Catholics, Evangelicals Pledge to Ignore Gay Rights and Abortion Laws


Religious leaders signed a pledge Friday announcing that they won’t
abide by laws that support gay marriage or abortion. Denver Archbishop
Charles Chaput and Focus on the Family’s Founder James Dobson and
President Jim Daly joined 125 other conservative religious leaders from
Colorado in signing the so-called Manhattan Declaration. The declaration comes amid the contentious national health care debate that has featured Catholic Bishops prominently
and in the wake of hate crimes legislation passed earlier this fall
that drew staunch opposition from evangelical leaders, who argued it
might prevent them from preaching against gays. The signatories of the Declaration (pdf) vow to ignore any laws that contradict their worldview.

 

chaput

[L]et it be known that we will not comply with any edict that
compels us or the institutions we lead to participate in or facilitate
abortions, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide, euthanasia,
or any other act that violates the principle of the profound, inherent,
and equal dignity of every member of the human family.

Further, let it be known that we will not bend to any rule forcing
us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriages or the
equivalent, or refrain from proclaiming the truth, as we know it, about
morality, marriage, and the family.

Further, let it be known that we will not be intimidated into
silence or acquiescence or the violation of our consciences by any
power on earth, be it cultural or political, regardless of the
consequences to ourselves.

The list of Colorado signatories also included Fr. Joseph D Fessio,
founder and editor of Ignatius Press; Rev. Michael J Sheridan, Bishop
of the Archdiocese of Colorado Springs; and John Stonestreet, executive
director of Summit Ministries at Manitou Springs.

Andy Birkey at the Colorado Independent’s sister site in Minnesota reports that the Human Rights Campaign
immediately responded to the Declaration, pointing out that gay-rights
groups have gone to great pains to make laws that protect both gay,
bisexual and transgender people, as well as people of faith.

“This declaration simply perpetuates the fallacy that equality and
religious liberty are incompatible and that every step toward fairness
for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community is another
burden on religious people. In reality, non-discrimination laws are
working all over this country, where religious freedom is existing
side-by-side with equal opportunity,” Harry Knox, director of the Human
Rights Campaign’s Religion and Faith Program, said in a statement.
“Advocates of LGBT equality have taken great pains in their legislative
efforts to ensure that the rights of religious organizations and people
under the First Amendment are protected. It is deeply cynical for the
authors of this document to paint themselves as victims because they
cannot have a free hand to discriminate, including with taxpayer
dollars.”

Like this story? Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

To schedule an interview with contact director of communications Rachel Perrone at rachel@rhrealitycheck.org.

  • progo35

    I disagree-in MA, Catholic Charities was forced out of the adoption business by the state because it’s new director decided that facilitating adoptions with gay couples was a violation of the organization’s Biblical ethics. So, there have been clashes of religious liberty and LGBT advocacy.

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • jodi-jacobson

    Catholic Charities could not use state funding and deny services to gay couples.

     

    I do not see where this is a violation of their principles.  If they want to discriminate, they should do so on their own dime.  Isn’t that in keeping with your philosophy on women’s rights to access essential reproductive health services?  And it also is clear separation of church and state.

     

    Let’s not confuse the issues.  It is one thing for churches or other religious bodies to practice their own religious beliefs.  It is another thing to be getting and using federal funding –and have the fungibility issue–to discriminate.  

     

    Jodi

  • prochoiceferret

    Last time I checked, discriminating against LGBT persons/couples as adoptive parents is not a protected religious liberty in this country.

  • progo35

    Jodi and Ferrett-
    You can parse it any way you want to suit your own agenda, but the fact is that the first amendment is supposed to preclude state imposed penalty based on religious conviction. When the state barred CC from completing any more adoptions, it penalized them for their religious beliefs.

    Moreover, adoption is NOT a right like the equal access to the rights conferred by marriage/domestic partnership is a right. Adoption is about the rights of the child, the child’s biological parents, and the child’s adoptive parents after they are chosen. There is no “right” to be chosen as an adoptive couple or person for a child. Nobody has the “right” to adopt a child.

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • progo35

    Moreover, any way you slice it, the CC situation DOES present a conflict between religious liberty (ie, the right to apply religious convictions to all aspects of one’s life, including how one chooses to run a charity or business), and the right to unconditional LGBT equality in the adoption process. Except, I don’t think that it was really about LGBT rights in the adoption process because plenty of adoption agencies work with gay couples-in this case LBGT activists targeted CC to make a point.

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • progo35

    Thirdly, there must be SOME collaboration between the state and the charity whenever adoption is concerned, because the state has to give the charity the authority to carry out the adoptions. CC was under threat of losing that authority, not just their funding.

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • mark2

    Does the state bar me from running an orphanage when it tells me I can’t use children as laborers in asbestos mines for less than minimum wage?

     

    The Catholic Church made a choice to not perform these services.  Nobody forced their hand and nobody targetted them specifically.  If they don’t want to follow the neutral application of generally applicable laws, they are free to not provide these services.  But they should not pretend this is anything but a choice that they made.  As between attacking LGBT individuals and helping the needy, the Church is pretty unequivocal in the decisions they’ve made (and are threatening to make here in DC).

  • progo35

    Hmmm….facilitating traditional adoptions with heterosexual couples and expecting gay couples to adopt with an agency that does not have a religious objection to making such adoption placements = facilitating child labor in abestos mines for minimum wage. Your logic is extradordinary, Mark.  

     

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • prochoiceferret

    Except, I don’t think that it was really about LGBT rights in the adoption process because plenty of adoption agencies work with gay couples-in this case LBGT activists targeted CC to make a point.

    Yeah, just like plenty of coffee shops served Black people back in the early 60s—in this case civil-rights activists targeted Woolworth’s to make a point.

     

    You know, arguments in favor of religious liberty aren’t particularly convincing when all that’s at stake is your ability to discriminate against others in providing non-religious services. What’s your next example going to be, some white-supremacist church starting up a fast-food chain that serves only white heterosexual Christians?

  • prochoiceferret

    I certainly don’t want the state to collaborate with an agency that discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation, or other factors that have nothing to do with a prospective parent’s/parents’ ability to care for an adopted child.

  • harry834

    among some, that is a religious belief.

  • harry834

    if we’re going to play strict constructionism

    If you say there is no stated right to adopt a child,

    I say there is no stated right to discriminate against LGBT people as a function of religious liberty.

    And doesn’t isn’t this charity using public funds or doing non-religious services?

  • mark2

    I understand that complicated analogies are not your forte. It’s not clear you have one, by the way.

     

    Being asked to follow a neutral law of general application is not the same as being forced to close.  Child labor laws are neutral laws of general application.  Asbestos regulations are neutral laws of general application.  And in Massachusetts, regulations on same-sex marriages are neutral laws of general application.  None of these burden relgious expression or lack a rational basis. I’ll try to use fewer syllables next time if it helps.

     

  • progo35

    As far as I am concerned, Mark, your analogy was totally screwed, and you can go and screw yourself. Harry-As far as racial analogies go, there is nothing in the Bible that says that it is not okay to be of a different race. Many religious African Americans find the comparison extremely offensive, BTW. People can SAY that discriminating against black people is part of their "religion" but that doesn’t make it true. 

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • harry834

    if you think the Bible is the beginning and end of religious diversity in the human citizenry. It’s not.

  • progo35

    All right, for that matter, I don’t know of any passages in the Koran, Talmud, Bhadgavidgita (sorry for the spelling), the Book of Mormon, the Wiccan Reed/Book of Shadows, or the Eightfold Path that says that racial diversity is not okay. And, just so we’re clear, I’m not saying that gay couples don’t have the right to get married or even adopt children from an agency that is okay with that arrangement, I’m just saying that gay couples shouldn’t try to force organizations to participate in adoptions or marriages that conflict with their religious beliefs, and that the state shouldn’t try to force religious entities to do so. 

     

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • harry834

    Isn’t the point of "worshipping as you please" that you can form religious life and lifestyle with or without one of the stated texts. Or a little bit of all. Or a little of some.

    Does religion only deserve protection if it is tied to a book? or CD? etc.

    Also, I’m not sure you know what is in all the books you just mentioned.I don’t either.

    And we still have the issue of them using public funds. One example that the right wing likes to toss out is the NJ boardwalk case, where a civil union ceremony was barred from a church’s boardwalk for stated religious reasons. The reason the church lost in court? Because there was a documented history of them allowing that boardwalk for public usage by couples who ran counter to their own religion.

     

  • crowepps

    I’m just saying that gay couples shouldn’t try to force organizations to participate in adoptions or marriages that conflict with their religious beliefs, and that the state shouldn’t try to force religious entities to do so.

    I’m not aware that the state has made any attempt to force religious entities to do anything. Instead they have included in their requests for proposals a requirement that agencies getting funding must agree to provide services without discriminating and any religious group that can’t or won’t promise same isn’t qualified to participate. There isn’t any constitutional right that I know of to get federal funding when you aren’t qualified to do so, and instead insist on discriminating against some of the taxpayers from whom those funds derived. Declining to pay for something isn’t ‘force’.

  • jodi-jacobson

    Let’s see….

     

    so it would be ok with you if a religious institution receiving state or federal funding to provide essential social services and that believed that "disability" was a state of mind or a figment of people’s imaginations refused to provide said social services to disabled persons?

     

    And it’s ok for children to languish in foster care for untold amounts of time without a stable family life that could be offered them by loving, stable, financially secure people because they are ……gay???  Even in spite of the data that show adoptions by gay parents are no different in quality or childrearing success than heterosexual couples?  So by extension your argument is that the state should fund the Catholic Church to do these things thereby discriminating against both the children and their parents?

     

    Sorry…like I said earlier….the state has NO requirement to fund the doctrinal-based discrimination and stigma of the Catholic Church.  Civil law is meant to be just that—civil law without religious interference to uphold basic things like….basic civil rights.  The kind you enjoy every day.

     

    If the Church wants to discriminate, let it do so on its own dime. 

     

    And the argument is moot since the state found highly appropriate and effective replacements for the services provided by the  Catholic Church, which uncovers another issue here…the financial motivations of the Church and its willingness to go to the lengths of threatening the removal of social services from needy people based on its own doctrinal lunacy.

     

    There are plenty of organizations and groups that can, for example step in and use the $25 million in contracts from the District of Columbia and serve the needs of all people, not just those acceptable to the institutional hierarchy of a specific religion with which the vast majority of its own adherents don’t even agree.

