Catholic Church Penalizes Charity for Homeless because Leader Supports Gay Marriage March 25, 2010

Catholic Church Penalizes Charity for Homeless because Leader Supports Gay Marriage

When someone tells you that, despite some of the recent problems in the Catholic Church, the Church is still a force for good, show them this article.

It’s evidence of how their hatred of gay people, cloaked in “loving” religious beliefs, has caused them to take money away from a charity for the homeless… because a bishop working with the group supported gay marriage in Maine.

Preble Street’s Homeless Voices for Justice program has lost $17,400 this year and will lose $33,000 that it expected for its next fiscal year.

Homeless Voices for Justice, a statewide advocacy group, is led by people who have been homeless. It works on issues that affect the homeless, such as supporting affordable housing and preventing violence against the homeless.

Portland-based Preble Street, which runs a dozen programs to provide housing and other services for the poor and the homeless, provides staff support for Homeless Voices for Justice.

In December, Catholic Charities Maine, which is led by [Bishop Richard] Malone, sent a letter to Preble Street asking it to return $2,400 that the diocese had granted for the Homeless Voices for Justice program.

“We regret the collaboration must end at this time,” wrote Sandra Thompson of Catholic Charities Maine, who coordinated the distribution of the church’s local anti-poverty funds. “Accountability to the Catholic community requires this.”

Now, they care about accountability? That’s laughable.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland is willing to de-fund a charity for the hungry and homeless because a key member believes in equal rights for gay people.

Just when you thought the Church couldn’t get any more despicable.

(Thanks to Alex for the link)


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  • Seeker

    You should give a heads-up when you post such stories. It disgusted me so much I felt my stomach turn.

    Religion of love… Riiiiiiight!

  • Killer Bee

    When someone tells you that, despite some of the recent problems in the Catholic Church, the Church is still a force for good, show them this article.

    So, let me see if I get the logic:

    I donate money to the poor for, say, 13 years. One day, I decide to divert funds to some other charity that also helps the poor because their values, or those of their staff provider and umbrella organization in this case, are not in line with my own. Suddenly, I’m a miser who does no good.

    Drawing the line at gays instead of buggering choirboys makes Catholic accountability to the community look like a joke. But, Catholic Charities Main is not responsible for pedophile priests. Nothing about this is incosistent with their stated mission or with humanitarianism – which seems to be everyone’s focus.

  • Alex

    Right, but how do you justify asking for money back? $2400 isn’t a drop in the bucket for a small, local charity.

  • Aaron

    “Drawing the line at gays instead of buggering choirboys makes Catholic accountability to the community look like a joke.”
    I think this just shows the priorities of the Catholic Church. Helping homeless people is less important than fighting gay people, and even less important is child abuse prevention.

  • @Killer Bee,

    “Catholic Charities Main is not responsible for pedophile priests. Nothing about this is incosistent (sic) with their stated mission or with humanitarianism – which seems to be everyone’s focus.”

    Yes, just as the Sicherheitsdienst (SD) was not responsible for the actions of the Schutzstaffel (SS).
    Sorry, but I’m just not buying your argument.

  • Epistaxis

    When someone tells you that, despite some of the recent problems in the Catholic Church, the Church is still a force for good, show them this article.

    No, show them this debate. In fact, don’t wait for them to ask.

  • @Epistaxis.
    I’ve seen that debate before…great contribution to this thread. Glad you thought of it!

  • Killer Bee,

    Did the Catholic Charities Main pull any of the funding for programs run by any of the diocese that hid pedophiles? To show moral outrage over the support of homosexuals and demand money back, not just to stop donating, while being silent about the church problems, shows that church doesn’t real give a damn about living people. If they were a humanitarian organization, they should ask if their money was being used to help people, and not use they funds as a political bat to beat those organizations.

    Shnoah’s Ark.

  • Ed

    It may have been posted on this site previously but I thought I’d link to these two stories concerning Catholic Charities and DC after gay marriage recently passed.

    In the first they eliminate spousal benefits for all employees to avoid having to offer them to same sex partners.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/01/AR2010030103345.html

    and in the second they end their foster program.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/16/AR2010021604899.html

    As deplorable as I find all of these stories I have to agree that as killer bee said- they are still going to be donating time money and effort to helping the needy and they are holding true to their (terribly unfortunate and misguided) values.

