Home
In this issue
April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 21, 2006 / 21 Adar, 5766

Freeing religious freedom

By Kathryn Lopez


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Massachusetts became the battleground earlier this month for a principle that's as old as Massachusetts itself: religious freedom.


On March 10, Catholic Charities in Boston announced that it would stop all of its adoption-placement work. The reason? They don't want to be in the gay-adoption business, but the government tells them they must be.


According to Catholic Charities, their adoption programs have placed 720 children in permanent homes over the course of the past two decades. Of those, 13 children were placed with same-sex families.


Not everyone — even on the Catholic Charities' board — agreed with the adoption-pullout announcement. But for the church in Boston, which has been hurting badly in the moral-authority department since a wave of scandals hit it in 2001, not brokering adoptions involving same-sex couples makes a good deal of sense. It's consistent with a church that's first priority should be getting back to basics — to practice what it preaches and to actually teach what it believes. Whether leaders run with the opportunity is an open question.


But the issue in the Bay State is much more basic than what the Catholic Church teaches, and is of broad-church concern. When it comes to the politics, it's not even as controversial as the "gay adoption" headlines imply. Because the political issue isn't about adoption. (In fact, if Catholic Charities no longer places any children with any gay couples, but more than 50 other state-registered adoption agencies will.) It's bigger than that. It's about religious freedom. It's about the basic conscience rights English settlers arrived at Plymouth Rock in the 17th century in search of.


Mitt Romney, the Mormon governor of Massachusetts, gets that. Here's a case in Massachusetts of the "state interfering with the free practice of religion," as he's put it.


In response to the Catholic Charities blockbuster announcement, a governor's office press release explained that the governor would be issuing legislation to "authorize religious organizations to provide adoption services consistent with their beliefs by creating an exemption from the state's nondiscrimination laws."


Within days, Romney did just that, filing "An Act Protecting Religious Freedom." In a letter to legislators, the governor wrote, "It is a matter beyond dispute, and a prerequisite to the preservation of liberty, that government not dictate to religious institutions the moral principles by which they are to carry out their charitable and divine mission."


As the governor's luck would have it, this happens to be an issue we need national leadership on. As other states tackle similar conscience issues — the mayor of San Francisco is currently at odds with the bishop there over gay adoption, too; the availability of abortion and contraception services at religious hospitals is a contentious issue that is neither new nor going away — the religious-freedom principles at stake in the Massachusetts example go far beyond the Bay State.


It is not just about Catholic Charities in Boston. Matthew Spalding, director of the B. Kenneth Simon Center for American Studies at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. warns: "If religious institutions are forced by the new regime of laws to withdraw from the adoption business in order to preserve and protect their liberty and religious faith, what about marriage itself? What about the tax-exempt status, or free-speech protections, of religious institutions that advance teachings contrary to the new regime? I think we have entered a new phase of the battle, in which the larger implications of the heretofore abstract debate about marriage are becoming disturbingly clear."


That clear message has a lot of noise to compete with, however. Romney's bill, which is unlikely to go anywhere in the legislature, has been received by some media and gay activists as a "gay attack." But Romney shouldn't take that too personally. The Catholic Charities move to opt out of gay adoptions was greeted with a condemnation of its "ugly political agenda," too. (Perhaps there's a 2008 Catholic-Mormon conspiracy at work? Oliver Stone, call your office.)


The Massachusetts freedom fight provides a few opportunities: for Catholic Church leaders to shepherd; for a presidential aspirant to show more of what he's made of; and for a country where "tolerance" and "diversity" are not only overused buzzwords, but something of a civic gospel, it's an opportunity to define what tolerance means. For all of the above, old standbys should not give away to new moralisms.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment by clicking here.

Archives

© 2006, Newspaper Enterprise Assn.

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles