Washington, DC – The League defended Pope John Paul II against attacks by a representative of a splinter group of Seventh Day Adventists on a local radio station. The sect had been sponsoring billboards in southern states displaying a drawing of the Holy Father with the caption “Man of Sin.”
Franklin County, VT – The Franklin County Superior Court dismissed the case brought by Catholics for a Free Choice against Charles and Susan Baker, owner of Regal Art Press, who refused to print membership cards for the anti-Catholic, pro-abortion organization. Judge Linda Levitt, ruling on behalf of the Bakers (who are Catholic) said “it cannot be said as a matter of law that the state of Vermont’s interest in eliminating discrimination overrides a person’s rights to free speech and the free exercise of religion.” On appeal, the Vermont Supreme Court sent the case back to Superior Court for retrial.
Brooklyn, NY – Khalid Abdul Muhammad, spokesperson for the Nation of Islam, spoke at the Slave Theatre in Brooklyn. There he asserted that the Catholic religion was filled with “homosexuality and pedophiles” and likened Catholic priests to mass murderer and cannibal, Jeffrey Dahmer.
Boston, MA – The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts upheld a lower court ruling that the annual Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade, sponsored by the South Boston Allied War Veteran’s Council, had to include the Irish American Gay Lesbian and Bisexual Group of Boston (GLIB) with a banner. Judge Harold Flannery, in his ruling, held that the parade was “more akin to a social association” than a parade, and ruled the parade “an open recreational event,” subject, therefore to the laws governing public accommodations. In response to the decision, the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council canceled the parade.
New York, NY – Members of ILGO, the Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization, and other homosexual protesters and supporters, were arrested after holding a protest and blocking the street in response to their exclusion as a marching unit in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Protesters anti-Catholic statements included signs; a “choir” (including one member dressed as a nun) singing “God is a Lesbian” to the tune of “My Country ‘Tis of Thee”; etc.. New York State Attorney General Oliver Koppell, Al Sharpton and City Councilman Thomas Duane were among those on hand to show their support. All charges against the protesters were later dropped on the grounds that their arrest violated their free rights.
Washington, DC – ACT-UP threatened to demonstrate against James Cardinal Hickey and break into the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on Easter Sunday while the Cardinal was saying Mass. The threat came in response to remarks the cardinal made in a letter to President Clinton. The League threatened to use the RICO statute if a church break-in did occur. None did.
New York, NY – The three-week-long Preparatory Committee meeting of the International Conference on Population and Development included numerous vicious attacks on the church. Planned Parenthood launched an especially vicious attack when they, along with various population control organizations around the world, signed the “Letter To The Delegates At Prep Com III” in which they said, “To impose one religious perspective on a whole continent or world-wide is imperious and unacceptable.” (Emphasis in original.) Those representative of non-governmental organizations opposing the position of the Holy See passed out anti- Catholic stickers, buttons with the words “Papal Control” covered over by the international “No” symbol, and anti- Catholic literature. The unofficial daily newspaper of the conference, Earth Times, regularly included cartoons and articles mocking the Pope and the Vatican envoy present at the conference.
Los Angeles – Frances Kissling, president of Catholics for a Free Choice, charged in the Los Angeles Times that the Catholic Church was fill of “hatred of women and fear of sexuality,” explaining that this is what accounts for the Church’s positions on birth control and abortion. “Misogyny is alive and well at the Vatican,” she added, and “women’s lives still rank at the bottom when it comes to respect, much less value.”
New York, NY – Numerous groups participated in commemorating the 25thanniversary of the Stonewall rebellion. Many of the activities, both those endorsed by the official organization (Stonewall 25) and those planned by other groups to coincide with the celebration, were blatantly anti-Catholic. The most outrageous examples of the deep-seated hostility directed at the Catholic Church included the following:
June 24 – Dignity, an organization of homosexuals who purport to be faithful Catholics yet live in direct opposition to Church teachings, held a demonstration across the street form St. Patrick’s Cathedral and featured a defrocked priest as one of their speakers.
June 25 – Dignity hosted a “Mass” at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church on Park Avenue. Attendees were greeted by a man wearing earrings, a necklace and short leather pants, and were treated to a New Age hymn, the Lord’s Prayer beginning with “Our Mother/ Father in Heaven…”; and a homily by Dr. Mary Hunt. Dr. Hunt attempted to make a distinction between the “hierarchical Church” and the “real Church.” Episcopal priest (and former Catholic priest) Ronald E. F. Hoskins presided.
