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Money pledged for groups stripped of funding after gay marriage dustup

Wednesday, Sep 25, 2013

* Mark Brown

Those immigrant advocacy groups that lost funding from a Catholic charity in a tussle with Cardinal George and the Archdiocese of Chicago over gay marriage may get their money after all — but from somebody else.

A group of progressive charitable foundations — active in both the immigration reform and marriage equality movements — will step up Wednesday to announce creation of an emergency fund to replace the $300,000 stripped from member organizations of the Illinois Coalition of Immigrant and Refugee Rights.

I’m glad to see that somebody has got these folks’ back.

As you’ve read here previously, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, a program of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, cut off funding to those organizations this summer after the coalition endorsed same-sex marriage legislation pending before the Illinois General Assembly.

The cutoff included funds to such worthwhile programs as Bikes N’ Roses, an initiative of the Albany Park Neighborhood Council, which operates a free bike repair clinic that trains young people as bike mechanics. Punishing them was just plain senseless.

Now coming to their rescue will be the newly-formed Solidarity Fund, which will be operated through the Crossroads Fund of Chicago — with involvement from Fred Eychaner’s Alphawood Foundation, Chicago Foundation for Women, the Gill Foundation and the Pierce Family Foundation.

Look, I understand that some folks were outraged by this, but the Catholic Campaign, like any organization, has the right to withdraw funding from coalition partners that aren’t fully on board with its program. The immediate need was to find alternative funding. It’s been found, at least for now.

…Adding… I put this in comments after some criticism about this post…

I stand by what I wrote.

But what none of you have caught onto yet is that this is exactly what I said when the state cut off funding for Catholic Charities after that group refused to cooperate with the civil unions law on adoption and foster care.

The Cardinal and the Bishops would do well to stop complaining about that state action when they take these sorts of actions against others.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - CircularFiringSquad - Wednesday, Sep 25, 13 @ 10:36 am:

    Perhaps the Catholic Campaign might want to read the new pope’s recent commentary and sideline their bigotry for awhile
    In the meantime good for the new supporters.
    Oh yeah the Catholic Campaign has all the free speech rights in the world, but they deserve to be labeled for what they are.

  2. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Sep 25, 13 @ 10:40 am:

    “I’m glad that somebody has got these folks’ back.”

    Me too.

  3. - sean - Wednesday, Sep 25, 13 @ 10:40 am:

    Punishing them is senseless? You take money from an organization under certain conditions and you disobey these conditions and they withhold funds based on one not following these conditions, how is this senseless

  4. - Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner - Wednesday, Sep 25, 13 @ 10:54 am:

    Having the right to do something does not make it the right thing to do.

  5. - Lil Squeezy - Wednesday, Sep 25, 13 @ 11:00 am:

    Seems like the direct descendent of Peter was warning against the views of Illinois’ church leaders. Seems to me that the pontiff is trying to save the future of the church. But I am not catholic so what do I know.

    The pontiff may not be willing to judge, but obviously the cardinal is. And it is certainly his right to do so as a citizen, regardless of what the old book says.

  6. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Sep 25, 13 @ 11:01 am:

    “I’m glad to see that somebody has got these folks’ back”

    And who has had these folks’ back for all these previous years? You make it sound like the organization that had supported Immigrant and Refugee Rights is savor inch this situation. That Coalition didn’t support these immigrant advocacy groups out of some heterosexual reasons so they are acutely aware of the hardships their decision had on the groups they cherish all this time, and don’t relish it.

    The fact that someone stepped in to help is good, but don’t bash the groups that supported them previously either.

  7. - Wensicia - Wednesday, Sep 25, 13 @ 11:02 am:

    I don’t have much sympathy for an organization that refuses to accept any point of view not included within their doctrine, yet insists on imposing that doctrine on every outside organization they do business with.

  8. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Sep 25, 13 @ 11:08 am:

    The Catholic Campaign for Human Development is also a federal contractor to the tune of about $65 million a year in taxpayer funds.

  9. - David Ormsby - Wednesday, Sep 25, 13 @ 11:14 am:

    The Archdiocese of Chicago is hardly “like any organization”.

    For a charitable and spiritual institution, it has a marked talent for the art of punishment.

  10. - Formerly Known As... - Wednesday, Sep 25, 13 @ 11:21 am:

    Nice to see someone else stepping up.

  11. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Sep 25, 13 @ 11:21 am:

    You don’t have sympathy for an organization that refuses any point of view not included within their doctrine, yet insists on imposing that doctrine on every outside organization they do business with?

    Which group are you talking about because that statement is applicable to both sides?

    You want your charity with no strings attached? You just want charitable organizations to be operated by suckers? You are dreaming.

    We have a conflict between our rights. That’s life. Just because you favor one right over another right doesn’t make a right, a wrong, especially to those depending upon that right.

    Money isn’t free, even when it’s supposedly charity.

  12. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Sep 25, 13 @ 11:31 am:

    I stand by what I wrote.

