NOTE: At the end of this article, the Lepanto Institute asks that you contact your bishop to demand that all members of Faith in Action be immediately and permanently banned from future funding from the CCHD.
October 14, 2020 (Lepanto Institute) — The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) through the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) are funding an organized and direct effort to elect former vice president Joe Biden as the next president of the United States. Faith in Action (formerly the PICO Network) is one of the most heavily funded organizations of the CCHD. The Faith In Action Network includes forty-nine organizations spread across twenty states. At least twenty-nine affiliates of Faith in Acton’s network receive funding from the CCHD, comprising more than $1.5 million in the 2019–2020 CCHD grants cycle. Each local affiliate of Faith in Action is a branch from the national organization, which means that every directive and action of the national organization is also the directive and action of the local groups as well. Those Faith in Action members receiving CCHD funds for 2019–2020 are:
Faith in Action Bay Area – $30,000
Faith in San Joaquin – $25,000
Inland Congregations United for Change – $75,000
LA Voice – $40,000
People Acting in Community Together – $25,000
Sacramento Area Congregations Together – $50,000
San Diego Organizing Project – $50,000
Together Colorado – $50,000
Faith in Florida – $40,000
Faith in Indiana – $40,000
The MICAH Project – $60,000
Brockton Interfaith Community – $65,000
Essex County Community Organization – $75,000
I Have a Future – $60,000
Massachusetts Communities Action Network – $65,000
Pioneer Valley Project – $75,000
United Interfaith Action of Southeastern Massachusetts – $50,000
Worcester Interfaith – $40,000
Michigan Faith in Action – $65,000
ACTIONN – $65,000
Granite State Organizing Project – $40,000
Faith in Essex County – $50,000
NM Comunidades en Acción y de Fe – $55,000
Alliance of Communities Transforming Society – $65,000
Faith in New York – $50,000
Niagara Organizing Alliance for Hope – $65,000
VOICE – Buffalo, Inc. – $65,000
Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower and Rebuild – $65,000
Vermont Interfaith Action – $60,000
In 2016, the CCHD awarded the National PICO Network a massive grant of $500,000, which means that Catholic funding has gone to both local members of Faith in Action as well as the national organization.
As will be shown from Faith in Action’s own website and social media feeds, Faith in Action is involved in a consistent and direct partisan push in favor of Joe Biden and against Donald Trump for the 2020 national election. Not only is this a direct violation of CCHD grant guidelines, but if left uncorrected it displays USCCB complicity with electioneering for an apostate Catholic who supports abortion through all 9-months of pregnancy, has performed two same-sex “marriages,” and is running on a campaign that promises persecution of faithful Catholics throughout the country.
CCHD grant guidelines clearly state that partisan activities are strictly forbidden by CCHD and IRS guidelines:
Both the teachings of the Catholic Church and the regulations of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service prohibit CCHD from engaging in or supporting partisan political activities. Additionally, under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations absolutely are prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office.
As such, any organization involved in partisan political activities is ineligible for CCHD funding. Non-partisan voter registration efforts undertaken by applicant groups facilitate civic participation in democracy and are supported by the Church. At the same time, however, any effort that seeks to register voters for one political party over another constitutes partisan political activity. Any group involved in such partisan political activity would be ineligible for funding. [emphasis added]
In addition to this guideline, the CCHD forbids funding to organizations that are members of coalitions which violate Catholic moral teaching:
CCHD CANNOT FUND groups that knowingly participate in coalitions that have, as part of their organizational purpose or their coalition agenda or actions, anything that contradicts fundamental Catholic moral or social teaching, due to the fact that CCHD is an initiative of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Examples would be promotion or support of contraception, abortion, same-sex marriage, euthanasia, racism, the use of the death penalty, or punitive measures toward immigrants. Prohibited activities include participation in or endorsing actions that promote legislation that contradicts Church teaching (for example, voter guides and other written materials in support of such ballot measures). [emphasis original]
This report will prove that Faith in Action is in direct violation of both CCHD guidelines through its “Live Free” project and through the actions of its leadership and their relationship with a Biden-endorsing Political Action Committee.
