The director and editor-in-chief of Catholic News Service, a news agency affiliated with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, has reportedly been pushed out of his position after an outcry over tweets endorsing LGBT rights.
Two prominent Catholic news outlets have reported that Tony Spence resigned this week at the request of an official in the bishops conference.
Spence, who has headed the CNS since 2004, was active on Twitter — tweeting mostly about news within the Catholic Church, but occasionally sharing stories on the journalism industry, world news and pop culture. He tweeted about sainthood dates,the pope and refugees, Flannery O’Connor’s faith and the infuriating failures of the D.C. metro.
But it was tweets about the gender identity legislation in North Carolina and what supporters call the “religious liberties” measure in Mississippi, and related issues of LGBT rights, that reportedly led to his dismissal.
The National Catholic Reporter writes:
“In recent days Spence had been attacked by conservative Catholic blogs for tweets he had posted about controversial religious freedom bills in North Carolina and Georgia. These sites accused Spence of ‘promoting the LGBT agenda.’
” ‘The far right blogsphere and their troops started coming after me again and it was too much for the USCCB,’ Spence told NCR in an interview Thursday. …
“Spence attended a regularly scheduled staff story meeting at 2 p.m. on Wednesday. Sometime later, after meeting with Msgr. J. Brian Bransfield, the general secretary of the bishops’ conference, Spence was escorted from the conference office building without being allowed to speak to his newsroom staff.”
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