June 26 – An illegal gay parade was held with marchers proceeding up Fifth Avenue past St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Many of the demonstrators were either fully or half-naked. Participants in the parade shouted four-letter words, on command, and pointed their middle fingers at the Cathedral. The marchers laid down in the street, holding up traffic. Some were dressed in mock religious attire, some in satanic garb. The choice of an illegal march down Fifth Avenue was made specifically to lambaste the Church and Cardinal O’Connor.
New York, NY – The Youth Education League of ACT-UP began a campaign of destruction when it printed and posted handbills denouncing an anti-condom ad being run by the Catholic League. The handbills, which were placed directly over the League’s ad, read in part “It is no secret the Catholic League would sooner see you die than use a condom.” This action came following calls to censor the ad, numerous threats of destruction, and the defacement and removal of countless posters, some of which were then returned to League headquarters.
Washington, DC – In a statement designed to discredit the Vatican and stir up old prejudices, Catholics for a Free Choice president Frances Kissling charged that “The Vatican cannot be allowed to set policy for the whole world.” What she was referring to was the free speech of Vatican officials who, as representatives of a nation state that was duly elected to the United Nations, were expressing their concerns over the use of abortion to resolve the alleged world population crisis. Her attempt to characterize the Vatican’s position in terms of a world-wide conspiracy is consistent with the approach of her organization. Kissling’s remark dovetailed with her call for the Vatican to be expelled from the U.N.. She also accused the Catholic Church of greed, saying it was “money and power,” not doctrine, that drove the Church’s position on abortion.
Idaho and Washington – A 16-page tabloid, distributed to nearly every household in certain towns, entitled Earth’s Final Warning, accused the Catholic Church of seeking world domination and viciously attacked the Pope. The paper attempted to show that the United States, the United Nations and the Papacy are involved in a conspiracy to create a “New World Order” controlled by Rome, with the ultimate goal of restoring the “Dark Ages.” Members of an anti- Catholic group splintered from the Seventh Day Adventists, based in Western Washington, were responsible for the bigotry. Anti-Catholic billboards and newspaper inserts believed to be sponsored by the same group appeared about a year ago in Portland, Oregon and Walla Walla, Washington. Adventist leaders in Silver Spring, MD, placed the organization on the list of renegade assemblies that refuse to halt anti-Catholic rhetoric.
New York, NY – The Lesbian and Gay Cultural & Business Expo, sponsored in part by the Ramada Milford Plaza Hotel and distributors of Dewar’s’ scotch, contained anti-Catholic material, primarily in an exhibit touted as a “Haunted House.” That exhibit consisted of a maze of rooms, with the first, a “prayer room,” containing a spinning statue of Jesus with red eyes and dreadlocks. Hand-clapping caused the statue to emit an eerie laugh. Sitting in front of Jesus were several Jack-in-the-Box-type items called “Cracker Crumbs,” featuring likenesses of Cardinal O’Connor and others. Bowls on the table contained a yellow liquid which resembled urine. A crucifix sat in one of them and was adorned with the letters “NEA,” referring to the NEA’s funding of Andres Serrano’s “Piss Christ.” Another bowl contained a reference to Cardinal O’Connor’s plea that anyone thinking of killing an abortionist should kill himself instead. Another scene had a small statue of an altar boy with a noose around his neck kneeling in front of a small statue of a pope or bishop. In the center of the room was a four-sided cardboard box punctured by holes, one of which was labeled “Cardinal O’Connor’s Sphincter.” There was also a room which identified enemy organizations and included the Catholic League among the display.
Jersey City, NJ – The ACLU filed suit against Jersey City Mayor Bret Schundler for allowing the display of a Nativity scene in front of City Hall. Mayor Schundler had previously allowed, and in fact encouraged, other cultural and religious displays in front of City Hall. He displayed a Menorah during Hanukkah, and has in the past encouraged displays celebrating Pakistani and Indian religion and culture.
Monmouth County, NJ – The ACLU filed suit against the Monmouth County government for its display of a Christmas tree, Nativity scene and a Menorah at the Hall of Records in Freehold, the county seat. The ACLU contends the display violates separation of church and state. This despite the fact that the Supreme Court has ruled permissible the display of religious symbols so long as the display also includes secular symbols.