“Catholic Misuse” or “Misuse of Catholic” Money in Maine?
1. broad or wide-ranging in tastes, interests, or the like; having sympathies with all; broad-minded; liberal.
2. universal in extent; involving all; of interest to all.
3. pertaining to the whole Christian body or church.
Remember back in January, when it was argued by the GOP that Maine’s proposed legislation regarding marriage equality was a waste of money?
The Maine Republican Project, a group led by 1st Congressional District primary candidate Dean Scontras, announced this week that they will work against Sen. Dennis Damon’s bill to allow gay marriage in Maine.
“Among our growing membership, it seems a bit of a concern that Sen. Damon chose to introduce this legislation when Maine faces one of the worst economic climates in some time,” Scontras said in a statement.
“This will simply absorb valuable legislative cycles that should be dedicated toward repairing the economic situation of so many Mainers.”
Well, earlier this week it was announced that Stand for Maine Marriage had raised twice the number of their opponents.
Anti-gay and Catholic groups made the largest donations in recent months to overturn Maine’s new same-sex marriage law, helping opponents of such unions outraise supporters more than 2-1.
Campaign finance reports made available Wednesday show that while people trying to defend the law raised $148,930.32, opponents of same-sex marriage raised $344,619.50.. The reports detail the period between April 1 and July 5.
It sure did look impressive at first glance. But after further examination, there does not appear to be much in the way of financial or individual local Mainer support.
Some of the organizations that donated to the campaign in favor of the “people’s veto” also donated to the campaign in favor of Proposition 8, which last year ended same-sex marriage in California. Active political action committees in favor of the referendum are Marriage Matters in Maine and StandforMarriage.com.
Catholic organizations and anti-gay groups were the most noteworthy donors:
• National Organization for Marriage donated $160,000 in cash contributions and $9,066.43 in in-kind contributions;
• Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland donated $100,000 in cash contributions and $10,339.73 in in-kind contributions;
• Focus on the Family’s Maine Marriage Committee donated $31,000 in cash contributions and $2,594.62 in in-kind contributions;
• Knights of Columbus donated $50,000 in cash contributions;
• and Maine Family Policy Council donated $625 in cash contributions.
Catholic organizations outside Maine also made major donations to the campaign. Catholic Charities for the Diocese of Evansville in Indiana and the Archdiocese of Santa Fe in New Mexico donated $1,000 each.
(Excuse me for a second, as I “ROTFLMAO” at Mike Heath’s incredibly meager and lame THREE digit donation…
That is an awful lot of non-Maine money especially out of New Jersey, California and Colorado. But for today, let’s focus on the local Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland and their loaned-out to SFMM spokesman, Marc Mutty.
More below the fold.Some Maine Catholics had already been quite upset with Bishop Richard Malone’s involvement in the equality marriage debate.
One even publicly told the good bishop offat the public hearing in April.
Yesterday the Lewiston Sun Journal reported on the Diocese’s donation, interviewing Diocese spokesman, loaned out to SFMM for the duration, Marc Mutty.
In the face of recent firings at the Trinity Catholic School and the plans for closing two Catholic parishes in Lewiston, both due to declining revenue, the revelation that the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland had spent $100,000 on efforts to repeal the recently passed same-sex marriage law took some Catholics by surprise.
“I saw that $100,000 figure in the paper and it was very demoralizing,” said David Webbert, an Augusta lawyer, who for years attended Auburn’s St. Philip’s Church with his family and now occasionally attends in Winthrop.
But Marc Mutty, a leader of the group seeking to repeal the law who is on leave from his work at the diocese, said parishioners should know the donated funds were not taken from the collection plate.
“The money is dedicated revenues that were provided by a donor for causes such as these and money from the collection basket or any of those types of things would never be used,” he said.
Mutty said he only had limited details regarding the origins of the donation.
“It’s my understanding the money was left to the Portland diocese for defending church dogma or policy, that sort of thing. It wasn’t specific to this particular issue. Our application to this issue was our choice, but it fell within the general parameters of the donor’s request,” he said.
Mutty said he understands why people get upset when they that the diocese spent money on this issue, regardless of where the money actually came from.
“There’s no question that some would say that it’s a shame we have to spend this kind of money on this kind of issue when we should be spending it on the poor or those kinds of things,” he said.
