For the past three years, American Life League has been investigating the funding practices of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. Contrary to what the CCHD continues to claim, American Life League is not at odds with the “mission” of CCHD. Furthermore, American Life League would have no concern with the CCHD were it not for the fact that the CCHD has been funding, and continues to fund, organizations that help advance the causes of the culture of death.
But despite the evidence submitted by ALL, CCHD continues to dismiss the evidence (without addressing specific information), insists that ALL is driven by an “ideological agenda” (which is rooted entirely in saving babies, the elderly, and the infirm, by the way), and repeats the mantra that “CCHD never funds groups that promote x, y, and z.”
Just this morning, Omar Gutierrez who works for the Archdiocese of Omaha, Nebraska, wrote a lengthy defense of the CCHD attempting to address the findings in our report.
There are glaring problems with Mr. Gutierrez’s defense, however, which require a response.
1. Mr. Gutierrez opens with the defunding of Centro Campesino, which American Life League exposed with a direct phone call to the organization, asking if it distributes condoms. What is particularly interesting is that Mr. Gutierrez praises the speed with which the CCHD office in D.C. defunded Centro Campesino, but he makes no mention of the New York City AIDS Housing Network. ALL exposed this organization in its full report, which it gave to CCHD staff in March of this year. In September, CCHD staff in D.C. claimed to have called NYC AIDS Housing to ask about its listing on a government condom distribution website. NYC AIDS Housing allegedly told CCHD staff that it was unaware of this and that it did not participate in condom distribution. This explanation was good enough for CCHD staff. Almost two months later, independent researchers called NYC AIDS Housing and confirmed that it does in fact distribute condoms (http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/us-bishops-social-justice-arm-rejects-grantee-caught-distributing-condoms). These concerned Catholics informed the CCHD of their findings, which forced the CCHD to admit the facts and state that NYC AIDS Housing is no longer eligible for future funding. This, of course, came AFTER the CCHD announced its “thorough vetting” of ALL’s report on CCHD grantees.
2. Mr. Gutierrez goes on to discuss a coalition with nine CCHD grantee members called the National People’s Action Network (he does not name the coalition or the grantees in question). His claim (which echoes the CCHD’s claim) is that a rogue employee of National People’s Action Network signed the coalition onto a letter in support of Planned Parenthood without authorization. As is stated in the report, when ALL staff asked CCHD staff if the employee was fired, the response was “no,” and when asked if National People’s Action posted a retraction, the answer was “no.” So, without any further action, there can be no verification of this claim. But the problem of this argument doesn’t end here because the ALL report also profiled two OTHER coalitions which signed the same and similar letters. Both California Partnership (which has three CCHD grantee members) and the Center for Community Change (which has 27 CCHD grantee partners) signed public letters in support of Planned Parenthood, and yet no public action has been taken regarding those grantees. Does the CCHD expect Catholics in the pew to believe that they also had rogue employees signing those organizations onto letters without authorization?
3. Mr. Gutierrez discussed the organization, Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York (ROC-NY), which is profiled in the report for helping to produce a guidebook that promotes transgenderism and cross-dressing. The crux of Mr. Gutierrez’s response is that the guidebook was intended to help small businesses avoid a lawsuit, but he misses the bigger picture. The guidebook is only one element. Not only did ROC-NY help with the creation of a guidebook that supports homosexuality, but ROC-NY also held a focus group session on the integration of the LGBT community into the restaurant industry. Furthermore, in direct violation of the CCHD’s Review and Renewal guidelines on coalition memberships with pro-abortion organizations, ROC-NY is a member of the pro-abortion, pro-homosexual U.S. Human Rights Network and the New York City Human Rights Initiative, in addition to being a partner of the Center for Community Change. When you take in all of the information, one has to ask if a group such as this is deserving of Catholic funds.
4. The last direct statement regarding grantees has to do with the Michigan Organizing Project (MOP) and Michigan Interfaith Voice (MIV), both of which received grants from the Arcus foundation for the advocacy of LGBT rights. Not only does the Arcus grant summary firmly state that the intention of these grants is to advance the LGBT cause, but Arcus states that it grants ONLY for the advance of LGBT causes and for advocacy of “the great ape.” Even more to the point, Arcus’ grant application process (http://www.arcusfoundation.org/socialjustice/grants/apply/) requires grantees to “align with the foundation’s mission, vision, and specific program goals,” and then provides a link to “what Arcus supports.” (http://www.arcusfoundation.org/socialjustice/what_we_support/) Every single category on this page includes the advancement of LGBT rights, with the exception of the “special opportunities” category. Neither MOP nor MIV received grants under that category, and instead received grants under the category called “Michigan LGBT rights.”
Toward the end of his article, Mr. Gutierrez wanders about in a fog of verbiage regarding CCHD grantee memberships with coalitions. As a part of American Life League’s investigations, the grantees profiled as coalition members were all cross-referenced and verified. For example, the two grantees—Tompkins County Workers’ Center and Food AND Medicine—are dues-paying affiliates of the notorious Jobs with Justice. This is listed both on the grantee websites as well as on the Jobs with Justice websites. There is no reason to doubt these memberships. This is the same sort of verification that was used for members of National Peoples’ Action, the California Partnership, and the other coalitions profiled in the report. And should it be demonstrated that a group is not in fact a member, ALL has always maintained that it will be happy to post a retraction of the charge when adequate evidence is submitted. To date, no such information has been forthcoming.
So, if the memberships are verified, the only recourse Mr. Gutierrez has is to dismiss the allegation as “guilt by association.” However, Mr. Gutierrez is forgetting the fact that the CCHD formally adopted a guideline which firmly states, “CCHD will not fund groups that are members of coalitions which have as their organizational purpose or coalition agenda, positions or actions that contradict fundamental Catholic moral and social teaching.” The only possibilities are that CCHD grantees are not members of these coalitions, or that the coalitions are not engaged in the promotion of abortion, homosexuality, contraception, Marxism, etc. Mr. Gutierrez offers no concrete evidence of either, but simply echoes the CCHD’s own talking points.
American Life League is committed to the total protection of individual human beings without exceptions, without compromise, and without apology. Rather than making lame excuses for the continued funding of highly questionable organizations, perhaps the CCHD can truly help the poor by properly implementing the sound guidelines issued by the bishops last fall.