What happens when society progresses on human rights, but a 2,000 year old book is more important to you? Resort to childish strong-arm tactics:

The Catholic Archdiocese of Washington said Wednesday that it will be unable to continue the social service programs it runs for the District if the city doesn’t change a proposed same-sex marriage law, a threat that could affect tens of thousands of people the church helps with adoption, homelessness and health care.

What in the world could this bill be saying that has Catholics so upset? Will it force them to perform gay marriages? To watch Bravo TV marathons? To ordain gay priests? …Wait a second…

Under the bill, headed for a D.C. Council vote next month, religious organizations would not be required to perform or make space available for same-sex weddings. But they would have to obey city laws prohibiting discrimination against gay men and lesbians.

Fearful that they could be forced, among other things, to extend employee benefits to same-sex married couples, church officials said they would have no choice but to abandon their contracts with the city.

So, the bill says you just have to stop discrimination…and they’re against this? Do they have any idea how bad this makes them look? I guess they’re not worried about PR, though, since their response is to threaten to take away social service programs than benefit the community. That’s a pretty jerk move, if you ask me, since it’s hurting people not even involved with the issue at hand. Just how many people will they be affecting with their selfish temper tantrum?

Catholic Charities, the church’s social services arm, is one of dozens of nonprofit organizations that partner with the District. It serves 68,000 people in the city, including the one-third of Washington’s homeless people who go to city-owned shelters managed by the church. City leaders said the church is not the dominant provider of any particular social service, but the church pointed out that it supplements funding for city programs with $10 million from its own coffers.

“All of those services will be adversely impacted if the exemption language remains so narrow,” Jane G. Belford, chancellor of the Washington Archdiocese, wrote to the council this week.

Wow, just wow. Thankfully the council members seem to have more sense than the church:

The church’s influence seems limited. In separate interviews Wednesday, council member Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3) referred to the church as “somewhat childish.” Another council member, David A. Catania (I-At Large), said he would rather end the city’s relationship with the church than give in to its demands.

You know all of those recent debates about if the Catholic church is an overall force of good in the world? I think your “goodness” suffers a bit if you’re only using it for political clout. Just a thought.