Sleeping with the Enemy: The U.S.C.C.B.'s Cooperation with Pro-Abortion Organizations

February 1, 2010 09:00 AM

By Michael Hichborn

The intelligence community has a saying: “Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, and three times is enemy action.” Since August 2009, American Life League has been working with a coalition  of Catholic and pro-life organizations (Reform CCHD Now)  to research groups receiving grants from the now-infamous Catholic Campaign for Human Development. During this time, the coalition has revealed that no less than 50 organizations (one fifth of all CCHD grantees from 2009) are in some capacity engaged in pro-abortion or pro-homosexual causes. What is even sadder is that the latest revelations manifest a pattern of cooperation stretching back for decades.

During Reform CCHD Now’s nationwide campaign in November, which called on Catholics to withhold donations to the CCHD, the CCHD did damage control by deflecting or dismissing the accusations made about its grantees. Oddly enough, however, the CCHD never responded to the charges concerning the 31 CCHD grantees found to be partners with the pro-abortion, pro-radical homosexual Center for Community Change. Among the initial findings regarding this organization are the following:

1. The CCC received $75,000 from the Arcus Foundation specifically for radical homosexual activism (p. 17). The funds were earmarked for the CCC’s Generation Change, “an initiative to recruit, support and train the next generation of community organizers and emerging social justice leaders through paid internships, fellowships and mentorships for activists from communities of color and from the GLBT community.”

2. In October, a training seminar cohosted by several radical homosexual advocacy groups was held at the CCC office in Washington, D.C.

3. An article on the background of the CCC’s Movement Vision project states that “abortion rights and reproductive freedom intersect with criminal justice. Our solutions must intersect as well.”

4. The CCC helped to coproduce a Community Values Communications Toolkit, aimed at promoting “community values” in opposition to “the dominant conservative narrative.”

It includes the following quotes:

• “This conservative strategy also fostered hostility toward those struggling for equal opportunity—people of color, women, immigrants, gays and lesbians, and poor people. Individualism, in this context, has meant ignoring and refusing to recognize that barriers to opportunity still exist. It then demonized those of us who would tear down those barriers.” (p. 7)

• “People may like the idea of old-fashioned small towns where everyone knows each others’ names, families are intact, and white picket fences prevail; but ‘the old days’ were also home to racism, segregation, limited opportunity for women, and hostility toward gays and lesbians” (p. 12).

It advises using a “Calendar of Community Values” (pp. 54–56) to “identify opportunities to get out your message about community values. Connecting your press release or op-ed to a holiday or notable/historic date in a unique way can help it get better coverage.” Among the dates designated as significant are these:

• May 20, 1996: “Romer v. Evans decided by the Supreme Court, ruling against an amendment to the Colorado Constitution that allowed discrimination against gays and lesbians”
• June: Gay Pride Month
• June 28,1969: “Stonewall Rebellion helps to spark the gay rights movement”
• October 11: “National Coming Out Day, commemorating 2nd March on Washington for LGBT Rights”

5. CCC’s resource library includes Reproductive Justice Briefing Book: A Primer on Reproductive Justice and Social Change, an activist’s guide to promoting promiscuity, contraception and abortion. Its promotional blurb:

Need a one-stop shop for information on reproductive justice? Well, SisterSong has got the right tool for you. This series of articles documents the struggle for reproductive justice and bridges this struggle with other issues within the social justice movement such as immigration and queer rights. Additionally, the series touches upon the future of the women’s movement in relation to reproductive justice.

6. Bellarmine Veritas Ministry reveals even more shocking information on the CCC in its latest report, including the CCC’s support for abortion funding in “health care reform” legislation.

There can be no doubt that some key goals promoted by CCC are antithetical to the Catholic Church’s teachings, which is why it is strange that the CCHD has yet to address findings regarding its 31 grantees that are intimately connected with this organization. Allowing for the possibility that these partnerships with the CCC were mere happenstance while attempting to understand the CCHD’s silence, the coalition took a closer look at the CCC. With great shock, the coalition discovered that the CCHD currently endorses the CCC on its web site (see “Talk with Elected Officials and Other Policy Makers”), calling it worthy of support.

Could the CCHD's grants to CCC partner organizations and the CCHD’s endorsement of the CCC be coincidental? Discovering this shameless promotion of an organization whose aims cannot possibly be in line with Church teaching was jarring enough. But even more distressing was the discovery that the executive director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development also served on and chaired the CCC's Board of Directors. John Carr, who oversees the entire CCHD, has held executive positions in both organizations simultaneously.

Carr, whose work with the CCC goes back at least as far as 1983 (search for “John Carr”), was hired by the USCCB in 1987 as the “secretary for social development and world peace.” The CCC’s annual reports reveal that Carr was on the CCC’s Board of Directors in 1999 (see pp. 35–36 of tax return), 2000 ( pp. 22–24), 2001 (pp. 17–18),  2002 (p. 24),  2003 (p. 10),  2004 (see p. 10), 2005 and 2006 (p. 2) , and served on its executive committee from 1999 to 2001. Given his cozy relationship with the CCC, it’s no wonder the CCHD never responded to our concern over CCHD grantees’ affiliation with this radical group.

But the findings don’t end there. In 2000, while Carr was serving both organizations, the CCHD funneled $150,000 to the CCC  (see p. 17). In 2001, the CCHD featured Deepak Bhargava, then a CCC program director and now the CCC’s executive director, as a presenter at a four-day conference. After 2006, when Carr left the CCC’s Board of Directors, he was replaced by Tom Chabolla (p. 2), who worked for Carr as associate director of programs for the CCHD until 2008.

In December 2008, the CCC cosponsored a forum titled “Realizing the Promise,” rallying around the election of Barack Obama. Ralph McCloud, the CCHD’s current director, joined the celebration, proclaiming that “very soon we will see a new Jerusalem” (at 29:49 minutes).

The most mysterious aspect of our investigation, however, was discovering the omission of Carr’s CCC involvement in his biography on the USCCB web site, even though his involvement in several other organizations is mentioned. Several brochuresevent announcementsforums and bios for other organizations he is involved with are almost identical to his USCCB bio, except that they mention his involvement with the CCC—and his USCCB bio does not. Figuring that perhaps his USCCB bio listed only current positions, coalition members searched the internet archives dating as far back as 2004 and found that his USCCB bio has never mentioned the CCC. The omission is odd, and in light of our latest findings, begs many questions.

Happenstance and coincidence are no longer possible explanations. As one of the coalitions' main researchers, what I have discovered is full-blown Catholic cooperation with a pro-abortion, pro-radical homosexual organization at the highest levels of the CCHD.

We would like to know if the USCCB is aware of Carr’s affiliation with the CCC, and if so, how does the USCCB justify employing Carr at all, not to mention employing him at such a high level? If the USCCB did not know about this link between the two organizations and the CCC’s history of anti-life and radical homosexual activism, why not?

Jesus told His disciples, “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” As I have repeated since we began our investigation of the CCHD, the CCHD staff and its leaders are either incompetent or they are complicit. Whatever the case may be, there can be no doubt that the CCHD has completely failed its mission by sleeping with the enemy.

Michael Hichborn is American Life League’s lead researcher on the CCHD and host of the American Life League Report.

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