Like Franklin Graham, the Catholic Diocese of Charlotte has taken a strong stand against same-sex marriage.
But unlike Graham, it has no plans to take its money out of Wells Fargo, a gay-friendly bank with a national TV and online ad featuring a lesbian couple.
Last week, Protestant evangelist Graham – CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in Charlotte and Samaritan’s Purse in Boone – cited that ad as the reason for his decision to move his accounts from Wells Fargo to BB&T. He also called on Christians to boycott San Francisco-based Wells Fargo, which has its largest employee base in Charlotte.
Diocese spokesman David Hains acknowledged to the Observer on Tuesday that “you are right: Wells Fargo is our bank.”
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Asked if the diocese planned to join Graham’s boycott, Hains answered later with this emailed statement:
“While the Catholic Church is opposed to same-sex unions, at this time the Diocese of Charlotte does not plan to change its relationship with Wells Fargo.”
In its 2014 annual report sent to parishioners’ households, the diocese reported assets totaling $220.5 million.
In 2012, Bishop Peter Jugis, who heads the 46-county diocese, helped lead the successful campaign to amend the North Carolina Constitution to reaffirm what was then a state ban on same-sex marriage. Last year, a federal judge ruled that the ban, including Amendment One, violated the U.S. Constitution. Since then, gays and lesbians have been legally able to marry their partners in North Carolina.
That has not changed Catholic teaching, which holds that homosexual acts are sinful and that marriage is a sacrament uniting one man and one woman.
This year, Jugis instructed St. Peter Catholic Church in uptown Charlotte to cancel a scheduled speech by Sister Jeannine Gramick, who ministers to gay, lesbian and transgender Catholics around the country. The Catholic nun did speak in Charlotte, at Myers Park Baptist Church, on the topic of “Including LGBTQ People and Their Families in Faith Communities.”
Also this year, Jugis publicly urged the Charlotte City Council to reject a proposed expansion of the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance to include sexual orientation, gender expression and gender identity.
Graham charged in a column for USA Today last week that Wells Fargo had become a “public advocate – through a national TV advertising campaign – for a lifestyle we, as a Christian organization, believe to be biblically wrong.” In that ad, which also drew praise from many for Wells Fargo, the lesbian couple learn sign language so they can communicate with their adopted daughter.
In choosing BB&T, based in Winston-Salem, Graham will move his accounts to a bank that sponsored a gay pride event this year in Miami that included a same-sex wedding in one of its branches. But Graham argued in his column that BB&T had not crossed the line from gay-friendly to advocacy because it has not aired ads featuring same-sex couples.