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El Paso Priest Reassigned Over Anti-Gay Political Activities

Jim Burroway

September 22nd, 2011

An El Paso, Texas, Catholic priest, who campaigned against various city proposals to enact anti-discrimination ordinances to protect gay people, has been reassigned to a new parish because of his political activities in an upcoming recall election. El Paso Catholic Bishop Armando X. Ochoa reassigned Fr. Michael Rodriguez to a new parish in West Texas because his political activities “raised serious issues regarding whether his participation could be attributed to the Diocese of El Paso.”

“(Father) Rodriguez has recently challenged certain city officials to participate with him in a partisan debate on issues related to an upcoming election,” said Ochoa. “This type of intervention in the political process by religious organizations such as the Diocese of El Paso and San Juan Bautista Church is not permitted under Section 501 of the Internal Revenue Code.”

The bishop added that the diocese received “credible information and documents” showing that Rodriguez failed to comply with diocesan policies. Another evangelical church, Word of Life, is currently being investigate by the IRS for its political activities.

Last month, Rodriguez took out a quarter-page ad in the El Paso Times calling gays “putrid” and “depraved.”

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