Today, the D.C. Archdiocese just handed Christopher Hitchens a chapter in his next anti-God book. The archdiocese continues to press for a more watered down version of the D.C. Council’s gay-marriage bill. It’s gone so far as to threaten to pull its Catholic Charities services from the District, WaPo is reporting:

Hours after the Committee on Public Safety and Judiciary approved the bill Tuesday, the Catholic Church sent a letter to Council member Phil Mendelson (D-At Large) calling for additional changes to the legislation. If church officials are not successful, the letter states, “services will be impacted.”

“The exemption language contained in the committee [bill] is far too narrow, and must be expanded to include appropriate safeguards to protect religious freedom to preserve the ability of Catholic Charities and other service providers to continue to serve the growing and unmet needs of the residents of the District of Columbia,” wrote Jane G. Belford, the chancellor of the Archdiocese.

Apparently, the church is afraid of lawsuits if it denies healthcare to legally married same-sex couples. With the District’s unemployment rate well past 10 percent and budget cuts to homeless services still on the table, this is an astonishing threat.

Update: Councilmember Phil Mendelson says the archdiocese e-mailed him their letter late yesterday evening. “To me this is political,” he says.

In the letter, the church mentions not facilitating adoptions to same-sex married couples. Mendelson says: “They’ve said it before and they’ve said it in other states. The language that we have is borrowed heavily from New Hampshire. We’re not doing anything substantially different from what other states have done. I heard no testimony about adoptions coming to an end in the other states.”