"We Need Pastors, Not Politicians. Your Election Year Antics are Hurting the Church!"
BALTIMORE - Catholics for Equality, the country's largest national political organization of pro-LGBT equality Catholics, joined hands tonight with several fair-minded and faithful Catholic social justice groups in organizing a peaceful protest outside the kickoff Mass for the bishops' "Fortnight for Freedom" election year political campaign. The Catholic groups came together with prayers and hymns under one giant united banner which read, Bishops: We Need Pastors, Not Politicians, Your Antics are Hurting the Church.
The peaceful protest took place outside a Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Baltimore. The special Mass was celebrated by newly installed Archbishop of Baltimore William Lori. This was one of Archbishop Lori's first public events as the new Archbishop of Baltimore, and focused on the national political campaign he leads as the Chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on Religious Liberty.
"The bishops no longer represent Catholics in the pews on so many social issues, from contraception to legal equality for LGBT people," said Joseph Palacios, Director of the Catholics for Equality Foundation. "We also reject the bishops' election year campaign that they are now somehow victims of religious liberty."
According to a new report released today by the Public Religion Research Institute, 57% of American Catholics do not believe that the right to religious liberty is being threatened in America today. The report also notes that 65% of Catholics believe that most employers should be required to provide their employees with health care plans that cover contraception at no cost and that 63% believe religiously affiliated agencies should not be able to refuse to place children with qualified gay and lesbian couples.
"The bishops' "Fortnight for Freedom" 2012 campaign is nothing more than election year political posturing," said Phil Attey, Executive Director of Catholics for Equality. "For the past 10 years the bishops' have earned the public branding of abusers, oppressors, and political bullies. Catholics in the pews don't listen to them anymore and nor do political leaders ... including Catholic political leaders. In order to change this political reality, the bishops need to change their branding from bully to victim. But nobody's buying it and they're only bringing more embarrassment to our church."
The USCCB's "Fortnight for Freedom" campaign launched tonight consists of events in over 37 dioceses across the country. The election year campaign concludes on July 4th with a nationally televised Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC.
Peaceful Protest Photos:
Catholics for Equality empowers pro-equality Catholics to put our faith into ethical and effective political action on behalf of the LGBT community and their families.
Catholics for Equality was founded in 2010 to support, educate, and mobilize Catholics in the advancement of freedom and equality at the federal, state, and local levels for our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender family, parish and community members.