Controversial Catholic group organizing in favor of anti-gay marriage amendment

“May God protect America from the homosexual agenda,” reads the caption on a new video uploaded by a fringe Catholic group that has become active in Minnesota’s battle over gay marriage. the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) is a traditionalist Catholic organization notable for the suits with red sashes that its member wear. They frequently protest against LGBT rights.

The UN Refugee Agency labeled the group a religious para-military organization. Some books have called it anti-fascist or neofascist.

Penny Lernoux’s 1980 book, “Cry of the People: The struggle for human rights in Latin America and the Catholic Church in conflict with US policy,” describes the CIA’s involvement with TFP:

TFP’s activities in Chile, Brazil, and elsewhere are an important part of the CIA story in Latin America, because its members were the intellectual and financial backers of military coups supported by the agency. After the military took over, TFP members and fellow travelers were active in these regimes’ persecution of the Catholic Church, as in the case of police agent Adolfo Centeno and the smear campaign against priests and bishops in Uruguay. In some countries-Brazil, for example, where TFP established a series of training camps near Rio de Janeiro- members were instructed by the Army and the police, who, in turn, received military training and political orientation from the CIA, the Pentagon, and AID. But there were still closer ties: in Chile and Brazil the evidence points to both financial and political links between TFP and the CIA in plotting the overthrow of the Allende and Goulart governments.

When it supported right-wing Catholic groups, the CIA had principally in mind the political objective of removing left-wing governments by military intervention, but one result of the collaboration was to strengthen such organizations as TFP, which emerged as religious vigilante squads for the military regimes. Thus the CIA could be accused-and was accused by a number of prominent Catholic leaders, including Brazil’s Archbishop Helder Camara-of inciting one sector of the Church to attack another. Moreover, in some countries, Bolivia being one, this collaboration extended to persecution of U.S. citizens when the CIA provided military governments and right-wing Catholic organizations with confidential dossiers on American priests and nuns.

30 years later, TFP is on the march across the United States to block same-sex marriage from becoming the law. In early September, they visited Minnesota.

The group targeted St. Paul, St. Cloud, the Minnesota State Fair, and even the Mall of America.

In every video they’ve made in Minnesota, they’ve accused opponents of the anti-gay marriage amendment of violence against them — though in most cases without proof. The evidence presented is generally a bottle or egg on the ground which they claim was thrown by amendment opponents.

That’s a tactic they’ve used in virtually every protest they’ve conducted against gay marriage.

The group is also very anti-gay. For example, a section of its website reads: “You can’t be both Catholic and Pro-Homosexual”:

Two emotionally charged parents stopped to discuss the issue. “We’re good Catholics. Our son is gay and it’s not wrong. You want us to hate our son?” A TFP volunteer explained how one must hate the sin, but love the sinner. “We must hate the sin, love the sinner and pray that your son returns to the path of virtue.”

The parents disagreed: “No. We don’t hate the sin. Our priest told us it’s OK.”
“Catholic teaching is very clear. You cannot be a good Catholic and support homosexual acts,” replied the TFP member. “Homosexuality is like abortion, it’s part of the culture of death.”

Other sections are titled, “Is Sodomy no longer a sin?” and “10 Reasons Why Homosexual “Marriage” is Harmful and Must be Opposed.”

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