Dallas’s Catholic Charities Accepts then Rejects Gov.’s Syrian Edict


November 20, 2015; Dallas Morning News, “Trail Blazers”

What do you do as a nonprofit when the governor of your state tries to strong-arm you into compliance with his will? We saw an earlier example of this during the summer, when Maine’s Governor Paul LePage threatened to withdraw state funding from a charter school if the organization went ahead with its plans to hire Maine House Speaker Mark Eves, with whom LePage had a running battle, as its head. The organization complied, withdrawing its offer.

Yesterday, NPQ covered the demand made by Texas Governor Greg Abbott that nonprofits in that state refrain from providing services to Syrian refugees. One of those groups is Catholic Charities of Dallas, which is headed by an interim CEO, Joe Brogdon.

At first, Brogdon declared that that CCD would knuckle under, counter to its mission, and would not accept Syrian refugees “at this time.” But by Wednesday, after Catholics in the area protested the action on social media—pointing to the fact that the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops had been clear on its position to help Syrian refugees—the agency had reversed its position, writing:

Catholic Charities believes in a compassionate response to those who are fleeing violence and persecution around the world. We are called by the Gospel to reach out to all those in need.

Catholic Charities of Dallas will continue to serve all refugees. We realize we do not work alone in relocating these vulnerable families, women and children who are seeking political refuge. We pray that our leaders will work with the world community to provide safe haven to vulnerable and deserving refugees in dire need of shelter and safety.

We pray for all the victims of the terrorist attack in Paris, victims of terrorism around the world, and for all refugees and immigrants in search of a safer life.

May God bless them all.

Again, this is a reminder that nonprofits are not solely or primarily accountable to funders, especially when the funders’ demands run counter to our principles and the values of our larger communities. The group’s speedy reversal may spare it the scorn it might have encountered were it to have stuck to its original decision, but each time something like this happens, the group involved is just that little bit less credible to its base.—Ruth McCambridge

  • Scott Dixon

    Ruth, please clarify your final sentence, which is interesting. Do you mean the CCD is just a little less credible to its base for establishing their initial position to begin with, or the Texas lawmakers are now a little less credible to their base due to the position being challenged? Please share your knowledge, as I think you know more than you share here.

  • Joan

    “Non-profit? Base? Demands? Action on social media?”

    This article appears to have nothing whatsoever to do with Christianity. It could just as easily be spoken by the president of the John Birch Society or the National Organization for Women.

  • Aunt B

    I’m a Texan, a Catholic, belong to a church that is part of the Dallas Diocese. I support Gov. Abbott’s edict that protects Texas from the Islamic Terrorist Invasion. I am ashamed that my church would put millions in jeopardy. I believe Congress should hold hearings into the millions of taxpayer dollars being funneled through Catholic and other church groups to bring Muslims here. I would like to know how “religious compassion,” using federal money, is increasing the potential terrorist threat to America. Congress needs to expose how the money is being spent and cut it off.

    I remember when Pope Francis promoted the Obama administration’s pro-immigration policies during his visit to the U.S. Left unsaid was the fact that the American branch of the Roman Catholic Church is getting millions of taxpayer dollars to settle refugees. According to their financial statements for 2014, the latest year for which figures are available, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops received over $79 million in government grants to provide benefits to refugees.

    Granted some of the refugees being settled are Catholics from Latin America who join the church in the U.S. But others are from the Middle East. Ironically, the Catholic Bishops are bringing Muslims in, while closing down Catholic churches inside the U.S. One church in New York was closed down and is leased to an Islamic society which turned it into a mosque and renamed it Mosque Of Jesus The Son Of Mary. The Koran specifically condemns the central Christian doctrines of the Trinity and the Incarnation, and that it denies that Christ died on the cross. Islam is the only major religion that was founded with the specific purpose of destroying and replacing Christianity, and that these denials of Christian teaching are intended to further this purpose; they are not simply expressions of theological disagreement. No other major religion contains specific denunciations of the basic Christian doctrines in its sacred texts. Mohammed is presented by Islam as having written to the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius demanding that he embrace Islam and abandon the worship of Christ. Both the Old and New Testaments are asserted by Islam to have been falsified by Jews and Christians, and to have originally supported the teachings and prophetic office of Mohammed. The reading of the Bible was accordingly forbidden by Mohammed, to prevent its undermining Muslim belief. Christ is alleged by Muslims to have been a prophet in the succession of prophets leading up to Mohammed, whose message is subordinate to and in the service of Mohammed’s own prophecies. Being a true follower of Christ, on the Muslim view, thus consists in adhering to Islam and rejecting Christian teachings and practice. This anti-Christian mission has always been central to Islam, and has been pursued in every stage of Muslim history.

    Islam poses a real danger to Catholics/Christians. By looking the other way and making excuses… betrays those very numerous Christians who are now suffering and dying at the hands of Islamic persecutors, and it facilitates the further persecution of Christians by concealing the nature of the threat that they face. A threat that is being brought to America.

  • barnabus

    For the faithful Catholic who’s been paying attention for the last decade, Catholic Charities lost all credibility some time ago and is nothing more than an NGO now almost fully dependent on federal money. The USCCB is a librul cesspool of bureaucrats that don’t even believe in Catholicism.