    But what none of you have caught onto yet is that this is exactly what I said when the state cut off funding for Catholic Charities after that group refused to cooperate with the civil unions law on adoption and foster care.

    The Cardinal and the Bishops would do well to stop complaining about that state action when they take these sorts of actions against others.

  13. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Sep 25, 13 @ 11:36 am:

    ==The Cardinal and the Bishops would do well to stop complaining about that state action when they take these sorts of actions against others.==

    Exactly. They hypocrisy of their actions is unbelievable.

  14. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Sep 25, 13 @ 11:51 am:

    Charity has conditions on it , and it is not an entitlement.

    What we are seeing is sad. Illinois’ demands upon its support among many charitable organizations is being needlessly hampered due to the State’s insistence on an issue they obviously place a higher value upon than what it had previously.

    If you desire a complete rupture between government and churches, then don’t cry over those who grew dependent on the relationship between the two over the past fifty years. Fact is, it has been these charitable organizations that have done much of the heavy lifting for the State on programs that have become too expensive and costly for the state to handle by itself.

    Churches are discovering that their government partners can upend their missions.

    I do not favor sacrificing those in need to the political purity being demanded by the state to those private charities which have so successfully distributed government policies at such a great savings to Illinois taxpayers.

    There should be a compromise suitable for all parties involved.

  15. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Sep 25, 13 @ 11:53 am:

    Other states are finding a way around this. It’s a shame there is no political will to do the same in Chicago.

  16. - MrJM - Wednesday, Sep 25, 13 @ 11:54 am:

    Yep. The great thing about money is its fungibility.

    – MrJM

  17. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Sep 25, 13 @ 12:03 pm:

    –Charity has conditions on it , and it is not an entitlement.–

    State contracts are not an entitlement. Following the law would seem to be minimum requirement for a contract.

    Catholic Charities of Chicago still receives $150 million a year in government grants, about 76% of its revenues. Actual charitable contributions provide about 12%.

  18. - CircularFiringSquad - Wednesday, Sep 25, 13 @ 12:14 pm:

    Capt Fax
    If a Catholic business wants to be a state vendor then it should work by state rules not some special set of rules
    No one is telling them cannot continue to hate who ever they want to hate. They are just being told they cannot hate and expect a big pile of cash

  19. - CircularFiringSquad - Wednesday, Sep 25, 13 @ 12:25 pm:

    Speaking of hate
    It is another great day in Central IL
    Rush gets preempted by Cardinals baseball

  20. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Sep 25, 13 @ 12:47 pm:


    All the state asked is that these organizations follow the law. It’s pretty simple. You place the blame erroneously on the state for what you call “political purity.” It’s not the state that is demanding any sort of purity. If these organizations, such as Catholic Charities, were truly interested in providing the great charitable services that they provide then they would have set aside their own “purity” in favor of helping those in need. Instead they chose to put this one issue ahead of their charitable mission. This isn’t on the state, my friend. These charitable organizations need only look in the mirror to see who is at fault here.

  21. - Lil Squeezy - Wednesday, Sep 25, 13 @ 2:05 pm:

    @ Vman

    “Great savings to Illinois taxpayers”

    Did you forget about their tax exempt status?

  22. - Juvenal - Wednesday, Sep 25, 13 @ 2:15 pm:


    Your admonition was spot on.

    The parallel is a little off though.

    Catholic Charities was a state contractor, they lost their contract for refusing to follow state law. There was no malice in it. Quite the contrary, the people who used to do the work are largely still doing the work, under a separate legal umbrella.

    With the coalition, the story is quite different. the malice was transparent. organizations receive grants based on grant application guidelines. Responsible funders don’t attach a bunch of strings outside the grant, particularly those that limit the grantee’s right to associate and petition government.

    That said, this was bound to backfire. And it did, about as badly as it could have for the Archdiocese, by uniting immigrants rights groups and gay rights advocates with a common civil rights agenda. That threatens the church’s posture even further, since Hispanics are about the only Catholic bloc that largely holds to doctrine.

  23. - A guy... - Wednesday, Sep 25, 13 @ 2:32 pm:

    Really don’t want to get into this whole argument again, but when (Wordslinger) states that the state provides Catholic Charities $150M a year in funding, it implies that the money is to be used at Catholic Charities discretion. Nothing could be further from the truth. CC acts as a staffing agency for the state to save millions of dollars providing relief for people with low paid or no paid workers. If CC disappeared tomorrow, less people would get food, goods and services at a vastly higher cost. No one has done more to help immigrants than the churches. In Chicago, specifically Catholic Charities. They do it with or without state funds. The criticism is a field day for church bashers. Ever stop to think that no matter how much judgmental criticism they get, these folks still go to work and get their mission done with the folks who need it most.

  24. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Sep 25, 13 @ 2:41 pm:

    ==The criticism is a field day for church bashers.==

    It’s not church bashing to expect somebody to follow the law. And I wouldn’t be so quick to throw out the “judgmental criticism” argument when they, too, are engaged in a heavy amount of judgment on others.

