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New Campaign Calls Out Bishops for their Crusade to Discriminate

June 18, 2015

Catholics for Choice will launch a campaign on the front cover wraparound of the Washington Post Express that points a finger at Catholic bishops for discriminating against people in DC—and throughout the country. The ad will reach 316,000 commuters in the DC metro area.

Washington Post Fortnight ad“The truth is that the bishops want to take taxpayer money to fund their discrimination, but they don’t want adhere to the same rules as everyone else. Catholics for Choice is taking a stand and educating voters and their representatives across the country that the bishops’ so-called ‘religious liberty’ campaign is a sham—and outright dangerous for our health and freedoms as Americans.”“Asking you to join a discrimination campaign sounds outrageous,” said Jon O’Brien, president of Catholics for Choice. “Yet the US Conference of Catholic Bishops will launch a campaign this Sunday that we believe promotes just that: discrimination. Though they call it a ‘Fortnight for Freedom,’ make no mistake: The bishops’ idea of religious freedom is the freedom to discriminate against anyone who disagrees with them. By lobbying for special exemptions from state and federal policies, the bishops are imposing their narrow beliefs on everyone—Catholic and non-Catholic alike.

The advertisement inverts the US Army’s famous Uncle Sam recruitment poster, originally by James Montgomery Flagg, by showing a Catholic bishop recruiting an army of intolerance. It cites examples of how “religious exemptions” allow the bishops to:

Fire a woman who works for a Catholic diocese for using IVF to have a baby

  • Fire a teacher at a Catholic school for marrying a same-sex partner
  • Block an employee at a Catholic-affiliated organization from getting birth control through their insurance
  • Use taxpayer dollars to provide services to those living with HIV, but refuse to provide condoms
  • Take taxpayer dollars to work with victims of sex trafficking without providing emergency contraception—or even a referral to another doctor

O’Brien continued, “During the Fortnight, the bishops will try to gather a parade of Catholics—not to uplift and celebrate our community—but to show political support for their discrimination campaign ahead of the 2016 presidential election. But everyday Catholics do not march in lock step behind the bishops. In fact, 89 percent of Catholics do not believe they have to vote on issues the way that bishops recommend; 72 percent support contraceptive coverage in both private and government insurance plans; and 99 percent of sexually active Catholic women have used a method of contraception banned by the Vatican.

“As Catholics, we believe in real religious liberty—freedom of religion and freedom from religion—and know the majority of American Catholics agree with us. In print ads like the above, we’re raising the voices of these everyday Catholics who believe in real freedom for all Americans, no matter where they live, who they love or what they have in their wallets.”