Because the scope of electioneering within the Faith in Action network takes place on national, regional, and local levels, the CCHD must immediately defund all Faith in Action members, demand the money to be returned, and forbid all future funding from ever going to members of Faith in Action. The precedent for taking such measures already exists. In 2008, the CCHD permanently banned the community organizing network called ACORN from all future funding, due in part to “questions surrounding political partisanship.”
Live Free Project
The Live Free Project is one of Faith in Action’s major national projects. It works primarily around the issues of gun violence and criminal justice, but in recent months has directly promoted and called for the election of Joe Biden and the defeat of Donald Trump in the national presidential election.
In 2017, while employed as one of Faith in Action’s highest paid key employees, McBride helped co-found the political advocacy organization called the Black Church Political Action Committee (Black Church PAC). On the Black Church PAC’s homepage and under the section titled, “Our Founding Members,” McBride’s biography clearly indicates his work for Faith in Action, identified by its former name, PICO.
The first problem with this relationship is that the Black Church PAC, being highly partisan, has directly endorsed Joe Biden for president. The open and active political activities of McBride as both a Director of Faith in Action and the Black Church PAC have blurred the lines between the two organizations to the point of non-existence.
Of course, Rev. Michael McBride’s work to elect Joe Biden in and of itself does not violate CCHD guidelines. However, he has repeatedly used the Faith in Action Live Free platform to cross promote Black Church PAC partisan activities. This is a direct violation of CCHD guidelines and possibly a violation of IRS rules and regulations. What this means is that Faith in Action, through one of its directors and on its social media platform, is promoting a PAC that is directly involved in the effort to elect Joe Biden.
There are too many instances of FIA Live Free’s social media being used to promote Black Church Pac activities to list them all. But bearing in mind that Black Church PAC has declared its open support for Joe Biden, all FIA posts promoting Black Church PAC is driving traffic directly to the promotion of Joe Biden and other Democrats. Here are a few of the social media posts from FIA’s Live Free Project promoting Black Church PAC:
This is a very recent Facebook video of Black Church PAC voter registration training uploaded by FIA’s Live Free Project:
This is a live-feed posted by FIA’s Live Free Project of an October 5th Black Church PAC voter drive concert:
This October 01 Facebook post by FIA’s Live Free Project promotes Black Church PAC’s “Souls to the Polls” training session. Of note is the fact that this session directly instructs participants to find out more about Black Church PAC, which means that FIA is sending people to an organization that has openly endorsed Biden for voting information:
Michael and Ben McBride (both high-level Directors in Faith in Action) made a video response to the first presidential debate on Sept 30 for the Black Church Pac, wherein both describe President Trump as “vile,” “racist,” and “disgusting.” At 7:08, Ben McBride, the co-Director for PICO California, called President Trump “the Klansman in Chief.”
On Sept. 24, FIA’s Live Free facebook page posted Black Church Pac’s “Souls to the Polls” training session. In the session, Michael McBride tells viewers that their political decisions should be fueled by their rage.
This is an Aug. 18 Black Church PAC video conference promoting the same-sex “marriage” advocacy group called the Human Rights Campaign, posted on the Live Free FB page.
In August of 2020 Live Free was a “Community Partner” in a program called “Into Action” which clearly called for the support of the Biden-Harris ticket. In Live Free’s tweet promoting “Into Action,” the video promotion starts with a woman holding a purse that says “feminist,” while the next female in the sequence makes an allusion to abortion saying, “My body, my business.”
The entire event was absolutely vile, actively promoting transgenderism and abortion, but we’ll get into that in our next report on Faith in Action. Here is a clip from the Into Action event of which Live Free and Black Church PAC were “community partners.” What this clip contains is a very unambiguous call for people to vote for Democrats. To see the entire Into Action video, click here.
Again, what this shows is that there is an intimate relationship between Faith in Action and the Joe Biden-endorsing Black Church PAC, and this relationship is leading those who follow Faith in Action to embrace the political endorsements and activities of the Black Church PAC. But Faith in Action’s association with the Black Church PAC isn’t the only activity constituting direct partisan political activity that violates CCHD grant guidelines.
