Ontario Catholic teachers union funds leading gay activist group
TORONTO, December 16, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Faithful Catholic teachers are outraged after discovering that the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA) is funding Canada’s leading homosexualist organization with dues collected from them.
According to OECTA’s website, the organization represents 45,000 teachers in publicly-funded English Catholic schools in the province. All the teachers are compelled to pay dues to the organization, which vary according to teaching status, with many having nearly $1000 per year deducted from their paychecks. This gives the union huge financial clout.
In its 2009-2010 Annual Report, the organization Equality for Gays and Lesbians Everywhere (EGALE), which famously lobbied successfully to legalize gay ‘marriage’ in Canada in 2005, lists OECTA as a partner (See page 3).
EGALE’s support of same-sex ‘marriage’ often included ferocious attacks against the Catholic Church. In a 2005 essay two prominent EGALE leaders, Kevin Bourassa and Joe Varnell, condemned Calgary Bishop Fred Henry for defending natural marriage.
“We predict that gay marriage will indeed result in the growth of acceptance of homosexuality now underway, as Henry fears,” they wrote. “But marriage equality will also contribute to the abandonment of toxic religions, liberating society from the prejudice and hatred that has polluted culture for too long.” They labeled Bishop Henry a “religious extremist,” and a “bigot,” adding, “It’s good to remember that bishops like him supported Hitler.”
LifeSiteNews asked OECTA how much money the Catholic organization gave to the homosexual activist group, how it justified such support and if members were aware of the support. However, OECTA Director of Communications Michelle Despault refused to reveal the sum given to EGALE.
“In response to your questions I am providing you a statement from the OECTA handbook,” said Despault in an email reply. She quoted a section of the handbook which claims that the organization is pro-life, and sees ‘sexism and homophobia’ as threats to life.
That section states:
the Association affirm the sacredness of all life: of human life created in God’s image and all other forms of life with which we share this planet. Therefore: the Association reaffirms Catholic teaching on the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death; the Association denounces all threats to life such as euthanasia, abortion, capital punishment, genocide, racism, sexism and homophobia; the Association is committed to supporting programs and actions which defend and promote the dignity of life.
The Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario (ACBO) did not respond to a request for comment on the matter. Neil MacCarthy, Communications Director in the office of Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins, the current President of the ACBO, told LifeSiteNews that there is no official statement at this time, but that the archdiocese would be monitoring the issue closely.
LifeSiteNews spoke with numerous Catholic teachers about the issue; however, most refused to speak publicly for fear of retaliation by the powerful union. Many expressed their disappointment, frustration and helplessness at being unable to prevent their money from supporting a group that attacks the Catholic Church. They said they were not surprised by the move, however, given OECTA’s past controversies.
Barry Mombourquette, a teacher in the Hamilton Wentworth Catholic District School Board, was willing to speak on record. Mombourquette noted that $950 is deducted annually from his paychecks to pay his union dues to OECTA. “As a union paying member for 32 years, I have no problem saying I’m opposed to this,” he said.
“We as Catholic teachers must uphold the teachings of the Catholic Church and our monies should in no way be supporting organizations or efforts which oppose Catholic Church teaching,” he said.
One of the teachers who commented anonymously explained that he was the sole income earner for his family and could not risk speaking out publicly against the union. “It’s a kick in the teeth” he said. “Can you imagine trying to uphold the Catholic faith and your leadership both at the board and union level undercutting what you’re doing?”
“We need the bishops to step up and stop this,” he added. “If we could see support and protection from the bishops then we could speak out. If we stick our necks out without that support that’d be suicide.”
Mary Nicol, a retired teacher who taught for 33 years at St. Maria Goretti in Scarborough, told LifeSiteNews that at one time she was proud to be a member of the Catholic teachers union. “Now, I’m ashamed of having been part of OECTA. I’m glad I’m no longer involved,” she said.
While OECTA refused to reveal the details of their financial contributions to EGALE, LifeSiteNews did uncover one $1000 donation. The June 2010 issue of the OECTA publication AGENDA contained a short article entitled “OECTA Supports Egale,” which noted a $1000 donation towards the launch of an EGALE website for Gay-Straight Alliances.
Homosexual activists have promoted such school clubs as providing ‘safe’ environments in schools for homosexual students. Critics argue, however, that the groups encourage the normalization of the homosexual lifestyle.
Campaign Life Catholic, which opposes GSA’s in schools, told LifeSiteNews that opposition to OECTA’s radical departure from core Catholic moral teachings is long overdue.
Over the last decade OECTA has promoted bizarre sex conferences featuring talks on drag queens and sex toys; used their own conferences to feature leading dissident Catholics and abortion supporters; seriously mulled the official promotion of homosexual ‘marriage’; and even sought to intervene in a court proceeding against a Catholic school which was being sued by a male student for refusing to permit him to bring his gay ‘boyfriend’ to the school prom.
“Parents who send kids to Catholic schools assume naturally that our Bishops provide religious education for teachers,” said Suresh Dominic, spokesman for Campaign Life Catholic. “That’s not the case whatsoever.
“OECTA provides much of the religious education for teachers and principals through workshops and seminars. Many of these deal with ‘sexual orientation’, ‘sensitivity training for LGBTQ issues’, ‘transgender issues’, ‘homophobia’, etc.”
He concluded: “Given that OECTA is an official partner of EGALE, shouldn’t the Bishops take back the religious formation responsibility from OECTA? Or at the very least, ensure that guest speakers and presenters are hand-picked by the Bishops, not by OECTA?”
To make your voice heard:
Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association OECTA