By Kathleen Gilbert
WASHINGTON, D.C., May 19, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has pulled out of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition that lobbies against pro-life and pro-family legislation and boasts top pro-abortion and homosexualist groups among its members.
The break was confirmed in a release sent to LifeSiteNews.com (LSN) by Sister Mary Ann Walsh, USCCB Director of Media Relations, on Wednesday afternoon.
The release stated that the bishops withdrew following the group's published support for the pro-abortion and homosexualist Supreme Court nominee, Solicitor General Elena Kagan, which was pointed out earlier this week by Deal Hudson of Catholic Advocate and reported by LSN Tuesday.
In withdrawing from the coalition, the USCCB "reiterated its commitment to oppose discrimination based on race, religion, sex, ethnicity, disabling condition, or age, and said that these are grave injustices and affronts to human dignity."
"In light of recent events, it has become increasingly clear that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ continued membership in the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights is not possible because of the LCCR’s expanded and broadened agenda," stated Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre NY, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Peace, as quoted in the release.
"The interests of the Leadership Conference and those of the USCCB have diverged as the LCCR has moved beyond advocacy of traditional civil rights to advocacy of positions which do not reflect the principles and policies of the bishops’ Conference."
Murphy did not address explicitly the pro-abortion and homosexualist activities of the coalition, instead saying only that the bishops ended their relationship because LCCHR in recent years "has joined others in advocating or opposing nominees for the Supreme Court, a practice which clearly contradicts USCCB policy and compromises the principled positions of the bishops."
"The USCCB deeply regrets this action has become necessary and pledges to continue our ongoing work on civil rights, racial and ethnic justice, and the protection of human life and dignity," said Murphy.
Deal Hudson told LSN following the release that, "It's a sad fact of politics that organizations originally founded for one purpose undergo changes over time that affect their mission."
"With the United States Conference of Catholic Bishop removing itself from the Leadership Conference of Civil and Human Rights, the bishops have recognized, as Bishop William Murphy put it, 'the LCCR has moved beyond advocacy of traditional civil rights to advocacy of positions which do not reflect the principles and policies of the bishops’ Conference.'"
Hudson concluded: "No one will doubt the ongoing commitment of the Catholic bishops to upholding civil and human rights, but this action was necessary to avoid any confusion about its protection of the most basic human right, the right to life of the not-yet-born."