     

    Jodi

  • crowepps

    Charities never have ‘the authority’ to carry out adoptions. All adoptions must be approved by the authority of a court. The agency does the interviewing and coordinating and the paperwork which must be presented to the court for review. The court can stop the adoption if the court doesn’t feel the adoption is not in the best interests of the child.

  • crowepps

    In my personal opinion, as an organization which has been shown to have a long record of institutionally tolerating and covering up extreme and pervasive abuse of child clients, and of protecting the abusers from identification and civil punishment, the Church shouldn’t be allowed to participate in providing social services to vulnerable people or children.

  • paublo

    OK Last week I was on work assignment in Phillipines and Puerto Rico and Havana, yes it is quite a schedule…I have been to a number of Catholic churches in my day having been raised in the cult of cath…Ok it was like whitch craft crazy in the Phillipines the Goat (yes a real live goat)must (walk out) of the sanctuary for the worship to get credit with the palapa…In Havana the Goat must walk (IN) to get the voodoo to work…in the Land of the Lost, Puerto Rico the goat has to stand in front of the Alter the whole time during the mixin of the Catholic Coolaide and after the service there was a fight on the church steps which I heard was common…all I could say was I am a Catholic get me outa here! The flight back to the truely wack land Illinios i was able to share my whole digital pic portfolio with non other than Father Timothy, yes we were in First Class we started the conversation over a glass of champaign I showed him all the different exxxeses and exxxamples of catholic voodoo, strangely father Timothy drank the whole bottle of champaigne, and would’nt stop trying to hold my hand “eeuuww” when the plane landed he ask me to his hotel room…I said “i’m not a hilton guy” he said his limo goes to the Ritz…I was like your so pathetic…the flight attendents apalogized to me…saying He does this every week… God I Hate the Fake Cahtolic Church

  • colleen

    CC was under threat of losing that authority, not just their funding.

     

     

    The Church had a contract with the state to find adoptive homes for hard to place children and, rather than agree to consider gay and lesbian couples as prospective parents, the church chose to get out of the adoption placement business altogether. That contract was their ‘authority’.

    Other, more competent and decent organizations were pleased to have the contracts..Problem solved for everyone but, apparently, a church who wanted to force taxpayers to bankroll their discriminatory practices.

    If Evangelicals and the Catholic church in Colorado consider themselves above the law they need to recognise that the law might not agree with them.

    How far would you go with this Progo? Would you say that 50 year old men on FLDS compounds have a ‘right’ to 9 wives which were all under the age of 14 when they first bedded them because their religion says so?

    If the child of Christian Science parents has appendicitis do her parents  the ‘right’ to deny her a life saving appendectomy?

     

     

     

     

    The only difference between the American anti-abortion movement and the Taliban is about 8,000 miles.

    Dr Warren Hern, MD

  • progo35

    Jodi and Crowepps-neither should you be able to turn your personal gripes against the catholic church into policy. Actually, there are PLENTY of organizations that have screwed up views on disability that get federal funding. First of all, most adoption agencies won’t allow people with discernible handicaps to adopt. Should THEY be closed by the state too? Boston University, which also reciecves federal funds, was sued by a group of students with learning disorders for massive discrimination against them in 1997. And Oregon Medicaid discriminated against end stage cancer patients who needed medicine to extend their lives. Do I want Oregon Medicaid, Boston University, or any adoption agency closed because of that? NO! But, you seem perfectly willing to do that to Catholic Charities. Disgusting.

     

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • jodi-jacobson

    these civil institutions can be sued and made to provide restitution, and also given the chance to change their past practices such that they conform with civil rights and the principal of non-discrimination.

     

    You can not, to my knowledge, sue the Church to change its "dogma" on LGBT rights or other issues. You can refuse to provide federal funding to support their discrimination, which in effect is what suing does for the purpose of these other institutions.

     

    And it is not my personal gripe against the Catholic Church.  It is the basis of our country: separation of church and state.  Kind of a founding principle.

     

    Jodi

  • progo35

    Jodi-I feel that the state’s imposition on Catholic charities in this instance WAS a violation of church and state from the state’s end. And, way to go in not addressing what I wrote about adoption agencies, educational institutions, and Medicaid programs discriminating against handicapped people and whether they should be shut down. I guess that kind of discrimination just isn’t very important to you.

     

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • crowepps

    I don’t have a ‘personal gripe’ with the Catholic church. What I do have is knowledge of a pervasive institutional failure to police its own ranks, a tolerance for abnormal behavior among its professional staff, an unwillingness to protect children from rape and molestation, that makes the institution as a whole untrustworthy to be in charge of the easily victimized. I’m certainly not aware of anything that indicates that Boston University or Oregon Medicaid locked little kids in churches with pedophiles and guarded the door while they were raped, or ignored the wide-spread and repeated physical abuse of orphans while instead protecting their abusers. Until the Church gets over the weird idea that the definition of ‘scandal’ is for the victims to reveal what happened instead of more correctly the outrageous behavior of the perpetrators and those who enabled them to continue, “I just can’t, in good conscience, have my tax dollars be a part of it.” After all, that would mean I would be FUNDING child sexual abuse!

  • progo35

    oh, so it is okay that oregon medicaid causes the deaths of disabled people by denying their medical care and for educational programs to deny eqal acess to handicapped students, as long as none of their employees have raped anyone? You have pretty low standards, crowepps.

     

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • crowepps

    Some of those kids were disabled – like the deaf children sexually abused in Italy or the mentally disabled at Sacred Heart Jesuit Center. There were people who aren’t in your own personal special interest group who also were hurt but if they have to be disabled before you’ll be concerned about them, be assured that such exist. Frankly, if I had to choose between the evils of being ‘denied equal access to educational programs’ and being repeatedly raped and beaten, it would be a pretty easy choice.

     

    Medicare denies medical care on an entirely nondiscriminatory basis – they don’t care who dies so long as they can save money.

  • progo35

    All of your analogies involve hurting children, Coleen. CC was not hurting children via it’s adoption agency, it was helping them. The only people they were "hurting" were gay couiples who had a plethora of other adoption agencies to choose from but had to target that particular organization, which resulted in the state breeching appropriate bounds of church and state and giving them the false choice of violating their religious tenets or closing. It was disgusting. And, I still haven’t heard anyone answer my question about adoption agencies that discriminate against disabled couples that want to adopt. Should adoption agencies that will not place children with parents who use wheelchairs be shut down too? Inquring minds want to know.

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • crowepps

    Should adoption agencies that will not place children with parents who use wheelchairs be shut down too?

    That doesn’t seem like a fair policy to me, since people who are in wheelchairs are certainly capable of taking care of children, but wouldn’t it depend on WHY they’re in the wheelchair? Wouldn’t it depend on exactly what the cause of their disability is, what it encompasses and their prognosis?

     

    I don’t think any responsible adoption agency would place a child with a person who is in a wheelchair because they have an illness known to be fatal, because of the consequent need to move the child to another placement after their death, and the damage both their death and the move would cause to the child.

     

    As I understand the impairments covered by ADA they include: “orthopedic, visual, hearing and speech impairments; cerebral palsy; epilepsy; muscular dystrophy; heart disease; cancer; diabetes; HIV, whether symptomatic or non-symptomatic; tuberculosis; drug addiction; and alcoholism.” and protected “mental impairments” include “mental retardation, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities.”

     

    Since people don’t have an entitlement to other people’s children I think it would be reasonable to exclude persons who have muscular dystrophy, heart disease, cancer, HIV, tuberculosis, drug addiction, alcoholism, mental retardation and emotional/mental illness all of which indicate a risk of the adoptive parent’s early death or home conditions which are not in the best interest of the child.

     

    I mean, the focus here is supposed to be on finding a permanent home capable of meeting the child’s needs, not using the child as a therapy aid for the emotional needs of the adoptive parent, right? Perhaps the thing to do when it’s hard to decide is to leave the decision up to the mother placing the child for adoption. After all, it’s her child, she knows her own family medical history, and she has an entitlement to input on in which kind of home and with what kind of family her child is placed. Certainly if there is a family history of substance abuse, placing the child with an adoptive parent who has a history of substance abuse problems would be problematic.

  • crowepps

    “In the name of the greatest people that have ever trod this earth, I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny . . . and I say . . . segregation today . . . segregation tomorrow . . . segregation forever.” George Wallace

  • progo35

    "Since people don’t have an entitlement to other people’s children…"

    Exactly! There is no entitlement to othe people’s children, thus, there is NO RIGHT TO ADOPTION for gay people, disabled people, or anyone else.

     

    "I think it would be reasonable to exclude persons who have muscular
    dystrophy, heart disease, cancer, HIV, tuberculosis, drug addiction,
    alcoholism, mental retardation and emotional/mental illness all of
    which indicate a risk of the adoptive parent’s early death or home
    conditions which are not in the best interest of the child."

    Well, gee, Crowepps, aren’t you being discriminatory here? Lots of otherwise great parents have heard disease, bt that doesn’t make them bad parents or mean that they’re going to die soon. Should the adoption agency be allowed to assume that someone who is in remission from cancer will go out of remission and thus deny an adoption based on that? Should they be able to deny adoption based on a diagnosis of chronic clinical depression even if the person holds a steady job and could be a good parent? Here’s another issue-should adoption agencies be allowed to discriminate against people who have children already by only placing children with childless couples?

    This is the kind of double standard that I’m talking about-you are quick to defend MA’s action against Catholic Charities while ignoring that private agencies make "discriminatory" decisions about which adoptions to oversee all the time. Either there is a right to adopt children, or there isn’t. Private agencies have the right to set their own policies when determining which adoptions to support. That right extended to Catholic Charities, but it was denied to them by the state of MA. This was wrong, because there is no right to adoption, and CC’s decision not to place children with gay couples is no different than an adoption agency that denies an adoption application because one of the parents has had cancer or the couple has a child. CC and other religious charities should be allowed to decide which adoptions to facilitate, just like  any other agency.

     

    Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • prochoiceferret

    Exactly! There is no entitlement to othe people’s children, thus, there is NO RIGHT TO ADOPTION for gay people, disabled people, or anyone else.

    Right. But no one’s talking about a "right to adoption" for gay couples—only the right not to be discriminated against as adoptive parents for being gay. After all, Blacks don’t have a "right to adoption" either, but it would be beyond the pale for an adoption agency to disqualify an otherwise suitable Black couple just for being Black, wouldn’t it?

