Catholic Charity Rejects Gov’t Funding to Maintain Religious Liberty
TULSA, OKLAHOMA, January 4, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A Catholic charitable organization has rejected government funding so it can uphold traditional Christian teachings and serve the poor with less bureaucratic red tape.
Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Tulsa has chosen to rely strictly upon the donations of private individuals and institutions.
That stands in stark contrast to most of the benevolent institution’s other affiliates. Catholic Charities around the country received $1 billion from the government, approximately two-thirds of their funding.
This had led to a series of increasingly volatile clashes with political authorities. This summer, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) revoked its contract with Catholic Charities after the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act became law. Gov. Pat Quinn, who is Roman Catholic, defended the action, saying the charity had “made a choice…We’re not going back.” In October, the state forcibly transferred more than 1,000 children from the charity’s custody to secular agencies on an accelerated timeline.
The Diocese of Rockford, Illinois, chose to end its adoption program in May rather than participate in homosexual adoptions.
“We represent Catholic people, not the government, in our funding,” said Deacon Kevin Sartorius, executive director of the Tulsa charity. “This allows us to represent the values of our donors.”
He said, “Our mission is to give someone Christ, and we give them Christ through the food or the clothing. We don’t beat them over the head with the Bible; we just love them.”
Some critics believe only foregoing government funds altogether will prevent the state from coercing religious organizations to violate their faith. “What Catholic Charities of Tulsa is doing is showing the way forward for Catholics and other Christians who want to be faithful to the ancient Church’s age-old moral teachings, and who want to assist those in need without compromising the truth of the Gospel,” wrote Dr. Samuel Gregg, research director at the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty, in a statement e-mailed to LifeSiteNews.com.
Fr. Robert Sirico, the president of Acton, agrees. “I think we need to separate the giving from the mechanism of the state,” he said. “There’s the threat that he who drinks the king’s wine sings the king’s song.” Deacon Sartorius shares that concern. “It’s natural to want to please the one who is providing the money for your program,” he said.
Dn. Sartorius said with the new financing plan, “We’re in solidarity with the poor. We both have to figure out how to get by.”
Dr. Gregg predicted other religious charities will soon rely exclusively on private donors. “It won’t be long before other Catholic charitable work throughout the United States and abroad will head down the same path - either because more Catholics will see the good sense embodied by the Tulsa example, or because they will be forced to by governments seeking to impose the agenda of secularist relativism upon Catholic and other Christian organizations.”
California Congressman Pete Stark has introduced the “Every Child Deserves a Family Act” - which bars adoption agencies from considering an applicant’s “sexual orientation, gender identification, or marital status” - twice since 2009. That could make clashes like those in Illinois a nationwide phenomenon.
The process is already underway in Europe. Ten of the 11 Catholic adoption agencies in the United Kingdom have either shut down or severed their ties to the Church after the Labour Party mandated homosexual adoption in 2007. Catholic Care filed its fourth appeal in September.
LifeSiteNews.com attempted to contact Catholic Charities of Tulsa, but the call was not returned.