Featured Image
 Lepanto Institute

(Lepanto Institute) — Over the years, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development has provided grants to the organization called Congregations United to Serve Humanity (CUSH). From 2012-2018, the CCHD provided a total of $202,000 to CUSH, after which time it hadn’t received a grant again until the 2021-2022 grants cycle. The recently published CCHD grants list for 2021-2022 shows that CUSH received a grant of $45,000 for that year.

On September 29 of this year, Kenosha News reported that CUSH was planning to hold a book drive to collect “banned books” to “help stock [a] proposed LGBTQ youth center.” The books are said to be intended for “a library at a proposed Kenosha-based LGBTQ center for middle and high school youth.” From the article:

“The reason we’re doing this is really to raise awareness,” said CUSH organizer Lori Hawkins. “There’s a lot of books that are on the banned books list and have been in the past that we think people will be surprised to learn about. But we’re really looking at getting books that we can put into this library for the LGBTQ youth center.”

On October 5, 2023, Kenosha News interviewed Lori Hawkins, CUSH’s executive director and community organizer about the “banned books” drive.

At 2:29 in the Kenosha News segment, the book “Gender Queer” is being held by a CUSH volunteer, alongside “The LGBTQ+ History Book,” “All Boys Aren’t Blue,” and “This Book is Gay,” all of which are aimed at grooming children and young adolescents.

To emphasize this point, CUSH even posted an image on their own Facebook page showing a more complete collection of such books.

“Gender Queer,” collected by CUSH for the drive, is a graphic novel that includes a pornographic depiction of a sexually confused male teenager performing oral sex acts on another male teenager. This censored image from “Gender Queer” is indicative of just how grossly immoral this book is:

“This Book is Gay,” also collected by CUSH with the intention of providing it to minors, contains graphic descriptions of sex acts as an instructional manual. A review of the book reveals that beginning on page 156, the reader is instructed on the use of homosexual “hookup” apps. Beginning on page 171 is a section on erogenous zones, including a male diagram with tips on sexual pleasure. Beginning on page 173 are instructions on mutual masturbation, oral sex, and anal sex. On March 28, 2023, the Florida Standard posted a couple of offensive pages from the book.

Also collected by CUSH is the book “All Boys Aren’t Blue.” The book contains multiple scenes of homosexual oral and anal sex acts. The graphic scenes can be read about here at Parents Defending Education.

Given the absolutely blatant intention to sexually groom young children, one has to wonder how this kind of organization could possibly have received funding from the Catholic Church. Responding to a recent mailing from the Lepanto Institute containing reports on CCHD grantees that went to all Catholic bishops of the United States, Bishop Timothy Senior, current chairman of the USCCB’s Subcommittee for the CCHD, sent a letter to all U.S. bishops claiming, “The staff of CCHD have confirmed that the concerns expressed by the Lepanto Institute regarding these groups are unfounded.” He continued:

“Individuals and groups such as the Lepanto Institute, have used inflammatory language and imagery which mislead. These groups have sown seeds of doubt about the great work of CCHD and incite fear and uncertainty in the minds of faithful Catholics.

As you receive inquiries from faithful Catholics, priests, deacons, religious, or seminarians in your diocese, I encourage you to assure them that these organizations misrepresent CCHD.

All of the initiatives that are supported with CCHD funding have undergone a thorough application process, which includes the approval by the local bishop, and the national subcommittee of bishops, and are closely monitored throughout the length of their grant to ensure that the terms of the grant agreement are strictly followed. Catholics can be confident that the Catholic Campaign for Human Development does not fund organizations that violate the moral or social teaching of the Church.” (emphasis added)

Despite the platitudes and assurances from Bp. Senior, groups like CUSH continue to receive CCHD funds. And this isn’t entirely surprising, considering CUSH’s relationship with two Catholic parishes in the Milwaukee archdiocese. According to CUSH’s member congregation page, St. Mary Catholic Church and St. Mark Catholic Church are both members.

In fact, St. Mary Catholic Church is represented on CUSH’s board of directors by Deacon Ron Lesjak.

