San Francisco, CA – Opponents of Proposition 8 vandalized Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church, in the heart of San Francisco’s gay Castro community; the California resolution, passed by voters in November 2008, rejected the legalization of gay marriage. Swastikas were painted on the church and the names “Ratzinger” (referring to Pope Benedict XVI) and “Niederauer” (referring to San Francisco Archbishop George Niederauer) were scrawled beside the Nazi symbols. January 12 The ACLU filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) over its partnership with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to fight human trafficking. The ACLU filed suit because the USCCB does not use the money received from HHS to provide emergency contraception or abortion. The ACLU claimed that the bishops were imposing their religious beliefs on victims of human trafficking by denying them access to services that the Church considers immoral, thereby making the government’s involvement unconstitutional.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State told a federal appeals court that a “Christian cross is not an appropriate symbol to memorialize deceased veterans of many different faith perspectives and should not be displayed on government property.”
The case, Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America v. City of San Diego, concerns the Mt. Soledad cross that is displayed at a public veterans’ memorial. Joining Americans United on the brief were: Hadassah; the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, Inc.; Interfaith Alliance; Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers; Military Religious Freedom Foundation; Progressive Christians Uniting; and the Unitarian Universalist Association.
Ouachita Parish, LA – Americans United for Separation of Church and State issued a press release claiming that a public school would be violating the Constitution if it sponsored a field trip to a Christian event called “Just for Jesus.” The organization told the school officials to “stop meddling in the religious lives of students.”
Madison, WI – The Freedom From Religion Foundation said that two governmental bodies in Wisconsin had to cease opening meetings with prayer.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) issued a statement titled “Nothing fails like prayer” in response to President Barack Obama’s appearance at the National Prayer Breakfast. The organization took umbrage with the president’s words: “Responsibility for the well-being of people…requires a living, breathing, active faith.” FFRF claimed that with these words the president was “broadening an entanglement between church and state.”
The organization claimed that, “Nothing fails like prayer. Is there a greater confession of human failure than turning to prayer?” FFRF went onto say, “to hear our new president laud prayer as if prayer accomplishes something, is most disappointing.” The group also called prayer the “ultimate non-action, the ultimate cop-out.”
A supporter of Voice of the Faithful (VOTF) lashed out at the Catholic League because of our opposition to a bill in Connecticut that called for a restructuring of the Catholic Church. In the message, the supporter said, “VOTF is fighting to correct the many scum bag bishops who still exist.”
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation called for the court martial of the Army’s chief of chaplains for designating a day of fasting and prayer for chaplains. Foundation president Mikey Weinstein said, “This represents a perfect, quintessential example of the fact that our United States military has become infused, essentially, with the Christian mirror image of the type of Islam that is pushed by al-Qaida and the Taliban.”
San Francisco, CA – The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence celebrated their 30th anniversary at a gala event at which some of the men danced naked. The notoriously anti-Catholic group was given a proclamation from the California state senate by State Sen. Mark Leno.
The group also held its “Hunky Jesus” competition in which men dressed as Jesus in some of the most disgusting ways imaginable.
Santa Rosa County, FL – Nearly 400 graduating students at Pace High School stood and prayed the Lord’s Prayer in an act of defiance against the ACLU; the activist organization had previously filed a lawsuit against the school because of an alleged prayer by a coach at an award ceremony.
The ACLU contended that something should have been done to prevent the students from reciting the prayer at graduation.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State asked U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to “terminate or investigate nine federal grants awarded to faith-based groups that proselytize and that discriminate in hiring.” Among the groups Americans United asked to terminate were those that provide assistance to at-risk youth, several providing drug-prevention programs and another that assists the poor.
This was just another attempt by the activist group to completely gut the faith-based system.
June 27 & 28
San Francisco, CA – The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence dishonored Archbishop George Niederauer with a “Pink Brick award” during the San Francisco Pride Celebration and Parade. This was the second time the archbishop received this award; it is given to the person or organization that the anti-Catholic group deems to have caused the most harm to the homosexual community.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates in response to a prayer that was recited at a D-Day commemoration. The Foundation was upset that the chaplain invoked the name of Jesus in his prayer and said that he “overstepped the decorum required of military chaplains speaking to general audiences.”
In the letter, the Foundation urged Gates to issue new guidelines for military chaplains and staff so they “may not abuse their positions to proselytize, recruit for religion or promote sectarian doctrine on military time.”
Washington, D.C. – The Freedom From Religion Foundation filed a federal lawsuit to stop the engraving of the phrase “In God We Trust,” and the Pledge of Allegiance at the Capitol Visitor Center.
In an article found on the Huffington Post, Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, ripped the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. She said, “Seems that, if the U.S. Conference had its way, the national health care system would make American women second-class citizens and deny them access to benefits they currently have.” In addition, she said that abroad the bishops’ “hard-line opposition to women’s rights also endangers millions of women around the globe.”
