Fresno Bishop Joseph Brennan called out a local Catholic lawmaker last week for voting to spend $1 million tax dollars to help Planned Parenthood expand abortions.

California Catholic Daily reports Brennan published the open letter Sept. 2 after the Fresno City Council voted to give $1 million to the abortion chain Planned Parenthood. Mayor Jerry Dyer vetoed the spending measure, but the council overrode his veto.

Among those who voted in favor of the abortion funding was Councilman Miguel Arias, who professes to be a devout Catholic.

According to Brennan’s letter, Arias brought up his Catholic faith to defend his pro-abortion actions and criticized Catholic leaders for not doing enough to help the poor. Several council members also claimed that opposing abortion is just a religious issue.

“Respectfully, I think both contentions are false,” Brennan responded. “I feel it is my responsibility to stand up for the record of Catholics and other Christians in the Valley in serving the poor, and to stand up for the rights of religious people to express their views in public debate.”

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The bishop said Christians are working hard to serve the poor, and Fresno Catholic Charities alone helped 250,000 people last year, providing food, clothing, shelter for the homeless and more.

Even more people received help from the Fresno Mission, which provides rehabilitation services and shelter, and the Obria Medical Clinics of Central California, a pro-life organization that offers prenatal care, ultrasounds, pregnancy tests, baby supplies, parenting classes and more to families in need, he continued. The bishop highlighted evangelical Christian missions in the city, too.

Brennan said he invited Arias to join him at the Fresno Catholic Charities to “see a small glimpse of what his church is doing to support women, children, and families in need.”

Being pro-life is not just a Christian belief either, Brennan continued. He said people of many different religions and philosophies oppose the killing of innocent human beings, including those not yet born.

“The inviolability of human life is a universal truth that everyone, Christian or otherwise, can discern from observing our shared human nature,” the bishop said. “… such principles are embedded in our very being.”

And just because Christians hold a certain belief does not make it exclusively religious, he continued.

“Dr. Martin Luther King’s advocacy of racial equality was not illegitimate because of his Christian faith,” Brennan said. “His beliefs inspired him to protect the universally knowable truths of fundamental human equality and fraternity. In the same spirit, my brother Christians and I advocate for the lives of unborn children to have equal protection in our society.”

Because he supports “fundamental human equality,” Brennan said he believes public funding should be used to help people in need, not kill them before they are born.

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