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Public Responds to Catholic Diocese Retaliatory Funding Cut

March 26, 2010

The Portland Press Herald is reporting today that in the wake of the Catholic Diocese pulling funding from Preble Street’s Homeless Voices for Justice because of Preble Street’s support for No on 1 and marriage equality, there has been a groundswell of donations raising over $10,000 since the story broke.  Homeless Voices for Justice (HVJ) is an advocacy program that is housed at Preble Street (and is run separately).  HVJ did not take a stand, but the staff of Preble Street (their fiscal agent and host organization) did based on their experiences with youth whose homelessness was caused because of issues around sexual orientation and discrimination.  It’s a great response, and sends a strong message.  But we can do more.  You can donate directly here (note it’s for Homeless Voices for Justice).

The Portland Press Herald takes a moment to defend the Catholic Church, as funding is contingent on whether or not the organization falls in line with the Church’s teachings.

The dispute between the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland and Preble Street, an area homeless agency, points out an often forgotten attribute of free speech: It often comes with a price tag.

Just because the government cannot legally restrict an individual or group from making a statement, that doesn’t mean that there are no consequences when someone speaks out. When advocates working with Preble Street took a stand on the gay marriage vote last year, they faced the consequence of the agency losing a grant from Portland’s Catholic Campaign for Human Development.

That’s just what happened, and no one involved should have been surprised.

And they’re right.  But I haven’t heard a single person say that Catholic Charities shouldn’t be able to do this.  The difference is that the Catholic Church doesn’t have any financial control over individuals, so we can all express just how disgusted we are.  With the Pope having his own issues having dodged punishing a pedophile who raped deaf children, we can invoke our right to free speech and say their priorities are WILDLY skewed.


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