     

    Sheesh. Next thing you know, you’re going to start claiming that equal-employment statues effectively grant a "right to a job" to minorities or something…

    Private agencies have the right to set their own policies when determining which adoptions to support.

    Yes, they can determine whether the prospective parents will provide a good environment for the adopted child to develop and thrive. But they don’t have total freedom on how they do that judging—they can’t discriminate on irrelevant factors like race, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, etc. Not much different than a private employer making a hiring decision. If an applicant is denied for not having appropriate educational credentials, then that’s one thing. If s/he is denied for being Black, that’s quite another.

    That right extended to Catholic Charities, but it was denied to them by the state of MA.

    The "right" to discriminate based on sexual orientation, in the provision of non-religious services? Of course it was denied to them.

  • progo35

     "race, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, etc"

    Okay, well, I guess than the right not to be discriminated against doesn’t apply to disabled couples or couples with kids-just to people in those categories described above. Gotcha.  

     

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • prochoiceferret

    Okay, well, I guess than the right not to be discriminated against doesn’t apply to disabled couples or couples with kids-just to people in those categories described above. Gotcha.

    Uh, no, you don’t "got me." If you know for a fact that "the right not to be discriminated against doesn’t apply to disabled couples or couples with kids-just to people in those categories described above" then that’s one thing. But you certainly didn’t get that information from me. I don’t have complete knowledge of the applicable laws, and don’t know if all the same classes are protected in adoption as they are in, say, employment or interstate commerce. (After all, I’m only a ferret…)

  • progo35

    "I don’t have complete knowledge of the applicable laws, and don’t know
    if all the same classes are protected in adoption as they are in, say,
    employment or interstate commerce."

    Hmmm…interesting double standard. If you’re SO CONCERNED about universal human equality and are SO SURE that gay people have the right to adopt through an agency that declines to help that couple on religious grounds, than why don’t you know for a fact that disabled people are entitled to the same non-discrimination protections as gay people iin the adoption process? If you don’t know that, I’d say you’re concern for people’s civil rights is pretty selective.

     

     

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • walt

    How about you Progo35 – do you know FOR A FACT that the secular adoption agencies you cited that (so you contend) discriminated against ALL couples with some sort of "discernable disability", or just some of them? In the case of the Catholic adoption services they discriminated against ALL gay couples who wished to adopt – that is blanket discrimination & not case by case depending on the extent of the "discernable disability" that the secular agencies may have used as a reason to deny adoption services. As far as the Catholic church goes, my opinion is that in every state that it has been proven that the archdiocese knew about one of their priests raping children and did NOT turn the perp over to the police and/or moved that priest into another position where he could again rape children, the Church should have their "right" to educate or otherwise care for children severely restricted. The Catholic Church acted like an organized crime syndicate by knowingly allowing dangerous pedophiles numerous opportunities to rape children, silenced the parents of those victims by requiring them to sign non-disclosure contracts and in many cases worldwide actually spirited priests convicted of child rape by a criminal court out of that country to another country so they could rape more children. If this were any organization other than a powerful religious organization (i.e. – a secular one), that organization would have been shut down by the Federal Gov’t, their officers interrogated and/or imprisoned, their assets frozen, their records confiscated and their access to children immediately curtailed (like daycare centers whose operators were accused of the same types of crimes). Instead it has been left to the civilian courts where the victims – who are now adults – have to sue to get restitution. I have absolutely no regard or respect for the Catholic Church even though I was baptized and raised in it – I concede that the Church does do some good works, but if you want it to be on par w/secular organizations then it should be treated as such, and if is treated as such it would have been shut down years ago.

  • colleen

    Hmmm…interesting double standard. If you’re SO CONCERNED about universal human equality and are SO SURE that gay people have the right to adopt through an agency that declines to help that couple on religious grounds, than why don’t you know for a fact that disabled people are entitled to the same non-discrimination protections as gay people iin the adoption process?

    No one is saying that anyone has a ‘right to adopt’ except you. That’s something you made up and it isn’t the issue. The issue is that the Catholic church does not have a ‘religious’ right to discriminate. The problem was that the Catholic church refused to even consider gay and lesbian couples who were willing to provide stable, loving homes for hard to place children and they refused despite the fact that the state of MA had a non-discrimination clause in the legally binding contract The Church had signed. In other words (and please pay attention to the title of the original post) The Church was/is claiming itself was/is above the law. You appear to be arguing that The Church should be above the law, should be allowed to discriminate on ‘religious’ grounds’ AND force the rest of us to pay for it. good luck with that.

    I must say that this business of trying to cover up your and your church’s ignorance and bigotry by using disabled folks as a shield is a rhetorical habit you have which I find fairly disgusting.

    The only difference between the American anti-abortion movement and the Taliban is about 8,000 miles.

    Dr Warren Hern, MD

  • progo35

    Colleen

    -As a disabled person, I find THIS WHOLE SITE’s ignorance of disability issues, and many of your comments on this site, disgusting. So, we’re even. As for proof, it’s certainly out there. Moreover, I’m asking you all whether you think that discrimination against handicapped people means that an adoption agency ought to be closed or not. No one has bothered to answer my question. It’s not a shield, It’s something that I care deeply about. 

     

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • colleen

    No one has bothered to answer my question.

    A poster, Wait, up thread did a good job of replying to your inquiry. Perhaps you missed it.

    The only difference between the American anti-abortion movement and the Taliban is about 8,000 miles.

    Dr Warren Hern, MD

  • paul-bradford

    The problem was that the Catholic church refused to even consider gay and lesbian couples who were willing to provide stable, loving homes for hard to place children and they refused

     

    colleen,

     

    I’m a Catholic from Massachusetts and I well remember this particular flap.  What you don’t seem to realize is that from 1987 to 2006 Catholic Charities of Boston placed thirteen children with gay or lesbian families for adoption.  They managed to do this quietly and effectively and all parties were well served by the arrangement.

     

    As this Boston Globe article explains, trouble started in October 2005 when a newspaper article quoted Catholic Charities’ officials acknowledging that they were complying with state anti-discrimination laws and accepting members of the GLBT community as adoptive parents.  Once their cover was blown, the Bishop’s Conference got involved and demanded that CC change its policies.

     

    Forty two CC board members met to discuss the issue and they voted UNANIMOUSLY to continue to comply with the anti-discrimination statute.  The bishops turned up the heat and threatened to reconstitute the board if they didn’t get their way.  Eight board members resigned in protest and outgoing board president Peter Meade opposed the bishops’ action stating that it undercut the agency’s longstanding mission to provide stable homes for as many needy children as possible. ”This is an unnecessary, unmitigated disaster for children, Catholic Charities, and the Archdiocese of Boston," he said.

     

    So, far from refusing to "even consider" gays and lesbians, Catholic Charities was doing an excellent job of matching hard to place children with homosexuals who were able to provide them with loving homes.

     

    There was a time when the Church hierarchy insisted that the sun went around the earth, but they came around.  There was a time when they justified the practice of slavery, but they came around.  They’re going to come around on the issue of equality for homosexuals as well.

     

    No matter how hard they try to resist it, the bishops of our Church eventually have to submit to the forces of Truth and Justice.  It’s actually part of their job description. 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • paul-bradford

    segregation today . . . segregation tomorrow . . . segregation forever

     

    crowepps,

     

    George Wallace wasn’t a devil or a monster, he was just somebody who was fed the doctrine of discrimination and he bought into it.  Discrimination was a moral blind spot in an otherwise respectable character.  Like every discriminatory person, he experienced the pressure to take on a new way of thinking as a form of tyranny.

     

    Eventually, Wallace came around — which is a credit, not only to him, but to all the people who worked so hard to win justice for African Americans.  Discrimination is a horrible thing, but it can be brought down with effort and persistence. 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • colleen

    Paul,

    I appreciate youtr taking the time to further flesh out the story of what happens when The Catholic church decides it is above the law. Catholic Charities is not the Catholic Church but the Bishops are.
    Why not address your comments to Progo? While you’re at it tell her that it’s illegal for adoption agencies to discriminate against disabled prospective parents. The ADA says so.

    No matter how hard they try to resist it, the bishops of our Church eventually have to submit to the forces of Truth and Justice.

    You and they both have a good long way to travel then.

    The only difference between the American anti-abortion movement and the Taliban is about 8,000 miles.

    Dr Warren Hern, MD

  • progo35

    As I’ve said, I don’t oppose gay people adopting children in general, I just think that adoption agencies everywhere have various qualifications that they want people to meet and that no agency should be shut down because of declining to serve a particular couple that fails those qualifications. For instance, before they adopted me, my parents went to several agencies that would not help them adopt a child because they already had one. Should they have sued those agencies for discriminating against them based on their familial status? Should those agencies have been closed down for their policies of only placing children with childless couples?

     

    Moreover, as far as hurting children, far MORE children were hurt after CC clsoed down and all of their cases had to be transferred to other agencies with their own cases to handle. Closing down adoption agencies that help place children in loving homes hurts children, and I think that the children ought to have been everyone’s primary concern in this matter.

     

    And, I do think that having a religious objection to something is different than having a purely personal and/or bigoted objection to something, and I do think that such religious objections should be protected under the law to the point that CC should not have been penalized for not placing children with gay couples anymore.

     

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • progo35

    And, in regard to the pledge’s concerns about abortion, I would NEVER, EVER facilitate abortions through an organization I ran, particularly if it were a religious organization, even if the law demanded that I do so. That, to me, is anathema to religious liberty. For instance, are there going to be laws requiring Christian campuses with health clinics to provide abortion services on their campus or to lend their facility for this use even if they object to doing so, because it violates their students’ rights of conscience not to provide them with this service?

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • ahunt

    For instance, are there going to be laws requiring Christian campuses
    with health clinics to provide abortion services on their campus or to
    lend their facility for this use even if they object to doing so,
    because it violates their students’ rights of conscience not to provide
    them with this service?

     

    Uh…no. 

  • ahunt

    far MORE children were hurt after CC clsoed down and all of their cases
    had to be transferred to other agencies with their own cases to handle

     

    Is there evidence? And permit me to refer you back to Paul’s post, and the implications therein.

     

    If children were hurt…the blame lies with the bishops, if Paul’s analysis is valid.

  • colleen

    But what happened after CC wasn’t able to place any children?

     

     

    This was a 1.3 million dollar contract. Other agencies were happy to have the work.

     

    far MORE children were hurt after CC clsoed down and all of their cases
    had to be transferred to other agencies with their own cases to handle.

     

    This is, quite simply, not true.

    Look, here is a link to this easily researched story.

