Rejecting right wing political attacks, social justice Catholics, along with allies, restore funding to tiny embattled immigrants’ group
DENVER and PUEBLO, Colo. – Catholics United Education Fund, with allies in the progressive movement and donors from across the country today delivered an initial check of $7,000 to Compañeros, a tiny immigrants’ rights organization, whose funding from the Catholic Church was recently cut following a dispute over alliances with groups that have non-discrimination policies for LGBT Americans.
Hundreds of donors from 33 states, the District of Columbia and Australia submitted their contributions to Compañeros via CUEF’s new donation portal, WithCharityForAll.org. Along with grants from philanthropists and organizations like the Colorado-based Gill Foundation, the total effort to restore funding to Compañeros has raised more than $60,000.
“Today is a great victory for immigrants and families in Colorado,” said James Salt, executive director of Catholics United Education Fund. “Not only is Compañeros’ funding restored, but it sends a clear message to those who would use the Catholic faith to divide: your train is leaving the station. Catholics want pastoral guidance from their faith, not political games.”
In recent years, right wing elements within the American church have co-opted the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, traditionally a powerful tool in the fight to eradicate poverty, and used it as a political wedge. One such victim of a recent CCHD “purity test” was Compañeros, which was found guilty by a loose association with a social justice coalition in Colorado that refused to discriminate against LGBT Americans.
“When CCHD cut our funding, I was sure we were finished,” said Nicole Mosher, Compañeros’ executive director. “Being able to again serve the immigrant community in Colorado without fear of losing funding makes me happier than I can express. My heart is full of thanks.”
When Pueblo Bishop Fernando Isern refused to intervene on behalf of Compañeros, Salt established a Colorado petition drive calling on Isern to rethink his decision and restore funding. The petition garnered more than 2,000 signatures and Salt, along with Mosher, will deliver the petition today at 3 p.m. to the Pueblo diocesan offices.
Catholics United and Catholics United Education Fund, its 501(c)(3) sister organization, are non-profit, non-partisan groups dedicated to promoting the message of justice and the common good found at the heart of the Catholic Social Tradition. For more information about Catholics United, follow us on our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/CatholicsUnited) or on our blog at www.OurDailyThread.org.