And now that the actual donation numbers have been released and the extent of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland’s financial involvement is public knowledge, the voices in Maine are speaking up again. Here are a few:
I think if the Catholic Church is going to act as a political organization they should pay taxes on that money. People are giving to a tax exempt church and it’s turned into political activist funds.
The Catholic Church and the other political activist churches need to have their tax exempt status revoked. Who are going to be the brave politicians to take the Catholic Church on??
What a waste of money that really could be put to good use. Keep crying about job layoffs. All this money that the churches are putting towards
fighting gay marriage and it could be going to hundreds of other uses that actually help people.
Wow a $100,000 donation from the Catholic Church! Is that the same church that has been hiding their property and funds in Vermont and other states so their pedophile priests will not have to pay for their crimes? This while decent and honest Gay persons are trying to have a decent life? Yea if it’s hypocritical it must be them.
I wonder how many people in the church have lost a job and a home after faithfully giving every week into an offering plate? I bet the church wasn’t showing up with a check to help, probably a prayer or two though.
$193,0000 spent so far to collect the signatures for the petition. I thought that this was going to be a grassroots campaign where people that genuinely believed in their cause would be volunteering their time to collect signatures.
This state should not have referendums. It’s flat out not fair. Look at the population base. Whatever the people in Augusta and South want, that is what they will get. The people north of Augusta have no say in anything because nobody lives up here. So just take a poll in Southern Maine and see what they want and that is what will happen.
“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland contributed $100,000.” I am so glad I rejected the Catholic Church decades ago. What a waste of time and money.
If gay marriage is allowed, it will definitely wreck my marriage as it won’t have “sanctity”. I am Catholic, well, sorta, and not at all surprised and happy with the donation of 100K
Groups are probably still debating if the sun revolves around the earth or vice versa, if the earth is flat , whether witches and demons are out there prowling around…..I expect this to get squashed, big time.
It is manifestly unfair that the church should be allowed to raise money and collect signatures without paying taxes. Look at all the wealth in the Vatican and the corrupt priests,bishops and higher ups. Meanwhile real Mainers who want fairness have to pay taxes and struggle.
The church should have no involvement in this unless they start paying taxes on the land and building that they have there services at. The money that they collect during services also. If they want to be that involved with the voteing process then they should also have to do like the rest of us and pay taxes on the churches ,land and money collected. Plain and simple.
Tax the Catholic Church!! It’s outrageous that the church is getting involved by contributing $100,000 of money that they get tax free for being a religious institution. If they want to be a PAC, MAKE THEM PAY THE PRICE!
I think a petition should be started to take away the “tax-exempt” status of this, no longer religious, political organization. Anyone with me?
The “special fund” was probably private donations from church members in which they received a tax-break for contributing to a non-profit and which the church paid no taxes because of their status as a religious institution. It still violates the law that a church can only be tax exempt if it does not use its money to affect political events. The church is in violation.
And it’s relevant because this Catholic Church has violated the 501c rules that govern tax-exempt status for organizations. If the Maine legislature or judiciary branch chooses to pursue this (or in Maine’s citizens mobilize) the church would probably lose its tax-exempt status.
I don’t know where you people get your facts about 501(c)3 organizations, but you might want to read the IRS rulings again. There is no gag rule on churches – they are not allowed to endorse a candidate from the pulpit, but they are allowed an opinion and spending in political issues.
It still violates the law that a church can only be tax exempt if it does not use its money to affect political events.
I hope that they take this into consideration, It has been reported and it will be investigated so I hope that all their paperwork is legit.
… but it violates the 501c rules established by the IRS to be able to maintain their tax-exempt status. That’s it.
… the church is actively seeking political change. Violation of 501c, they should no longer be exempt. And Duckwa… the scenario you painted is actually skirting the edge and is probably also a violation. Because they’ve done it before isn’t much of a legal defense.
– it does not violate the 501c3 rules -that is all I was trying to say. There is significant precedent for it in IRS rulings.
Hey, did anyone happen to realize that we are more concerned that 45 million people don’t have health insurance – and it’s a NATIONAL CRISIS. But the 40+ million children our country has allowed to be butchered over the last several decades don’t seem to matter much! Just saying . . .
The true measure of support for any cause will only come about when the State of Maine re-writes the 501c3 rules so that ‘donors’ are not hiding behind the curtain.
That last is my personal favorite- the State of Maine’s legislature decides all of the FEDERAL IRS tax laws!
This is getting messy indeed…