Wednesday, May 19, 2010

BREAKING: Bishops Conference withdraws from controversial civil rights coalition

Brian Saint Paul at Inside Catholic

Matt Smith have been on fire over the USCCB's membership in the controversial Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights (LCCHR). Deal wrote:
There is nothing ambiguous about LCCHR's lobbying activity on behalf of abortion, same-sex marriage, and "family planning." All the items on the LCCHR Web site listed here affirm their support of "marriage equality" and opposition to bans on same-sex marriage -- policy positions directly opposed to the teaching of the Catholic Church.
And more recently, after the group announced its support for Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, he asked:
How can it be that the USCCB pays for a membership in an organization like this?  I asked the same question back in February, "Why Did the USCCB Join This Civil Rights Organization?"
The Kagan endorsement should be the final straw -- the USCCB needs to withdraw its membership in the LCCHR.
This afternoon, Sister Mary Ann Walsh, Director of Media Relations, announced that the USCCB is indeed withdrawing from the organization."[T]he coalition took one more position in opposition to USCCB policy, this time taking a stand on a Supreme Court nominee," she said.

Bishop William Murphy, the chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Peace, gave the official statement (we received the press release by email; I haven't yet found a link):
In light of recent events, it has become increasingly clear that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ continued membership in the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights is not possible because of the LCCR’s expanded and broadened agenda. The interests of the Leadership Conference and those of the USCCB have diverged as the LCCR has moved beyond advocacy of traditional civil rights to advocacy of positions which do not reflect the principles and policies of the bishops’ Conference. In recent years, the Leadership Conference has joined others in advocating or opposing nominees for the Supreme Court, a practice which clearly contradicts USCCB policy and compromises the principled positions of the bishops. The latest example of this is the LCCR support of the Solicitor General’s nomination to the Supreme Court.
The USCCB deeply regrets this action has become necessary and pledges to continue our ongoing work on civil rights, racial and ethnic justice, and the protection of human life and dignity. While we cannot continue as a member of this coalition, we will work with those, including members of the Leadership Conference, on particular issues that advance the bishops’ commitment to oppose all forms of racism, unjust discrimination and bigotry.
Good for them. No one was questioning the bishops' commitment to human and civil rights.

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