FIA’s Live Free Project Twitter activity is full of negative propaganda regarding President Trump and even calls for the funding of Democrat candidates.
For instance, on October 11, Live Free retweeted direct calls for the funding of Gary Peters, the Democrat Senator from Michigan.
This is clearly partisan behavior. But there’s more. Some of these re-tweets are crass and vile and perhaps the US Bishops may wish to take a second look at who they are paying to represent their social justice activities.
Here are a few examples:
On September 29, amid a plethora of negative tweets about President Trump, Faith in Action’s Live Free Project retweeted a statement that one “cannot debate a piece of [expiative].”
On October 04, Faith in Action’s Live Free project retweeted a call for people to “vote as if [Biden] is down 27%,” which is essentially a call for votes for Biden.
On October 05, FIA’s Live Free Project retweeted a false claim that Trump’s campaign is engaged in voter suppression.
On October 06, FIA’s Live Free Project retweeted a call to have “Trump removed from power,” while claiming “We are at war with Putin.”
PICO California is the regional umbrella for all 19 Faith in Action member organizations in California. Rev Ben McBride (Rev. Michael McBride’s brother) is co-director of PICO California, and at $110,000 a year, his salary is very similar to his brother’s.
PICO California also used social media to promote Black Church PAC activities and make a direct call for the defeat of President Trump, as seen in this Sept 10 retweet by PICO California of Rev. Michael McBride.
PICO California also promoted Black Church PAC’s “Black Church Rocks” and “Souls to the Polls” partisan voter drive efforts on September 21 and October 5:
Faith in the Valley San Joaquin
Faith in the Valley San Joaquin is a member organization of FIA, and was granted $25,000 for the 2019–2020 CCHD grants cycle. It has also joined FIA’s promotion of partisan activities on its social media platforms.
This Aug. 8th Facebook post promoted a Black Church PAC event, saying:
“Yo! The play is in motion; let’s get a win for the Lord and the ancestors! This Monday, years of work coalesce into launching Black-led, Black-centric, Black church organizing ensuring we get Trump out, and our freedom IN! This Black vote this November gonna be epic!” [emphasis added]
These examples from the national, regional and local levels of Faith in Action clearly show an organized effort by leadership within FIA to use the network to push their own partisan projects. The lack of oversight by the CCHD in both its “rigorous” screening process and ongoing grants compliance efforts has allowed the Bishops name to be used by this behemoth community organizing group to stump for party politics. Bishops across the country, many of whom demand that priests violate their own consciences by taking up the CCHD collection, are now directly complicit in the funding of political electioneering. Faith in Action as a network is in direct violation of the CCHD grant guidelines regarding involvement in partisan politics, and MUST be immediately and permanently defunded, just as was done with ACORN in 2008. And if the USCCB is unwilling to take such action against Faith in Action, then individual bishops will have no choice but to withdraw from the CCHD collection in the fall.
Contact your bishop and the CCHD and DEMAND that Faith in Action be permanently DEFUNDED!
NATIONAL OFFICE STAFF
Bp. David Talley, Chairman of the CCHD Subcommittee – [email protected]
Ralph McCloud, CCHD Director 202-541-3367 [email protected]
Lydia Jiles, Grants Administrator 202-541-3210 [email protected]
Juan Aranda, Grants Specialist for Area D 202-541-3370 [email protected]
Main Number . . . . . . . . . . 202-541-3210
Fax Number . . . . . . . . . . 202-541-3329
Main Email . . . . . . . . . . [email protected]
Area A Ian Mitchell 202-541-3371 [email protected]
Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Vermont
Area B Gene Giannotta 202-541-3211 [email protected]
Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Wisconsin
Area C Randy Keesler 202-541-3369 [email protected]
Alabama, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee , Virgin Islands, Virginia, West Virginia
Area D Juan Aranda 202-541-3370 [email protected]
Arizona, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas
Area E Sean Wendlinder 202-541-3212 [email protected]
Alaska, California, Colorado, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming
Published with permission from the Lepanto Institute.