NOTE: To download a PDF version of this report, please click here.
Faith in San Joaquin
Faith in the Valley of San Joaquin County is a grantee of the USCCB’s Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), having received a total of $120,000 since 2015. Their most recent grant for the year 2020-2021 was for $25,000, according to the list published by the CCHD.
Faith in San Joaquin (also called Faith in the Valley) is an organization based in California which serves as an umbrella for five regional organizations, including the one in San Joaquin. The organization’s stated goal, according to its website, is to improve quality of life in the Central Valley of California through providing “access to good jobs, clean air, clean water, alternatives to incarceration and safe neighborhoods.” Faith in San Joaquin is specifically devoted to reduction of violence and alternatives to incarceration.
However, Faith in the Valley has promoted LGBTQ+ ideologies and is a member of the coalition Faith in Action, which openly vowed to fight for abortion as a “right,” and is also a member of LiveFree, a project of Faith in Action that advocates abortion, violence, and transgenderism.
Faith in the Valley and Faith in Action
Faith in Action clearly identifies Faith in the Valley as a federated member of the overall organization.
The CCHD absolutely forbids organizations from membership in organizations acting against Catholic teaching. In an FAQ on the USCCB website, the CCHD directly answers the question about whether grantees may be members of coalitions that oppose Catholic teachings. In answer, the CCHD firmly stated, “CCHD will not fund groups that are knowingly members of coalitions that have as part of their organizational purpose or coalition agenda, positions or actions that contradict fundamental Catholic moral and social teaching.”
Given this, it is impossible for Faith in the Valley/Faith in San Joachim to maintain its affiliation with Faith in Action and receive CCHD grants.
Faith in Action is a coalition of 49 members, many of whom receive funding from the CCHD. Faith in Action itself received $500,000 in 2016 from the CCHD, when it was called the PICO Network. However, Faith in Action publicly supports abortion, its leaders openly slammed the overturn of Roe v. Wade, and FIA participated in electioneering activities in support of President Joe Biden and other Democratic candidates. The organization also supports LGBTQ+ ideologies. All of the pertinent information regarding Faith in Action on the whole is contained in the fully detailed report on FIA (see here), but the most important point is this:
On the day of the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Dobbs v. Jackson case which overturned Roe v. Wade, Faith in Action took a formal position condemning the ruling, while vowing to “stand with women” calling it “oppression” to deny a woman the right to murder her child through abortion.
In an official press release, published on Faith in Action’s website, Faith in Action said:
“Clergy and organizers with Faith in Action, the largest grassroots, faith-based organizing network in the United States, are speaking out against today’s Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, following a leak of the Supreme Court opinion.”
FIA’s executive director Rev. Alvin Herring called the decision, “a huge blow to women in this season of despair,” and declared that ”[w]e must speak out against dangerous policies that chip away at having agency over their own bodies.”
Rev. Dr. Cassandra Gould, FIA’s Senior Strategist at FIA’s Washington, DC office, claimed that the “SCOTUS decision to overturn ROE” was “legalized, judicially enforced oppression” that “shows contempt for the Creator.”
Rev. Kamilah Hall Sharp, member of FIA’s Organizing Clergy Board, said that the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade was “deadly,” and that she was “enraged at the injustice, the lack of care for women and that most people who voted to take this right away will never have to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term in their bodies.” She then had the audacity to claim that “As a follower of Jesus,” her rage about the overturning of Roe “aligns with [H]is.”
This is the entire statement as it appeared on the Faith in Action website:
Faith in the Valley promotes LGBTQ+ ideologies
But it isn’t just Faith in San Joaquín’s affiliation with Faith in Action that is a problem. Under the name “Faith in the Valley,” Faith in San Joaquin has on numerous occasions shown clear and publicly promoted homosexual and transgender ideologies. On May 14, 2021, Faith in the Valley hosted a talk with the Rev. Simon Biasell-Moshrefi about his experience as a pastor, specifically his experiences regarding “racial, sexual, and gender justice.” In this video, Rev. Biasell openly expresses his opinion that same-sex unions are “holy matrimony” and even “a sacrament.” (see video in link, this discussion takes place around the 30-minute mark) Rev. Biasell in the interview also mentioned that he is a board member of Faith in the Valley. (55:28)
On March 26, 2020, Faith in the Valley reposted pro-LGBTQ+ content originally posted by the San Joaquin Pride Center, an organization dedicated to LGBTQ+ rights and advocacy. The post referenced the 2020 census and encouraged LGBTQ+ individuals to “be seen, be heard, be counted.” Faith in the Valley wrote, “Love your flyer San Joaquin Pride Center” and used the hashtags #WeCount and #SJPrideCounts, showing clear support of LGBTQ+ rights.
On September 24, 2021, Faith in the Valley advertised and hosted an online meeting to educate LGBTQ+ individuals on their rights in the workplace, including “what you can do about sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination and harassment.”
