Breaking: Catholic fund drops Street Roots over Planned Parenthood listing

Catholic fund drops Street Roots over Planned Parenthood Listing: An in-depth report looks at how politics and religion mix in the world of charitable giving

After five years of financial support through the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, Street Roots was informed this spring that it would no longer be eligible for funding.

The reason given by the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon was the a single listing in Street Roots’ Rose City Resource, a pocket-sized booklet listing 300-plus resources for people experiencing homelessness and poverty. There, under the category of health care, was a listing for Planned Parenthood, which in a half-inch space included a description of the various basic services, including contraception, that the organization provides to low- or no-income customers seeking health care.

The message from CCHD managers at the Portland Archdiocese, although supportive of the booklet’s overall mission, was made clear in terms of funding: If Planned Parenthood remained in the booklet, CCHD, in keeping with Catholic teaching, could no longer fund Street Roots. Street Roots decided to keep the listing.

But what was behind the call? What changed? How did a piece of information suddenly morph into a theological offense?

That question launched a two-month investigation into how community organizing groups across the country, including the seven noted in the story, were losing funding from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, that nation’s largest funder of self-help, social justice groups for the poor. Behind these moves by the Church is a renewed and revitalized push by conservative organizations within the Catholic community that are using allegations of doctrinal and political offenses to defund community organizing, social justice and empowerment of the poor. More than 50 CCHD-funded organizations have been investigated and labeled “anti-Catholic” by a reform movement that has prompted the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to reconsider how it funds community organizing. In the balance are thousands of cash-strapped nonprofits that CCHD supports, and the millions of poor and disenfranchised people who rely on these programs that today serve as proxy to government initiatives.

The impact of this conservative campaign, and the consequences to the organizations in their sights, are compiled in an in-depth report in the Sept. 17 edition of Street Roots, which will be available through all of our vendors on Friday. Our editorial, which follows, addresses Street Roots’ view on this disturbing trend and the consequences to all organizations working to end poverty:

What we believe in

What is made evident to Street Roots, time and again, is that many things can get in the way when you’re trying to do what’s right.

Homelessness and poverty are a national crisis, a stain on our collective will to maintain a society that believes in equality and justice.

Homelessness touches every Portlander in one way or another, and has so for decades. And in that time, the issue — and effective ways to address it and help people  — has left local communities strained, divided and dumbfounded as to the correct formula for dismantling the institution that homelessness has become.

In each issue of Street Roots, and the Rose City Resource, you will find information on a wide variety of individuals, organizations and institutions. That includes groups working in the faith-based communities, the private sector, law enforcement, hospitals, service providers, government and advocates. All of them work in one form or another to eradicate poverty, and all of its manifestations — domestic violence, human trafficking, drug addiction, unemployment, mental illness, post-traumatic disorders, economic disaster and so on.

Street Roots prides itself on not being pinned to any one ideology or agenda, and doing our best to both report and distribute information to the general public that will ultimately make a difference and create real change.

That’s why being defunded ($5-10k annually) by the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) through the Portland Archdiocese for our listing of Planned Parenthood (See page 1, On the left side of God.) in the Rose City Resource is a shot to the heart, and ultimately a shot at our entire community that is working to end homelessness.

Knowing the paramount importance of health care for people in poverty, particularly for young women, we have an obligation to note the tremendous resources of Planned Parenthood, and a host of other health organizations, working with people on our streets. And we’re proud to do so. Likewise, we’re proud to provide information on the diverse organizations working to solve homelessness and poverty within the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender communities. And we are equally proud to list and report on a host of faith-based programs, including the many services of the Catholic Church.

The point being, nothing is black or white about poverty. And blind ideology in any form has no place at the table when it comes to solving homelessness. By defunding Street Roots for listing Planned Parenthood, and other groups for similar reasons, CCHD is drawing a disturbing and potentially disruptive line in the sand. CCHD is the largest private group funding community organizing in the United States, and pulling its support is a blow to community and grassroots organizing at both the local and national level.

