An anti-Catholic exhibition that was rewarded by the government of Eugene, Oregon last fall has now attracted nationwide attention. The Catholic League has taken its case to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission.
It was on September 16, 1995 that a group called the “Rickies” staged an anti-Catholic march during the annual Eugene Celebration Parade. As reported in the last issue of Catalyst, the “Rickies” received a prize of $200 for its antics. The “Rickies” included 18 persons dressed in clerical garb and featured an offensive display on the steps of a Catholic church. The Catholic League asked Mayor Ruth Bascom to condemn this government-funded anti-Catholic bigotry, and took out an ad in the Register-Guard challenging her to act responsibly. Her response was to do nothing until the local Human Rights Commission ruled on the case.
The commission was scheduled to meet on November 21, but postponed the meeting until December 19. The Catholic League, sensing further uncooperation, then took the issue to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, supplying the Washington-based group with supporting documentation, which included a video of the march. Just before Christmas, the Catholic League was notified that the U.S. Civil Rights Commission had agreed to accept the case.
In a press release on the subject, the Catholic League stated that “Our patience has run out with Mayor Bascom. All we have ever asked for is a statement condemning government sanctioned anti-Catholic bigotry. We have never pressed for censorship, rather we have asked that the mayor censure the offending group. It is one thing for government to allow Catholic bashing exhibitions in a city sanctioned parade, quite another to reward such bigotry with government funds.”
The league awaits further action from the U.S. Civil Rights Commission and is delighted with the reaction it has received from Catholics in the Eugene area.