Staten Island, NY – American Atheists announced plans to greet Pope John Paul II with a protest when he arrived in St. Louis the following week. Charging that “the Vatican’s Political Agenda for America” is a “pro-absolutist, pro-submissive agenda,” the group called the pope “a very real threat” to separation of church and state, and called for the United States to withdraw from its diplomatic relationship with the Vatican. Catholics, the group charged, “want non-adherents to support their schools, they advocate and promote prejudice and bigotry toward Atheists, gays, and other minorities, and they are buying up American hospitals in order to limit or eradicate women’s health services.”
West Union, OH – The American Civil Liberties Union sued the West Union school board to demand removal of marble tablets displaying the Ten Commandments from the grounds of four Adams County public high schools. The ACLU acted on behalf of Berry Baker, who had formed the Center for Phallic Worship and insisted that if the tablets remained, he should be permitted to put up a six foot marble penis next to them.
Spokane, WA – Planned Parenthood of Spokane and Whitman Counties sought to exploit both St. Patrick’s Day and the success of the Gonzaga University basketball team to promote its agenda and sell its birth control products. A March 10 newspaper ad, promoting the abortifacient “morning after” pill, featured a cartoon character named “Joe McSperm” wearing a derby with a shamrock, under the heading, “This St. Patrick’s Day, don’t underestimate the luck of the Irish.” On March 18, prior to the Catholic Gonzaga’s first round NCAA playoff game, another PP newspaper ad had Joe McSperm holding a placard reading, “Go Zags.” The ad, which wished “Good Luck Zags,” was signed by PP of Spokane and Whitman president and CEO John Nugent, who identified himself as a “Gonzaga University Graduate.”
Hartford, CT – On the day before St. Patrick’s Day, Planned Parenthood of Connecticut mocked the Irish patron saint by handing out green condoms at the State Capitol. The condoms featured such slogans as “Kiss Me, I’m Irish,” “Put on the Green,” and “Four Leaf Cover.” State Senator Louis DeLuca immediately demanded an investigation into how the state chapter of Planned Parenthood spends the $1.1 million it gets annually from the taxpayers of Connecticut.
New York, NY – Distraught by the Catholic Church’s efforts to offer a pro-life perspective within the United Nations, Catholics for a Free Choice launched an effort to revoke the Vatican’s non-member state permanent observer UN status.
The group’s leader, Frances Kissling—whose organization has no membership, no standing within the Church, and is funded primarily by the Ford Foundation—questioned the legitimacy of the Vatican state. “Why should a few acres of office space and tourist attractions in the center of Rome have a voice in making United Nations policy?” she asked.
New York, NY – At the 10th annual Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) Awards, the organization gave its Off Off Broadway honor to an anti-Christian play by Paul Rudnick, “The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told.” The play, a gay retelling of the Bible, featured full male frontal nudity, filthy language, discussion of body parts, butch lesbians, effeminate gay men, ranting against nature, and damning God for AIDS.
Jane Kramer wrote a piece about the Italian government spending money to rebuild earth-quake damaged pilgrimage sites. In the process she managed to comment about the Vatican “spending its money and its craft on the institution of its own power.” She also wrote the Vatican spends its money “paying to discipline its dissident priests or to keep Catholics in the Third World having babies.”
San Francisco, CA – The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence held a public celebration in the streets of San Francisco on Easter Sunday. The group was first denied a permit to close off some streets by the Department of Parking and Traffic only to be overturned by the City Board of Supervisors.
The “Sisters” are known for their past celebrations including a “Condom Savior Mass” where condoms were distributed as Communion wafers as well as a public exorcism of the pope.
Catholic League President William Donohue asked San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown to intervene. While saying he opposed the celebration being on Easter, he also objected to the Catholic League’s protest.
Toronto, Canada – A pro-abortion group protesting Human Life International’s convention here went by the name Anti-Racist Coalition. The group apparently has no qualms about religious bigotry, however. One of its posters, under the headline “Know your scumbags,” depicted a very muscular, masculine-looking nun, brandishing a crucifix like a machine gun.
Washington, DC – TV mogul and baseball owner Ted Turner made remarks regarding the Ten Commandments, Pope John Paul II and people of Polish descent in general in a speech to the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association. Turner said adultery should not be a Commandment if there are only ten. He indicated Pope John Paul II should “get with it.”
Turner asked the crowd, “Ever seen a Polish mine detector?” He said this while lifting his foot toward the audience as if to crush an imagined object.
Boston, MA – Students at Harvard were protesting what they saw as the underpaying of University employees. During a demonstration students held up a sign that read, “The World’s Richest Non-Profits: #1 The Vatican, #2 Harvard.” The Vatican is a nation-state, not a non-profit organization.
Chicago, IL – The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed suit seeking to stop federal agencies and public schools from sponsoring or assisting Boy Scouts because the Scouts require an oath to God. The ACLU objected to scout leaders being required to recognize “an obligation to God,” and scouts pledging “to do my duty to God and country.”
Parsippany, NJ – American Atheists fueled its opposition to educational vouchers with a vicious appeal to anti-Catholic bigotry. Vouchers are “anti-American,” the group charged, because they would “force Americans to support schools whose agenda is Vatican propaganda.” Charging that “a large portion of religious schools in America are owned by the Vatican, a foreign, anti-democratic dictatorship with diplomatic ties to the United States,” the atheists declared it “outrageous for our elected officials to want to send American dollars overseas—laundered under the guise of ‘vouchers.’”
London, England – Angered by Vatican opposition to its campaign of distributing “emergency contraceptives” to Kosovo refugees, the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) reacted not simply by disagreeing with the Vatican position, but by calling for the Church’s voice to be stifled by the United Nations.
The IPPF urged “governmental, non-governmental and other institutions to endorse existing appeals for a review of the Vatican’s status within the United Nations.” The IPPF further charged the Vatican with “indifference…towards the human suffering” of the refugees—ignoring all of the food, clothing, shelter and medical supplies being provided at the time by Catholic Relief Services.
New York, NY – It was no surprise that the National Organization for Women would attack Air Force Lt. Ryan Berry for his opposition to serving alone with a woman for extended time periods in the cramped quarters of an underground missile silo. It was also no surprise that they couldn’t do so without defaming Lt. Berry’s Catholic faith. “The theory that women can’t serve because men can’t control themselves…has strong roots in Catholic teachings,” said NOW’s New York City chapter president Galen Sherwin—misrepresenting both Church teaching and Lt. Berry’s position. Sherwin also attacked Cardinal O’Connor, calling his support for Lt. Berry “no more than a veiled endorsement of sexism.”
St. Louis, MO – John Hickey, a member of the Missouri Citizen Education Fund, held a press conference on a recently vetoed bill that would have outlawed partial birth abortion. In his support for the veto, Hickey answered a question about the Catholic Church’s opposition to partial birth abortion by saying “the hierarchy of the Catholic Church supported Hitler in Germany, let’s be honest…it’s a well documented thing and that’s what was used to get these guys out of Germany…It’s not fine to say violence is OK.”
New York, NY – The Ku Klux Klan staged a “White Pride” rally in New York City. The Klansmen were forced to march without their hoods when the U. S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld an 1845 New York statute barring groups from congregating in public places in masks or disguises, except for authorized parties or entertainment. The Catholic League opposed the march due to the anti-Catholic history of the KKK.