The Other Side of Change: Obama and Saul Alinsky

Change and unity — the two words surely epitomize Barack Obama’s campaign for the presidency. Last week’s Democratic Convention extolled change hourly, in a relentless drumbeat. The only relief came when unity was emphasized. What nags at the back of the mind is that the call for “change” and “unity” is not so much an invitation but a command.
I’m a skeptic.
I’ve learned from covering the United Nations that when radicals cannot get delegates to agree to their terms, they change the meaning of thoseterms. Hence, “health and reproductive rights,” though it sounds like innocent pre-natal care, is in reality the UN’s goal to press for abortion on demand — all in the name of doing something noble for the poor and oppressed.
Obama’s understanding of “unity” has never been spelled out, but his past mentors — and even some of his own comments — paint a worrisome picture.
Obama said last year, “We’re building a grassroots movement . . . [to] unite the country around our shared values” (emphasis added).
And then at a rally in February: “It is a choice not between black and white, not between genders and regions or religions, but a choice between the past and the future.” In the context of the genderless world espoused by the gay lobby that Obama supports, or the Marxist vision of a religion-less world, those remarks about our future take on a different hue. In fact, there’s a strong indication that for Obama, “unity” is part of a broader agenda — a kissing cousin to the Marxist ideal of the undifferentiated collective.
Much has been written about Obama’s career as a “community organizer,” a benign term that was actually the brainchild of Marxist agitator Saul Alinsky, whose writings Obama studied and who founded an organization in Chicago for which Obama worked. Alinsky earned his doctorate from the University of Chicago in 1930 and went to work in the state penitentiary. He came to believe that the “social milieu,” not personal behavior, was responsible for the plight of the inmates — and therefore, a changed society would eliminate aberrant behavior. In1939, Alinsky created his Industrial Areas Foundation, a grassroots agitation organization that found its power in collectivizing working-class poor and idealistic radicals.
Alinsky is well-known for his second book, Rules for Radicals, which begins with praise for Lucifer, a rebel who achieved his own kingdom. The book stressed that activists must be “people committed to change.” (Sound familiar?) He taught his agitators to avoid the “useless self-indulgence” of despising their own middle-class roots, instead exploiting the contempt they feel: “If we are to build power for change, the power and the people are in the big middle class majority.”
He also encouraged radicals to seek “bridges of communication and unity . . . . [V]iew with strategic sensitivity the nature of middle-class hang-ups over rudeness or aggressive insulting profane actions. All this and more must be grasped and used to radicalize parts of the middle-class.” In the name of “the poor and the oppressed,” radicals catapult themselves into power, exploiting the goodwill of the desperate.
Alinsky further instructed: “Moral rationalization is indispensable at all times of action whether to justify the selection or the use of ends or means.” Organizers are to drop the appearance of radical agitators and to don middle-class manners and behaviors so as to blend in while espousing their radical visions of the future — a description that would suit Obama, according to Joseph Biden’s own description of the senator as “mainstream… bright and clean.”
The similarities continue in Alinsky’s view of the middle classes as “fearful people threatened on all sides” who “cling to illusory fixed points” and who are characterized by “bitterness.” Again, this is all familiar: It neatly summarizes the contempt Obama exhibited for the middle class when he derided their values at a swank San Francisco fundraiser by saying, “They get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them . . . .”
Despite this, Alinsky coached his devotees to work with the lower-middle class to obtain
a series of partial agreements and a willingness to abstain from hard opposition as changes take place. They have their role to play in the essential prelude of reformation. . . . This is the job of today’s radical — to fan the embers of hopelessness into a flame to fight. To say, “together we can change it for what we want.”
As Obama would do 50 years later, Alinsky used churches and people of faith to acquire a legitimate image (and financial assistance). Alinsky tapped Msgr. Jack Eagan for entrée into Catholic Chicago; for Obama, his mentor and pastor was Jeremiah Wright, whose message was never human unity but racial division. Wright is a proponent of liberation theology, a belief that man will save himself through unified political action. Is it reasonable to assume that the young Obama was formed by his 20 years of friendship with Wright? Can the “change” Obama imagines be the same “change” most Americans want?
Obama’s devotion to Wright and radicals like Alinsky is well-known; anyone can pick up Rules for Radicals and read it as Obama’s playbook. Then-Cardinal Ratzinger offered the ultimate warning against such ideology when he wrote in Truth and Tolerance,
[W]here the Marxist ideology of liberation had been consistently applied, a total lack of freedom had developed, whose horrors were now laid bare before the eyes of the entire world. Wherever politics tries to be redemptive, it is promising too much. Where it wishes to do the work of God, it becomes not divine, but demonic.

