Catholic-Funded Agencies in Nashville Caught Promoting Abortion, LGBT Activism

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NOTE: At the end of this report, we provide an action item.  Even if you don’t read the entire report, please go to the action item at the end to contact your bishop about these outrageous grants.

Every once in a while, a Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) funded organization receives public recognition and accolades for its work and its relationship with the Catholic Church.  On February 1, 2021, the CCHD-funded Stand Up Nashville (SUN) received strong praise from the official news office of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) called the Catholic News Service.  The author of the piece is Aimee Shelide Mayer, who happens to be Nashville’s local representative of the National Catholic Labor Network. Referring to SUN as one of the local “prophets in our midst who cry out in defense of workers,” Mayer points out that SUN is receiving support from the CCHD.

Given this high praise, it was deemed important to take a closer look at SUN, and what we discovered was much more than we expected.  SUN and two other CCHD-funded organizations have signed on to or directly participated with a coalition directly pushing abortion and transgenderism. Furthermore, the leadership of one of these grantees is heavily involved in the promotion of homosexual activism and is made up of member organizations doing the same.

CCHD’s most recently published list of grantee recipients shows that the organizations Nashville Organized for Action and Hope (NOAH) [$60,000], Memphis Interfaith Coalition for Action and Hope (MICAH) [$50,000] and Stand-Up Nashville (SUN) [$45,000] received Catholic funding totaling $155,000.

We’re going to tackle these organizations one at a time, beginning with SUN.  What we’ve discovered is that SUN is in direct violation of CCHD grant guidelines  regarding its organizational members, and its executive director and majority of board members are thoroughly committed to the promotion of abortion and LGBT ideologies.

CCHD grant guidelines specifically state that member organizations that are part of a grantee must not endorse or advocate items against Catholic teaching :

Can you affirm compliance with Catholic Social Teachings? This means that your organization, and its affiliates, partners and coalition members must not endorse or advocate policies and issues that are contrary to Catholic Social Teaching – such as favoring abortion, euthanasia, capital punishment, same-sex marriage, racism, sexism and other prejudices. [emphasis added]

Two of Stand Up Nashville’s seven member organizations directly endorse and advocate for abortion as a “right” and are engaged in LGBT activism.  If SUN indicated to the CCHD that its member organizations were in compliance with this guideline, then SUN lied.  Furthermore, since this is a guideline that is supposed to be verified by the CCHD’s “rigorous vetting process,” it’s clear that the CCHD likewise failed to perform its due diligence.

Partnership for Working Families (PWF)

PWF is also identified on SUN’s members page as a member organization:

PWF has taken an obvious stand for “reproductive justice” in support of abortion and consistently promotes homosexual activism across all its channels of communications. Some examples:

In 2019, PWF published a white paper crying against legislation that restricts abortion.

On page 15 of the document, PWF complained that Representative Hutton supported bills that would “make it more difficult for his female constituents to access abortion services.”  On page 16, PWF accused Representative Casada of undermining “women’s reproductive rights,” and Senator Hale of sponsoring legislation “that is harmful for women” because it requires “Tennessee Medicaid provider[s] to report annually on the number of abortions paid for by the medical assistance program.”

On social media, PWF is actively promoting ideologies and agendas which contravene Catholic moral teaching.  This September 2018 Facebook post echoes a progressive cry against then Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh for his consistent stand against “reproductive justice.”

This June 28 Twitter post celebrates the homosexual Stonewall riots, endorsing homosexual activism.

This June 2015 Facebook post actually celebrated homosexual “marriage.”

In an October 2019 Facebook post PWF equated “rights” for all manner of sexual perversions with “workers’ rights.”

Central Labor Council of Nashville (Nashville CLC)

Also identified on SUN’s membership page is the Nashville CLC.

Nashville CLC published several articles pushing homosexual and trans-activism including

Furthermore, Nashville CLC’s social media feeds promote homosexual activism including this June 15, 2020 post:

And this post from July 30, 2019:

Stand-Up Nashville (SUN)

Remember, the CCHD demands of each organization that its “affiliates, partners and coalition members must not endorse or advocate policies and issues that are contrary to Catholic Social Teaching.”  On this basis alone, due to the activities of the two member organizations we just profiled, SUN is disqualified from CCHD-funding.  But this isn’t the only concern.

In addition to having member organizations that are acting in direct opposition to Catholic moral teaching (in violation of CCHD guidelines), SUN has itself been identified as a front group for the Marxist “Freedom Road Socialist Organization” by both the Epoch Times and Key Wiki. While we can’t prove this, it is worth noting that SUN has also participated in conference calls with the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), at least giving weight to what the Epoch Times and Key Wiki alleged:

But this really shouldn’t be surprising, considering the fact that Stand Up Nashville’s executive director and the majority of its board members are heavily involved in the promotion of abortion and LGBT activism.

Odessa Kelly is SUN’s executive director, and her Facebook page shows numerous examples of this.  For instance:

This June 2018 Facebook post shows Odessa Kelly participating in the Nashville Pride Parade.

Another Facebook post from June 2018 is also from the Nashville Pride Parade, this time Kelly is posing with a man in drag.

This Facebook post from 2016 shows Kelly at an earlier Pride parade, establishing a pattern of activity.

The following video from Kelly’s Facebook feed shows her participation at the 2019 Pride Parade, this time filming some provocatively dressed homosexual men as well as some transgender activists.

