Sunday, June 7, 2009

San Francisco Versus the Church

Since the mid 1990s, there has been a state of war between the government of the city of San Francisco and the Catholic Church. The city and archdiocese had grown up together, in reasonable harmony, and this state of war was a new thing. What had changed? Simply this: by the mid 1990s, homosexual activists had taken power in the city. As the homosexual activists grow more powerful the war grows hotter.

If you attempt to promote Church’s teaching on homosexuality in San Francisco you face an implacable enemy. This is not only true in San Francisco. We've seen the same thing in Connecticut, where Bill #1098, authored by two homosexual activist legislators, attempted essentially to facilitate a takeover of the Church in Connecticut by forcing a restructuring of Church governanace.

In San Francisco, there were two important event this past week. First, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the lawsuit brought by two San Francisco Catholics against the city and county of San Francisco. The suit was provoked by the City’s Resolution #168-06, which called the Catholic Church “hateful” and “discriminatory". Resolution 168-06 was provoked by Vatican insistence that children being placed for adoption by Catholic adoption agencies should not be placed in same-sex households--that to do so would be to deliberately deny such children of their fundamental right to be raised by a mother and father. This rather commonsensical insistence was, in turn, provoked by the actions of at least two branches of Catholic Charities (Boston and San Francisco), which had already placed children in such households. More on this below.

The second event was the ongoing attempt by the city to levy somewhere between $3 million and $15 million dollars of new taxes on the Archdiocese. The city is attempting to justify this on the basis of an Archdiocesan restructuring of assets. Other non-profit organizations are watching this closely.

The San Francisco Chronicle first reported this on January 14, 2009:

“San Francisco will try to collect up to $15 million in taxes from the Archdiocese of San Francisco, which is refusing to pay certain taxes on properties the church is transferring from one Catholic nonprofit organization to another.

‘The city has applied the law in an uneven fashion (e.g. We are aware of non-Archdiocesan, non-Catholic charities which have transferred property to other charities and no transfer tax has been levied),’ wrote Jack Hammel, legal counsel for the archdiocese, in an e-mail to the assessor's office.

San Francisco Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting said the tax is fair and equitable. He said his office spent months investigating the archdiocese's case and considering all of the reasons the church might be exempt from the tax.”

We thought then, and we think now, that this action by the city was in response to the Church’s support of Proposition 8. (We also contend that the actions of the Connecticut legislators was in direct response to the Connecticut Diocese’s opposition to same-sex “marriage” in that state). As we mentioned at the time, Assessor Ting had made news in 2008 for officiating at same-sex “weddings.” The Sing Tao Daily reported:

‘Phil Ting spoke after the ceremony and said that he is very glad to marry gay and lesbian couples and very happy to see the day that the California government will allow their gay and lesbian couples the freedom to marry.’

Yesterday, June 6, 2009, the Chronicle had a follow-up story:

“Both sides agree that the year-long battle, which will come to a head at a June 16 appeals hearing, isn't only about the millions of dollars at stake for the local Catholic Church and city coffers. It could also have wide-ranging implications for hundreds of other nonprofit groups…”

“A city appeals board - made up of the city controller, treasurer and head of the real estate division - will hold the hearing on June 16 to determine whether the church owes the taxes. If his office is successful, Ting estimates the archdiocese could owe between $3 million and $15 million in taxes.”

The Chronicle tells us the review will be heard by “A city appeals board - made up of the city controller, treasurer and head of the real estate division …”

And who are they? The city controller is Mr. Ben Rosenfield. So far, so good. But the treasurer is Mr. Jose Cisneros. Mr. Cisneros sits on the Board of Directors of Equality California, the group whose mission is to shove same-sex "marriage" down the throats of Californians. (Assessor Phil Ting also sits on the board.) Here’s Mr. Cisneros (center), protesting the passage of Proposition 8. The man to his right is San Francisco Supervisor Bevan Dufty.

(Photo courtesy Steve Rhodes and Flickr.)

The head of the real estate division is Ms. Amy L. Brown. Here she is, coaching other city employees on how to perform same-sex “marriages.”

(Photo courtesy Brant Ward, San Francisco Chronicle)

Ms. Brown was also a donor to “No on 8-Equality California” the PAC of Equality California.