Mary Jo Anderson

By

Mary Jo Anderson is a Catholic journalist and public speaker. She has been a frequent guest on "Abundant Life," an EWTN television program, and her "Global Watch" radio program is heard on EWTN radio affiliates nationwide. She writes regularly for Crisis Magazine. More articles and commentary can be found at Properly Scared and at Women for Faith and Family. Mary Jo is a board member of Women for Faith and Family and has served on the Legatus Board of Directors. With co-author Robin Bernhoft, she wrote "Male and Female He Made Them: Questions and Answers about Marriage and Same-Sex Unions," published in 2005 by Catholic Answers. In 2003 Mary Jo was invited to the Czech Republic to address parliamentarians on the Impact of Radical Feminism on Emerging Democracies.

  • Joe H

    Red-baiting Obama simply isn’t going to cut it. It isn’t going to make me forget that McCain is in agreement with most of the disastrous policies the Bush administration has pursued for eight years, or that Obama might actually do something to stop, if not reverse the damage. I don’t care about Saul Alinsky; we have commentators on here regularly referring to the philosophies and/or writings of Murray Rothbard and Ayn Rand, who didn’t even make a pretense to be friendly to Christianity and were rabidly pro-abortion.

    If not for the abortion issue, Obama would probably have my vote. And while it is certainly true that “radicals” destroy the meaning of words (which “reproductive choice” IS a good example of, I will concede), that applies to right-wing radicals as well.

    The right has been playing with words and phrases for years now, and introduced us to “No Child Left Behind”, “Homeland Security”, “Patriot Act”, “Trickle Down Economics” and other buzzwords that are intended to distort the real meanings and effects of policies. To present this as some sort of uniquely left-wing phenomena is disingenuous to say the least. It is in this environment that Fox News can be called “fair and balanced” while everyone else has a “liberal bias”. It is ridiculous on its face to all but those who have a political reason to believe it and repeat it.

    Obama may have what some think is an extreme agenda – I don’t think it is that extreme myself. But since Friday, to me, Obama has emerged as the real straight talker and McCain as the pandering, patronizing political manipulator – issues aside.

  • EG

    Note: I am voting for McCain-Palin.

    Aside from Alinsky’s moral equivocation and his personal atheism, what’s so terribleabout his book? I can’t find anything in the numerous sites I have browsed on the man for the past several days anything to suggest that he wanted to turn the United States into a miniature Soviet Union, wanted to forcibly exterminate the bourgeoisie via effective genocide, wanted to outlaw religion and persecute believers, or do any number of the horrors we rightly associate with the Soviets.

    Furthermore, I cannot see where Obama supports anything nearly that radical — his radical support for gay rights and abortion rights excepted.

    In other words, apart from his anti-family and anti-life stances, how exactly does Obama’s platform contradict Catholic social teaching? What’s wrong with reasonably redistributing the income of the wealthy to help the poorer? Since when is liberal capitalism the doctrine of the Church? And since when is it a sin to say that from whom much is given much is to be expected, that the rich have social responsibilities to not live as they do while their brothers live in squalor or otherwise struggle to live week-by-week?

    Why does the Catholic right insist on using scare words like “socialism” as if every socialist was a full-fledged Marxist or a Leninist?

    I’m somewhat playing devil’s advocate, but this really has been bugging me lately. I feel like I’m being duped by the uber-rich, as if Obama wants to confiscate all my property, when in rality he simply wants to add some slight taxes to those that are already filthy rich.

    And this is evil because . . .?

    Universal health care works. Of course it has its flaws, but so does the modern system, and the overwhelming majority of Europeans, including European Catholics (lay and clergy) are pleased with it. Universal health care is evil because . . .?