  • Killer Bee

    Holytape,

    Did the Catholic Charities Main pull any of the funding for programs run by any of the diocese that hid pedophiles?

    I don’t know.
    If you have some actual, relevant information to contribute, why not just do so?

  • JustSayin’

    Catholic Church priorities:
    Shielding pedophiles = acceptable.
    Supporting/hiring/adopting to queers = unacceptable.
    Any questions?

  • The Catholic Church operates as a criminal pedophile ring that also runs charities on the side. The victims of the Catholic Church are mostly kids. They don’t have a vote. They don’t have a voice. They don’t have lobbyists in D.C., and they don’t have the advocacy that the Church can buy.
    You can rationalize and split hairs all f*-ing day long if you wish, but if you step back and look at the big picture, the Catholic Church is a hideous monster.
    “Your honor, I move to dismiss the charges of sexual assault against my client based on the fact that he gave money to St. Jude’s Childrens Hospital.”

  • TB Tabby

    http://www.fstdt.com/QuoteComment.aspx?QID=71509

    And get this: according to the good folks at Moonbattery, it’s the gays’ fault this happened. They apparently FORCED the Catholic Church to stop operating charities.

  • HankTheCowdog

    “Your honor, I move to dismiss the charges of sexual assault against my client based on the fact that he gave money to St. Jude’s Childrens Hospital.”

    If a case even gets to trial, that is.

    The Catholic Church has consistently covered up *felony child abuse*, and then tried to excuse its behavior by saying that the priest has “repented”. In a word: bullsh*t.

  • “Just when you thought the Church couldn’t get any more despicable.”

    Oh, sure it can.

  • Only anonymous charity is charity.

    This is why state (secualar) social programs scare the religious, not because they don’t believe in helping the unfortunate, but because they don’t want to give up their monopoly.

    Make state programs strong and even the tax exempt status of churches won’t save them.

  • Ed

    As deplorable as I find all of these stories I have to agree that as killer bee said- they are still going to be donating time money and effort to helping the needy and they are holding true to their (terribly unfortunate and misguided) values.

    Of course as more and more places become secular and establish fair and ethical laws, there will be fewer and fewer places the Catholic church will find it acceptable to provide services for… It is amazing to me that the church is so willing to alienate and shame its millions of more moderate members with this type of thing. What amazes me more though, is how little the average liberal Catholic has to say about these things. Then again, thinking about how shame likes to be hidden, it makes sense. I wish there were some way to help liberal Catholics to get past the desire to hide the shame and guilty feelings for having indirectly, unintentionally and unwillingly supported this sort of thing, and instead help them agitate for accountability and change.

  • Ed

    I wish there were some way to help liberal Catholics to get past the desire to hide the shame and guilty feelings for having indirectly, unintentionally and unwillingly supported this sort of thing, and instead help them agitate for accountability and change.

    Of course some prominent Catholics already are quite public in their questioning. Bravo to Sinead O’Connor and the Rev Thomas P. Doyle.

    http://articles.latimes.com/2010/mar/24/world/la-fg-sinead-qa25-2010mar25

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/13/world/europe/13pope.html?pagewanted=2

  • Miko

    That’s too bad, as they’re a decent organization from what I’ve seen in the past (I’ve volunteered for their parent organization, but have a passing familiarity with HVoJ too). They do engage in some unfortunate activities (working with the government, advocating for the passage of certain laws, etc.) and some neutral activities (voter registration for those without a permanent place of residence), but they also have some fantastic direct action campaigns and are worth supporting despite their failure to totally disassociate themselves from the state. If anyone wants to do something positive (instead of just bashing the Catholic Church for moving their funding from one charity to a different charity; I note in passing that this post concentrates entirely on who isn’t getting the money with no discussion of who will get it instead), you can donate to HVoJ’s parent organization (they also run soup kitchens, teen centers, women’s shelters, etc.) here.