It’s worth noting that two members of the Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters in Kenosha are members of CUSH’s Religious Leaders Caucus, as can be seen in this bulletin from 2022.

According to an article in the 4th quarter publication of NETWORK Lobby’s “NETWORK Connection,” Sister Erica Jordan, a Sinsinawa Dominican, said:

“I currently live with two other sisters in a community in Kenosha, Wisconsin, a small city of about 100,000 people. We’ve collectively decided to dive deep into the politics of Kenosha. We joined a group called CUSH (Congregations United to Serve Humanity) and are part of the immigration taskforce.”

Other members of CUSH’s Religious Leaders Caucus – at least in January of 2021 – include Fr. Gerald Hessel and Fr. Carlos Florez of St. Mark Catholic Church, who signed a letter as members of the Caucus.

In short, the national CCHD, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, St. Mark’s, St. Mary’s, and the Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters are all implicated in the collection of pornographic, homosexual books intended for young kids. But this recent action of CUSH is just the tip of the iceberg.

On CUSH’s page regarding the issues it covers, CUSH includes something it calls the “Rainbow Forward Task Force.”

CUSH says that the Rainbow Forward Task Force is “Working to raise the HRC’s [Human Rights Campaign’s] Municipal Equality Index [MEI] Score in the city of Kenosha one issue at a time.”

The far-left Human Rights Campaign is the largest LGBT lobby group in the United States. The link to the Human Rights Campaign’s MEI, provided by CUSH, says:

“The MEI examines how inclusive municipal laws, policies, and services are of LGBTQ+ people [sic] who live and work there. Cities are rated based on non-discrimination laws, the municipality as an employer, municipal services, law enforcement and leadership on LGBTQ+ equality [sic].”

In other words, CUSH is a willing participant in making Kenosha more amenable to the open practice of sodomy and the sexual grooming of children.

READ: Co-founder of homosexual activist group HRC charged with sex abuse of 15-year-old boy

In an undated survey titled, “Rainbow Forward CUSH Congregations Survey,” CUSH asked the following:

  • Please state the CUSH Congregation you are a member of.
  • Are you out as a member of the LGBTQIA Community?
  • Age: (range from 13-50)
  • Gender assigned at birth: M/F
  • Do you identify with the gender you were born with?
  • What are your pronouns?
  • Are you one of the leaders within your congregation?
  • Does your congregation have a welcome statement that states All are Welcome?
  • Would you be willing to write one with repeating it at every service / event: as well as having it listed on your website as the first thing to be seen?
  • Are you willing to lead your congregation into being an Advocate for the LGBTQIA Community within Kenosha?
  • Would you be willing to:
    • Allow LGBTQIA meetings / support groups / events at your location?
    • Help facilitate Support Groups?
    • Speak to someone on how they identify themselves without holding judgement?
    • Respecting their wishes if they happen to come out to you?
    • Willing to stand up for those different to other congregation members if needed?
  • Are you willing to have the HRI / LGBTQ+ Taskforce come into your congregation to go over how your congregation can become better Advocates for the LGBTQ+ Community?

None of this should have ever come as a surprise to the CCHD, who could have very easily seen the warning signs at least as far back as 2020. On October 26, 2020, CUSH posted a rainbow flag with the words, “Don’t tell someone you love them, and then vote for someone who will hurt them.” The message is obvious: vote for pro-LGBT candidates in the November election.

Additionally, Lori Hawkins, the current executive director for CUSH (as of March 2022), was the lead organizer for CUSH as far back as December of 2020.

Hawkins is the current chair of the Kenosha County Democrats and boasts in her bio that her “passion for organizing grew as a volunteer advocate for Planned Parenthood.”

In 2018, Hawkins ran for the Wisconsin state senate as a Democrat. In an interview with the Wisconsin Eye, Hawkins voiced her firm support for Planned Parenthood. At 13:50 into this interview, Hawkins said:

“We need to keep our community health centers open, and that includes Planned Parenthood. I mean, those clinics take care of – more than 50% of Planned Parenthood patients are rural, and that takes the load off of community health care centers when it comes to preventative care for reproductive health care, Pap tests, and other cancer screenings, and STD treatment.”