     

     

     

     

    The only difference between the American anti-abortion movement and the Taliban is about 8,000 miles.

    Dr Warren Hern, MD

  • mark2

    For instance, are there going to be laws requiring Christian campuses
    with health clinics to provide abortion services on their campus or to
    lend their facility for this use

     

    It’s part of the War on Christmas Act of 2009, right next to the section where we force kindergarteners to get gay married to each other and where Americans are forced to host a monkey at the Christmas table and call it Grandpa.  Eternal vigilance against insane and dellusions is the price of living in a fantasy world and I commend you for it.

  • paul-bradford

    Catholic Charities is not the Catholic Church but the Bishops are.

     

    colleen,

     

    I disagree with you.  The ecclesial structure of the Church is what we Catholics call the ‘Institutional Church’.  It’s the outside structure of the Church and it’s purpose is to encourage holiness, enable access to the sacraments and correct error.  The Church itself encompasses everything that every baptized member does.

     

    The Church has a mission to work for justice, but we can hardly expect the bishops to get very far on their own.  Everyone  is called to do her or his own share.  Even me.  So when I do a lousy job of speaking out against discrimination and amorality be sure to let me know. 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • paul-bradford

    I do think that such religious objections should be protected under the law to the point that CC should not have been penalized for not placing children with gay couples anymore.

     

    Hi Progo,

     

    I consistently find myself admiring you for the way you speak out against discrimination that victimizes the very young or the "other"-abled which is why I’m puzzled that you take the stand you do on this issue.

     

    We all have a responsibility to learn the difference between right and wrong and it’s flat out wrong to discriminate against someone because s/he’s gay.  The state of Massachusetts is to be commended for its anti-discrimination laws and for the way it protects the homosexual community from discrimination.

     

    The Church maintains an outmoded understanding of what homosexuality is.  In the past we looked at it in terms of being a sexual activity that was to be avoided — like promiscuity, or adultery, or rape.  We now know more than we used to know and we understand that homosexuality is not simply an activity but a permanent part of a person’s orientation.

     

    The catechism says homosexuality is ‘inherently disordered’.  That’s wrong.  It’s wrong if a Catholic says it and it’s wrong if a non-Catholic says it. 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • paul-bradford

    This was a 1.3 million dollar contract. Other agencies were happy to have the work.

     

    colleen,

     

    You know, people don’t get into human services because they want to make a fast buck.  It’s a calling, and when a person or an organization has to abandon a calling it’s sad for everyone.  No one was "happy" that CC got out of the adoption business. 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • paul-bradford

    I would NEVER, EVER facilitate abortions through an organization I ran

     

    Progo,

     

    I just don’t see any inclination on the part of the government to force any person, or any organization to facilitate abortion. 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • colleen

    You know, people don’t get into human services because they want to make a fast buck

    how you concluded I was saying or implying anything of the sort. Indeed I cannot imagine how you decided I was even thinking about or interested in the subject.  

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The only difference between the American anti-abortion movement and the Taliban is about 8,000 miles.

    Dr Warren Hern, MD

  • harry834

    "The Church maintains an outmoded understanding of what homosexuality
    is.  In the past we looked at it in terms of being a sexual activity
    that was to be avoided — like promiscuity, or adultery, or rape.  We
    now know more than we used to know and we understand that homosexuality
    is not simply an activity but a permanent part of a person’s
    orientation."

    Now this is the wisdom I would love to see more of in religion. The ability to evolve based on new knowledge.

  • crowepps

    I agree, most of the time people don’t get into human services to make a fast buck.  Unfortunately, all too often they do get into human services in order to impose their ideology on other people.

  • crowepps

    Should they be able to deny adoption based on a diagnosis of chronic clinical depression even if the person holds a steady job and could be a good parent?

     

    IMO having a diagnosis of chronic clinical depression in and of itself would disqualify an adoptive parent based on the current research, not because they are not ‘good’ people or because they don’t ‘deserve’ to have children but because depression seems to be contagious and the emotional state of depressed parents seem to adversely affect the emotional health of children.  You are aware that given the demand for children at the current time, what you are asking is: should the child be placed in the home identified as one where it would have the best possible chance or should the child be placed in a suboptimal home with someone who is unlikely to be able to provide a good home because of known problems?  Is it only ‘fair’ for alcoholics and substances abusers to be able to adopt as well?

    Some years ago, a group of Yale psychiatric researchers found that children of seriously depressed mothers were nearly three times more likely to develop major depression than children of mothers who had never been depressed. They speculated that this may be due to genetic factors, poor parenting by the depressed parents or general stress in troubled families.

    Children from homes in which one or both parents are chronically or seriously depressed are not raised in a happy atmosphere. They may gain the impression that life is sad.

    In addition, depressed parents are often unable to fully meet their children’s emotional needs. Overwhelmed by their sadness, at times they may be unresponsive to their offspring. As a result, the children may grow up not feeling completely loved.

    In my own therapy practice, I’ve found that these children sense several unspoken messages from their depressed parent. One is, Don’t be happier than I am because then I’ll feel worse.

    Children who believe they’ve received this message often struggle with depression in their adult lives because they feel guilty if they’re happy. It’s as if they unconsciously think to themselves, It wouldn’t be fair for me to be happier than my parent.
    http://www.solveyourproblem.com/artman/publish/article_76.shtml

  • crowepps

    And, I do think that having a religious objection to something is different than having a purely personal and/or bigoted objection to something, and I do think that such religious objections should be protected under the law

     

    Since religious ‘objections’ (discrimination) are based in ‘belief’ instead of fact, and are by definition entirely irrational, they are protected.  People whose religion disrespects gays, Blacks, foreigners, the uneducated or women have an absolute constitutional protection to believe anything they have been taught as impressionable kiddies.

     

    There is no requirement whatsoever that their various beliefs be enabled in the real world through tax-payer FUNDING however, since some portion of those taxes are paid by gay/black/foreign/uneducated or female people they ‘believe’ they are enjoined to discriminate against.  Surely someone who doesn’t want ‘my tax money going to abortion’ would understand why members of all those groups wouldn’t want ‘their tax money’ turned over to someone who promotes the idea that they’re ‘inherently disordered’ or inferior or can rightly be discriminated against.

     

    In this country, since we have ‘freedom of religion’ you have to hate and despise on your own dime.

  • hekate

    Crowepps, as someone who was raised by a mother who suffered from bipolar depression and a father who was depressed/alcoholic/suicidal, my experience agrees with your post. I adored my mother and still do after her death, but being raised by mentally ill parents was difficult. It felt like half the time they were loving and responsive and the other half the time they must have hated me. Of course, my mother never did (my father did at times) hate me, she loved me, but it was depressing being raised by depressed people. When I think about everything my siblings and I did in childhood I can’t help but wonder, "where the hell were my parents?!" I remember a lot of sadness in my life because although my mother did love me, she spent a lot of time sleeping in her room with the lights off because she was often depressed. A depressed parent can be a good parent and hold down a job, but because they are depressed they won’t be as emotionally available to a child as a parent without depression. I can understand why an adoption agency would not want to adopt a child to depressed parents. I loved my mother, I wish she wasn’t sick. 

     

    One day I want to adopt children, but I won’t do so if I have a mental illness because it is unfair to the child. How is having gay parents unfair to a child exactly?  

  • crowepps

    My parents were really similar to yours, and my childhood was structured around meeting their dysfunctional needs, which means my three sisters and I did not have our reasonable needs met, with disastrous consequences for our being able to have emotionally healthy adult lives.  Ironically, my mother was able to qualify as a foster parent and inflict her irrationality on a number of other children as well.  I loved both my parents, and they probably loved me as much as they were able, but it really is a huge and insurmountable burden to children to be put in the position of being responsible for the care of mentally ill adults.

     

    So far as I’m aware, there is no scientific evidence whatsoever that gay people make bad parents, or that children placed in gay homes have any problems as a result (other than having to deal with the sneers of bigots).   Personally, I think this kind of decision ought to be made entirely by the "best interests of the child" as documented by scientific studies, with the preferences of the birth mother given a lot more weight than the emotional neediness of potential adoptive or foster parents.

     

    Historically, back in the bad old days of ‘orphan asylums’, the lack of social support for those asylums led to children being ‘adopted’ to meet the needs of the adoptive parents for free labor, a desire by the adoptive parents to promote their religion, or the entirely unwholesome wish of the adoptive parents to shift the burdens of housework, childcare and sex from the worn-out wife to the ‘orphan girl’.

     

    Children have a right to a healthy, nurturing environment, and while under our present structure of ‘parental rights’ there certainly isn’t much that can be done to guarantee that for natural born children, it should be the absolute and only priority when dealing with adoptions.

  • crowepps

    Sorry, but until such time as the Bishops actually PAY a cost themselves, I don’t have much sympathy for them.  At this point, all the costs are being paid by those whom they insist they have a right to discriminate against.

     

    Sure, sure, Wallace was just a victim of his upbringing and eventually saw the light and ain’t that special!  I’m sure his eventual conversion was a real comfort to the mothers of the young black men lynched by those who felt Wallace’s statements were giving them permission to act out their bigotry in the real world.

  • paul-bradford

    [T]his is the wisdom I would love to see more of in religion. The ability to evolve based on new knowledge.

     

    Harry,

     

    I’d like to know what you mean when you use the term ‘religion’.  On this ‘site, religion is generally depicted as something optional and something pluralistic.  I could say, "It would be nice to have a statue of St. Anthony in my garden" and that would fit nicely into that understanding because a statue of St. Anthony is an expression of piety that is decidedly optional and decidedly pluralistic.

     

    There is another dimension, however, and religious as well as non-religious people speak a great deal about it and that’s the dimension of justice.  When I speak out against the discrimination of gay people, my point of view is rooted in the convictions of my faith but I’m not as easy going about it as I am about St. Anthony.  St. Anthony is optional — it might be fun for me if you were as devoted to him as I am, but I wouldn’t worry even if you never gave a thought to him for your entire life.

     

    Anti-discrimination is not optional.  No matter what religion you have or don’t have I’m going to call you out if you discriminate against gays (or anyone, for that matter).  Anti-discrimination isn’t optional because justice isn’t optional, and justice isn’t pluralistic.  You can’t select between various brands of justice the way you might select a church.  Justice is justice.

     

    If giving equal treatment to gays is right for me, it’s right for you and it’s right for everyone.  You don’t have to come to my church, but you can’t opt out of justice.

