You must carry out threats, if for no better reason than to preserve your ability to threaten something the next time. This basic rule applies to much more than, say, Israel and Hamas. Like to Britain and Catholic adoption agencies.
The BBC is reporting that half of the Catholic adoption agencies are wussing out on threats to shut down rather than comply with a British law requiring all groups providing public services, even religious groups effective Jan. 1, to accede to state morality on homosexuality.
Actually, if you read through to the end of the story, it's worse than 5 of 11 agencies complying with Caesar's unjust law. It's actually 5 of the 8 that the BBC could determine; in three of the 11 cases, it wasn't known what the agency was doing. Even among the three agencies that are not complying with the law, only one has actually closed down; the other two are seeking reclassification as agencies whose mission caters specifically to married couples and singles (I am not holding my breath that Caesar will buy this legerdemain in my opinion).
Now please tell me ... why should the British government, in its threat to force approval of the gay lifestyle on everybody in the Scepter'd Isle, believe Church warnings in the future?
There's a lesson in this case for American bishops in the Age of Obama. Though actual, formal, gauntlet-throwing threats have been rare so far, the Freedom of Choice Act, which Obama has promised to sign, is causing some rumblings among our bishops.
Some bishops have hinted that if FOCA passes, they will close Catholic hospitals (i.e., about 15 percent of the national total, depending on how you measure) rather than perform abortions or dispense contraceptives and abortifacient drugs. Others (e.g., my bishop, Bishop Paul Loverde of Arlington, at right) have said they would keep the hospitals open, ignore the law and let Caesar arrest the bishop if he dare.
Either option would be fine. But anybody who's ever been in a bar, a playground or any athletic contest knows this much: "never let your mouth write a check your ass can't cash"