    Offering $4000 tuition credit for college students who put in a certain number of hours in community service is evil and anti-Catholic because . . .?

    I could go on. Aside from the marriage and life issues (which I agree disqualify Obama from being considered for voting), what’s so bad about his platform?

  • Laura

    cut me a break!
    Obama is a socialist who espouses views that will radically change the fabric of our country … repeal of DOMA, signing the Freedom of Choice Act, redistribution of wealth through higher taxes, socialized medicine. Its not going to happen. It can’t. No way.

  • EG

    Laura:

    Aside from his pro-infanticide and pro-fay policies, what would be so bad about his social policy?

  • R.C.

    Laura:

    I know that to you (and me) those things are perfectly rational reasons to vote against Obama. Not for Joe H; for him, though he’ll quibble a bit about details, they are largely selling points.

    Joe H:

    That me you’re referencing, with respect to Rand? (I don’t think I’ve mentioned Rothbard.)

    If so, please do keep in mind the context: When you and I were discussing that Marx and Engels could conceivably have true, worthwhile observations in their writing, while still rejecting their totalitarian and anti-Christian proposals, I noted that the same was true from the other side: That just as St. Thomas Aquinas “baptized” Aristotle, taking only what was true from the old Greek without thereby admitting any paganism into Christianity, so one could “baptize” the Communists’ observations of the needs of the poor without admitting any Communism into Christianity, or, conversely, “baptize” Ayn Rand’s assertion of the moral superiority of free trade over government-compelled economics without thereby admitting contempt for the poor into Christianity.

    If by citing Ayn Rand, I am thereby suspect in my Christianity, I hope you’ll do me the courtesy of joining me under that cloud of suspicion, for having cited Marx and Engels!

  • Jeff

    EG wrote: I feel like I’m being duped by the uber-rich, as if Obama wants to confiscate all my property, when in rality he simply wants to add some slight taxes to those that are already filthy rich.

    And this is evil because . . .?

    You yourself have just demonstrated what is evil about the Alinsky model. Its goal is to make you comfortable with your envy, your hatred, and base instincts, as long as you direct them toward someone whom you have been taught deserves your contempt. You mention that you are partly serious. To that extent, the Alinsky model has succeeded in making you smaller.

    Yes, my friend, it is evil.

  • R.C.

    E.G.

    I can’t speak for Laura, but I’m pretty convinced that Obama’s domestic policies will mostly exacerbate or leave un-improved the problems they’re intended to solve, at great expense, while expanding the scope of government both through the addition of new programs (and we know how notoriously difficult they are to kill) and new precedent for government involvement (which sets a new starting-point for the next expansion of its power).

    So, in a nutshell:

    – I wouldn’t vote for Obama because I want to protect the environment;

    – I wouldn’t vote for Obama because I want to protect the poor;

    – I wouldn’t vote for Obama because I want life to get easier for working families;

    – I wouldn’t vote for Obama because I want people to be able to access good health care in the U.S.;

    – I wouldn’t vote for Obama because I want political speech to remain free in the United States;

    – I wouldn’t vote for Obama because I want life to be better for the poor and disadvantaged in other countries;

    – I wouldn’t vote for Obama because I think the U.S. should try to reduce its budget deficit;

    – I wouldn’t vote for Obama because I want the U.S. to stay out of war.

    I wouldn’t vote for Obama because in each of these areas, the kinds of proposals he makes tend to be cosmetically appealing while actually institutionalizing “solutions” that will either not help, or actually hurt, or just divert funding and attention away from the solutions which would work.

    This is not to say that John McCain has proposed the solutions that would actually help on all of the above topics. (Until he nominated Palin, my support for McCain was unenthusiastic.) It is to say that McCain’s proposals, when wrongheaded, are less so, and are occasionally not wrongheaded.

    Fair ’nuff?

  • Columcille

    In my experience (here in Chicago), Alinsky has been a powerful factor in destroying Catholicism in the city. The Catholicism of Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi (as manifested in this city) is the fruit of Alinsky. There is an untold story here about how Alinsky was able to be paid by the Catholic Church in Chicago to run his “community organizing” in the Catholic social clubs. He destroyed the faith and morals that these organizations were designed to build up.

