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The Archdiocese of St. Louis has told leaders at all its Catholic schools to start charging kids for food, letting them know they should stop participating in the government’s National School Lunch Program which provides free meals to children across the country.

The reason? If they continue using those government funds, they might have to follow the government’s rules prohibiting anti-LGBTQ discrimination, and the Catholic Church believes perpetuating bigotry is more important than feeding kids.

The St. Louis Post Dispatch got ahold of a memo sent to Catholic school leaders in the area:

“Due to changes in the interpretation of the Civil Rights Act, the non-discrimination statements for these programs has changed significantly,” reads the memo, sent by General Counsel Tom Buckley. “Schools that receive funds from the USDA would be required to adhere to the policies of these programs. The changes in these policies would be problematic for schools and programs of the Archdiocese to fully live out the mission of our Catholic Church.

The “mission” of the Church, it seems, is to make sure gay kids know that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered” and that trans identities seek to “annihilate the concept of nature“… and not to make sure kids are well-fed so they can focus on their education.

The Post-Dispatch notes that the new rule could “potentially leave thousands of Catholic school children without access to the free meals they have had in previous years.”

To be clear, even though Title IX bans sex discrimination (and may soon be expanded to prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation), it’s not clear that the rules would apply to faith-based schools that hold anti-LGBTQ positions. Religious schools can already apply for a Title IX exemption. The Catholic schools in this situation are playing it safe, choosing to uphold their hateful views, even though the decision will hurt a number of children.

A spokesperson for the Archdiocese said about a dozen Catholic schools currently participate in the free school lunch program and even more receive reimbursements from the government as part of the USDA’s Special Milk Program.

If the kids and families who make use of those programs suffer more hardships as a result of this move, the Catholic Church doesn’t care. All that matters to the Church is making sure LGBTQ kids know God believes there’s something wrong with them.

Earlier this week, I noted that a similar situation is developing in Maine, where private Christian schools no longer want to participate in a voucher program that would give them taxpayer-funded tuition dollars for admitted students who don’t live near a public school. The Supreme Court recently ruled that those religious schools couldn’t be excluded from the program… and yet when forced to accept cash with anti-discrimination strings attached or leaving the program altogether, it appears most of the schools are choosing the latter option.

At least they’re honest about their priorities. These religious organizations care less about helping all kids and more about causing pain to certain kids.

When the U.S. government offers more moral clarity than a religious institution, you have to wonder why any decent person would want to remain in those institutions at all.

Hemant Mehta is the founder of, a YouTube creator, podcast co-host, and author of multiple books about atheism. He can be reached at @HemantMehta.

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