Street Roots is small train that carries a heavy load. The load just got a lot heavier because not only are we losing core funding, but it’s questionable as to the extent that we can work with other community groups supported by the church for fear of putting those organizations at jeopardy for the association — all because we believe that the community should have access to the resources available to them. It is this resourcefulness that empowers people to overcome obstacles, to come together around a larger cause and to improve the lives of everyone in the community. That is what we believe in.

Here are is what Street Roots Executive Director Israel Bayer had to say on the matter:

“At the end of the day, a witch hunt is a witch hunt, and that’s exactly what Street Roots and dozens of community organizations working to fight poverty in the United States are facing, a witch hunt born out of fear and intolerance. And let’s be clear, this is far from over. Every group that currently receives funds from CCHD is being asked to not take part in activities, or align themselves with the very groups it will take to dismantle poverty in this country. In our case, the very tool is the Rose City Resource guide. The guide gives people experiencing homelessness and poverty a chance to become their own advocates through education, and now it’s being used against us because we have chosen to deliver to people, without judgment, the resources that are available to them in our community.”

We know many people in the community have an interest in this story on one side or the other. We want to hear from you. Read the entire 5,000 word, in-depth investigation in Street Roots tomorrow, Sept. 17.

25 responses to “Breaking: Catholic fund drops Street Roots over Planned Parenthood listing

  1. Pingback: Extra! Extra! | For those who can’t afford free speech

  2. Anti-catholic? That is rich, considering how many valuable Catholic-based resources are listed in the Rose City Resource Guide. And of course, what better way to reduce abortions than making inexpensive contraception widely available? Planned Parenthood was there for me, at one time, and helped me avoid any unplanned pregnancies when I was a poor student. This sounds like a radical right-wing takeover of a good organization, CCHD. What a damn shame; I’m sorry, Street Roots, and I’m sorry for the whole anti-poverty movement.

  3. St. Roots Supporter

    It is sad when people are so intolerant and base all their decisions on one issue. This is why the world is at war, why injustices continue to exist, why common sense solutions to problems cannot be achieved. No one cooperates, it’s all about “winning” the propaganda game. It’s no different than the logic and “reason” some use to bomb our office buildings and kill innocent people. Intolerance imperils us all.

  4. So … where can we read the full story?

  5. Mike,

    The story will be on-line late next week. We are withholding the story on-line so vendors experiencing homelessness and poverty selling the paper will be able to sell as many papers as possible…


    Israel Bayer

  6. Perhaps Street Roots should investigate PLANNED PARENTHOOD ROOTS. Their are deep into eugenics and racism and if you think an association with a group who founder (Margaret Sanger) was motivated by racist eugenics who proudly bragged she gave Klan speeches , if something to be proud of, than shame on you In case you are ignorant of these facts, I urge you to watch the documentation in the film: Maafa21 which will show the racism , play the quotes and reveal the documents to your. Maafa21 is a powerful and fully researched 2.5 hour film and you can preview it here

  7. Despite allegations of racism,[36] Sanger’s work with minorities earned the respect of some civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr. according to Planned Parenthood Federation of America.[37] In their biographical article about Margaret Sanger, Planned Parenthood notes:

    In 1930, Sanger opened a family planning clinic in Harlem that sought to enlist support for contraceptive use and to bring the benefits of family planning to women who were denied access to their city’s health and social services. Staffed by a black physician and black social worker, the clinic was endorsed by The Amsterdam News (the powerful local newspaper), the Abyssinian Baptist Church, the Urban League, and the black community’s elder statesman, W. E. B. Du Bois.

  8. Sanger’s work with minorities also earned the respect of Adolf Hitler, her fellow racist eugenecist.

    Seriously, the uncritical embrace of Planned Parenthood by people who claim to care about women’s health and rights is stunning.

    “We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population,” she said, “if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.” Woman’s Body, Woman’s Right: A Social History of Birth Control in America, by Linda Gordon

  9. This comment has been removed by SR.

  10. All forms of abortion and contraception, regardless of reason, are completely and totally antithetical to Catholic teaching. According to the dogmatic teachings of the Catholic Church, abortion and contraception are both “intrinsically evil,” which is to say that they are evil actions in and of themselves.”

