As New Pope Inaugurated, New Report Exposes Catholic Church’s and Right’s ‘RELIGIOUS LIBERTY’ Campaign

Coordinated effort to oppose reproductive, LGBT Rights conceals hard-right agenda behind

“playing the victim”

Boston, MA - March 18, 2013 – As a new pope with hardline stances against reproductive and LGBTQ rights is inaugurated, a new report documents  how a  network of conservative Christian organizations, beginning with a group of ultra-conservative Catholic organizations,  has successfully fought pro-choice and LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) civil rights legislation by claiming that such policies infringe on religious liberty.  The report, by  Dr. Jay Michaelson, Religious Liberty Fellow at Political Research Associates (PRA), is entitled Redefining Religious Liberty: The Covert Campaign Against Civil Rights.

PRA’s report asserts that “religious conservatives have succeeded in reframing the debate, inverting victim and oppressor, and broadening support for their agenda.”  The report traces the funding of the “religious liberty” campaign to a small group of ultra-conservative Roman Catholic organizations allied with conservative evangelicals, and shows how it is part of a coordinated effort to roll back civil rights laws that protect women and LGBTQ people. In particular, Dr. Michaelson shows how a small cadre of academics has legitimized this campaign to exempt a wide range of corporations and individuals from civil rights laws.

Said Francis DeBernardo, Executive Director of New Ways Ministry: “With fairness and precision, Michaelson documents how the principle of religious liberty has been manipulated to play on the fears and values of both conservatives and progressives, as well as people of faith and secularists.  This report boldly makes the case that the civil rights of individuals and our heritage of religious liberty do not have to be opposed, but can live in harmony and mutual respect.”

The report is available for download from PRA’s website.

About Political Research Associates

Political Research Associates (PRA) is a social justice think tank devoted to supporting progressive movements by providing investigative research and expert analysis on the U.S right-wing. We expose movements, institutions, and ideologies that undermine human and civil rights, focusing on issues including reproductive justice, LGBTQ rights, immigrant and racial justice, economic justice, and civil liberties. For more information, visit