Catholics United

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Catholics United is a U.S.-based non-profit 501(c)(4) non-partisan political organization. The group says it is "dedicated to promoting the message of justice and the common good found at the heart of the Catholic Social Tradition."[1] The group claims a total membership of 50,000.[2] Though not affiliated with the institutional Catholic Church, it has had a significant effect on the religious and political debate in the U.S.[3]

Catholics United is directed by James Salt.


Catholics United was founded in 2005 by Catholic social justice activists Chris Korzen and James Salt. It grew out of a 2004 effort called the Catholic Voting Project, which opposed Republican efforts to convince Catholic voters it was immoral to vote for U.S. Presidential candidate John Kerry because of his support for abortion rights.[4]


Health care reform[edit]

In March 2010, Catholics United played a key role in convincing pro-life Catholic members of the U.S. House of Representatives to vote for final passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act by running TV ads in several Congressional districts. The ads challenged claims by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops as well as conservative groups that the bill allowed for federal funding of abortion.[5]

Gay and lesbian rights[edit]

Coinciding with Church Teaching, Catholics United has openly criticized efforts within the church to deny rights to gays and lesbians. In March 2010, former director Chris Korzen appeared on CNN to challenge the Archdiocese of Washington, DC's protest of a law requiring employers to grant benefits to same-sex partners.[6] In May 2010, Catholics United criticized a Boston-area Catholic school's decision to deny admission to the child of a lesbian couple.[7]

Workers' rights and energy[edit]

In 2009, Catholics United ran radio ads featuring actor Martin Sheen in support of the Employee Free Choice Act.[8] It also ran radio ads supporting the Energy Bill.[9]



Catholics United played an active role in shaping the religion and politics debate around the 2008 U.S. Presidential election. In 2009, President George W. Bush's former Catholic advisor Deal Hudson told U.S. News and World Report that Catholics United and its allies "made a big difference" in the election.[3]


In July 2010, Catholics United announced a $500,000 campaign supporting Catholic Democratic U.S. Representatives John Boccieri, Kathy Dahlkemper, Steve Driehaus, and Tom Perriello in their unsuccessful reelection bids.[10]



The group has been criticized by some conservative Catholic bishops because of its opposition to criminalizing abortion, although not the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops as a whole.[11]

Political affiliations[edit]

Although Catholics United is a nonpartisan organization, it appears to have some ties to the Democratic Party and the administration of President Barack Obama. A 2006 news report suggests that future U.S. Representative Tom Perriello worked with the organization, and Catholics United former director Chris Korzen's name appears several times on White House visitor logs.[12][13]

External links[edit]


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