The Rogue Desk understands that charitable donors don't have to fund their opponents. Nonetheless, we're anointing the Archdiocese of Portland this week's Rogue for refusing help to people in need based on a narrow-minded ideology.
Last spring, Street Roots got word the archdiocese was cutting off up to $10,000 the Catholic Campaign for Human Development has provided annually to the local homeless paper for its outreach and advocacy. The reason was Rose City Resource, a publication by Street Roots listing hundreds of services for the homeless—including, for the third straight year, Planned Parenthood. The nonprofit provides contraception, STD testing and other health care for the poor. But it's also anathema to the Church for offering abortions.
The CCHD money was up to 4 percent of Street Roots' budget, and in these times any cut hurts. And certainly the rest of Rose City Resource fits in the "love thy neighbor" ideal. Now Street Roots must fill a gap to help homeless people.
"This affects our programs across the board," says Street Roots director Israel Bayer, who announced the cut last week. A story in the paper's Sept. 17 edition reveals the local cut was part of a much larger right-wing push in the U.S. Catholic Church. CCHD has defunded more than 50 groups in the past year for allegedly promoting abortion and gay marriage.
"We cannot have them be funding an organization whose work is contrary to Church teachings," says Bud Bunce, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Portland.
But we think the Church's refusal to fund anti-poverty work is exactly the wrong direction in these times.