Diocese quits OCCJ over Tulsa ‘gay pride’ parade

The Catholic Diocese of Tulsa has quit a liberal organization due to its support of the “gay pride” parade earlier this month.

The Diocese quit its membership in the “Oklahoma Center for Community and Justice” when the Rev. Msgr. Patrick Gaalaas sent a letter to the OCCJ president and board.

OCCJ has supported the homosexual parade for at least the past two years.

“To march in such a parade seems to us to be a deliberate and full-throttled expression of support for the so-called gay agenda, a central component of which is same-sex marriage,” he stated in the letter. “Unless a clear statement can be made by OCCJ that its participation does not imply support for same-sex marriage or be seen to condone sexual acts outside of marriage, we have no option but to withdraw from membership.”

Here is the OCCJ response:

“OCCJ is very disappointed to have the Catholic Diocese of Tulsa sever its longstanding ties to our organization, especially after many decades of working together to combat anti-Catholic bigotry.

“OCCJ is evolving – from its traditional roots as an interfaith dialogue group to a more modern voice for equality, inclusion, tolerance and social justice. In our work, there is an important distinction between promoting respect and understanding among religions – and promoting or endorsing the beliefs of specific religions.

“An original article from 1927 in the New York Times issued by our predecessor organization, The National Conference for Christians and Jews, mentions the organization was a group of Jewish, Protestant and Catholic individuals. At some point along the way, Muslims and other faith communities were included, because they too, deserve equal rights. Our roots are in religious communities but OCCJ is not a religious community per se. Rather, OCCJ is a human relations organization with a membership comprised of persons representing religious, civic, and public good interests, while bound together by the OCCJ mission.

“OCCJ does not endorse religions – instead, we support their freedom to worship and encourage them to tolerate differences with others. That includes atheists and people of all genders and sexual orientation. When we say ‘with liberty and justice for all”, we mean for all.’”

Ex-Mayor Susan Savage is vice chairman of OCCJ. The chairman is Russ Florence. Howard Barnett, president of OSU-Tulsa, is a vice chairman of fund development. Sheryl Siddiqui of the Islamic Society of Tulsa is a member-at-large of the board. Mayor Dewey Bartlett is on the board and is the honorary director.

According to americancatholic.org, “In Catholic belief, marriage is a faithful, exclusive and lifelong union between one man and one woman, joined as husband and wife in an intimate partnership of life and love.

“The Catholic Church opposes gay marriage and the social acceptance of homosexuality and same-sex relationships, but teaches that homosexual persons deserve respect, justice and pastoral care. The Vatican and Pope John Paul II are speaking out against the growing number of places that recognize same-sex marriages.”