The Victim Card, Again
Now we know why.
It was not one of George Will's stated reasons for considering Newt Gingrich "not merely the least conservative candidate, he is thoroughly anti-conservative," but it may as well have been. During last Saturday's debate in New Hampshire, ABC's Diane Sawyer asked the GOP presidential candidates about same-sex marriage. Gingrich, in part, responded
I just want to raise a point about the news media bias. You don’t hear the opposite question asked. Should the Catholic Church be forced to close its adoption services in Massachusetts because it won’t accept gay couples, which is exactly what the state has done? Should the Catholic Church be driven out of providing charitable services in the District of Columbia because it won’t give in to secular bigotry?
Three days later, as noted by Think Progress, Gingrich, asked by CNN's Soledad O'Brien about the claim that the Roman Catholic Church has been banished from the abortion business because it excludes gay couples, contended
No, that’s not true. That’s not true. There are states now, including the District of Columbia, which essentially adopt laws that say you can’t offer an adoption service unless you meet the secular standards of the state. They are in effect saying the secular standards of the state are more important than religious freedom. I think it is inherently anti-Christian and anti-Jewish. It is in favor of a secular model, that I think is wrong. And I think that it’s wrong for the government to impose its values on religion. That’s the whole point of the First Amendment, is to not have the government imposing values on religion.
Inconveniently for Gingrich, the First Amendment says nothing about "government imposing values on religion"- and Gingrich's suggestion otherwise hardly comports with the strict constructionism characteristic of conservatives. Instead, it reads in relevant part "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Gingrich, incomprehensibly, argues that requiring a religious institution to adhere to the same regulations as secular institutions when they have a government contract is "inherently anti-Christian and anti-Jewish." More accurately, subsidizing adoption arranged by a Church entity if it violates federal guidelines would represent preferential treatment and itself breach that wall of separation between government and religion.
No one, and no government, is preventing Catholic Charities from providing adoption services consistent with their beliefs about same-sex relationships. Anthony R. Picarello Jr., general counsel and associate general secretary of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, inadvertently acknowledged that when, defending the Church, he stated It’s true that the church doesn’t have a First Amendment right to have a government contract, but it does have a First Amendment right not to be excluded from a contract based on its religious beliefs."
But that government contract is being denied not based on "religious beliefs" but the actions of the agency, which is free to believe whatever it wishes about whomever it wishes. No institution, religious or otherwise, may be permitted to take the money of taxpayers (straight and gay, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, Hindi, or of another faith) if it violates state or federal law.
As conservatives ought to understand, there is no constitutional right to a government subsidy.