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • paul-bradford

    I do think that having a religious objection to something is different than having a purely personal and/or bigoted objection to something

     

    progo,

     

    I’m trying to get my head wrapped around this one.  Are you saying that if I discriminate against a class of people for personal reasons I’m a bigot, but if I can gather a group of bigots together and form a church then my objection is no longer personal but religious and I’m free to discriminate under the flimsy pretense of exercising my right of religion?

     

    If you run an adoption agency, you have to evaluate all applicants for adoption fairly.  You can’t rule out a whole group of people and claim you’re being ‘religious’ about it.  For twenty years, Catholic Charities of Boston did a good job of evaluating all applicants fairly regardless of sexual orientation.  Then, because their higher-ups were suffering a bad bout of homophobia, they got bullied into giving up on a mission where they had been successful.

     

    Do you think I, as a Catholic, want the authorities of my church to get away with this baloney?  Do you think I was happy when they were getting away with covering up pedophilia?  My religion becomes healthier and better and more effective and more blessed by the Holy Spirit when people shine the light on what the authorities are doing and insist on them doing the right thing. 

     

    You claim that religious ‘objections’ should be protected under the law, but I think that just doesn’t cut it.  You can’t treat homosexuals like second class citizens any more than you can treat the very young like second class citizens.

     

    When I say, "The test of faith isn’t a belief in the existence of God, it’s a belief in the existence of other human beings", this is what I’m talking about.  When you don’t love your neighbor as yourself, you don’t even notice s/he’s there. 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • paul-bradford

    One day I want to adopt children, but I won’t do so if I have a mental illness because it is unfair to the child.

     

    Hekate,

     

    A diagnosis of mental illness shouldn’t be a ‘life sentence’ and it shouldn’t be a reason to think you lack the qualities needed to be a superior parent.

     

    I don’t know whether your parents sought treatment for their disorders.  Perhaps, at that time, there weren’t any good treatment options.  Things are different today for people who reach out for help.

     

    I certainly hope you don’t have to suffer from depression, or mania, or psychosis but if you should, and you get a diagnosis,  don’t think "Now I can never have children."

     

    It just isn’t true. 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • crowepps

    A diagnosis of mental illness shouldn’t be a ‘life sentence’ and it shouldn’t be a reason to think you lack the qualities needed to be a superior parent.

     

    Paul, this depends entirely on which mental illness is being discussed.  We weren’t discussing people who are a little neurotic but instead people with serious life-long incurable mental illnesses.  Certainly a person with schizophrenia may, with medication and a lot of support, be able to lead a relatively normal life.  A person who is bipolar may, with medication and a lot of support, be able to lead a relatively normal life.  That doesn’t mean that either of them will ever have the capability to be "a superior parent".

     

    It will take every ounce of energy they have to manage their illness without having their employment, relationships and ability to cope disintgegrate around them.  Having a parent who is mentally ill doubles the risk of the child being diagnosed with mental illness.  It increases the likelihood of family breakdown and divorce.  It exposes the children to a higher likelihood of violence.  It definitely is NOT fair to children to deliberate create them in a situation where their needs will always come second to a parent’s mental illness and where they will have no choice but to cope with the extreme stress of simultaneously living with irrationality and having no parent to protect them because the irrationality emanates from the parent.  It is very unrealistic of you to assert that SERIOUS mental illness doesn’t interfer with being a good parent.

    http://mentalhealth.samhsa.gov/publications/allpubs/KEN-01-0109/ch4.asp

     http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dj-jaffe/maurice-clemmons-mental-i_b_374774.html

     

     

     

  • paul-bradford

    Sorry, but until such time as the Bishops actually PAY a cost themselves, I don’t have much sympathy for them.

     

    crowepps,

     

    It’s not just you, of course.  Most every member of the GLBT community, and most everyone who loves a member of the GLBT community, feels as if the bishops (and the flock they’ve trained) ought to be made responsible to undo the harm they’ve done.  Fair enough, but take stock of exactly how much harm has been done.  Two thousand years of nearly unrelenting persecution.  Slander.  Discrimination.  Dehumanization.  How do you even begin to apportion the blame?  If every Catholic bishop in the world were forced to endure a thousand excruciating deaths it wouldn’t balance the scales.

     

    There needs to be truth and reconciliation.  There needs to be forgiveness.  It’s never, ever, ever going to be possible to ‘even the score’.  I’m hopeful, not that the bishops will pay, but that they’ll stop holding the rest of us hostage to their ignorance and cowardice.

     

    You’re not going to like me saying this, but the bishops are also victims of homophobia.  Don’t think I’m absolving them, but anti-gay discrimination doesn’t make anyone ‘better off’.  The perpetrators, the victims and the innocent bystanders are all paying a cost. 

     

    Even a bishop who glimpses how hideously wrong it all is would need a mountain of courage to buck the system. 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • paul-bradford

    It is very unrealistic of you to assert that SERIOUS mental illness doesn’t interfere with being a good parent.

     

    crowepps,

     

    Before we get too deeply into this, let’s take stock of who you’re talking to.  I am somebody who believes, down to the core of my being, that a child’s right to have parents who are ready, willing and able to love and care for her/him totally outweighs an adult’s "right" to have children.  In fact, I believe that one of the most destructive examples of the selfishness that seems to be pervasive in our society is the attitude of those who become parents, not for what they can realistically give, but for what they imagine they will get.

     

    You’re also talking to somebody who’s had dozens of clients under the age of thirty who have had to be hospitalized with major bouts of depression, mania or psychosis.  I don’t get to work with clients "who are a little neurotic", I only get the ones with severe and persistent mental illness.

     

    Would I tell these people that they can never have children?  I would in a heartbeat if it were true.  There’s nothing in the world that bothers me more than putting a child at risk.  The truth, though, is that such people CAN become superior parents. 

     

    You say, "It will take every ounce of energy they have to manage their illness without having their employment, relationships and ability to cope disintgegrate around them."  I wish you could see what I see!  You would be amazed, not only at the power of modern medicine and psycho-social rehabilitation, but also at the marvel of human resilience.

     

    I am what they call a "hope-monger" — that’s why I love my job.

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • emma

    I’m uncomfortable with some of the fearmongering w/r/t people with mental illnesses going on here. If, say, a bipolar person has had no episodes of mania or depression for years, I’m not sure it’s reasonable for them to have ‘too crazy to adopt’ stamped on their foreheads for life. Ditto a person with depression. (I’m not sure about psychotic disorders; I don’t know anyone with one and I don’t know that much about successful management and that kind of thing.)

     

    Regarding violence: IIRC, people with severe mental illnesses are statistically more likely to be victims than perpetrators of violence.
    Anecdata: My best friend has a history of mental illness; probably more trauma-related than organic. She has a ten month old kid, and honestly, she is a wonderful parent. Pregnancy and parenthood have changed her, and her son is possibly the happiest kid I’ve known. I greatly resent the suggestion that she’s likely to be violent/abusive/a shitty parent.

     

    On the other hand, another friend of mine is actively anorexic, and she’s decided she wants to be artificially inseminated in the very near future, and I’m dodgy as all hell about that.

     

    Not intending to reprimand people, but I’m really uncomfortable with the direction of this thread.

     

    I’d really appreciate it if people would refrain from quoting me if they respond, because I may edit or delete. Thanks.

  • crowepps

    I wish you could see what I see!  You would be amazed, not only at the power of modern medicine and psycho-social rehabilitation, but also at the marvel of human resilience.

     

    I wouldn’t wish what I see on anybody — the disaster when modern medicine is rejected because of ‘patient rights’ and the police, or the neighbors, or the family, or the kids are hurt or killed because somebody decided that they no longer wanted to take their medication.

     

    I am what they call a "hope-monger" — that’s why I love my job.

     

    You’re certainly free to continue to enjoy being a hope-monger.  After all, when all that psycho-social rehabilitation fails because the patient has chosen to go off his/her medication, they don’t bring the bodies in and dump them on your desk.  You can continue to ‘hope’, the families can continue to suffer, and other people will continue to cope with the residual effects of their responsibility to clean up the disasters that are caused by unrealistic ‘hope’.

  • crowepps

    I have no interest in ‘getting even’ or ‘making them pay’.  Except, of course, that I think there are far better places to place tax money and far more egalitarian service providers who can do the same job.

     

    You’re not going to like me saying this, but the bishops are also victims of homophobia.

    Oh, please, Paul.  The guy who has his neck in the noose has a lot more of my sympathy than the guy who is ‘victimized’ by the fact that he has bought into homophobia and so is helpless against his urge to tie the knot, string the rope up, and lynch somebody.  It may have escaped your notice, but these guys have declared to the world that they have magical special powers devolved from the apostolic succession to represent God and to instruct other people on how to be moral.  They’re the ones who are supposed to first get that plank out of their own eye so they can see the speck in their brothers. 

    Even a bishop who glimpses how hideously wrong it all is would need a mountain of courage to buck the system. 

     

    A bishop who doesn’t have a mountain of courage to stand up for the Christian principles of love and mercy outlined in the Gospels that outline the religion he is supposed to believe in doesn’t deserve to BE a bishop.

  • crowepps

    There is a considerable difference between ‘trauma related’ anxiety or mental illness (or anorexia) and what are now thought to be biologically based, severe life-long mental illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar and severely disabling OCD and chronic major depression.

     

    If you let the psychiatrists loose on the population, they would probably diagnose everybody as ‘mentally ill’, but we’re not talking about people who have a problem coping with flying or freak out when they see snakes or get the blues a little too often.  We’re talking about people who have a great deal of trouble coping with life at all because their brains can’t and don’t work correctly.  This isn’t their ‘fault’ but for heaven’s sake, this conversation started out by talking about ADOPTION and was it discriminatory to rule people out on the basis of what was termed ‘disabilities’.

     

    Gee, we have a couple over here, pretty normal, taste is a little tacky, but more or less like everybody else, and then we have a couple over here who are pretty similar except the guy insists everybody in the house must gather in the living room and strip naked on Sundays to keep the martians in the attic from poisoning their food.  Who shall we pick as adoptive parents?  After all, we don’t want to discriminate!

     

    I absolutely agree that people who are severely mentally ill are absolutely not all violent and that when they are, the violence is often turned against themselves.  They are, however, all severely mentally ill, and some of them are indeed violent.   I really don’t see where it is a huge help to them to be all nondiscriminatory and understanding and let them have ‘autonomy’ about taking their medication and then after they chop up dad with the machete, stick them in prison for 309 years.

