Thursday, November 26, 2009

Tax-exempt churches back anti-gay laws

from the National Catholic Reporter via Crooks and Liars: Portland ME Catholic Diocese Donated $550K To Defeat Same-Sex Marriage Campaign

U.S. Catholic churches are doing their part to make sure gay citizens remain second class. From the National Catholic Reporter:

Gathering money from 50 U.S. dioceses, the Portland, Maine, diocese contributed more than $550,000 to the campaign to rejected Maine's law extending civil marriage to gay and lesbian couples, according to financial records filed with the state agency that tracks political contributions.

In the Nov. 3 referendum, Maine voters rejected 53 to 47 percent the same-sex marriage law.

Supporters and opponents of the law spent more than $7 million, according to the Portland Press Herald.

During the summer, Bishop Richard J. Malone of Portland sent an appeal to other Catholic bishops seeking contributions to defeat the law that the state legislature passed and the governor signed in May.

According to financial records filed with Maine's campaign finance watchdog, the Portland diocese donated nearly $286,000 to Stand For Marriage Maine, which was seeking to repeal the same-sex law. Malone had ordered a second collection be taken up at Masses one September weekend which netted $86,000.

After Portland, Maine, the largest diocesan contributors were the Philadelphia archdiocese and Phoenix diocese, each giving $50,000. The sees of Newark, N.J., St. Louis, Mo., and Youngstown, Ohio, each contributed $10,000. The Diocesan Assistance Fund of Providence, R.I., gave $10,000.00.

When he interviewed a representative of the Philidelphia archdiocese about their donation, the NCR reporter got a response combining "God is on our side", and "this only promotes Catholic education" with "this is no different from feeding the poor". Bad PR is instructive because its deceptiveness is so flagrant.

Donna Farrell, communications director for the Philadelphia archdiocese said in a statement that Malone had requested donations to assist with education and to help people understand the timeless teaching of the church that marriage is between one man and one woman.

“As part of the universal church, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia responds to various requests for donations which come from outside the diocese, in order to advance the mission of the church by promoting and defending the teaching of Christ,” Farrell said.

“Examples of contributions which have been made by the archdiocese for other purposes include those to feed the hungry and provide for the needy in mission countries, to assist victims of natural disasters; to support Catholic military chaplains and pastoral care for our men and women in uniform and to defend the dignity and sanctity of life from conception to natural death.

"The archdiocese responds to such particular requests in addition to its ongoing commitment to provide tuition assistance for Catholic education, to sustain struggling parishes and to ensure that the Gospel message is known and realized.”

Now would Ms. Farrell care to explain why I should fund this form of anti-gay political campaign with my tax dollars?

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