Compañeros is a small nonprofit that works to protect and expand immigrant rights and culture in the Four Corners area of southwestern Colorado, including helping poor immigrants with healthcare and other basic needs. For years Compañeros received significant funding from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (C.C.H.D.), an anti-poverty initiative of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Sadly, that has changed. Why? Simply because the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition (CIRC), of which Compañeros is a founding member, joined in partnership with One Colorado, a state wide LGBT advocacy organization.
In February, Compañeros was informed by the Diocese of Pueblo that they were in danger of losing their funding from the C.C.H.D. due to their affiliation with an organization that supports marriage equality for same-gender couples.
In other words, the Catholic hierarchy asked Compañeros to make a choice. They could either leave the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, which connects them to a state wide network of organizations and resources, or they could lose $30,000 a year, which amounts to more than half of the organization’s revenue stream. Making a tough decision, Compañeros chose to remain in solidarity with their LGBT civil rights partners.
“We can’t go against our core principles by taking money that we think will ultimately result in the division of this community,” said Nicole Mosher, executive director of Compañeros.
In response, LGBT organizations like One Colorado pledged to support Compañeros financially, as have many Catholics who disagree with the hierarchy’s decision. Former Gov. Bill Ritter, Jr. criticized the decision, writing in the Denver Post, “We should not tolerate a culture war that distracts us from the core Gospel message of addressing poverty and hunger in a serious way.” And the group With Charity For All, which collects donations for Compañeros, was created by “conscientious Catholics who are concerned that the Catholic Church’s charitable activities are being threaten by the increasingly reactionary right-wing politics of the Catholic bishops.”
Compañeros is a key collaborating partner of the UU Fellowship of Durango. Please consider supporting their crucial work. Just click here to make a donation today.