The following comes from a Sept. 10 article by Valerie Schmalz, first in a three-part series in Catholic San Francisco

Many Catholics in the San Francisco Bay Area were surprised by the strong negative reaction to Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone’s decision to give a talk about traditional marriage at a June 19 Washington, D.C., rally organized to support marriage.

A national online petition from Faithful America and a nationally publicized June 10 letter from 78 politicians and others urged the archbishop to withdraw from the March for Marriage in Washington, D.C. The letter and petition citing “hate” speech by the National Organization for Marriage and the labeling participant Family Research Council as a “hate group” created a media storm and disturbed many local Catholics and pastors….

Faithful America, which organized the letter from political leaders including California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, and an online petition, describes itself as a grass-roots citizens’ organization.

However, Faithful America exists almost entirely online and counts its members by those who sign its online petitions.

It has received funding from the nation’s two top gay political philanthropists, the founder of software publisher Quark Inc. Colorado’s Tim Gill and Michigan medical technology company heir, billionaire Jon Stryker. Both men’s foundations, the Gill Foundation and the Arcus Foundation, were created primarily to promote acceptance of homosexuality. Both men have also contributed millions to candidates and organizations who advocate homosexuality and same-sex marriage.

Faithful America has also received significant funding from progressive philanthropist George Soros, via his foundations. In addition, it received funding from the Evelyn & Walter Haas Jr. Fund, a San Francisco-based foundation that lists acceptance of homosexuality as one of the tenets of its mission statement.

Faithful America, whose website states it is “dedicated to reclaiming Christianity from the religious right,” has launched more than 30 online national petition drives since 2013. The campaign directed at Archbishop Cordileone was one of more than a dozen online Faithful America petitions that collected signatures from a nationwide base to criticize individual local U.S. bishops, Catholic pastors or Catholic schools, most around issues related to homosexuality.

In San Francisco on June 17, about 75 people marched to the archdiocesan offices to present Faithful America’s petition, while the executive director of Faithful America emailed a letter to Archbishop Cordileone signed by 78 politicians and representatives of gay rights groups, including Lt. Gov. Newsom and Mayor Lee. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi sent the archbishop her own letter.

Gregg Cassin, who emceed the San Francisco anti-Proposition 8 rally on the eve of the U.S. Supreme Court arguments last year, spoke with Catholic San Francisco and with the archdiocesan director of communications when the group delivered its petition. However, when Catholic San Francisco later asked about his affiliation with Faithful America, Cassin said he was not part of any organized group….

“Faithful America has never really existed. It’s a website name that’s been owned by various organizations,” said Jack Smith, editor of The Catholic Key, the newspaper of the Diocese of Kansas City/St. Joseph in Kansas. In July Faithful America launched an online campaign to get Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City to reinstate a parish food pantry worker who lost her Catholic Church job after her marriage to another woman was publicized by a local newspaper….

Very few of the signatures on the Kansas petition came from local Catholics, Smith said. He notes that Faithful America, Faith in Public Life, and the Citizen Engagement Laboratory were and/or are funded by Soros’ foundations. “If you’ve got a Soros organization email list, you can get 20,000 signatures for anything,” Smith said….

Ten percent of those who signed the letter to Archbishop Cordileone publicly have identified themselves as Catholic at one point or another, based on Catholic San Francisco research using Google’s search engine. All of them oppose Catholic teaching on sexuality and marriage. That includes the only signer who identifies as Catholic and lives in the archdiocese: Lt. Gov. Newsom, who presided over the first California same-sex marriages as mayor of San Francisco.

Perhaps 20 of the 78 signers of the letter to Archbishop Cordileone, including Newsom, reside in Marin, San Mateo or San Francisco counties, based on Google search.

The other seven apparently Catholic signers of the letter to Archbishop Cordileone are vocal opponents of Catholic teaching on homosexuality. Six of the seven of signers and organizations have been specifically renounced or chastised by Catholic Church authorities at one point or another. The seventh self-identified Catholic signer is executive director of a non-Catholic organization which opposes Catholic teaching.

The six self-identified Catholic signers who were personally chastised or criticized or whose organizations were chastised or disavowed by Catholic Church authorities are: excommunicated and defrocked Maryknoll Father Roy Bourgeois; Dignity USA executive director Marianne Duddy-Burke; Call to Action executive director Jim FitzGerald ; co-founder of New Ways Ministry Sister of Loretto Jeannine Gramick; executive director of New Ways Ministry Francis DeBernardo; and self-identified lesbian theologian Mary E. Hunt, co-director of Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual.

The seventh self-identified Catholic signer is Jody Huckaby, executive director of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). He leads an organization that promotes same sex marriage and homosexual adoption, but does not identify as religious although he personally calls himself both gay and Catholic….
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