That’s the same “Equality California” on whose board city treasurer Jose Cisnero and city Assessor Phil Ting sit.

With Cisneros and Brown as two of the three members of the review board, will the Church get a fair hearing? We doubt it. Look for this to end up in court, where public attorneys--paid in part by the tax dollars of Catholics--will try to hamstring the Church.

That’s one story. The other was the dismissal by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals of the lawsuit against the city by San Francisco Catholics over Resolution 168-06.

It is important to recognize that the genesis of that lawsuit was not the action by the city but the action by Catholic Charities CYO of San Francisco.

As we said above, the lawsuit was in response to the resolution by the city, which was in response to a statement from the Vatican, which was in response to actions by Catholic Charities. The entire series of events was set in motion by Catholic Charities’ defiance of the teachings of the our Church. It is also important to recognize that throughout that conflict Catholic Charities was on the side of the city, not the Church.

While it is bad that the city government is now an enemy of our Church, it is far worse that elements within Catholic Charities, using the name “Catholic,” actively work to undermine Church teaching. Despite its name, the fact is that Catholic Charities is more an arm of the city than it is of the Church. In 2007-2008 Catholic Charities CYO received over 68% of its entire operating revenue ($21,471, 994 of $31,072,409) in the form of government contracts.

One of those sponsoring Resolution 168-06 was the openly homosexual Supervisor Bevan Dufty. Reader of “A Shepherd’s Voice” will remember that, following the resolution, Catholic Charities tried to finesse Church teaching, by outsourcing their adoptions service to “Family Builders by Adoption” who call themselves “the gayest (adoption) agency in the country.” The “consultant” for this partnership was the same Supervisor Bevan Dufty who not only voted for but was a sponsor of Resolution 168-06--the same Supervisor Bevan Dufty who is pictured above with city treasurer Jose Cisneros, who will rule on the Church’s tax appeal next week.

As has been amply demonstrated, the partnership obligated Catholic Charities to “increase the number of children placed in “LGBT” households. And Catholic Charities was well aware of this when they signed on.

Thankfully the contract between Catholic Charities and Family Builders by Adoption ends this month, and it will not be renewed. That is strictly due to the outrage expressed by Catholics faithful to our Church’s teaching. Catholic Charities claimed that the partnership was only intended to be short term, but that claim does not stand up to scrutiny. And the departure of the former Executive Director, Mr. Brian Cahill, gives reason for hope. But the problem predated Mr. Cahill, and the relationship between Catholic Charities and the same people who called the our Church “hateful” continues to this day—as it must, since those are the same people from whom Catholic Charities receives the vast majority of its operating revenue.

This Thursday, June 11, Catholic Charities will host its annual “Red House” fundraiser to benefit those suffering from AIDS. Look at the Honorary Committee. It includes Mayor Gavin Newsom, Supervisor Bevan Dufty, and transvestite male entertainer “Donna Sachet,” who is also a board member of Equality California. Below is "Sachet" (in red) with the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence (Photo courtesy Malcom and Cook's Boulevard)

Why are people like that still being honored by Catholic Charities? Given this, is it right for Catholic Charities to still be one of the very few organizations for which there is a mandated second collection in every church in the Archdiocese?

As long as the Church teaches that it is better for a child to be brought up by a mother and a father than by a homosexual couple, and as long as the church teaches that marriage can only exist between one man and one woman, and as long as there are homosexual activists running the government of San Francisco, this enmity will continue.

Since our Church cannot change its teaching on this issue, the activists--in conjunction with likeminded persons both inside and outside the Church--will try to intimidate the Church from without and undermine it from within. The Thomas More Law Center will appeal the Ninth Circuit’s verdict--but the more dangerous issue, the undermining of Church teaching from within, can only be addressed by the Archdiocese.

More on Tuesday.

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am not Catholic, but neither am I for same-sex marriage. Yet, I find you article slanderous pretending to know the Assessor's motives. From all appearances he is simply doing his job. If you recognize sodomy as a sin then surely you also recognize bearing false witness as a sin. If you do not know the exact truth regarding Mr. Ting's actions then you are bearing false witness against him. It's a very poor defense that you present to say the least.