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May 07, 2009

Catholics Yank Workers Center Funding

Just days after the Vermont Workers Center celebrated a very successful turnout of more than 1000 people at its Health Care as a Human Right campaign rally in Montpelier (see this week's "Fair Game"), it got some very bad news.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington has yanked $30,000 from the center's budget — most of it directed toward VWC's health-care campaign. Why?

"We were told by the Vermont diocese the funding would be pulled because we would not agree to put limits on a woman’s right to choose as a part of our Health Care is a Human Right campaign," the center wrote in an email Wednesday night to supporters.

Aside from abortion, the diocese is also concerned that physician-assisted suicide will also be advanced as a result of health-care reform in Vermont, James Haslam, the center's director and lead organizer, told Blurt. Haslam and several center members met with diocese officials this week to plea their case. No dice.

The $30,000 comes from a national Catholic foundation, but it has to be OK'd by the local diocese. In past years, the Vermont diocese has always given the green light, added Haslam.

"We hope this foundation will fund us again in the future, but for now, this is not a minor crisis to our budget.  This funding represents a loss of nearly a quarter of our budget at a time when we need to expand our capacity after the huge success of our May 1st Health Care is a Human Right rally.  Now we will have to fill the gap, and then some," he told supporters.

The center hopes to find 200 people to raise $250. To help out, send a check to the Vermont Workers Center, 294 N. Winooski Ave, Burlington, VT 05401 or donate online.

Sigh...I couldn't leave that church fast enough. I will be sending a check (unfortunately a small one).

Hey Catholic dudes,

And HOW are you disciples of Christ? Seriously. You gotta know that the J-dude would be hanging with the workers. It was his whole life.

As a fundraiser for a nonprofit, I'm surprised the VWC would go after religious funding in the first place. I stay away from anything that has stipulations based on religious beliefs. It makes for less restrictions on programming and there's no conflict of interest when accepting grant awards. While I don't agree with the diocese's political position on this one, I do agree that they have the right to support the causes that jive with their beliefs. Don't take the money if you can't meet the guidelines.

The Catholic Church has come a long way from whatever Christ was talking about. They are a corporation and concerned about maintaining their corporate sponsorship -- their members, their worshippers. It does not surprise me that they would have stipulations for donations. It surprised me that they supported the worker's center.

So, Jesus would be all about abortions and killing inconvienient old folks? The Diocese is free to do what it chooses with its money. If the center needs the $30K, perhaps it should solicit an organization that has the same outlook.

Are you kidding me?? I'm really getting sick of the anti-Catholics wandering around her under the disguise of open minded people. First of all, a non-profit should not be asking a religious group for money. Second, the diocese does not have to donate money to a group who is pro-choice. I mean, how idiotic can you really be? You wouldn't dare write an article called "Jews yank funding..." for any group whose views didn't like up with the Jewish faith, regardless of what else they wanted to do with the money. The Diocese is a corporation? You're clueless buddy. They are no more a corporation than I am, and news flash, I dont have to donate my money to any group whose opinions do not line up with my own, so why do you expect them to??

Hey Shay - see if you can't rub a couple brain cells together before you write another ridiculously biased piece of **** like this little number. AND FYI, I'm 27, lesbian, liberal, AND a former fan of yours. This is just pathetic. I wont be funding any group who is anti-gay marriage, regardless of what else they support that I might agree with. Grow a clue. Freedoms include all religions as well as those who choose to be athiest.

The funding will impact low income Vermonters more than it will shape the health care reform debate in the diocese's anti-woman image. The real issue here is that the diocese just screwed low income Vermonters to score an ideological point.

Actually, the Diocese didn't screw anyone. That group had no business asking for money from them if their views didn't match. There are plenty of other groups out there who would be pro-choice that they should approach in their future fundraising. Also, the Diocese is not anti-woman, it's anti-killing babies in the womb. Women have nothing to do with it. It's a belief in a soul and that a fetus is a living baby. That tired old femi-nazi argument of my body is getting really old. The abortion opinions have nothing to do with being for or against women or women's rights. It stems from something else entirely.

Same 27yr old, lesbian, pro-choice, liberal. Learn to seperate your own opinions from the logic behind why other people are entitled to their beliefs.

I'm a supporter of the Vermont Workers Center and its "Healthcare Is A Human Right" campaign. Andrew's accusation that the Workers Center's healthcare campaign is somehow "all about abortions and killing old folks" is just baseless. The VWC does NOT promote physician-assisted suicide.

Also, nobody “wants” abortion. Health care for all would reduce the rate of abortion and ensure the woman's safety, especially those with lower income, but the diocese insisted that the VWC support putting limits on a woman's reproductive choices, and to them that's what it all really comes down to.

Of course the church can do whatever it pleases with its money. However, this decision shows that, to them, taking away a woman's right to choose is more important than being on the side of the weak and promoting social justice by serving the sick and the poor. Based on the question "what would Jesus do?" I think the diocese came down on the wrong side on this one.

I agree. Don't take Catholic money. Yes, it might as well be a corporation. It has more money than most. That money is tainted. They probably get government money now because of the Faith-based Initiative. Now they place stipulations on money given to them by taxpayers?

Who knows but my guess is that Jesus would be about supporting people's ability to get health care, and not about hiding and secretly supporting pedophiles and denying the Holocaust. Here's another thought, instead of building huge cathedrals, if they supported the poor so that they could support their children they wouldn't need abortions. In short, the Catholic church today and for a long time has nothing to do w/ Christianity. Just remember, this is not about 'babies in the womb', it's about things like preventing pregnancy; using condoms to prevent Aids...and on and on. If there's anything like a judgment day, then when it comes the bureaucrats of the Catholic church aren't getting through any gate that has to do w/ kindness, humanity, and caring for those in need, central tenants of the Testament.

oops: put New before Testament

@ Faried. "Also, nobody “wants” abortion." Why the heck not? It's just another choice, like chocolate or vanilla ice cream, isn't it? If you're pro-choice, does it really matter if the choice is abortion? For any reason? Like, Oh, we already have a boy, let's abort this one and try for a girl? If it's a late term abortion, because you got bored? The legal definition states that it isn't a child until birth, so rip 'em out up to the ninth month! Let's choose that!

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