  25. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Sep 25, 13 @ 2:47 pm:

    A Guy, nothing was implied. Catholic Charities is contracted to provide a service. They are paid for it.

    According to the BBB, in FY 2010, Catholic Charities has a paid staff of 2,278 It’s highest paid staffer was the COO at $162,129.

  26. - walkinfool - Wednesday, Sep 25, 13 @ 2:56 pm:

    The state maintains funding its contractors when they follow the law, and not when they don’t.

    The Church maintains its charitable funding to help those organizations who help those in need, unless they publicly support a political position which the Church opposes.

    This is a false equivalency.

    A Guy: I love what these people do for all those in need; they deserve our credit and admiration.

    I don’t like the often unrelated political actions of the Church hierarchy. “We’ll help through only those organizations who believe in our doctrine.”

  27. - cover - Wednesday, Sep 25, 13 @ 3:02 pm:

    From the description of the program, what does Bikes N’ Roses have to do either with immigrant rights or same-sex marriage? It seems like an odd organization to have gotten mixed up in this fight - unless it’s undergoing “mission creep” beyond its stated purpose.

  28. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Sep 25, 13 @ 3:13 pm:

    –They do it with or without state funds.–

    How? Government funds are 76% of revenues.

  29. - Wumpus - Wednesday, Sep 25, 13 @ 3:15 pm:

    Beggers can’t be choosers. I don’t remember ignoring my mother/father when they said don’t spend all my allowance on candy. They gave me the money, I had to follow their rules.

  30. - Robert the Bruce - Wednesday, Sep 25, 13 @ 3:42 pm:

    The problem here is that Catholic Charities does provide a great bit of services to folks in need, and they do so at a reasonable cost. They are hardly getting rich - top-paid staff member makes $162,000 and the staff is over 2,000? That $162k seems quite reasonable to me.

    And many folks who work for Catholic Charities at the ground level tend to be left-of-center social workers who disagree with the church’s stand on abortion and gay rights. It isn’t an army of bigots running around doing good work. Rather, most folks at the ground level are smart enough to know how to get around the church’s stance on social issues to serve whoever needs help without prejudice.

    But unfortunately sometimes a conservative Catholic group or Cardinal George gets wind of something specific, they raise a stink, so then they’ve got to pull some funding. Good thing somebody else stepped up. And in this case it would seem quite reasonable for state government to cut Catholic Campaign’s funding this year by the $300k that they pulled from those worthy groups.

    But making Catholic Charities or Catholic Campaign ineligible for government funding unless they change their views on abortion and gay rights is easy to say, but not realistic, and not helpful to those who need services.

  31. - D P Gumby - Wednesday, Sep 25, 13 @ 4:31 pm:

    I wonder whether that ideological purity requirement was ever expressed prior to the cut off of funds? Also, note the article in NYT today about the “freedom of religion” being used as a mask for a “license to discriminate.”

  32. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Sep 25, 13 @ 5:12 pm:

    ==But making Catholic Charities or Catholic Campaign ineligible for government funding unless they change their views on abortion and gay rights is easy to say, but not realistic, and not helpful to those who need services. ==

    Nobody is forcing them to change their views on anything. They are being asked to follow the law. It’s really that simple. I don’t understand this single-mindedness when it comes to gay issues. You would think it was the end of the world. A church should provide services to anybody that needs them if they were truly a charitable organization. I’m not disparaging Catholic Charities because I think they are a great organization. What I do find fault with, however, is that they are so fixated on this gay thing that they let it get in the way of their good mission. They don’t have to like gay people. I’m sure there are charities out there that don’t like some of the people that they serve. But you do it anyway. Jesus made a point of helping the outcasts of society. The church could learn from that lesson. Jesus wouldn’t say, “Sorry, you are gay so I don’t think I’ll help you out.”

  33. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Sep 25, 13 @ 7:02 pm:

    We knew this was going to be a consequence. We knew this gay marriage law couldn’t be accepted by many of the organizations that provided crucial administrative support and distribution of our state policies. We knew this would threaten the long standing mutually beneficial relationships between Illinois and it’s non-profit church-based organizations.

    So what’s the big surprise? The fact that these organizations really believe what they believe? The fact that good honest sweet people working with the poor and helpless don’t agree with the State on this? I sense a real anger that the pro-gay marriage supporters are not supported by the Mother Theresas and Bishop Tutus of the world on this.

    How many thousands will no longer find help from these places for every gay marriage performed? Illinois won’t compromise with its churches. It knew it would happen and didn’t care because some people felt they knew more than their long time friends. And didn’t listen.


  34. - Wordslinger - Wednesday, Sep 25, 13 @ 8:59 pm:

    Cathholic Charities gets $150 million in government funds. It’s 76 percent of it’s budget. They haven’t been cutoff.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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