FFRF: Rogue La Crosse, Wis., priest must be reined in

James AltmanA loose cannon Catholic priest who gained notoriety last year for counseling parishioners that they would go to hell if they voted for a Democrat is again making outrageous pronouncements.

Rev. James Altman has currently set his sights on Covid-19 mitigation efforts, defying local safety requirements by his own diocese and local government.

In a video from Palm Sunday, Altman is seen complaining about “the godless madness” of pandemic mitigation efforts: “You’ve all heard the horror stories, all because godless vermin fed us fear and instituted godless, Nazi-esque controls on all of us and on those we love,” Altman said.

“Let us be clear, God damns every single one of those godless moves, whether it be in civil government or worse, in the complicity of many in the church,” he added. “In fact, if hell itself has many levels, the lowest, hottest levels are the final burning place for those shepherds who were complicit in the godless restrictions.”

Altman continued, “The godlessness of what has happened over the past year, the godlessness of what Fauci is now promoting in double masking, is damnable in the hottest fires of hell, and I’m not joking.”

The La Crosse Tribune has reported that it has a photo of Altman presiding over crowded Easter services at St. James the Lesser Catholic Church. “Many in the congregation were not wearing masks and about 170 walked up to receive communion, many by mouth,” according to the paper. It also has obtained a page from a church bulletin calling the vaccines experimental, “damnable” and “an experimental use of a genetic altering substance that modifies your body — your temple of the Holy Spirit.”

The flyer is posted to the church’s website and is headlined: “Do not be anyone’s guinea pig.” It concludes: “God is still the best doctor and prayer is still the best medicine.”

The La Crosse County Health Department’s Advisory Order 2 was and is in place requiring residents to wear masks in indoor public spaces, stay 6 feet apart and capping public enclosed buildings at 75 percent. Over 500 individuals were at the Easter service, and a video shows about 50 unmasked people in the first five rows crowded together.

Altman’s Easter service also violated the protocols set by the Diocese of La Crosse itself allowing only 25 percent occupancy, requiring social distancing within churches and participants to wear masks.

Last September, the Freedom From Religion Foundation urged the IRS to probe Altman’s political video that insisted “you cannot be Catholic and a Democrat,” a screed endorsed by a Catholic bishop.

“It’s clear the Diocese of La Crosse needs to rein in this priest, or else the hierarchy is aiding and abetting a reckless zealot,” says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. She calls Altman’s verbiage, such as “godless vermin,” particularly reprehensible.

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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