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The Journal Sentinel’s religious litmus test

By M.D. Kittle

MADISON — “Rooted in the loving ministry of Jesus as a healer,” the St. Agnes Hospital Foundation is committed to “serving all persons with special attention to those who are living in poverty and the vulnerable.”

Tim Michels, Republican candidate for governor, through the Michels Family Foundation, has given this life-saving Catholic health care charity more than $1.5 million. it’s just one of the hundreds of nonprofits to benefit through Michels’ tens of millions of dollars in charitable giving.

But a story published Wednesday in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel — which has crowned itself as the mouthpiece for Democrat Gov. Tony Evers’ re-election campaign — would have you believe that Tim Michels’ charitable giving is focused on anti-abortion and “anti-gay” causes.

Worse yet, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s hatchet job insists that someone’s faith should be a litmus test for his or her electability.

“Wisconsin’s Republican candidate for governor Tim Michels and his wife donated $250,000 to anti-LGBTQ and anti-abortion groups, representing about 15% of his total donations in 2020,” screams the story’s lead.

It goes on to report that the “Timothy and Barbara Michels Family Foundation funded organizations that oppose all forms of contraception and abortions in all cases. The foundation also spent thousands on churches with anti-LGBTQ beliefs.”

“The donations provide a window into how Michels may approach policymaking on such issues if elected governor if he unseats incumbent Tony Evers, who does not have a foundation,” the hit piece insists.

Funding good

Far left Gov. Tony Evers, who has made his living off of taxpayers over his long career in educational bureaucracy and politics, has spent the last couple of COVID years giving billions of dollars in federal taxpayer money away — plenty of it on left-wing political causes.

Michels, who has spent his working life building his family construction company, through his family’s foundation has donated nearly $36 million to an array of charitable organizations.

That long list includes $1 million to the Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer Fund, the renowned MACC Fund. It includes $1 million to Cornell University in 2020 and $15 million this year to the Medical College of Wisconsin Cancer Center.

Those donations grew out of some deeply painful experiences for the Michels family. In 2012, their daughter, Sophie, was diagnosed with a rare pediatric brain tumor.

The gift was the largest ever to the MCW Cancer Center, aimed at hastening research and advance treatments.

“The whole world is looking at what’s happening right here at the medical campus in Milwaukee, the Medical College, Children’s, Froedtert,” Tim Michels said. “And now we’re going to be able to take this cutting-edge research and we’re going to be able to do a focus on rare cancers as well.”

The hit piece noted the donation— at the bottom of the story.

But the Journal Sentinel needed lots of real estate to cover the $10,000 the Michels family donated to Christ Fellowship in Miami, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio’s church (the horror!). Omar Giritli, the church’s pastor, made some controversial statements about abortion, like all life is sacred and should be protected — a basic tenet of the Catholic Church.

What the story didn’t note is Christ Fellowship’s myriad charitable partnerships that provide food, housing, health care, employment to the homeless, for instance. Or the work the church does in the areas of substance abuse and mental health treatment. Those charitable actions, embraced by liberals and conservatives alike, don’t fit neatly into the political attack narrative.

‘Anti-religious bigotry’

The Journal Sentinel notes the Michels foundation donated $50,000 to Spring Creek Church in Pewaukee and $5,000 to Elmbrook Church in Brookfield.

“Spring Creek Church’s Pastor Chip Bernhard has suggested that people who have an abortion need forgiveness, and allowing transgender children to use the bathroom of their choice is ‘awful,’” the newspaper breathlessly reports.

Abortion is a sin to many in the Christian faith, filed under the, Thou Shalt Not Kill commandment and various other sections of the Bible.

What the hit piece doesn’t note, for instance, is Spring Creek’s partnership with Soles for Jesus, an annual shoe drive for shoeless, non-aborted human beings in Africa.

“Many people walk miles each day for food, water, work, firewood for cooking and medicine. Some children cannot attend school barefoot. The simple protection of shoes helps to reduce the risk of disease and injury,” the fundraiser promo notes. “In many African countries with volcanic or red clay soils there is silica that, when barefoot, works its way into the soles of the feet. Over time this begins to block lymphatic pathways which can cause podoconiosis (elephantitis), swelling, abnormal bone growth and thick leathery skin. This is 100% preventable by wearing shoes.”

In one campaign, the church collected 3777 pairs of shoes.

The many faith organizations Michels has donated to do a lot of things beyond espousing pro-life, pro-family beliefs. But the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel wants to make charitable giving a litmus test for this governor’s race.

“The dishonest media are so in the tank for Tony Evers, they have now stooped so low as to attack mainstream churches and religious organizations,” Michels said in a campaign statement. “For four years, they turned a blind eye to the consequences of Evers’ many failures and are now all in as accomplices in his desperate campaign to demonize me, my company, my family, and now even our personal charitable giving.

“Assaulting the reputations of Catholic nuns, some of the largest churches in Wisconsin, and even cancer research is shameful, and the people of Wisconsin should not tolerate this disgusting, anti-religious bigotry.”

 

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3 thoughts on “The Journal Sentinel’s religious litmus test

  • Michael Stoneman is totally right. Michels is obviously proud of his contributions, and they’re public record. Most of his supporters are probably fine with them. His campaign is screaming because they don’t want the rest of us to know.

  • What, a piece of garbage propaganda this is. The Jsonline article clearly is not criticizing anyone for donating to cancer charities as is . However, voters are probably pretty interested in knowing that hundreds of thousands was donated to a charity which wants to ban birth control. You conveniently left out that part in your description of the article. Shameful

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