Catholics, adoption, intolerance, and non-acceptance

A friend recently made a post on Facebook where I felt she did not distinguish between intolerance and non-acceptance. I’ve written about the issue before, so I naturally responded. I think it’s more than a mere semantics issue: If we conflate intolerance with non-acceptance, we bring everything into a false equivalence, often causing us to overlook actual issues of intolerance. Let’s take the issue of Catholic adoption agencies in Illinois:

Roman Catholic bishops in Illinois have shuttered most of the Catholic Charities affiliates in the state rather than comply with a new requirement that says they must consider same-sex couples as potential foster-care and adoptive parents if they want to receive state money.

This is blatant intolerance. Rather than continue placing orphaned children into loving homes, these Catholics are actively seeking to impede the rights of others by way of shutting everything down. If they weren’t legally bound, there is no doubt they simply wouldn’t allow gay adoptions at all – ya know, since that’s the sort of intolerance they had been practicing for decades.

As if this wasn’t bad enough, look at the gall of these people:

“In the name of tolerance, we’re not being tolerated,” said Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki of the Diocese of Springfield, Ill., a civil and canon lawyer who helped drive the church’s losing battle to retain its state contracts for foster care and adoption services.

I suppose the Bishop is technically right. No one is willing to tolerate his bigotry, so that is itself a form of intolerance. Of course, this is nothing more than a caveat: Intolerance is unacceptable except where it has a compelling reason. I think that much is implied, assumed, and understood. The Bishop is trying to exploit an unspoken yet implicit issue in order to gain pity for discriminating Catholics. It’s pathetic.

It should be obvious to any thinking person that this really isn’t a matter of mere semantics. If we’re going to allow people to run around, without challenge, claiming they are facing intolerance, as if connotations and implied meaning have no place in language, then real issues of intolerance – such as gays not being allowed to adopt – will have far less impact in the public mind when they are identified and pointed out: the dilution of language is always the dilution of meaning.

via Friendly Atheist.

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6 Responses

  1. My only thought here Michael is that I have a feeling if they were trying to open agencies, this would be a post about how religious organizations have no place placing children.

  2. If they can’t follow the rules, then of course they don’t. But if they are able to keep their bigotry under wraps, then I don’t see why not.

  3. I agree that if they can’t follow the rules than they have no place doing it. It seems that they agree with you and I on that matter. They disagree and so will stop. Don’t pretend anyone is really hurt by this though.

  4. I’m so often dumbfounded by your utter ignorance. No one is hurt by anything and everything is the same. No organization, philosophy, religion, or way of thinking has ever changed anything and we shouldn’t care about a single thing that happens in society. Wee!

    Gays are hurt by the intolerance of Catholics. As a Catholic, you ought to be ashamed. Of course, you won’t be, and if you ever get the chance, you’ll vote to discriminate against gays, just as your religion tells, and has influenced, you to do.

  5. My ignorance huh? That’s interesting. Explain this hurt being perpetrated here, because I don’t see it.

    Ones personal feelings do not hurt anyone else, if that isn’t actually so, than I am being hurt by your intolerance and/or non-acceptance of my religious practices.

    Fortunately, as I am not hurt by that, nor by the united negro college fund discriminating against me based on my skin color, I’m not buying what you are selling. Good thing people feelings are not protected by the law.

    If anything gays aren’t likely hurt by this very much when compared to straight people, who I am quite sure make up the overwhelming majority of adopting parents. Even so, that’s crap because the state will award the contracts to another group.

  6. Catholics are doing everything within their power to ensure that gays do not adopt children. That hurts everyone involved except for the men in the dog collars.

    If you think I’m intolerant of your stupid religious beliefs, then you haven’t been paying attention.

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