

“Now we have the state excluding churches and religious organizations from participation in government-funded programs because their beliefs are suddenly ‘discriminatory.’ Next, we will have the state requiring churches and religious organizations to incorporate government regulations that violate their teachings,” he said.

The bishop concluded: “We Catholics are not bigots because of our beliefs. We are loyal Americans who, for 200 years, have stood up for the poor and the oppressed within our nation.”