Iowa bishop reverses decision, allows LGBT scholarship award at Catholic high school
CLINTON, Iowa, May 17, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Catholic Diocese of Davenport, Iowa has reversed its decision disallowing the public presentation of an LGBT scholarship at a local Catholic high school, and has directed a school official to read the award’s description at the school’s commencement.
The Eychaner Foundation’s Gold Matthew Shephard Scholarship, which carries a $40,000 reward for students who excel academically while promoting “tolerance and diversity,” is to be awarded to Keaton Fuller, a senior at Prince of Peace College Prep in Clinton, Iowa.
Bishop Martin J. Amos caused a national media uproar on Monday after he stated that, while the award’s monetary value should still be given to Fuller, the award should not be a public part of Fuller’s graduation ceremony as the Foundation had planned. The decision overruled school officials, who had helped Fuller, who is openly homosexual, apply for the award.
Following the severe backlash, the diocese days later released a statement declaring it had reached an agreement with the Eychaner Foundation that involved having the Superintendent of Schools, instead of a Foundation representative, read the prepared script describing the award.
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The script includes an acknowledgement that selection for the award is based in part on “community service, especially that which promotes tolerance and diversity,” and describes Fuller’s achievement in having “shared his story” after being initially “introverted and depressed when contemplating coming out.”
The Diocese on its website thanked the Eychaner Foundation for dialoguing on the issue and praised the nonprofit group’s mission. http://davenportdiocese.org/comm/commpr.htm
“Regardless of the different views held by Mr. Eychaner and the Diocese on same sex marriage, the work of the Foundation for tolerance and respect for all people is commendable, especially regarding the anti-bullying programs they advocate,” it stated. The Foundation, which had joined the media push to present the award, also thanked Bishop Amos. http://www.eychanerfoundation.org/news/item/agreement-reached-between-the-eychaner-foundation-and-the-diocese-of-davenport.html
The Eychaner Foundation was founded by Rich Eychaner, Iowa’s first openly homosexual candidate for federal office and a longtime gay rights advocate. Multimillionaire Chicago mogul Fred Eychaner, Rich Eychaner’s brother who is also openly homosexual, ranks alongside George Soros as one of America’s top financiers of the Democrat party.
Deacon David Montgomery, Davenport’s Director of Communication, responded to one individual’s query on the issue by saying that “Bishop Amos and the Diocese of Davenport are not promoting the homosexual agenda at a Catholic high school.”
“We are recognizing the academic achievements of a student who has worked hard to earn his graduation,” said Montgomery. “The statement from the Eychaner Foundation that will be read by the diocesan superintendant of schools at the presentation of the award is attached. The statement opposes anti-gay rhetoric and hate crimes. It does not contain any position that is contrary to Catholic teaching.”
Montgomery did not immediately return a request for comment from LifeSiteNews.com.