by Ben Johnson
WASHINGTON, D.C., June 10, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The dissenting religious group Catholics United has received the lion's share of its funding from a homosexual multimillionaire, seemingly driving its growing denunciations of the Catholic hierarchy and the pro-life/pro-family movement.
Catholic News Agency combed the organization's financial records and discovered its top donor was Tim Gill, the former CEO of Quark, a record keeping software company.
The Gill Foundation donated $100,000 of Catholics United's $111,819 annual revenue in 2012. Since 2012, the group – which is headed by a former aide to Kathleen Sebelius – has become increasingly strident in its opposition to pro-life concerns about ObamaCare and the Catholic bishops' attempts to protect religious freedom and uphold traditional sexual teachings.
"For years, Catholics United abused the name 'Catholic' to divide us and spread confusion about what our faith teaches,” Thomas Peters, author of the American Papist blog, told LifeSiteNews. “Now we find out the members of this organization were knowingly engaged in a deception by which they spent the money of a man who publicly opposes the Catholic Church to secretly carry out his agenda.”
Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, told LifeSiteNews, “Catholics United is not an organization, per se: it is a letterhead outfit funded by those who hate the Catholic Church.”
“It exists for one reason: to create in the mind of the public that it is O.K. to reject the Church’s teachings on sexuality and still be a good Catholic,” he said. “There is nothing Catholic about it.”
Always left-of-center, Catholics United spent $500,000 to defend the seats of Democratic congressmen who voted for ObamaCare but who were said to be otherwise “pro-life.” The group's then-executive director, Chris Korzen – a former organizer for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) – said he was “frustrated by the dishonesty of many political operatives who oppose reform of our nation's outdated economic and social policies.”
Current executive director James Salt led a small contingent of protesters against Archbishop William Lori's Fortnight of Freedom event in 2012, which was organized to oppose various threats to religious freedom, including the HHS mandate that all employers must furnish their female employees with contraception, sterilization, and abortifacient drugs with no co-pay. Standing outside the Basilica of the Assumption in Baltimore, the small group held signs saying, “Bishops! You don't speak for me! Freedom for all!”
According to his online biography, Salt “oversaw the Kansas Democratic Party's faith outreach efforts, including messaging work for Governor [Kathleen] Sebelius,” later the secretary of Health and Human Services overseeing the implementation of the mandate.
Salt was also “part of the launch team of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good,” another dissenting group. His co-founder, Alexia Kelley, served as director of the HHS department's Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships under Sebelius.
Together, Salt and Catholics United dismissed the USCCB's concerns that, by forcing Catholic businesses to violate their faith, the mandate violated the Constitution's first freedom. Chris Pumpelly, communications director for Catholics United, said in 2012 that “everybody knows” when bishops raise concerns about religious liberty that “it is code for ‘Vote Republican.'”
By 2012, Catholics United began to focus on homosexuality.
That year the group accused the Knights of Columbus of engaging in “divisive culture wars” by supporting measures to protect marriage around the country from judicial activism.
In the last year, Catholics United blasted Catholic bishops for allowing schools to fire homosexual teachers at Catholic schools who got “married” to members of the same sex, saying the teachers' “only transgression was a desire to live with the same dignity afforded everyone else.” Catholic schools have since faced lawsuits for insisting its teachers abide by Catholic teachings in their public witness.
When Fr. Derek Lappe canceled his Seattle-area church's affiliation with the Boy Scouts over its new policy welcoming homosexual boys to join, Salt replied, “Fr. Lappe is saying your child is fundamentally ‘disordered.'” Catholics United has since intimated that there is no basis for opposition to homosexuality in the Gospels.
However, the Catechism of the Catholic Church states that the Bible “presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity” and that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.”
“They are contrary to the natural law,” the Catechism, the Catholic Church's official compendium of theological and moral doctrines, continues. “They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.”
Jennifer Kraska, the executive director of the Colorado Catholic Conference, told CNA, “it is very obvious that Mr. Gill does not agree with the Catholic Church and Her teachings on the issues of homosexuality and marriage.”
Critics accuse Gill and other mega-donors of trying to undermine religious denominations critical of homosexuality from the inside. For instance, the Gill Foundation’s 2006 annual report revealed that it had funded a study that “detailed work underway in denominations, seminaries, clergy coalitions and media to counter religious opposition” to homosexuality.
John Lomperis with the Institute for Religion and Democracy told CNA that Gill, the Arcus Foundation, and other tax-exempt foundations had undertaken “major, concerted efforts to engineer ‘hostile takeovers’ of American religious communities for their agenda.”
Part of that involves sidelining representatives of the Church's true teachings, Bill Donohue told LifeSiteNews. Catholics United “tried to get me kicked off CNN and orchestrated an IRS hit on me in 2008,” Donohue said. “Both attempts failed miserably.”
So did Catholics United's attempt to launch its own news agency in 2012. However, its statements receive wide distribution, which Donohue and Peters say confuses their readers.
“Catholics can best avoid being tricked by these underhanded tactics in the future if we follow the age-old teachings of the church and listen carefully to what our priests and bishops are saying about the issues of the day," Peters told LifeSiteNews.