Thursday, November 17, 2011

Does Walmart like Catholic Charities Promote Anti Gay Family Values?

Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA), among the nation's largest human services organizations working to reduce poverty in America, announced today the receipt of a $760,000 gift from the Walmart Foundation to fund expansion of hunger relief programs in rural communities at 12 local Catholic Charities agencies across the country.

The Rainbow Sash Movement challenges the Walmart foundation to insure their contribution to Catholic Charities USA is not used to promote further discrimination against Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender (GLBT) families who live in poverty. We have seen how Catholic Charities USA has bowed to the pressures to promote discrimination against Gay Families when it comes to adoption/foster care.

As a Roman Catholic organization we understand that good works can at times be used to hide a hideous outrage as was the case with the Clergy Sexual Abuse Scandal. But certainly GLBT families have a right to be treated with dignity and respect. Catholic Charities USA has tried to promote discrimination against our families in Massachusetts, Illinois, and Washington DC only to be stopped by those respective state laws.

Rev. Larry Snyder, President of CCUSA puts his discriminatory dogma above the genuine needs of gay families. Poor Gay families living in rural communities are often overlooked in addressing hunger in the US. This is the same challenge that is often overlooked in urban centers where their geographical location usually makes their needs easier to dismiss by Catholic Charities.

We are asking that the Walmart Foundation to be more responsible in their alms giving so as not to rob sincere charity in the name of discrimination.

We are calling on Walmart to follow its own best business practices when it comes to discrimination and not support organizations such as Catholic Charities USA who are hiding their bigotry behind their good works.

. Catholic Charities USA supports the mentality that Gay Families must leave their identity and children at the door in order to get food for GLBT families. It is our hope that Walmart will join with us in condemning such a mentality, and that their future contributions be representative of their corporate human rights values.

As we approach the Advent season it is our hope that Walmart will recognize the dignity of all families, and not just the families we like.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Bishop Lori’s Trick or re-treat Echoes the Pope’s Halloween Letter in Congressional Testimony

“All Saints” aka Halloween, is a Holy Day of Obligation in the Roman Catholic Church. The Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons, (also known by its opening words Homosexualitatis problema or, disparagingly, as "the Halloween Letter") is a letter to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of the Roman Catholic Church written in 1985 and delivered in Rome on 1 October 1986 by then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger ( Pope Benedict XVI) and Archbishop Alberto Bovone. The letter gave instructions on how the Clergy should deal with and respond to lesbian, gay, and bisexual people. Pope John Paul II approved the letter and ordered its publication.

What does this letter have in common with the recent testimony of Bishop William Lori, head of the newly created ad hoc committee on religious liberty at the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), who recently testified before Congress? According to Bishop Lori the Catholic vision of Religious Freedom should be paramount and associated with the Vatican’s perceived threats to religious liberty. Further that action in support of any legislation that promotes equality for Lesbian/Gay People would be an attack a Catholics right to practice his/hers religion. The Rainbow Sash Movement response to such a view is that it is totally unreasonable, un-democratic and homophobic.

Like the 1986 Halloween Letter Bishop Lori promotes the idea that propagation of religious belief as a justification for discrimination against Gay people should be lawful. Both continue to promote the Catholic Church’s condemnation of homosexuality under the guise “Religious Freedom”. This will only result in the corresponding denial of “Religious Freedom” to Gay people as is exampled by the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The Halloween letter did not remove violence against gay people if they try to legalize our rights.
The US Council of Catholic Bishops imperial religious behavior in respect to Gay Marriage has only sought to deny equality and fairness by promoting individual attacks on the rights of gay people generally, on Gay Catholics and their allies specifically. The Bishops seek to promote through the prism of “Religious Freedom” an atmosphere where promoting individual rights of conscience and equal rights for Gay People are somehow at odds with “Religious Freedom” which is a total fabrication of reasonable thought.

Both the Halloween Letter anniversary and Bishop Lori testimony only show how out of touch the bishops are when it comes to the lives of real people. Clearly the Bishops can no longer speak for the Catholic voter on these issues as poll after poll has shown.

Bob Anderson
Rainbow Sash Movement