A new book by conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly and American Spectator journalist George Neumayr exposes never-before-seen documents that purportedly show that the Catholic Church supported, and gave monies to, Barack Obama in the 1980s to attend a community organizing training with the Saul Alinsky-founded Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF). Additionally, in “No Higher Power,” the authors highlight other problematic funding and allegiances between the Church and ultra-liberal causes.
It’s no secret that the left has learned the ropes of using faith and religion for political gain. For years, liberals lamented conservatives’ close allegiance with Christian leaders. But now, in a change of course, they seem to be revving up the engagement and infiltration of faith communities in an effort to harness political power.
Progressive evangelicals, for instance, have a bizarre history of taking funding from far-left billionaire George Soros, an atheist (we’ve covered liberal evangelical groups and their controversial stances and ties here, here and here). Many groups and churches, too, have joined in on leftist calls for social justice, among other Democratic-laden sentiment.
While gaining in its prevalence, this systematic exploitation of religion by liberals who seek to use the cohesive forces of belief to progress political agendas is nothing new. Segments of the Catholic Church, for example, have been frequently accused of being sympathetic to — and even funding — leftist activities. Most recently, the Bishops, themselves, have accused nuns of liberal inclinations and separating from Church doctrine. But the ties and issues seem to go far beyond the nuns.
In “No Higher Power,” Schlafly and Neumayr focus upon Obama’s “war on religious freedom,” as the book puts it. Since the announcement of his controversial contraceptive mandate, many have claimed that the president and his administration have turned hostile towards people of faith (although there were other benchmarks, including his attack on the ministerial exemption and an alleged apathy toward the faith community that some called out as earlier warning signs).
Considering Obama’s ongoing stalemate with Catholic leaders, though, there are some past connections that are worth noting. TheBlaze secured an exclusive excerpt from Chapter 6 of the book, where the aforementioned documents seem to show that the Catholic Church funded Obama’s IAF trip. On the surface, this may seem benign, but connecting the dots showcases what the authors contend is further evidence of leftist infiltration into the Church.
Let’s start with the IAF, the organization that put on the training session that the Church purportedly paid to send Obama to. Previously, we have delved deeply into IAF and its use of faith to capture for political gain. The infamous, ultra-left group was founded back in 1940 by Alinsky, the father of community organizing. As we’ve reported, IAF, which is still very active today, is known for using religion as an adhesive force to bring individuals together in support of Democratic principles and candidates.
Naturally, there’s some irony considering that the Catholic Church allegedly paid to send Obama to a far-leftist training, specifically when it comes to the current state of affairs between the president and bishops. Here’s an exclusive portion of the book that delves into the support that Obama allegedly received from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), an arm of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops:
In the 1980s, the Catholic archdiocese of Chicago contributed to the training of Obama in the very Alinskyite radicalism that would culminate in such anti-religious measures as the HHS mandate. In fact, in the course of writing this book, we met a source who once had access to copies of documents from the archives of the Chicago archdiocese. This source supplied us with never-before-published copies of invoices, checks, and letters that confirm the Church’s support for the man who would one day seek to destroy its religious freedom.
In a series of appendices, we have reproduced the check and invoice showing that the archdiocese of Chicago paid for Obama’s plane trip to a conference in Los Angeles run by the Industrial Areas Foundation, the community organizing group founded by Alinsky.
TheBlaze has secured the alleged documents, which the book says were given to the authors by someone who had access to Church archives and are also presented in the appendix of “No Higher Power.” In the 1980s, a time during which Obama was on staff with Developing Communities Project, an off-shoot of the Calumet Community Religious Conference, the group received support from the CCHD. Below, see a letter on CCRC letterhead that is signed by Obama; in it, he mentions an “IAF training in Los Angeles” and seeks a reimbursement for his travels:
Then, a follow-up note shows a memorandum from the Campaign for Human Development (the name given to the group before “Catholic” was later added in), which confirms a travel payment to the then-community organizer:
And there’s more:
While some may dismiss this as an odd or one-time affair, it seems Alinsky had extensive ties to the Church (specifically CCHD), as he attempted to use religion — much like the left is today — to harness the political power of a mass group of people tied together by common belief. Schlafly and Neumayr continue, providing more on this allegedly cozy relationship between Alinsky and Church officials:
Alinsky had always targeted churches for radical infiltration, and to a certain degree he succeeded. The Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) was the Alinskyite branch of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops which had offices in dioceses across the country. It was founded in 1969 by priests and bishops close to Saul Alinsky, such as Monsignor John Egan, who sat on Alinsky’s Industrial Areas Foundation board. The group was originally called the Campaign for Human Development, with “Catholic” added later as its socialist work began to draw criticism.
Alinsky had initially won favor with some in the Archdiocese of Chicago by appearing to be an advocate of justice for the poor. In the 1950s, in fact, Alinsky received tens of thousands of dollars from the Church to “study” poverty and racism.
This isn’t the first time CCHD has been exposed as a leftist arm of the Church. And a travel reimbursement is far from the only example of Catholic monies going toward far leftist causes. In 2011, in a column for First Things, Fr. Val J. Peter also delved into these issues, writing that it may, indeed, be time for the CCHD to be shuttered. Considering some of the other funding allegations written up by Schlafly and Neumayr, it’s no wonder why some have grave concerns about the group’s continued existence (hint: excessive financial ties to ACORN):
Indeed, from 1998-2008, CCHD gave $7.3 million of Catholic-donated money to the now notorious ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, a radical leftist organization that supported Barack Obama’s brand of “community organizing.” In 2007 alone, CCHD increased its support of ACORN, giving ACORN thirty-seven grants totally $1,037,000. During 2007-2008, ACORN and its affiliated organizations were aggressively registering what they claimed were 1.3 million poor people to vote. ACORN focused on new registrations in the key toss-up states of Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Florida.
CCHD knew exactly how ACORN spent its money. CCHD’s executive director, Ralph McCloud, admitted to Catholic News Service that “some of the funds that the Catholic Campaign contributed to ACORN in the past undoubtedly were used for voter registration drives.”
Even though the pro-Obama political activity of ACORN had been widely reported, and even though employees of ACORN and affiliated organizations like Project Vote had either been indicted or convicted of submitting false voter registration forms in fourteen states, CCHD, in June 2008, approved grants of $113 million to forty local ACORN affiliates for the cycle beginning July 1, 2008. Those grants were ratified by the United States Conference of Bishops at its June 2008 meting.
Under press scrutiny and backlash from members of the laity, the CCHD-ACORN relationship suddenly became too embarrassing for the bishops to ignore, and CCHD announced it was suspending (not canceling) the 2008 grants.
Considering the Catholic Church’s ongoing issues with the Obama administration, these ties are fascinating. Furthermore, the ongoing accusations being thrown at nuns by the bishops are also noteworthy. While there is a fear that leftist views have been too fervently embraced by the sisters, it seems there may also be a need to look further into other facets of the Church (at least the CCHD) as well.
You can pick up a copy of “No Higher Power” on Tuesday.