Wisconsin Pastor Ordered to Step Down from His Role After Preaching Against the COVID Vaccine
Rev. James Altman of the St. James the Less Roman Catholic Church in La Crosse, Wisconsin, said "the left" is trying to "cancel" him
A pastor from Wisconsin has been ordered to step down from his position after he made negative comments about the COVID-19 vaccine.
The Rev. James Altman, of the St. James the Less Roman Catholic Church in La Crosse, made the announcement that he was asked to leave his role during his sermon at Sunday Mass earlier this week.
The sermon, which was recorded and posted to YouTube, found Altman claiming that "the left" was trying to "cancel" him after the Diocese of La Crosse asked him to resign.
"If the left whines like they do like a spoiled brat often enough, they succeed in canceling so many voices of truth," he said. "And now that they are whining like, if I may say it, the pansy babies that they are to cancel me."
A representative for the St. James the Less Roman Catholic Church did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.
Altman also revealed during the sermon that he has found a canon lawyer and will fight the bishop's decision.
"I am no expert on canon law, but understand only that while we are contesting the Bishop's request — and we are — he could in theory appoint a parish administrator whilst I remain a pastor without duties until the appeal goes through Rome, which can take up to a year or more," he said.
Currently, a Facebook group defending Altman has been crafted — titled Friends of Father James Altman — which boasts 2,500 followers. The group has various posts and comments from an array of parishioners who are upset by the church's decision for Altman to step down.
"I cannot picture that podium at St. James the Less Church without Fr. Altman," one church-goer wrote. "Woe to you Bishop William Callahan and all you other wolves in shepherd's clothing."
Altman has a prior history of making similar controversial statements, according to NBC. Per the outlet, the religious figure has disparaged the Black Lives Matter movement in the past, and made other claims about climate change, systematic racism and homophobia.