In 2019, SUN promoted the heavily pro-abortion Women’s March, sponsored by Power Together Tennessee (more on them later), on social media.  In fact, Odessa Kelly, identified as the executive director for SUN, was a keynote speaker at the march itself:

Stand Up Nashville’s board member Charlane Oliver is outspoken in her pro-abortion views.  She was featured in the Black Women’s Roundtable discussing Roe v. Wade.  The central themes of the discussion included “women’s health and reproductive rights and the vulnerability of Roe v. Wade if Judge Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Stand Up Nashville board member and recent former co-chair of SUN, Anne Barnett, is also involved in homosexual and abortion activism. Her “likes” on Facebook are a strong indication of this:

This June 24 2017 Facebook post shows participation in a homosexual pride event.

Barnett also posted this picture that shows an affinity toward communist activism as intertwined with LGBT activism:

Barrett’s “likes” on Facebook include abortion-giant, Planned Parenthood, several LGBT organizations, and Marxist organizations as well:

Stand Up Nashville board member (and lead organizer for CCHD grantee NOAH, more on them in a moment) Mike Hodge’s social media likes and posts show strong evidence of homosexual activism.

Hodge’s likes on Facebook include many prominent pro-abortion and homosexual activist organizations –

This June, 2015 Facebook post celebrates the SCOTUS decision legalizing same-sex “marriage”:

In 2013, Hodge posted an image of the marriage equality symbol over the Constitution of the United States:

NOAH and MICAH

While the private actions of a CCHD grantee’s leadership may not constitute a formal breach of grant guidelines, we feel it is both a massive risk factor and predictor of future grantee behavior. Personnel is policy. Time and again, CCHD has ignored the character and positions of grantee leadership to its own detriment. It is much akin to hiring a robber to guard a bank or an embezzler to oversee accounting. What does the CCHD expect to happen when grantee leadership is heavily involved in anti-Catholic activities?  Furthermore, when grantee leadership shows extreme sympathy to anti-Catholic positions, there is an increased risk of unreported activities that are hostile to Church teaching. Just because we can’t find it on the internet, doesn’t mean activities hostile to Church teaching haven’t happened.

CCHD grant guidelines forbids funding to organizations that are members of coalitions which violate Catholic moral teaching:

CCHD CANNOT FUND groups that knowingly participate in coalitions that have, as part of their organizational purpose or their coalition agenda or actions, anything that contradicts fundamental Catholic moral or social teaching, due to the fact that CCHD is an initiative of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Examples would be promotion or support of contraception, abortion, same-sex marriage, euthanasia, racism, the use of the death penalty, or punitive measures toward immigrants. Prohibited activities include participation in or endorsing actions that promote legislation that contradicts Church teaching (for example, voter guides and other written materials in support of such ballot measures). [emphasis original]

Both NOAH and MICAH are members of Power Together Tennessee, which is a local chapter of The Women’s March on Washington.

The problem here is that Power Together Tennessee expressly states that the group of Power Together Tennessee “has adopted and endorsed” values in full support of abortion, contraception, and homosexuality and transgenderism:

Furthermore, Power Together Tennessee is VERY obvious about its views across its social media platforms. There is no chance that an organization could sign up as a member without knowing that Power Together is a strong supporter of abortion, transgenderism and even the extremist violent group Antifa.

Some examples from Power Together’s Facebook feed:

Promotion of Antifa

Promotion of Planned Parenthood:

Promotion of homosexual / trans activism:

Opposed Amy Coney Barrett because of her abortion views:

Promotion of all the above:

CONCLUSION

The three CCHD-funded organizations we identified in this report, SUN, NOAH, MICAH are disqualified from current and future funding from the CCHD according to CCHD’s own grant guidelines.  SUN is disqualified due to its member organizations being involved in the promotion of abortion and LGBT activism.  NOAH and MICAH are disqualified for joining a blatantly anti-Catholic, pro-abortion coalition.

These three organizations should be defunded and never should have been funded in the first place. Yet, somehow, these organizations made it through CCHD’s “rigorous” screening and ongoing monitoring process. There is no excuse for this!

It is time to END the Catholic Campaign for Human Development!

Please contact the CCHD and demand answers!  Ask them how or why organizations like these ever received a grant and if CCHD will demand Catholic money to be returned for violating CCHD guidelines and Catholic moral/social teaching. Also, contact your bishop and ask them to withdraw completely from the CCHD.

Click here for the contact information for your bishop.

Click here for the name and email address of your diocesan CCHD director.

CCHD NATIONAL OFFICE STAFF


Ralph McCloud, CCHD Director 202-541-3367 rmccloud@usccb.org


Lydia Jiles, Grants Administrator 202-541-3210 ljiles@usccb.org


Juan Aranda, Grants Specialist for Area D 202-541-3370 jaranda@usccb.org


Main Number . . . . . . . . . . 202-541-3210


Fax Number . . . . . . . . . . 202-541-3329


Main Email . . . . . . . . . . cchdgrants@usccb.org

Grant Specialists


Area A   Ian Mitchell   202-541-3371   imitchell@usccb.org


Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Vermont

Area B   Gene Giannotta   202-541-3211   ggiannotta@usccb.org


Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Wisconsin

Area C   Randy Keesler   202-541-3369   rkeesler@usccb.org


Alabama, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee , Virgin Islands, Virginia, West Virginia

Area D   Juan Aranda   202-541-3370   jaranda@usccb.org


Arizona, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas

Area E   Sean Wendlinder   202-541-3212   swendlinder@usccb.org


Alaska, California, Colorado, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming

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