In light of the recent Catholic Care appeal decision, Robert Ashton asks if donors would rather their money went in pockets of legislators or towards helping gay couples to adopt a child.
So Catholic Care has lost its appeal and cannot legally discriminate against gay couples wishing to adopt. They claimed they’d have to close as their donors would stop giving if they thought their cash was going to help gay couples adopt a child.
It rather makes you wonder about Roman Catholicism doesn’t it; people happy to fund blisteringly expensive litigation on a point of principle. Most donors would surely prefer to see their money spent on helping orphaned and abandoned kids find new homes.
Back in 2009, Catholic Care’s CEO Mark Wiggans complained in the press that the tribunal case they lost had created a "big dent" in their reserves. So why spend two years creating an even bigger dent?
To put the case in perspective, the charity’s most recent annual report (31 March 2010) states that over the past 12 months the charity handled 35 enquiries from potential adopters, and placed ten children with new families. How many more could they have helped if they had chosen not to continue their frankly idiotic attempt to gain permission to act outside the law.
Let me confess to being someone who sees religious activity of any kind as strange. Faith groups provide huge comfort to the vulnerable and do an awful lot of good. But they also follow complex rituals to perpetuate the idea that there is life after death.
One argument used to justify their case was that they can choose who to, or not to bless without any legal challenge. In other words, they can get together and say some prayers over a newly married hetero couple, but tell a gay couple to sling their hook. I guess they can even curse them too; words are only words after all.
But what about the hardworking Catholic laity? Good honest people who go to church and give generously to Catholic charity. Are they really happier to see their cash spent on bewigged barristers rather than battered children in desperate need of a loving home? Is litigation a legitimate charity expense?
Finally, was gift aid claimed on the money given to fund the case? I hope not, as this would mean that I as a UK taxpayer have also contributed to the folly. Please could the Charity Commission take a deeper look on our behalf? If gift aid was claimed on the money used to fund the appeal, I’d like to see it taken back and used for something more charitable. Perhaps Stonewall could start an adoption agency with the money recovered?
Robert Ashton is a social entrepreneur, campaigner and bestselling business author