  • paul-bradford

    I really don’t see where it is a huge help to them to be all nondiscriminatory and understanding and let them have ‘autonomy’ about taking their medication and then after they chop up dad with the machete, stick them in prison for 309 years.

     

    crowepps,

     

    Explain to me the difference between saying, "I know about this bipolar person who became criminally violent and now I want them all under surveillance" and saying, "I know about this colored boy who raped a white girl and now I think they all have to be watched."   

     

    Put yourself in the position of the person with schizophrenia who DOES take his meds, and who DOES go to work every day, and who DOES love his family, and who DOES obey the law.  You think he’s gonna think you’re a little … I don’t know … prejudiced??? 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • progo35

    Paul,

    the issue of gay adoption is something I feel conflicted about myself, but I tend to seperate that conflict from the actual shutting down of an entire agency based on a discriminary policy. The conflict comes in that I do think that ideally, kids should have a father and mother. On the other hand, I think it is much better for a child to be adopted by a loving gay couple than live in foster care or be aborted. But, what I’m saying is that I don’t think that Catholic Charities should have been forced to place children with gay couples. I don’t feel conflicted about that stance because I feel that regardless of how I might feel about CC’s position, I think that more children were served with the agency open than when it closed. And, like I said, I don’t see any difference between CC not allowing gay couples to adopt and other adoption agencies not allowing my parents to adopt because they already had one child. In my opinion, even though adoption agencies everywhere have requirements for adoptive couples, it seems like CC was deliebrately targeted to make a point, and that is wrong. This is why I think that the people who said that there is no conflict between LGBT advocacy and religious freedom. I do care about the rights of both parties, but I would like to see more mutual respect from both sides. 

     

     

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • progo35

    It’s nice to see that in addition to opposing discrimination against gay people you oppose discrimination against disabled people by adoption agencies. The double standard of many of the people on this site makes me sick to my stomach.  

     

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • progo35

    Crowepps-the HUFFINGTON POST? You cited a blog overseen by ARIANNA HUFFINGTON to make your argument about the impact of mental illness on parenting? Please use a more credible source next time.

     

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • progo35

    Thank you, Emma, for sharing that story. 

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • progo35

    "Gee, we have a couple over here, pretty normal, taste is a little tacky, but more or less like everybody else, and then we have a couple over here who are pretty similar except the guy insists everybody in the house must gather in the living room and strip naked on Sundays to keep the martians in the attic from poisoning their food. Who shall we pick as adoptive parents? After all, we don’t want to discriminate!"
    That’s lovely, Crowepps, just LOVELY. You know, one of my dearest mentors, one of the most stable, kind, loving, generous, smart, successful people I know, had a father with Schizophrenia. As Paul has cited, he was one of those people who DID take care of himself and WAS a great parent, as witnessed by my mentor’s current success personally and professionally. So much for your ridiculous stereotype of someone making his family strip naked in the living room! Moreover, Crowepps, your disgusting stereotyping is the kind of thinking that keeps disabled people oppressed. You do not represent the pro choice cause well at all. If that is the kind of thinking being tolerated within your ranks,why should anyone adopt your perspective? For someone who claims to believe in human equality, you’re very prejudiced.
    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • progo35

     No, people aren’t being forced to provide abortions right now, but some people would like that to be the case, such as when they try to force Catholic hospitals to provide abortions  and pro life pharmacies to provide contraception because they are part of "women’s health care."

     

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • crowepps

    Don’t read the news, huh? One of my beliefs about ‘human equality’ is that there are better ways to treat people who are mentally ill than ‘forgiving’ their behavior until they shoot people and then sending them to prison forever.

    Police had been looking for Clemmons since May, when he punched a cop in the face during a domestic dispute at his house and threw bricks through windows of houses and cars on his street.

    More seriously, he was also charged with child rape for ordering two young relatives to strip naked and fondle him for what he called religious reasons.

    Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2009/12/01/2009-12-01_i_am_jesus_seattle_cop_killer_maurice_clemmons_told_ny_bishop_.html#ixzz0YVBI8uNq

    “In another instance, Clemmons was accused of gathering his wife and young relatives around at 3 or 4 in the morning and having them all undress. He told them that families need to “be naked for at least 5 minutes on Sunday,” a Pierce County sheriff’s report says.

    “The whole time Clemmons kept saying things like trust him, the world is going to end soon, and that he was Jesus,” the report says.”

    “She stated that he was saying that the secret service was coming to get him because he had written a letter to the President. She stated his behavior has become unpredictable and erratic. She suspects he is having a mental breakdown,” the report says.

    Deputies also interviewed other family members. They reported that Clemmons had been saying he could fly and that he expected President Obama to visit to “confirm that he is Messiah in the flesh.”

    Prosecutors in Pierce County were sufficiently concerned about Clemmons’ mental health that they asked to have him evaluated at Western State Hospital. Earlier this month, on Nov. 6, a psychologist concluded that Clemmons was competent to stand trial on the child-rape and other felony charges, according to court records.
    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2010385617_webmansought29.html

  • progo35

    So, um…where does it say that this man had schizophrenia? If he’s competent to stand trial, then he was mentally competent to decide to do what he did. You’re just projecting what this man did unto innocent, law abiding American citizens who have mental illnesses, who raise their children effectively, and manage their illness like anyone else with a medical condition. Disgusting. I don’t care if you have family members with disabilities-you are an ableist bigot.
    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • crowepps

    On whether he reads the paper.  Let me ask you this, say you take this person aside, this "schizophrenia who DOES take his meds, and who DOES go to work every day, and who DOES love his family, and who DOES obey the law", and you ask him, "we have a delusional schizophrenic who’s just been released from prison after committing a violent crime and he’s consistently noncompliant about his medication and we thought maybe it would help to have him come live with you and your family so you could set a good example."  Do you think he might feel a little prejudiced?  Do you think he might not want that person around his family?

     

    And I’ve got to say, Paul, it’s a stretch to say that a delusional schizophrenic’s behavior has anything to do with whether he "loves his family" or whether he wants to "obey the law" when he’s off his medication, since the essence of ‘delusional’ is that someone is so out of contact with reality that his behavior doesn’t have anything to do with what he ‘feels’.  In Alaska, we have an extremely strong privacy clause in our constitution, and as a result of that and some local ‘don’t discriminate against the mentally ill’ and ‘psychoactive drugs are evil’ activists, we have had a series of people abandoned into the community without adequate treatment who have then ruined the rest of their and their victims lives by committing crimes when they were in delusional states.

     

    I am not ‘prejudiced’ against the violent mentally ill but instead think they deserve decent treatment.  I am infuriated that BOTH they and the community continue to be at risk because some activists on their behalf are in denial about the fact that when someone consistently displays violent behavior when they are off their meds, then it shows a total lack of compassion and common sense to allow them to walk away from treatment and abandon them knowing that they consistently return to a state of "danger to themselves and others".  I really, really object to the idea that the most efficient and effective way to treat serious mental illness is in prison or that there isn’t a societal failure revealed by repeated stories in which cops shoot the patient.

    http://www.adn.com/news/alaska/crime/story/1012873.html

    http://www.adn.com/news/alaska/crime/story/1011564.html

    http://www.adn.com/opinion/comment/patkotak/story/936462.html

    http://www.adn.com/front/story/892536.html

  • crowepps

    If he’s competent to stand trial, then he was mentally competent to decide to do what he did.

    As you would know if you had more education about mental illness and the law, the problem with "competent to stand trial" is that when people are in prison, they don’t have any choice about taking their medications.  That doesn’t have much connection with their mental state when they are NOT on their meds.  Once their medication kicks in, they may be competent "to assist in their own defense" which is a different thing entirely from being able to ‘decide to do’ something.

    Someone’s ability to assist in his/her own defense may include the person’s:

    • ability to remember;
    • ability to get to court on the proper days;
    • ability to differentiate between/understand right and wrong; and
    • ability to communicate effectively with his/her lawyer so the lawyer can present a defense.

    http://www.betterendings.org/equaljustice/chapterone5.htm

     

  • crowepps

    I wasn’t aware that you actually ever followed the links and read any of the cites.  If you actually DO, perhaps you’d prefer this link?

     

    "The study showed that patients with serious mental illness — those with schizophrenia, major depression, or bipolar disorder — were two to three times as likely as people without such an illness to be assaultive. In absolute terms, the lifetime prevalence of violence among people with serious mental illness was 16%, as compared with 7% among people without mental illness. Although not all types of psychiatric illness are associated with violence — anxiety disorders, for example, do not seem to increase the risk — and although most people with schizophrenia, major depression, or bipolar disorder do not commit assaultive acts, the presence of such a disorder is significantly associated with an increased risk of violence.

    it seems possible that treating psychiatric illness does not just make patients feel better; it may also drastically reduce the risk of violent behavior.

    http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/355/20/2064

    Or this one?

    "The latest, carried out by Jason Matejkowski and colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania, found that individuals with serious mental illnesses are responsible for 10% of all homicides in Indiana.

    … 

    Most of these homicides were preventable, since the perpetrators in most cases were not being treated. Nontreatment, a past history of violent behavior and substance abuse are strong predictors of potential dangerousness in this population. We have proven options for decreasing such violence, including outpatient commitment. These programs require mentally ill individuals at high risk for violence to continue taking medication as a condition for living in the community.

    According to a 2006 study by the U.S. Justice Department, 56% of state prisoners, 45% of federal prisoners and 64% of local jail inmates suffer from mental illnesses. In fact, there are now more individuals with a serious mental illness in state prisons than in state mental hospitals.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121297144756555917.html

  • progo35

    Crowepps-
    The article did not say that this man was ON medication. So, your “he didn’t take his meds and then they forced him too” argument is CRAP, IMO. Honestly, the prejudice you’ve shown during this discussion is very eye opening.

