Reform CCHD Now? Sifting Through the Hyperbole and Getting to the Truth
A controversy over participation in two liberal social action groups by the U.S. bishops’ conference and one of its top executives is focusing attention on the perils associated with a familiar Washington institution: the coalition. Coalitions with public policy agendas are a way of life for organizations in the nation’s capital. As the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has lately been reminded, however, this way of life involves certain ambiguities and risks, with guilt by association high among the latter. The current controversy erupted when several conservative groups took umbrage at the fact that John Carr, head of USCCB’s social development and peace office, played a leadership role in a coalition called the Center for Community Change, which the conservatives accused of promoting abortion and homosexuality. Carr says he severed ties with the center five years ago, and up to then it had no connection with such issues. Calling themselves the Reform CCHD Now Coalition, the conservatives also complained that 31 of 150 organizations in the Center for Community Change coalition had received grants from the CCHD—the Catholic Campaign for Human Development.Russell Shawhas been looking into these charges and has a report.