In 2017, Planned Parenthood actually featured Hawkins in an ad:

On May 28 of this year, investigative journalist and editor of the Kenosha County Eye, Kevin Mathewson, contacted CUSH executive director Lori Hawkins. Mathewson pointed out that CUSH supports “the morality of the lgbt population” and “raised money for Kenosha Pride.” He also points out that Hawkins and board member Jonathan Barker both support unrestricted access to abortion.

What is interesting is that Mathewson mentions that he spoke with the Archdiocese of Milwaukee at this time. A few locals in Milwaukee have been assisting the Lepanto Institute in this investigation, and we have received word from multiple sources that CUSH had been receiving a CCHD grant for FY 2022-2023 and was “removed from the list” in May due to concerns about Hawkins’ connection to Planned Parenthood. What this means is that the CCHD maintained funding to CUSH for the past year and was considering it for another grant for 2023-2024 and only “removed them from the list” after the threat of publicity was brought to the attention of the archdiocese.

While we applaud the denial of CUSH’s grant application, it must be understood that this is a perfect example of the complete failure that is the CCHD’s grant review process. It also means that nationally collected CCHD grant money directly funded CUSH’s book drive for perverse books and activities such as the following that were completely ignored by the application process:

In June of 2022, CUSH celebrated “Pride Month,” during what is actually the Month of the Sacred Heart.

In July of 2022, CUSH participated in “Kenosha Pride” with the hashtag “loveislove.”

On May 12 of 2023, CUSH posted an LGBTQ+ flag with the words “Safe Zone” emblazoned on it, saying, “join us on Monday May 15th from 3pm to 4:30pm as CUSH staff and board members attend Safe Zone training offered through the LGBT Center of SE WI.”

On June 28, 2023, CUSH announced that it would be commemorating the “Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots as the Beginning of the LGBTQIA+ Justice Movement.” In their announcement, CUSH said, “Please come stand in solidarity!”

That same day, CUSH published a photo of their commemoration of the Stonewall riots, complaining that Kenosha “is continually the lowest in the state of Wisconsin for the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index.” CUSH then boasted of having a “Task Force dedicated to increasing this score.”

On July 11, CUSH maintained a booth at the Kenosha Pride Festival.


At the end of the summer, because the CCHD steadfastly refused to publish its most recent grants list, the Lepanto Institute sent information packets to every bishop in the United States with four of our 66 reports on CCHD grantees from the 2020-2021 grants list. Within a couple of weeks of having received these packets, the chairman of the CCHD subcommittee, Bp. Timothy Senior, sent a letter to all U.S. bishops claiming that the reports from the Lepanto Institute were “unfounded” and that the CCHD has a “thorough application process” and grantees “are closely monitored throughout the length of their grant,” and he declared that “Catholics can be confident that the Catholic Campaign for Human Development does not fund organizations that violate the moral or social teaching of the Church.”

Given the information contained in this report, several things are perfectly clear:

  • CUSH, by its own admission, collected pornographic books depicting sodomitical acts with the intention of providing these books to children as young as middle school age. CUSH has also been working to raise Kenosha’s “MEI Score” according to the Human Rights Campaign’s standards and has been active in a host of other pro-homosexual and pro-transgender activities.
  • CUSH received a CCHD grant for the 2021-2022 grants cycle, and sources tell us that CUSH received another grant for 2022-2023, meaning nationally collected CCHD funds went toward CUSH’s perverted activities.
  • Since CUSH has been publicly promoting homosexual and transgender ideologies since at least as far back as 2020, this report proves that the CCHD’s vetting process is broken and Catholics CANNOT be “confident that the CCHD does not fund organizations that violate the moral or social teaching of the Church.”
  • The Lepanto Institute’s reports are not mired in “misleading imagery” or “inflammatory language,” as Bp. Senior claims, but provide proof from the grantee’s own public statements and photos. As such, Bp. Senior and the CCHD have an obligation to admit fault and cease calumniating the Lepanto Institute with libelous statements.

Reprinted with permission from the Lepanto Institute.