This past fall, an anti-Catholic group, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, held a “wig drive” in San Francisco to benefit the American Cancer Society (ACS); over $1300 and 100 wigs were collected to service women who have suffered hair loss as a result of breast cancer. As is customary, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence paraded as drag queens at the benefit drive, mocking Catholic nuns in the process.

The Catholic League quickly registered a complaint with the ACS. Our concern was the extension of a legitimate platform by the ACS for this anti-Catholic group. We were told that the California division would respond, which it did. Here is what Patricia Fells, CEO of the division, said in reply: “We do not judge our donors based upon their religious beliefs or sexual preferences. Because cancer impacts all communities, we draw our donors and volunteers from all religions, races and socio-economic groups. To do otherwise would be hypocritical.”

The league went public with its reply:

“The Catholic League, like the American Cancer Society, does not judge its donors based upon their religious beliefs or sexual preferences. But quite unlike the ACS, we would never knowingly take money from any group whose identity was clearly linked with bigotry against any segment of our society. That’s the difference between our idea of inclusion, which holds to ethical standards, and their idea, which holds to none.

“Are we to assume that the American Cancer Society would accept donations from the ‘Al Jolson Society’—a group of white men adorned with black faces who paraded stereotypically as African Americans? Not on your life. Indeed, Ms. Fells would have no problem being a first class-hypocrite by rejecting donations from such a group. But her tolerance for anti-Catholic bigotry is very different, and that is why she gladly justifies accepting funds from the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.”

Members can write to Patricia Felts, CEO, American Cancer Society, California Division, 1710 Webster Street, Oakland, California 94612.

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