Booted from role in the Catholic Church straight to the CPAC stage

By: - July 16, 2021 3:19 pm
Father James Altman giving a welcome prayer at CPAC on July 11 |YouTube

Father James Altman giving a welcome prayer at CPAC on July 11 |YouTube

Getting the boot from higher-ups in the Catholic church for inflammatory rhetoric didn’t stop a La Crosse priest from joining a bevy of like-minded speakers at a right-wing convention last weekend.

On July 10, the La Crosse Catholic Diocese announced that it was removing controversial pastor Father James Altman from serving as the pastor at St. James the Less in La Crosse after he spread lies, conspiracy theories and right-wing propaganda about the Jan. 6 Capitol attack on a podcast and elsewhere.

The very next day, Altman gave the welcome prayer at the CPAC 2021: America Uncanceled convention in Dallas Texas. (CPAC is the Conservative Political Action Conference.) Altman was also a featured speaker on a panel titled “Why Faith Matters” alongside Dan Schneider of the American Conservative Union.

“So now and always, let us realize our help is in the name of the Lord, who actually did make heaven and earth, and that’s all the science we need to know,” Altman said in his prayer, adding, “Nourish us and strengthen us with such grace that we may be such witnesses of faith, family and country that the whole world will come to know we will not be canceled.”

The Wisconsin Examiner reported in January about the hour-long podcast, saying it was “making excuses for Trump supporters and Christians who stormed the Capitol; discussing COVID-19 conspiracy theories; attacking the media as ‘godless;’ complaining about cancel culture; portending a coming civil war; attacking Breonna Taylor and Trayvon Martin and saying that real Catholics didn’t vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.” The other priest was Richard Heilman of St. Mary of Pine Bluff Catholic Church in Cross Plains. Heilman remains on the Diocese of Madison website and is shown on YouTube giving sermons on Wednesday and Thursday.

Altman stated at the time that in being killed by the police Breonna Taylor was to blame for her own death: “Listen, nobody’s got the guts to say, ‘Hey sweetheart, you were hanging around a bad guy to begin with, that’s why the police were coming over there.’ … Okay, you brought that on yourself.” 

Also representing Wisconsin at CPAC, although in a minor role, was former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker on a panel titled, “Power Over the People: The Left’s Agenda Must Be Reversed.”

Other CPAC talks included: 

  • Give me Liberty: Healthcare Freedom in the Shadow of Obamacare
  • Tyranny without Talking: The Left’s Efforts to Destroy America
  • Who’s the Boss, Where’s My Apple Sauce? Whose (sic) Really Running the Biden Administration
  • ¿Por Que? Why Are Americans Accepting the Disinformation, Denial & Danger on Our Southern Border?
  • Spare the Fraud, Spoil the Child: The Future of American Elections
  • Are the Leftovers from the Pandemic Here to Stay?
  • Left Leading in Crime


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Melanie Conklin
Melanie Conklin

Melanie Conklin is proud to be a native of the state of Wisconsin, which gave humankind the typewriter, progressivism and deep-fried cheese curds. Her several decades in journalism include political beats and columns at Isthmus newspaper, the Wisconsin State Journal and other publications. When not an ink-stained wretch, she served time inside state, local and federal government in communications. She is excited to be back at the craft of journalism as Deputy Editor of the Wisconsin Examiner. It’s what she’s loved ever since getting her master’s degree in journalism from the UW-Madison. Her family includes one husband, two kids, four dogs and five (or more) chinchillas.