Faith in the Valley hosted the event, but it included members of the San Joaquin Pride Center and Legal Aid at Work, a nonprofit dedicated to providing legal counsel on a variety of issues, including “gender equity and LGBTQ+ rights.” One of the speakers self-identified as queer, and the participants from Legal Aid at Work introduced themselves with their “preferred pronouns.” (insert embedded video) The meeting supported California law surrounding so-called “harassment” on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, harassment which includes the use of “incorrect pronouns” (around the 16-minute mark). The speaker informed viewers of their right to choose their pronouns, use “gender-affirming” restrooms and locker rooms, and wear “gender-affirming” clothing (around 18 minutes).
On August 18 and August 27, 2021, Faith in the Valley again hosted online meetings about workers’ rights, partnering with Legal Aid at Work. Although these meetings had a wider focus, including numerous workplace issues, they were also explicitly pro-LGBTQ+. One of the speakers from Legal Aid at Work described herself as a “proud member of the gender equity and LGBT rights” team and another proclaimed herself a member of the LGBT community.
Faith in the Valley also posted a video on May 28, 2020 featuring Ben McBride, Executive Director of PICO Network. The video contains numerous problematic ideas, including anti-Semitism, abortion, the abolition of police, and the promotion of violence. Here is a condensed version:
Faith in the Valley’s connection with Live Free
Faith in the Valley is a member of Live Free, a national campaign aiming to reduce gun violence, stop mass incarceration, and promote racial equality in the criminal system.
However, Live Free explicitly supports ideologies in contradiction with Catholic teaching. On August 18, 2020, Live Free posted a video by In Action celebrating the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment, which granted the right of female suffrage. The video was a vehicle for promoting third-wave feminism, including the slogan, “my body, my choice.”
On June 24, 2022, Live Free posted content related to the overturn of Roe v. Wade which upheld abortion as a “fundamental right.”
Another post, originally released by the Washington Post, celebrated Roe v. Wade for protecting “the right to abortion.”
Live Free is led by Executive Director Michael McBride, a radical supporter of abortion who vehemently attacked pro-life advocates in the wake of the Dobbs case. In a post found on his personal Facebook account and the Live Free account, he characterized resistance to Roe v. Wade as “cowardice masquerading as moral courage.” He criticized Republican pro-life policy and attacked Democrats for not strenuously opposing “these wicked conservative and trumpian forces.” He went on to quote David Barnhart, a Methodist pastor, as saying that the unborn are simply a convenient prop for virtue-signaling and that advocating for the unborn leads to ignoring all other marginalized groups.
On July 1, McBride said in a post about Paul Weyrich, creator of the Moral Majority, that Dobbs v. Jackson “killed the constitutional right American women had to make their own decisions about abortion.”
On July 2, McBride shared posts about a childhood pregnancy resulting from rape and an ectopic pregnancy which ended fatally for the mother, using the posts to advance an alarmist claim that the overturn of Roe v. Wade would lead to increased deaths from pregnancy and mental harm to young pregnant women.
McBride also shared numerous posts celebrating Roe v. Wade’s establishment of “the right to privacy”, reaffirming decisions legalizing contraception, and paving the way for later decisions legalizing same-sex unions. McBride is clearly supportive of both contraceptive and LGBTQ+ agendas, and so is Live Free.
On March 10, 2021, Live Free released a post celebrating Layshia Clarendon, a “black, gay, female, non-cisgender, and Christian” athlete.
On June 2, 2021, a “Happy Pride Month” post appeared on Live Free’s social media with the caption “To all of our LGBTQ+ loved ones, families, and friends you are loved. To the visible and non visible, we support you and stand in solidarity with you. We hope we can be a safe place for everyone. #Peace, #Love, and #Equality!”
On February 21, 2022, Live Free created a Facebook post which advanced the slogan “Live Free from Transphobia.”
For more instances of Live Free’s problematic stances, you can access a previous Lepanto Institute article at this link.
Faith in the Valley is a member of PICO California
PICO California lists its federation members on its website, and that list includes Faith in the Valley San Joachin.
And as a member of PICO California, Faith in the Valley is directly involved in the promotion of abortion. On October 11, 2022, PICO California posted about “reproductive freedom” being a high priority reason for voting, saying:
“When voters like us turn out in every election, we are able to get our elected leaders to listen and care for us. At every level of the ballot, we can push them to do better on:
On September 21,2022, PICO California invited people to “march or rally for reproductive rights” meaning abortion.
Clearly, Faith in the Valley’s problematic support of LGBTQ+ issues, combined with their partnerships with pro-abortion, pro-LGBTQ+ organizations like Faith in Action, Live Free, and PICO California makes them unworthy of receiving funding from the CCHD, even according to the fund’s own guidelines. Their radical opposition to the teachings of the Church cannot be ignored or condoned.