Written by Sherry
Wednesday, 23 January 2008 10:51
Archbishop Chaput is not pulling his punches: (via Catholic News Service)
If proposed Colorado House Bill 1080(HB 1080) passes: lt “limits the applicability of the exception from compliance with employment nondiscrimination laws for religious corporations, associations, educational institutions, or societies when employing persons to provide services that are funded with government funds.”
The bill itself is short, taking up only twenty three lines. It amends the present blanket religious exemption by requiring every religious corporation, association, educational institution, or society that “accepts government funds to provide services” to comply with anti-discrimination laws. As listed in the Colorado Revised Statutes, characteristics protected by the anti-discrimination regulations include “disability, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, religion, age, national origin, or ancestry.”
Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Denver, criticized HB 1080 in a January 23rd column titled “How to write a really bad bill.” He said the proposed law would attack the religious identity of non-profits and compromise Catholic organizations that co-operate with government agencies in providing necessary social services.
Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Denver, the archbishop notes, is the largest non-governmental human services provider in the Rocky Mountain West.
HB 1080, the archbishop believes, would hinder Catholic non-profits from hiring or firing employees based on the religious beliefs of the Catholic Church. Though recognizing that many non-Catholics work at Catholic Charities, Archbishop Chaput said the bill would remove the ability of the non-profit to maintain a Catholic leadership.
“…the key leadership positions in Catholic Charities obviously do require a practicing and faithful Catholic, and for very good reasons. Catholic Charities is exactly what the name implies: a service to the public offered by the Catholic community as part of the religious mission of the Catholic Church,” the archbishop wrote.
The need to preserve Catholic Charities’ Christian identity was so important that the archbishop warned that the non-profit’s cooperation with the government would cease if regulations impeded its Catholic mission. Speaking of Catholic Charities, he wrote, “When it can no longer have the freedom it needs to be ‘Catholic,’ it will end its services. This is not idle talk. I am very serious.”