    As such, for Catholic money to go to organizations promoting these things would be counter-productive to the mission of the Church, which is the salvation of souls. In other words, “How can the Church save souls if it is funding organizations that are promoting evil acts?”

    So, to answer your question, the Catholic Church SHOULD have been screening for these things all along.

  11. Mike,

    The Church should be supporting Street Roots regardless of its listing of a particular group, like Planned Parenthood — because they serve the poor without judgment. I’m very proud of Street Roots for standing up, and saying enough is enough and not being silenced by timid, passive-aggressive Church leaders that have no idea how to handle your dogmatic point of view… Go Street Roots!

  12. “Friend of SR,”
    Saying that the Catholic Church should fund organizations that support enemies of the Church is like saying that Israel should be funding Hamas, or that the FBI should be funding the KGB, or that the Redskins should be funding the Cowboys, or that the abolitionists should have funded slave-owners … how can you possibly ask that of the Catholic Church?

    Can’t you accept that the Catholic Church has a very strict, unyielding set of criteria, and when that criteria is not or cannot be met, then the funds cannot be granted? Why would you say that the Church should fund its enemies? Why should the Church fund organizations that support its enemies? Bear in mind that Street Roots came to the Catholic Church looking for funds, KNOWING FULLY WELL what the criteria was for receiving those funds! When it violates that criteria, knowingly and WILLINGLY (the article openly admitted that it decided to go with keeping Planned Parenthood in print), then why is it at all surprised when those funds are then denied?

    It seems rather disingenuous and intellectually dishonest to me.

  13. It’s my understanding that Street Roots never supported Planned Parenthood. They listed the organization in the guide. That’s very different. I’m sure there are other organizations in the guide that SR, and the Catholic church may or may not agree with, but they chose to run organizations that serve homeless and low-income people and families, including Catholic organizations throughout Portland.

    It’s also my understanding from the article that CCHD has funded Street Roots for five years. The Rose City Resource Guide has been around for 10-years, and has always included Planned Parenthood. Isn’t disingenuous to have funded them for the past five years?

    And from reading the article, I don’t think Street Roots is surprised at all. The article is very neutral and actually presents many of the right-wing groups and CCHD in a very fair light. More than I would have liked.

  14. And, if you do your homework both the FBI and KGB do work together on foreign affairs, and both the players of the Redskins and Cowboys work together for union contracts, while ownership works together as reps for the NFL, and the NFC East. We all need each other in one capacity or another. It doesn’t have to be this way…

  15. Friend of SR,
    1) It isn’t just about Planned Parenthood, but ALL of the pro-abortion institutions, as well as all of the pro-homosexual institutions in the Rose City Resource, not to mention the fact that Street Roots has published a number of article advocating for “reproductive rights” and/or homosexuality. The fact of the matter is that Street Roots pushes an agenda that is entirely antithetical to Catholic teaching.

    2) I would not be surprised if certain pro-abortion, pro-homosexual sympathizers on the CCHD staff gave a blind-eye to the pro-abortion and pro-homosexual activities of Street Roots for those 5 years, and this time, they simply got caught, forcing them to defund the paper.

    3) If Street Roots isn’t surprised, then why make a fuss about it with an article?

    4) The point in mentioning opposed organizations is to show that one should not be funding its enemies or its enemy’s sympathizers. The fact of the matter is that the Catholic Church has an absolute teaching, upon which it will NEVER waver, and funding organizations acting AGAINST that teaching undermines its entire purpose for existence.

  16. Friend of Street Roots

    Yeah, but what about the Redskins and Cowboys?

  17. It is clear to me thatStreet Roots idea of helping the homeless includes killing the unborn as a way to reduce their numbers. That is what you are doing when you refer women to Planned Parenthood & at least 1 other women’s health center that does abortions whether you want to admit it or not. Bravo to the Diocese of Portland for standing up for the most helpless of all, the unborn.

