An Associated Press (AP) analysis of federal loan data reluctantly released by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin last Monday found that one of the main recipients of government funds channeled through the fraudulent loan protection program Paychecks (PPP) is the Roman Catholic Church in the United States, which received at least $ 1.4 billion.

This staggering amount is a drastic undercoverage due to the fact that the US Small Business Administration has refused to release information on loans approved for less than $ 150,000.

In addition to the Catholic Church, other religious organizations, including Protestant churches, Muslim mosques, and Jewish synagogues, have also used government funds, violating the First Amendment establishment of separation from the Church. and the state.

Crystal Cathedral, Orange County, California (Credit: WikiMedia Commons)

This includes churches linked to President Donald Trump such as the City of Destiny in Florida and its pastor Paula White-Cain, which received a loan worth between $ 150,000 and $ 350,000 under the P3. White-Cain is Trump’s personal pastor and “White House religious advisor”.

While the AP notes that Catholic dioceses, parishes, schools and other ministries have received approval for at least 3,500 forgivable loans, the Diocesan Conference on Fiscal Management, an organization of Catholic financial officers , surveyed their members and found that around 9,000 Catholic entities have received loans, nearly three times what the PA was able to find.

Coupled with the gap in reporting limits, the AP speculated that it is possible that the church as a whole received as much, or more, than $ 3.5 billion in loans, which may be converted into grants if it is proven that a majority of the funds were used to cover salaries, rent and utilities.

Terrified by the growing socialist consciousness of the working class and under conditions in which states across the country are cutting funding for public education, the American ruling class and its political pawns are funneling billions to the Catholic Church and its schools .

Prior to the passage of the CARES Act and with it the PPP, religious and faith-based organizations were not eligible to receive funding through the United States Small Business Administration (SBA). However, after successful lobbying by Church-related groups, which spent at least $ 50,000, Congress helpfully slipped a provision into the CARES Act that allows religious and other “nonprofit” organizations to siphon funds from the program.

The PPP has been championed by the administration and the Big Two as a vital lifeline for “main street businesses” and, according to Mnuchin, is responsible for “saving 51 million jobs”.

In fact, last week marked the 15th consecutive week in which more than a million new jobless claims have been filed, in addition to the 18.1 million pending claims. The official unemployment rate, artificially deflated by the Trump administration, is still above 11% and at least 70,000 small businesses have already said they will lay off “10 or more workers” once PPP funding runs out. This will add at least 700,000 more people to the ranks of the unemployed, as the National Federation of Independent Businesses reported two weeks ago.

In addition to granting religious organizations the right to apply for loans through the SBA, the Trump administration also lifted the restriction that prevented applicants from receiving a loan if they employed more than 500 workers per physical location. According to the online Catholic news service Crux, in a phone call at the end of April, organized by Trump and attended by several hundred Catholic leaders, Trump boasted of being the “best [president] the Catholic Church has never seen.

Among the Catholic entities that received millions of dollars in taxpayer-funded loans was the Archdiocese of New York, which received 15 loans worth at least $ 28 million, just for its major executive offices. . The diocese has also been approved for a loan of at least $ 1 million for St. Patrick’s Cathedral, located on Fifth Avenue.

On the West Coast, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles has received at least 37 loans worth between $ 9 million and $ 23 million. Four loans worth at least $ 3 million have been approved in Orange County, California, where the Church recently completed the $ 70 million “Crystal Cathedral” renovation. The sprawling property features water fountains, the fifth largest pipe organ in the world, and a 236-foot mirrored stainless steel spire towering over 18 floors.

Elsewhere, a loan of at least $ 2 million has been approved for the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia, where an internal Church investigation last year confirmed claims that Bishop Michael Bransfield then allegedly groped children and embezzled church funds for personal vacations, alcohol and luxury goods. .

The AP report noted that at least 40 dioceses, which have paid millions of dollars in compensation to victims of Church abuse, have received at least $ 200 million in PPP funds.

The Saint Luke Institute, located in Silver Spring, Maryland, is a Catholic treatment center for priests accused of sexual abuse. Often used as a stopover for pedophile priests awaiting transfer to new parishes, the institute received a loan worth between $ 350,000 and $ 1 million.

Catholic Charities USA, whose motto is “work to reduce poverty in America,” spent $ 30,000 lobbying Congress to ensure the “charitable” network would be eligible for funds. Their efforts have been generously rewarded; According to the data, Catholic Charities USA has been approved for around 100 loans with a value of between $ 90 and $ 220 million.

The AP found that in total, around 500 loans exceeding $ 1 million were approved to entities related to the Catholic Church and at least eight loans were approved for the maximum amount of funding, between $ 5 million and $ 10 million. of dollars.

Among the loan recipients were also ten groups designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as “hate groups,” such as the anti-LGBT American Family Association (AFA), which received the largest loan of the ten, a value between 1 and 2 million dollars. , to allegedly support 124 jobs.

The AFA, founded by Pastor Donald Wildmon in 1977 as the National Federation for Decency before changing its name in 1988, proudly proclaims to be “on the front lines of the American Cultural War”, where its goal is to “To be a champion of Christian activism. »Oriented towards« preservation of marriage and family ».

An article written by David Lane and published on the AFA website on July 8 called “the official BLM movement” “frankly Jezebelic,” an “alliance between the two devils of Nazism and Communism” which accepts “the transgender”. , homosexuality, abortion ”and“ thus [is] in direct conflict with Alpha Male Trump.

Anti-immigrant hate groups linked directly to Trump’s fascist adviser Stephen Miller have also received funding. These include the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), both founded by the late John Tanton.

For decades, Tanton, a retired Michigan ophthalmologist, has played a central role in shaping U.S. immigration policy through FAIR and CIS. Tanton’s racist and eugenic views have been set out in his private papers which are kept at the Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan. In a letter to professor of ecology Garret Hardin, Tanton admitted: “I have come to the point of view that for Euro-American society and culture to persist, there needs to be a Euro-American majority, and a clear majority on top of that. . “

Tanton also ran a racist publishing house, the Social Contract Press, which in 1994 republished the novel. The Camp of the Saints. The Camp of the Saints, first published in 1973 by Frenchman Jean Raspail, is a racist fantasy that depicts an invasion of France by a horde of starving, dark-skinned refugees. The reissue of the book came with Tanton’s approval and a special afterword from its author that said, “The proliferation of other races condemns our race, my race, to extinction.”

Jon Feere of CIS and Julie Kirchner of FAIR are currently political advisers to Immigration Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Patrol, respectively.

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