Virtual Voices

San Francisco declares Catholic doctrine wrong

Religion

In 2006, Catholic adoption agencies in San Francisco were directed not to turn over adoptive children to homosexual couples, based on the Church's moral teachings. In retaliation, the city government-in the form of the Board of Supervisors-issued a resolution condemning Catholicism as "insulting" and "hateful." The resolution called the Church's directive "discriminatory and defamatory" and attacked the former archbishop of San Francisco who had issued it. The resolution also accused the Vatican of "meddling" by a foreign country.

The Thomas More Law Center and the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights filed a lawsuit against the city on the grounds that the resolution violated the Establishment Clause of the Constitution. A federal judge dismissed their case, saying that the Vatican had provoked the debate. They appealed.

Last Friday, according to LifeSiteNews.com, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals allowed the resolution to stand. The majority opinion stated that the city's Supervisors "have the right to speak out in their official capacities on matters of secular concern to their constituents, even if their statements might offend the religious feelings of some of their constituents."

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Justices writing the minority opinion had this to say: "For the government to resolve officially that 'Catholic doctrine is wrong,' is as plainly violative of the Establishment Clause as for the government to resolve that 'Catholic doctrine is right.'"

The idea of government-in the form of a city, town, or state-declaring that a Church's teachings are wrong is pretty frightening. To say that it sounds like a slippery slope is an understatement.

The Thomas More Law Center says it will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Marcia Segelstein
Marcia Segelstein

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