Speaking of homosexual activists hostile to the Catholic Church, the San Franscisco Board of Supervisors recently passed a resolution condemning the Catholic Church for her defense of marriage, according to Dr. Jeff Mirus at Catholic Culture. (This is a little bit of a rehash from a post I did last December, but it’s making the rounds of blogs again, so I thought a reminder would be good.)
This resolution was triggered by a reaffirmation of Catholic teaching on this matter by William Cardinal Levada, the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the former Archbishop of San Francisco. It is worth noting that, a week later, the Board of Supervisors also voted unanimously to condemn 25,000 Evangelical teens who gathered to express their opposition to homosexual conduct.
The board called on the local Catholic Charities and the archdiocese to defy Church teaching and guidance from Rome and to continue placing adoptive children with homosexual couples. Unfortunately, they have a receptive audience in Catholic Charities executive director Brian Cahill who has a gay son who adopted a child and who has praised gay families. Cahill worked to undermine the Vatican’s clear instruction on cooperating in gay adoptions by surreptitiously working with a gay-friendly adoption agency.
Back to the Board’s resolution: In 2006, the Thomas More Law Center filed a lawsuit against the city, saying that the resolution unconstitutionally infringes on freedom of religion. The board called Catholic belief “hateful and discriminatory rhetoric [that] is both insulting and callous, and shows a level of insensitivity and ignorance which has seldom been encountered by this Board of Supervisors,” and said “It is an insult to all San Franciscans when a foreign country, like the Vatican, meddles with and attempts to negatively influence this great city’s existing and established customs and traditions, such as the right of same-sex couples to adopt and care for children in need.”
Is it any surprise, however, that a Carter appointee and former counsel for the National Organization for Women, Judge Marily Hall Patel, ruled such “hate speech” constitutional?
Unfortunately, Patel lost no time in revealing her own anti-Catholic bias, claiming that the Board of Supervisors had acted “responsibly” in responding to all of the “terrible” things the Church was saying. Patel ruled that “the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith provoked this debate, indeed may have invited entanglement, by its statement. This court does not find that our case law requires political bodies to remain silent in the face of this provocation.” The provocation, of course, was Cardinal Levada’s directive to Catholic agencies to follow Catholic teaching.
In response to arguments that the Constitution restricts government in this way because government has the power to coerce behavior, Judge Patel shot back: “You saying the power to condemn someone to Hell isn’t more important to some people than being condemned by the state to have to pay a fine or go to jail?” This statement, astonishing on its face, is even more astonishing coming from a judge who should know the difference between religious persuasion and state coercion.
The Thomas More Law Center has filed an appeal with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. We shouldn’t expect relief from that notoriously liberal court and we may have to wait for the US Supreme Court to ensure that the law and the Constitution are applied fairly and evenly.