Petoskey, MI – The Petoskey Board of Education reversed its decision to use the term “Christmas break” rather than the “Winter holiday break” on its school calendar. The decision came a week after the Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter claiming that by changing the name to “Christmas break,” the board “alienates all non-Christian and non-believing school children.”
San Francisco, CA – The 26th annual Folsom Street Fair was held and did not have the anti-Catholic items that it carried in 2007, sparking our boycott of Miller Brewing, a sponsor of the event. Even though the event lacked the items, it still featured a cage dancer in front of St. Joseph’s Church. Also, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence—as they have done for several years—worked the door for the fair “helping to greet people and collect much-needed funds for charity.”
The Center for Inquiry, an atheist organization, launched the first International Blasphemy Day. It chose the day which marked the anniversary of the 2005 publication of the Danish cartoons that so inflamed Muslims worldwide.
Billed as a free speech event designed to oppose such things as a Muslim-sponsored U.N. resolution banning criticism of religion, the day drew the support of people like PZ Myers; the professor at the University of Minnesota known for intentionally desecrating a consecrated Host. Myers said the day was established to “mock and insult religion without fear of murder, violence, and reprisal.”
Bill Donohue told the media: “They are all such phonies. The stated purpose of Blasphemy Day has nothing to do with any religion but Islam, yet there was not one scheduled event insulting Muslims. We can only guess why. So the religious haters showed once more that it is Christians, especially Catholics, that they want to bash.”
In Washington, D.C., artist Dana Ellyn exhibited her painting, “Jesus Does His Nails,” a portrait of Jesus polishing a nail jammed into his hand. In Los Angeles, there was a film about a gay molesting priest and another about a boy who is so angry about being sent to bed that he asks God to kill his parents. Also, American Atheists conducted “De-Baptisms” in New Jersey.
The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on the constitutionality of a seven-foot cross placed on public land in the Mojave National Preserve in California. We said that the cross should be allowed on the land.
In 1892, the same court ruled that “this is a Christian nation.” Ever since, radical secularists have tried to stamp out this reality, holding that it excludes non-Christians. It does, and that is because the country’s founding was not the work of non-Christians.
That same day the New York Times carped over the cross. Defensively, its editorial began by saying that this case leads to such overheated charges as, “There is a war against Christianity under way; or civil liberties groups are trying to turn this into a secular nation.” Both accusations are accurate. Consider who is bringing the suit against the World War I veterans who first erected the cross in 1934, the ACLU—an organization marked with an anti-Christian animus since its founding in 1920.
Montgomery County, MD – Feminists from Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and the National Organization for Women (NOW) opposed the bid of Holy Cross, a Catholic hospital, to run a new medical facility due to its opposition to abortion. These feminists claimed that if Holy Cross won the bid, rather than Adventist HealthCare which is run by the Seventh Day Adventist Church, “indigent citizens” would be harmed because of the Church’s restrictions on abortion. One member of NOW said that Holy Cross “should get out of the way.”
Sarasota, FL – At the Halloween party for the Planned Parenthood of South West and Central Florida, a male staff member came dressed as a pregnant nun. The Sarasota Herald-Tribune, which is owned by the New York Times, lauded the party as saying, “This event has set the standard by which all Halloween parties will be measured.”
American Atheists called for an IRS investigation into the actions of Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio. The reason for calling the investigation, American Atheists said, was that Bishop DiMarzio praised State Rep. Vito Lopez for defeating a bill that would have treated sex abuse in public and private institutions differently.
Enfield, CT – Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the ACLU demanded that the Enfield Public Schools stop holding their graduation at a Christian church and to hold them at a secular location instead.
A lawyer for Americans United claimed, “Students and their families should not have to choose between attending graduation and being subjected to proselytizing religious messages.”
Washington, D.C. – A homosexual website, ChurchOuting.org, was launched with the intent of publicly disclosing the gay priests serving in the Archdiocese of Washington. The goal of this outing was to intimidate gay priests, as well as heterosexual priests who may be “romantically involved,” into voicing objections to the Church’s opposition to gay marriage.
The initiative was the work of Phil Attey, self-described as a “Liberal-Gay-Ardent Obama Supporter”; he was active in the Obama Pride Metro-DC campaign. According to a news report, “Attey is going to approach priests he thinks are gay, and warn them that they better stop lobbying against gay people, seeing how gay they are…or…else?”
Catholic priests were also being pressured to sign the “Declaration of Religious Support for Marriage Equality,” a statement by Clergy United for Marriage Equality. The statement, while it was not one we support, was respectfully written. Accordingly, we wrote to members of the Steering Committee of this group and asked that they disassociate themselves from this attempted hijacking of their effort.