Gay Catholics in Washington, DC, staged a protest against the two-week-long “Fortnight for Freedom” staged by the U.S. bishops to promote the idea that religious liberty is under attack in the U.S.
The Washington Blade reports that the event was on George Washington University’s campus, where a Fortnight for Freedom event was being held:
“Members of Catholics for Equality and Dignity USA sang hymns and held a large banner that read ‘Bishops: We Need Pastors, Not Politicians, Your Antics are Hurting the Church’ outside the Charles E. Smith Center on 22nd Street, N.W. Cardinal Donald Wuerl of the Archdiocese of Washington was among those who spoke to the estimated 4,000 people who attended the gathering.”
A spokesperson for the protesters explained the reason for the demonstration:
“ ‘We’re here to provide an opposite viewpoint to the U.S. bishops’ “Fortnight for Freedom campaign,” said Joseph Palacios, director of the Catholics for Equality Foundation. He noted to the Blade that 67 percent — or $4 billion — of Catholic Charities’ annual funding comes from state and federal government sources. ‘They claim that they are being victims of religious liberty, when in fact the Catholic Church has probably more liberties than any organization in our country.’ . . .
” ‘This is all about election year politicking,’ argued Palacios. ‘This is a cover for the Catholic Church’s issues on gay rights, on women’s reproductive issues, on so-called religious infringement.’ ”
One of the protesters explained that the demonstration showed that not all Catholics support the bishops’ campaign:
” ‘Catholics are very divided in terms of their support for this conservative political agenda,’ said Arlington resident Bob Miailovich as he stood outside the GWU rally. ‘We have already met here though today some people who are into the more conservative agenda and they take offense at any public program that does not comport foursquare with what the bishops are teaching. As Catholics, it’s a big church and it has a lot of divided opinion. We’re not monolithic on these social issues.’ ”
–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry