The city of Philadelphia now wants Catholics to change their beliefs.
As least those that collide with the LGBT agenda.
The point was made by a legal team challenging the city’s new demand that if Catholic Social Services wants to continue providing foster homes, as it has for many generations, it must allow same-sex couples to care for children.
“The city made clear that Catholic’s religious beliefs would not be an acceptable basis for Catholic’s unwillingness to provide a written certification regarding a [same-sex] couple’s relationship and to approve that couple for foster care,” said a new brief submitted to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
“The city’s rhetoric further reveals that the goal of its actions is to force Catholic to change its beliefs such as the statements that it’s ‘not 100 years ago anymore’ and ‘times are changing’ and Catholic’s religious beliefs should change, too.”
The filing by Becket on behalf of Catholic Social Services follows a three-day court hearing where the request was made for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction that would allow the faith-based organization to continue helping children while the case develops.
The legal team explained the city “barred one of the best foster agencies, Catholic Social Services, from placing children with foster families, solely because of the agency’s religious beliefs about marriage.”
“The city’s actions are denying children homes and preventing loving foster parents from caring for kids,” the group said.
“[The] hearing revealed that the city’s policy is directly motivated by religious hostility toward Catholics. This discriminatory policy has caused devastating problems for at-risk children. Although Catholic Social Services has 35 open homes available right now, city officials won’t allow any children to be placed in them because they think the agency’s religious beliefs, which drive its mission to help children, are ‘outdated’ and ‘need to change.'”
WND reported last month that even though the city issued an urgent call for 300 new foster parents to provide loving homes for some of the more than 6,000 children in Philadelphia foster care, they rejected the Catholic organization because of its beliefs.
“What justice is there in taking stable, loving homes away from children? If the city cuts off Catholic Social Services from foster care, foster moms like me won’t have the help and support they need to care for special-needs kids,” said a foster parent bring the lawsuit, Sharonell Fulton. “I have relied on Catholic Social Services for support for years, and the city is taking away this help and causing harm and heartache to countless families like mine.”
Lori Windham, senior counsel at Becket, said that for a city with so much history, the people in charge have a pretty short memory.
“For a century, Catholic Social Services has been serving children in Philadelphia. Those children are the ones hurt by the city’s actions,” she said.
The complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania charges the city was guilty of deciding to “prioritize political grandstanding over the needs of children.”
“Unsurprisingly, the city’s actions are creating a severe human cost. Available foster homes are sitting empty,” the filing said. “On an average day, Catholic Social Services serves more than 120 children in foster care, and it supervises around 100 different foster homes. Through its combined programs, Catholic Social Services served more than 2,200 different at-risk children in Philadelphia last year.”
It continues: “The city is penalizing Catholic Social Services, in violation of its contract and state and federal law, because the agency has Catholic beliefs about same-sex marriage. … The city has decided to penalize the agency because the city disagrees with its religious beliefs.”
It points out that no same-sex couples have been denied the ability to become foster parents because of CSS, nor have any same-sex duos filed complaints.
And it appears to be personal.
“The city has targeted Catholic Social Services because of its religious beliefs. City officials have been open about their disagreement with Catholic teaching on marriage and their personal animosity toward the archdiocese,” the lawsuit states.
The newest filing explains the city is unable to point to anything but “theoretical” harm from allowing Catholic to continue to operate, while the social services group reveals children are being deprived of loving homes by the city’s decision.
“The city’s decision to discriminate against CSS constitutes a paradigmatic irreparable harm, as it is well settled that the ‘loss of First Amendment freedoms, for even minimal periods of time, unquestionably constitutes irreparable injury.'”