The following comes from a July 30 story on the website of the Catholic News Agency.
An LGBT activist foundation headed by a former Obama White House staffer gave a $200,000 grant to a dissenting Catholic coalition to target the upcoming Synod on the Family and World Youth Day.
The Michigan-based Arcus Foundation gave the 2014 grant to Dignity USA “to support pro-LGBT faith advocates to influence and counter the narrative of the Catholic Church and its ultra-conservative affiliates.”
“The effort will build advocacy and visibility in connection with two special events, the Synod of the Family and World Youth Day,” the foundation said on its website.
An extraordinary bishops’ synod will meet in Rome this Oct. 5-19 to address pastoral challenges related to the family. The synod has been the subject of significant media coverage and speculation.
On June 26, synod organizers released the synod’s preparatory document, a broad-ranging document which among other topics summarized Catholic teaching on homosexuality. It discussed the bishops’ desire to consider the pastoral response to homosexuality, to Catholics in homosexual relationships, and to any children raised under those unions.
That same day, Dignity USA president Marianne Duddy-Burke attacked the document, claiming it showed “a rigid adherence to existing teaching.” The organization’s statement charged that the document “shows no openness to change in hurtful teachings.”
Dignity USA has also been active in protests against Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco’s participation in the March for Marriage, a movement intended to support marriage as a union of one man and one woman.
The Arcus Foundation’s March 2014 grant announcement said the Dignity USA funding was for the Equally Blessed Coalition, which includes Dignity USA, Call To Action, Fortunate Families, and New Ways Ministry….
The coalition also helped support self-identified LGBT youth travel to World Youth Day in Rio in 2013, with the goal of raising awareness about gender and sexuality issues and “challenging harmful teachings and pastoral practices that dehumanize,” the coalition website said.
The Arcus Foundation has close ties to the Obama administration, contributing $1 million to the State Department’s Global Equality Fund. The LGBT advocacy fund has spent about $12 million worldwide, the Associated Press reported in June.
Other ties include Kevin Jennings, the foundation’s executive director since July 2012. President Obama in 2009 appointed Jennings as assistant deputy U.S. Secretary of Education and head of the White House’s Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools.
Jennings, a former high school teacher, is the founder of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), which has advanced LGBT activism in thousands of U.S. secondary schools.
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