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • crowepps

    My comment was to the problem of coping fairly with mentally ill defendants in general, obviously, since this particular man hasn’t even been arraigned yet. You might find the following article thought provoking. It’s very lengthy, but well worth working all the way through:

    An attorney representing a defendant who is or may be mentally incompetent faces a series of ethical dilemmas. First, the attorney may have to ascertain whether her client is, in fact, mentally incompetent, without revealing that client’s confidential information and while protecting the attorney-client relationship. The attorney will then have to balance her client’s need for treatment against the possibility that such treatment may make her client competent to stand trial. In order to protect her client from legal harm, she may have to argue her client’s right to live in a delusional state, even when the client desperately needs antipsychotic medication.1 Conversely, a prosecutor may find herself representing a defendant’s medical interests so that she can proceed with the prosecution.2 Dealing with a mentally incompetent defendant places attorneys in precarious ethical positions. These issues came to light in the Supreme Court’s recent decision, Sell v. United States.3" http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3975/is_200407/ai_n9454523/

    The various facts involved and the various arguments are also exhaustively discussed in the appeal decision in US v Weston found here where forcibly medicating patients was permitted:

    Because antipsychotic medication is medically appropriate and is necessary to accomplish an essential state policy, the district court’s order permitting the government to forcibly medicate Weston is Affirmed. http://www.ll.georgetown.edu/FEDERAL/judicial/dc/opinions/01opinions/01-3027a.html

    This also contains some good information from the supreme court and a lot of cites to the cases considered relevant:

    Generally, a defendant is not incompetent to stand trial because he takes prescribed psychotropic drugs or other medication without which he might be deemed incompetent to stand trial. However in Riggins v. Nevada, 504 U.S. 127 (1992), the US Supreme Court held that forced administration of anti-psychotic medication of a defendant during his trial on murder and robbery charges, when he has complained of hearing and voices and having sleep problems and had been prescribed the anti-psychotic drug Mellaril and been found competent to stand trial violates both his 6th and 14th Amendment rights. The Court left open the possibility that if the District Court had made findings to the effect that the treatment was medically appropriate, had considered less intrusive alternatives, and was necessary for the defendant’s or others safety, then the government could proceed to try the defendant and administer the treatment over his objection.

    http://myweb.wvnet.edu/~jelkins/crimlaw/notes/competence.html

  • paul-bradford

    crowepps,

     

    I’ve set myself the task of demonstrating compassion for the racist without 1) excusing her/his behavior or 2) minimizing the destructive power of racism.  Racism, or homophobia, or ageism or any discriminatory mindset is a form of moral blindness and a form of madness as well.  Anything we can learn about ‘turning the lights on’ in someone’s discriminatory mind and allowing them to see that the people they’ve been dehumanizing are as worthy of respect as they are is something I want to learn.

     

    Maybe you know more about George Wallace than I do.  I suspect that he, or any ‘recovering racist’, had to feel an enormous sense of guilt and shame about the things he said and did while he was under the influence of racism.  There must have been a day when he looked at a black person and it dawned on him that that person is made up of the same stuff he was.  Wouldn’t you agree with me that that was a good day for George Wallace as well as being a good day for African Americans?

     

    Same thing goes with homophobia.  Homosexuals are invisible to homophobes — that is to say that the homosexual’s humanity is invisible to homophobes.  Like I said — moral blind spot.  The bishops say that homosexuals can’t marry.  That’s not a Church/State issue.  That’s a Right/Wrong issue.

     

    Even the most conservative theologian admits that, in addition to being a vehicle for creating life, sex is an opportunity for couples to express marital love.  You’ve got to be going out of your way not to notice that gay couples can have as much love for each other as straight couples.  That’s what I mean — you don’t notice things you can’t see.  And homophobes can’t ‘see’ homosexuals.

     

    Homophobia is not a religious doctrine, it’s an illness.  The doctrines of ANY religion will move closer to the truth if you can weed out homophobia.  As that happens, things are getting better for gays and they’re also getting better for religion. 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • colleen

    Put yourself in the position of the person with schizophrenia who DOES
    take his meds, and who DOES go to work every day, and who DOES love his
    family, and who DOES obey the law.  You think he’s gonna think you’re a
    little … I don’t know … prejudiced???

     
    Yes, well, up to the point she killed her five children, Andrea Yates was, by all reports, an excellent mother.What a shame God told her do to that.

     

     

     

     

     

    The only difference between the American anti-abortion movement and the Taliban is about 8,000 miles.

    Dr Warren Hern, MD

  • paul-bradford

    crowepps,

     

    Did you actually READ the links to the crime stories you referenced?  I read the first two and I’m too upset to continue.  The first one was about Nora Jean York.  She wanted to commit ‘suicide by cop’.  I’ve heard of that and I know that some people who want to die want to die that way.  Frankly, I feel bad for the cops that they had to endure that trauma but there was NOTHING IN THE STORY that lead me to think that Nora Jean York had gotten a diagnosis of mental illness.

     

    Look what you’ve done!  You’ve obliterated logic, here.  We all know that the mentally ill sometimes commit suicide — but you’re asserting that simply because someone commits suicide she’s mentally ill.  NOT THE SAME THING!

     

    Oh man!

     

    Then there’s the story about Christopher Erin Rogers (the one with a 309 year sentence and another murder trial pending).  Not only was there no evidence that this extraordinarily violent individual had any sort of mental illness, but the judge went out of his way to say that Rogers DIDN’T have a mental illness.

     

    On Friday, Rogers’ lawyer asked for a lighter sentence, saying he clearly wasn’t in his right mind during the attacks. Unearthly voices in his head commanded him to kill, Rogers told an Anchorage jury during his trial.

     

    But the judge described a man who was manipulative, merciless and self-centered rather than crazy.

     

    "There was no point during this trial when I heard of these facts that I thought, ‘This is a person who did not have a firm grasp on reality,’ " Aarseth said as he handed down the sentence.

     

     

    Also from the article:

     

    Arguing for a roughly 300-year sentence, Prosecutor Adrienne Bachman described the 30-year-old as "the monster we all call and identify as evil."

     

    You know, some people are just plain bad.  And it really boils my blood that every time someone bad does something bad the mentally ill take the rap.  It is so unfair! 

     

    Paul Bradford

     

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • crowepps

    Homosexuals are invisible to homophobes — that is to say that the homosexual’s humanity is invisible to homophobes.

    I don’t think that’s true. I think that out homosexuals are a visible reminder to the homophobes of their own worries that they’re inadequately ‘manly’ and are a threat to their sexist defense mechanism of restricting women to a very small range of acceptable activities and then declaring that masculinity can be ‘proven’ by eschewing those activities. One of the bases of that opinon is that I remember very clearly all the hysterical protests from traditionalists about how women being educated and getting jobs and controlling their own money was going to destroy everything by ‘emasculating’ men because men could only be ‘manly’ if the activities which they participated in weren’t shared by women.

    “Male prejudice against gay males is a form of sexism. It is part of male denigration of femaleness. The psychoanalyst Richard Isay has argued that fear of homosexuality per se is secondary in homophobic men to their fear and hatred of what they perceive as feminine in other men and in themselves.

    Researchers using questionnaires and interviews have developed a profile of the homophobic person. He or she is authoritarian, status conscious, intolerant of ambiguity, and both cognitively and sexually rigid. But the homophobes thus profiled are motivated less by conventional sexual morality than by a desire to preserve a double standard between the sexes, that is, to preserve traditional– traditionally sexist–masculine and feminine gender roles.

    http://www.plu.sg/main/facts_04.htm

  • paul-bradford

    colleen,

     

    I’d love to know what your point is, here.

     

    In the first place, there’s a debate about whether or not Yates was mentally ill — but let’s say she was.  How do you not notice that it’s prejudicial to all the mentally ill people in this society to equate her actions with mental illness?

     

    People actually go through bouts of major depression, or psychosis, or mania and then go on to live exemplary lives.  They often live under a stigma that is as real as the stigma blacks live under in a racist community.  It’s a bona fide civil rights issue.

     

    We can protect ourselves from violent people — some of whom have a diagnosis and some of whom do not — without fearing or restricting mentally ill people who aren’t violent. 

     

    Do you somehow think that by scapegoating folks with a diagnosis we’re going to prevent the next Andrea Yates catastrophe? 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • crowepps

    I’ve set myself the task of demonstrating compassion for the racist without 1) excusing her/his behavior or 2) minimizing the destructive power of racism.

    I’ve noticed that it’s a lot easier to take up the task of "demonstrating compassion for the racist" if you don’t happen to be a member of the race against whom he is bigoted and if you have never suffered any of the discrimination he insists on yourself.

     

    But we weren’t talking about ‘compassion’ originally, Paul, we were talking about who the victim is.  Your statement that "the bishops are also victims of homophobia" seems to me to imply some equivalency of victimhood – that the guy who lights the torch and the guy who burns in the fire are ‘both victims’. 

    I have lots of compassion for how far reality forces most people from being their best and highest selves and how far from ideally most tend to live their lives, but I’m afraid I still tend to have a little bit of extra compassion for the victims and be just a teensy less understanding of the ‘suffering’ the predators undergo when they choose to hurt others.

  • crowepps

    We can protect ourselves from violent people — some of whom have a diagnosis and some of whom do not — without fearing or restricting mentally ill people who aren’t violent. 

    We certainly can, but the only way to do so is to permanently lock up everybody who does shows signs of violence including those who might be able to live exemplary lives if they were taking their medication.

    Do you somehow think that by scapegoating folks with a diagnosis we’re going to prevent the next Andrea Yates catastrophe? 

    If anyone, anyone AT ALL who was involved in that debacle had taken serious a diagnosis postpartum psychosis was, and how imperative it was for her to take her medication and/or not be left alone with those children, they would all still be alive.  There is a discernible difference between "scapegoating folks with a diagnosis" and recognizing that in reality SOME of the people with that diagnosis need reasonable interventions to protect both them and others.

     

    Don’t you think it kind of lacks compassion to insist people have the ‘right’ to refuse meds until they hurt someone and then at that point the government’s ‘compelling interest’ in putting them on trial means they can be forced to take their meds so they can be tried and executed?  They can’t be given meds to salvage their lives but it’s okay if the ultimate purpose of doing so is punishment?

  • crowepps

    Then there’s the story about Christopher Erin Rogers (the one with a 309 year sentence and another murder trial pending).  Not only was there no evidence that this extraordinarily violent individual had any sort of mental illness, but the judge went out of his way to say that Rogers DIDN’T have a mental illness.

     

    Judges not being psychiatrists, that’s his opinion.

    "Rogers’ stepfather, Benny Kelly, sat outside the courtroom later. Kelly disagreed with the judge, who said there was no mental-illness defense for Rogers’ case.

    "He should have been living in my house when (Rogers) was living with us," Kelly said. Rogers stayed with the family for about two years in his mid-20s and would sometimes come home from his job at an Eagle River greenhouse convinced co-workers were trying to kill him with chemicals, Kelly said.

    http://www.adn.com/front/story/1011564.html

     

     

    In an uncommon move for a defendant facing murder charges, Rogers took the stand. "Sure, why not," he said when asked if he wanted to testify.

