The Catholic Church has stopped supporting another charity because of support for LGBT rights, and this time the support is tangential.
Compañeros is a small charity helping Hispanics in Colorado with health care access and legal assistance. They are part of an immigrant rights coalition and that coalition has a relationship with a Colorado LGBT rights group.
That one-step removed relationship was enough to endanger funding from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, an arm of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops devoted to ending poverty.
According to the New York Times, it is pressure from conservative Catholics on the Catholic Campaign that is leading to funding being increasingly withdrawn from groups like Compañeros. A group called the American Life League is aggressively monitoring any charity which is linked in any way to gay marriage, abortion — or even contraception. It has 54 charities in its sights.
Nicole Mosher, Compañeros’s executive director, said:
We have no reason to believe that we are in any way going against Catholic teachings. If they are willing to defund our program based on an affiliation, it sends a clear message of divisiveness.
Despite the prospect of losing about half its budget, Compañeros is staying in the immigrant coalition. Said Mosher:
We can’t go against our core principles by taking money that we think will ultimately result in the division of this community.
Numerous other agencies have lost funding for supporting gay people. Last year, a Maine homelessness charity lost Catholic Campaign funding after supporting marriage equality.
It’s not just the Catholic Campaign’s money that’s being used to police those doing ‘good works’ whom the church is funding.
Last month, the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento withdrew funding from homeless charity the Francis House Center because of the personal views of the charity’s director. It was also revealed that Catholic Bishops were behind the defunding of Planned Parenthood by the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
In 2009, the Washington-area Catholic Archdiocese threatened to withdraw all social services if DC legalized gay marriage. That threat was withdrawn, but rather than be forced to cover same-sex spouses, Catholic Charities took away all spousal benefits. It also stopped its adoption program. Last year, Catholic charities in Illinois ended their taxpayer-funded adoption services rather than have to cater to gay couples following the state’s passage of civil unions.
However, reports the Times, there are Catholics fighting back. Catholics United, a social justice group based in Washington, has vowed to counter the pressure from conservative Catholics. James Salt, the group’s executive director, said it planned fundraising efforts this year so groups would not have to lean so heavily on money controlled by bishops.
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