Over the past two weeks, the website of “Concerned Parents and Students Teach Acceptance,” the group leading opposition to the efforts of San Francisco’s Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone to re-introduce fidelity to the Catholic faith in the High Schools under his jurisdiction, has been promoting a July 23 meeting in San Francisco. The meeting, which will be held at the Milton Marks Auditorium, has the byline #teachacceptance.org (the hashtag of “Concerned Parents and Students”) and will be hosted by California Assemblyman Phil Ting representing the Assembly Judiciary Committee.
The online flyer for the event describes it: “Because of efforts by San Francisco Archdiocesan teachers and union representatives, the California Assembly Judiciary Committee has scheduled an informational hearing about the ‘ministerial exception.’ The focus of the hearing is on what is occurring in San Francisco, what went on in Oakland around this issue two years ago, and the efforts by schools to bolster the ministerial exception and control the personal lives of their teachers. This hearing could lead to legislation designed to make it harder for that to happen. It’s a real opportunity to help protect our teachers. We need a strong presence at this hearing. Join us!”
Assemblyman Ting, who represents San Francisco’s 19th Assembly District, has a disturbing history in using his office to attack the Catholic Church in San Francisco. Before being elected to the Assembly, Ting served as the Assessor for the City and County of San Francisco. In that capacity, he sought, in 2009, to impose a novel, retroactive “Real Estate Transfer Tax” on properties transferred from one entity to another within the Archdiocese of San Francisco.
Ting’s action followed the victory of Proposition 8, which defended and protected marriage in the State of California, and in which San Francisco’s then-Archbishop George Niederauer had played a significant part. The Archdiocese appealed Ting’s decision to the San Francisco Tax Appeals Board, which, surprise surprise, ruled in favor of Ting. The Archdiocese then took the City to court, and on November 18, 2011 Judge Richard Kramer issued a preliminary ruling in favor of the Archdiocese and against the City. On January 9, 2012 Judge Kramer confirmed his ruling ending Ting’s attack. At the time, the late George Wesolek, then-director of communications for the Archdiocese, wrote:
“The Archdiocese of San Francisco is delighted that the Superior Court has vindicated the position the archdiocese has taken all along. It would have chilled the missions of this and all churches, religions and non-profit organizations in the city, and would have sent ripples through the for-profit community as well… Fortunately, the court saw through this attempt.”
Mr. Wesolek also noted that “the Assessor/Recorder apparently expected the archdiocese to roll over in the face of this attack but underestimated the resolve of the church. It is unfortunate that the miscalculation forced the archdiocese to spend more than three years and hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorneys’ fees to defeat this illegal action, but the archdiocese is hopeful that the Assessor/Recorder’s office will now be dissuaded from taking similar measures in the future.”
While that is probably a forlorn hope, the willingness of the “Concerned Students and Parents” to ally themselves with an anti-Catholic, anti-family politician like Phil Ting, should remove any argument that they are motivated by love for the Catholic Church. But the fact is that Ting has a long history with at least one of the leaders of the “Concerned Parents and Students” group, Brian Cahill, the former Executive Director of San Francisco’s Catholic Charities. Cahill has attended a number of the protests against the Archbishops and was one of the key speakers against the Archbishop’s initiative at the group’s March 16 meeting at the (Jesuit) University of San Francisco.
Ting’s relationship with Cahill goes back at least to 2008, when he attended Cahill’s going away party as Director of Catholic Charities. Cahill’s tenure was marked by the disastrous partnership with “Family Builders by Adoption,” which saw Catholic Charities staff an organization whose mission included “Increasing the number of children adopted by Lesbian, Gay Bisexual, and Transgender adults.” next year; the invitation of male transvestite, same-sex “marriage” activist, and Equality California Institute board member “Donna Sachet” to be a featured entertainer at one of their parties; and the honoring of Mr. George Marcus at their 2008 “Loaves and Fishes” dinner, despite the fact that Mr. Marcus had given over $175,000 to political campaigns in California promoting the culture of death, all of which were opposed by the Catholic Church.
Should Assemblyman Ting actually introduce legislation against the Church, litigation will certainly follow. Once again hundreds of thousands of dollars will be spent: taxpayer dollars by the State and parishioners’ dollars by the Church. That threat may be Ting’s real purpose.
The Concerned Parents/Phil Ting meeting will be on Thursday, July 23, from 10:30 AM until noon. The Milton Marks Auditorium is located in the State Building 455 Golden Gate Avenue, in San Francisco.