Funding Propaganda?

Congratulations to you and to Frank Carlson for the thorough job you did in exposing the lies Lisa Morris and ProCET are spreading about Planned Parenthood. ["Race, Abortion, and Distortions" by Frank Carlson, June 3, 2010] That took excellent journalism and some courage.

But you didn't make it clear whether the Catholic Diocese of Knoxville was officially involved. For instance, did this Paul Simoneau take part in ProCET's meetings and demonstrations as part of his job with the Diocese, and did the Diocese give ProCET any money?

This question is of interest to your Catholic readers, who, although they may be morally opposed to abortion and even work to lessen its occurrence, would hesitate to place money in the collection basket to fund propaganda which, though legal, is not only odious in itself but also threatens public order.

And it is of interest to all taxpayers, since Catholic collections are tax-exempt, which means that the government, and thus taxpayers, would be subsidizing ProCET.

Finally, all this is doubly annoying to those citizens who have noticed that the First Amendment forbids tax exemptions for religious organizations.

The best thing for the Diocese to do would be to kill the controversy before it gets any bigger. Bishop Stika ought to end any Church involvement with ProCET and ask Mr. Simoneau to retract his statements about Planned Parenthood.

Joe Finucane


Ed. Note: We presented this question to the Director of Justice and Peace for the Diocese of Knoxville, Paul Simoneau, who replied: "I work with pro-life groups throughout East Tennessee—Protestant, Catholic, and ecumenical alike. The Diocese does not provide any money to ProCET."