    Lavina: This is why state (secualar) social programs scare the religious, not because they don’t believe in helping the unfortunate

    State social programs aren’t actually intended to help the unfortunate. More than 50% of their funding goes to pay the salaries and travel expenses of bureaucrats and most of the upper-level bureaucrats are political appointees. The real point is to convince rich people to donate money to the candidate (“say, you have absolutely no qualifications whatsoever, but how would you like a high-paying prestigious job that involves travelling to conferences at luxury hotels all over the country?”). And even the remainder that does go to “helping” the down-and-out typically goes more towards hiring inspectors to invade their homes and lecture them than it does to providing aid. A pittance does get through, but it’s no where near the amount that the budget sheet says. Naturally, if the general public knew this was happening, they’d stop it. But if you call it an anti-poverty program, most people will say they support it and not look into the details. It’s what economists call “rational ignorance.” The facts are easily available to all, but for most people the effort of actually tracking what happens with their tax dollars is not worth it since they individually can’t really do anything to fix the problem anyway (or, at least, they believe this to be the case).

    Lavina: Make state programs strong and even the tax exempt status of churches won’t save them.

    Not true. State programs rule with an iron fist as it is and yet private charities (not just religious charities) give about seven times as much as the government does (at all levels), which is even more impressive when you realize that the average charity has overhead costs of less than 10%, while the government programs all have overheads of a bit more than 50%. (The figure for the private programs includes all mailings, phone calls, etc. needed to request and process funds, while the much larger government figure only covers the programs themselves and so does NOT include the extra money wasted in the costly process of collecting an income tax. With this figured in, the government programs are closer to 70-80% overhead, depending on what figures you use for the cost of tax collection.)

  • Joffan

    Since when is it OK to ask for charitable donations to be returned? Future donations are completely at the discretion of the organization concerned but past giving… well that’s gone.

    That shows the real fuck-you attitude of the Catholic Church towards other organizations, and makes their hypocritical whining about being disrespected even more sickening.

  • ckitching

    the average charity has overhead costs of less than 10%, while the government programs all have overheads of a bit more than 50%. […] With this figured in, the government programs are closer to 70-80% overhead

    Do you have a source for that? Those numbers are far too round, and frankly, look fabricated.

  • Canadiannalberta

    I’m not surprised, though I’m still disgusted.

  • muggle

    Geeze, I can’t believe they have the gall to ask for money already given back. I’d make them sue. It was a gift and a gift doesn’t have to be paid back. Love to see Judge Judy hear that one!

    Miko, thanks for putting up the link. This doesn’t seem a bad tactic for any of us who can afford to give a bit, give where a charity’s been cut off by the religious like this.

  • The tone of this article and most of the comments is wrong. Killer Bee’s got it right. Preble Street’s Homeless Voices for Justice program was not penalized in any way; they’re just getting fewer donations. It happens when you’re in the charity biz; they’ll have to deal with it. It’s not up to anyone else how or why a person or group spends its money. Not donating to this charity does not make any group or individual evil, or not “a force for good.” How many of the complainers above gave money or time to this cause? (Good job, Miko!) By their own screwy logic, each one who gives to other causes, but not this one, is despicable. I have not and will not give time nor money to HVoJ, and I’m OK.

    There are plenty of reasons to hate on the Catholic Church. This was stretching too far.

  • abby

    Thankfully there are many very liberal, very wonderful catholics who support equal rights AND are working passionately on behalf of the poor.

  • Taylor

    This is a ridiculous article. You silly people just have to have something to harp on, and this time it’s the church standing up for what they believe in. Way to go. Looks like you’ve got nothing better to do. The reason they asked for their money back, is that they do not believe in the morals and the cause of the bishop. What’s wrong with that? The fact of the matter is not that the money was taken from the homeless, it was taken from an organization that has shaky morals in the eyes of the church, and none of you have any idea where that money went to.

  • TychaBrahe

    Why is anyone surprised? This is old news. Catholic Charities pulled their support for homeless shelters in DC when marriage equity passed in that city, and also announced they would no longer provide insurance for the spouses of new employees, since under the law that would require them to provide insurance for partners of new employees.

  • Kelly

    I don’t buy it. I work and also volunteer for the Catholic Church. Converted from a protestant religion. I know of no other religious organization who does as much as the Catholic church for the poor, the homeless, the suffering. The Church is not afraid to take a stand on issues such as support of equal rights, protecting the unborn, and defending the poor.

    Find something else to harp on! If you spent as much time supporting these causes you would have less time to rant and point fingers.

  • Jaime

    The Church should charities no matter what. So What if a person loves the same sex who cares. What would Jesus do? And even if God doesn’t allows he will probably admit them for the good they have done their lives.