  18. 1. Catholics do not believe in abortion or medical contraceptives, that CCHD money is donated by Catholics.
    2. Planned Parenthood provides abortions and medical contraceptives.
    3. Catholics provide CCHD money by their charitable organizations.
    4. Street Roots was warned and chose to include the Planned Parenthood in their publication anyway.
    5. Catholics complained to their diocese and the funding was pulled.
    6. Now Street Roots wants to whine.
    Just one program, Catholic Relief is the largest charitable organization in the U.S. excepting the U.S. government. Catholics already do their share and their duty to combat poverty. CCHD is a special collection that the Church gives to other worthy organizations and we demand that our money not be spent promulgating behaviors that are harmful to people, spiritually or physically. Street Roots has the right to advertise Planned Parenthood but they need to use someone else’s money or earn their own.

  19. I made a donation to offset some of the loss. I hope others do the same.

  20. I support Street Roots and have huge issues with the Catholic Church around a lot of issues but in this case I think Street Roots is simply whining. All funding streams come with some kind of requirements and strings – money comes and goes . Turning this into a “Catholic Church Bashes Street Roots” fear-raiser smacks of the kind of tactics I expect from the Tea Party.

    The smartest thing that’s been said during this whole kerfuffle is Rathke’s comment the “The real problem is that until we, as organizers and progressives, become more serious – and effective – at making our organizations legitimately self-sufficient, there is no protection from the whims of funders, both good and bad… all of our days are numbered unless we finally do what we have to do to control our own organizational resources.” Amen

  21. Thank God the Catholic Church in America dumped these guys. They had NO business receiving funds in the first place and I am sure they laughed all the way to the bank to cash the checks they did get. ONE THING IS TO BE MADE CLEAR HERE: We are not going to take your bleeding heart liberal crap anymore. We finally learned that it is very easy to spot the bad guys. LOOK FOR THE WHINERS. You had ABSOLUTELY NO BUSINESS taking money from the Catholic Church and those within had no businness giving it to you. You show no appreciation for what you did recieve which only further shows what you are all about. We will find all of you and remove your organizations from the Church one at a time as well as those who work within the Church -we will expose you and have you fired. NO MORE OF YOUR PERVERTED, LIBERAL B.S.

  22. To Mike and Jean

    This is a note to Catholics, and to everyone. I support funders making their funding choices based on their values, even if it seems to me to be confusing or politically motivated. However, what happens to Catholics’ ability to work for social change when they cut themselves off from the organizations doing the most active, grassroots social change work?

    I understand that some funders, and not only within the Catholic Church, prefer to focus on social service. But what about those Catholics who want to be allies in social change? Are there any ways to remain true to your beliefs other than cutting yourselves off from organizations who seem to believe differently than you on some key points?

    It’s not an easy question. For many Catholics, the sanctity of life is not only a political hot-button, it is a core belief. I imagine that for many Catholics, this issue with the Rose City Resource Guide listing a pro-choice resource would be similar to a non-religious progressive like me learning that an organization I support is listing a racist organization as an equal to others.

    I know organizations like Street Roots lose when organizations like CCHD cut their funding. But I also believe that Catholics striving for social change lose when they cut themselves off from organizations who are effectively doing that work. Jean, Mike, and others: Do you see it differently?

  23. You mention “groups doing the most . . . work.” However, “Jean” has already pointed out that Catholics do more than their share. We do. You are asking us to condone and support the killing of innocent human lives. Just because people like you have rationalized this into being “ok” doesn’t mean we should just accept it. An evil doesn’t make a good. The belief that woman are expected to be able to handle intentionally killing the life growing within them is absolutely absurd and male chauvinism at its very worst. Abortion is creating generations of women with deep-seated guilt as well as generations of men who don’t have to be responsible. No, we, as Catholics, will give to organizations who respect humanity in its wholeness and teach them to respect themselves and make good decisions.

  24. Pingback: Hundreds stand up for Planned Parenthood | For those who can’t afford free speech

  25. Pingback: More Catholic Funding Controversies « Wade Rathke: Chief Organizer Blog

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