The Catholic Bishop of La Crosse just told partisan bully and anti-vaccine priest Fr. James Altman to resign from his Wisconsin church. Altman himself made the announcement in his sermon yesterday, Pentecost Sunday, May 23.
Altman's dismissal follows more than 18,000 petition signatures and 750 phone calls to Bishop William Callahan from Faithful America members like you. Our actions created even more grassroots Christian pressure with coverage from the local La Crosse Tribune, Newsweek, and more. After weeks of this ongoing grassroots backlash to Fr. Altman, Bishop Callahan said the priest was "divisive and ineffective."
This is a big win for public health and an important step in our work reclaiming Christianity from those who abuse Jesus's healing name. Altman first gained notoriety last year for his viral sermon, "You cannot be Catholic & a Democrat. Period." At that time, 25,000 Faithful America members petitioned Bishop Callahan to rebuke the priest. More recently, Altman has spread countless deadly lies about COVID-19 vaccines, bullied doctors and attacked bishops who take the coronavirus seriously, and flouted safety protocols.
Bishop Callahan did the right thing, and we are grateful to him for it. He made a bold and pastoral decision -- one the right wing is already attacking him for. We spent weeks calling Bishop Callahan's office to protest Altman's deadly lies and unchristian hatred, so it's only right he receives a few messages of gratitude now.
To counter the haters and thank the bishop for this example of pastoral leadership and for keeping his community safe, give his office a call at (608) 788-7700 today. Listen to the menu options, then leave a polite message for the receptionist to pass along.
Meanwhile, Altman says he will formally appeal to the Vatican. Pope Francis says getting a COVID-19 vaccine is a moral imperative, so that appeal will almost certainly lose.
Yet while the Wisconsin priest might finally be leaving parish ministry, Altman isn't going away. His interviews have become a fixture on far-right websites that treat him like a folk hero, so he will no doubt keep spewing his venom wherever he can. In fact, his supporters have already launched a legal defense fund for him at GiveSendGo -- the favorite crowdfunding site of right-wing militias -- raising $70,000 in a single day.
Although GiveSendGo claims to be Christian, it is known for helping raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for Henry Enrique Tarrio, leader of the notorious white-supremacist organization the Proud Boys; vigilante Kyle Rittenhouse, who murdered two Black Lives Matter protesters last year in Kenosha, Wisconsin; and Ali Alexander, a chief organizer of the January 6 failed coup; among other violent militia figures and peddlers of misinformation.
Altman's divisive lies and unrepentant bullying are a natural fit for GiveSendGo's unchristian support of violence, lies, and extremist rhetoric. More than 17,000 Faithful America members have previously called on Amazon Web Services to remove GiveSendGo from its servers for spreading dangerous misinformation and violating AWS’s terms of service.
The same Altman supporters who are donating through GiveSendGo have been filling our inboxes all month with noxious emails like, "Christ may forgive you, but we will not!" We can't let them bully us into silence. Now is the time to build on our momentum, launching even more campaigns to reclaim Christianity from the religious right for love and social justice.
Don't let Altman's bullies silence Faithful America. Make sure we have the resources to keep going: Chip in whatever you can today to help hold more wolves in sheep's clothing accountable, and reclaim the church from those who would abuse Jesus's name >>
Thank you for everything you do to love your neighbor and stop false prophets like James Altman.