    The story that emerged over three hours mixed clear recollections of three shootings with vague stretches spent wandering neighborhoods in Spenard and downtown.

    He said he heard voices in his head, voices that got more insistent over years and especially in the three months before he killed his father and maimed his father’s fiancee in Palmer — the event that triggered his Anchorage shooting rampage leaving one person dead and two seriously injured.

    Rogers told police the voices he heard were aliens because that’s the only way he could think of to describe them. He didn’t see a mother ship or anything. They kept telling him to wipe out the human race — and there was a time limit. That’s why he killed his father with a machete in Palmer and why he tried to kill his dad’s fiancee.

    It was a mission? Weber asked. A job? Rogers agreed.

    "I thought they were aware it was coming," Rogers said about his victims. "Like they knew it was going to happen."

    http://www.adn.com/erin-rogers/story/762455.html

  • crowepps

    In the first place, there’s a debate about whether or not Yates was mentally ill —

     

    She was diagnosed by the doctors who treated her beforehand and by the psychiatrists who testified at the trial as having a preexisting diagnosis of schizophrenia and a comorbid present diagnosis of postpartum psychosis. 

     

    In Texas, the law on insanity defenses is among the most restrictive in the nation. So narrow are the nuances of the state’s centuries-old law that it was not enough for Yates’ defense lawyers to simply prove that she twice attempted suicide, had been hospitalized four times for psychiatric care and nursed a psychosis before the drownings clearly documented in thousands of pages of medical records.

    http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,218445-1,00.html

     

    Are you talking about a "debate" between all of those highly educated professionals who make their living working with the mentally ill and your average Joe off the street who has no idea what they’re talking about but who is just sure their opinion is as good as anybody else’s?

     

    If that’s so, then what’s the basis of your indignation about how others should give you extra credence because you actually work with the mentally ill?  After all, your inside information and/or actual experience shouldn’t be given any special weight, should it, when anyone can just declare "some people disagree" and that makes all opinions equal?

  • paul-bradford

    crowepps,

     

    You might want to cut George Wallace a little slack for being a racist, and you might want to cut the bishops a little slack for being homophobic.  Do you want to know why?

     

    The day is going to come, crowepps, even though you don’t believe it now, when the penny’s gonna drop and you’re going to understand how your ageism has directly contributed to the violent deaths of more than a million young Americans every year.  When that day comes, you’re going to want somebody to cut you a little slack.

     

    Because, as I know, you’re not an ageist because you’re a bad person — you’re an ageist because you’re a product of your environment. 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • crowepps

    Since I’m not ‘ageist’ I don’t think I need to worry about it.  It’s been a long, long time since I felt any man was qualified to explain to me what I think or should think about pregnancy and children.

  • paul-bradford

    It’s been a long, long time since I felt any man was qualified to explain to me what I think or should think about pregnancy and children.

     

    crowepps,

     

    Just today I was thinking about a conversation I had with a woman at work.  She asked me, "Are you Pro-Choice or Pro-Life?" and I told her — but I realized afterward that it didn’t matter to her which I was because she is of the opinion, as you are, that a man’s view on the abortion question is irrelevant.

     

    Only women can become pregnant.  That fact, apparently, indicates to a lot of women that abortion is women’s business alone.  But there’s a flaw in that thinking and the flaw is that there are two people involved in any pregnancy.

     

    I never have and never can become pregnant — but I’ve been a fetus, so I’ve been intimately involved in a pregnancy.  That’s why I think my opinion on this issue matters as much as yours does.

     

    Of course, as long as you discount everything I say, you’re going to remain of the view that abortion is women’s business.

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • colleen

    In the first place, there’s a debate about whether or not Yates was mentally ill

    Oh, do tell. And where is this debate taking place? Shall I dig up what the Texas courts had to say on the subject of Andrea Yate’s mental health? The mental health professionals who warned her husband that she should not have another child?She was diagnosed with post partum psychosis. She had a history of serious mental illness. 

     

    How do you not notice that it’s prejudicial to all the mentally ill
    people in this society to equate her actions with mental illness?

     Tell the Texas criminal justice system, Paul. Texas decided she was SO mentally ill that she could not be held legally responsible for her actions. She’s in a  psychiatric hospital for life.

    People actually go through bouts of major depression, or psychosis, or mania and then go on to live exemplary lives.

     

    I’ve spent a fair amount of time around psychotic people. (indeed this is one of the reasons I’m interested in the religious right) I’ve certainly spend enough time around people with psychoses to know that  sometimes they do NOT go on to live exemplary lives  and that we can neither predict what will happen or cure schizophrenia.

     I fully understand that there are major civil rights issues involved. I have a bit of trouble with the notion that someone prone to even occasionally slip into a state where they sit in a corner saying ‘don’t squeeze me, I’m an orange" is a good pick as an adoptive parent.

     

    Do you somehow think that by scapegoating folks with a diagnosis we’re going to prevent the next Andrea Yates catastrophe? 

     

    Do you think we  could prevent the next Andrea Yates catastrophe   we all closed our eyes, clicked our ruby slippers and really, really believed that post-partum psychosis isn’t mental illness?

    BTW,  I don’t hold Andrea Yates responsible for those deaths, I blame the  moron she married.

     

     

     

    The only difference between the American anti-abortion movement and the Taliban is about 8,000 miles.

    Dr Warren Hern, MD

  • emma

    Progo, I’m not happy with some of the stereotyping going on here, either, and I’m pro-choice.

     

    Based on what I can tell from some Googling and reading some articles found through my uni’s database, rates of violence by people with psychotic illnesses seems to be marginally higher than the general population, although substance abuse, being male, and having a history of violence seem to be more reliable predictors (apologies for sexism…). Apparently people with severe mental illnesses are 2.5 times more likely to be victims of violence than members of the general population. Stigmatisation doesn’t help, and it’s so pervasive, and it affects people with milder mental illnesses as well.

     

    I don’t think anyone is suggesting that people in the midst of psychotic episodes or those with a history of violent psychosis should be candidates for adoptive parenting.

     

    I don’t know. I don’t have an especially strong stance on this, so I think I’ll back out of this thread. :)

  • crowepps

    I think in order to get anywhere in these issues, it’s necessary to divide the problems of ‘stigma’ and ‘appropriate treatment’.  Certainly there is a lot of stigma towards ANYBODY whose behavior is compromised by the fact that their brain isn’t working the same way everyone else’s does.

     

    Some of the conversations I’ve had with supposed well-educated professionals about, for instance, attention deficit disorder and dyslexia, both common neurological problems, were predicated entirely on their belief that since there was a stigma to having either diagnosis, it was counterproductive to identify what was wrong, and so I should be wary of proactively notifying the various teachers of the problem and getting their cooperation with accomodations, instead everything should be kept secret because if  their prejudices were triggered they might "take it out on" the student.

     

    Yes, there are lots of people with an entirely unrealistic view of what mental illness means, and a lot of those people are irrational when they are presented with a situation in which they need to deal with someone who is mentally ill.  I don’t see where the effective solution to that is to pretend that a severe mental illness isn’t ever going to compromise behavior.  The whole meme in response to violence by the mentally ill of "I don’t care what the psychiatrists say, what’s really wrong is that the person is evil" seems to me to be an inherent part of the beliefs that give rise to the stigma.

     

    A far more effective solution would be honest education about how the brain works, why sometimes it doesn’t work optimally, what people should actually do when they’re aware that someone is exhibiting mental distress, and a recognition that it isn’t fair to either the severely mentally ill or to their families/children to pretend that they’re ‘just like everybody else’.   The additional strain of covering up and denial makes everything for those actually involved worse out of deference to the  irrationalities of the people who are invested in the stigma.

     

    The original subject under discussion was adoption, and the right of those who are disabled to equal treatment.  I notice that nobody has leapt in to insist that those disabled by chronic substance abuse have a right to adopt even though they are also included in the definition of disabled.

     

    My original response was to the Progo’s assertion that disabled people who were turned down by adoption agencies were turned down because they were disabled and that this was blatantly discriminatory.  My response was, doesn’t that depend on the disability?  I still think it does.  There are absolutely accomodations that we all should collectively pay for and incorporate into our society so as to let disabled people participate as fully as possible on an equal footing with everyone else, but it is not reasonable to insist that it is discrimination to prevent blind people from driving cars.

     

    Treating everyone as though they are all exactly the same is the kindergarten level of fairness and doesn’t require any actual thinking, but IMO it’s far more discriminatory in its effects than recognizing that if different people need different things the fair thing to do is to treat them differently.

     

    For anyone who can cope with a challenge to their assumption that "people are always capable of and responsible for choosing their behavior" I would highly recommend any of Oliver Sacks’ books on his career in neurology.

  • crowepps

    We all know that the mentally ill sometimes commit suicide — but you’re asserting that simply because someone commits suicide she’s mentally ill.

     

    Setting aside cases where people have a diagnosis of a fatal illness and suicide can be considered a rational decision, are you asserting that most of the time those who commit suicide are mentally healthy?

  • crowepps

    But you see, I didn’t actually say that "abortion was a woman’s business."  What I said instead was that I didn’t need you, or any other man, to explain to me what I think or should think.  So far, I haven’t seen any evidence whatsoever that you have been able to wrap your mind around the thoughts I have actually expressed.

     

    Your inability to do that is one of the reasons we keep talking past each other.  I make a statement and you tell me that’s not really what I mean, that you understand what I really mean something else because you perceive the statement is based in an emotion I am probably in denial about, that you have special powers that allow you to understand my prejudices and biases and discount them, and based on all those things you are ready to prescribe just how I should think and prognosticate how that attitude change would improve my life for the better in the future.

     

    None of which, unfortunately, has anything to do with what I actually say but instead a great deal to do with your belief that the point of all our discussions is your emotional reaction to them.

  • colleen

    but I realized afterward that it didn’t matter to her which I was
    because she is of the opinion, as you are, that a man’s view on the
    abortion question is irrelevant.

     

     just not in the way you want it to.No sensible woman cares what a male co-worker thinks about what she should or should not do with her body, much less when she should or should not reproduce. I ask men I work with questions like this when I want to know what sort of men they are, if they are available for friendship, if they are trustworthy, how bloated their sense of entitlement is etc.

    I do hope you will not hound her, belittle and try to shame her as you try to do (with a spectacular lack of success) to the women here. 

     

     

     

    The only difference between the American anti-abortion movement and the Taliban is about 8,000 miles.

    Dr Warren Hern, MD