    The Alinsky doctrine of pragmatism cloaked in moral rhetoric was so corrosive and widespread that only a handful of Catholics in public life escaped its effects.

    Chicago, one of the biggest Catholic populations in America, today is in a place where the homosexual minority has more political power than the Church.

    Alinsky is one of the chief reasons for the collapse of Catholic culture in Chicago and elsewhere as his ideas spread throughout the country.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a link between the sexual abuse crisis and the “organizing” of Alinsky.

    Obama is a pure ideologue, he hasn’t a Christian bone in his body. What is worse, he has messianic pretensions, and his supporters are in search of a New Age “transformational leader” to usher in a new era of enlightenment and peace.

    If Obama is elected, you can expect believing Catholics to be persecuted in the years following. This is no joke.

  • Todd

    “I’ve learned from covering the United Nations that when radicals cannot get delegates to agree to their terms, they change the meaning of those terms. Hence, ‘health and reproductive rights,’ though it sounds like innocent pre-natal care, is in reality the UN’s goal to press for abortion on demand — all in the name of doing something noble for the poor and oppressed.”

    An interesting brand of logic. Strikes me as a case for subjectivism, gnosticism, or both.

    Content first: political games are always played with language. It’s usually a case of supporters trying to sugar-coat matters for themselves as much as the fence-sitters. Conservatives do it. Liberals do it. Heck, even our kids do it.

    It’s curious that as this never-ending election cycle rolls on, the true believers trot out more fringe pieces, like they’re trying desperately to avoid the issues like their Media Corporate Masters.

    C’mon, Mary Jo: you can do better than to lead out an essay with your subjective experience. Where’s the meat? I want to hear your case for McCain expressed proactively. You and a few million other dittoheads can parrot what you hear on talk radio. It’s a fact of human nature that it’s a hundred times easier to tear down than to build up. Why do you insist on taking the easy road? Why do you suggest you have some secret connect-the-dots insight on a political candidate you don’t even like?

    The bottom line is this: I would no more attend to your points on Obama than I would listen to an atheist talk to me about Catholicism, or an astrologer on the planets. Can you come back with something better? Or can election day get here not soon enough?

  • Karen Hall

    Fantastic article, Mary Jo.

    In the name of “unity,” Barack Obama has taken an already angry and divided country and whipped it into an absolute frenzy of class warfare and racism. Not to mention the all-out bashing of orthodox Catholics, Evangelicals and people who live in small towns and/or don’t speak multiple languages. No matter which way the election goes, I dread the day after it. When Obama talks about “change” and “unity,” it is clear that what he means is that the Dems will change the country and then they will unify and ram the new world down the throats of the people who disagree with them.

    And yes, let’s argue about whether or not Obama’s views are Marxist. After that, we’ll argue about gravity.

  • Mother of Two Boys

    Todd,

    I agree with one thing that you said, it is much more challenging to build up than tear down…. and you my friend do a lot of tearing down in your words to others on this site. It seems you could benefit from your own words.

    I hope that we will all take some time studying the re-engineering of our interface with others so as to master up-building a stronger Nation and Church one by one by one.

    I believe however that soon into this study we will discover that when re-building we do have to tear down the internally molding walls and structures and make sure that you carefully choose what materials you will put into its place.

    As long as it is a love for our Nation and a passionate desire to protect our “Catholic” universal laws of moral civilization that motivates our debate…. and not just a clinging to an Elephant and a Donkey or Red or Blue… we mustn’t be too concerned about the level of debate. We all, because of our journey have a bit of THE LIGHT; only God IS LIGHT therefore has THE TRUTH.

    Who is walking most clearly toward THE LIGHT and who makes it near impossible to be sure of their destination. Compromise of core values causes FOG…. and CHARACTER and VALUES do stem from who, what, where, when nd how you have been and done life….. long-term relationships do say a lot about you and who you can pick up the phone and influence also speaks volumes about common beliefs shared.

    Bottom-line, I would never elect an UNKNOWABLE or UNKNOWN into the Presidency. McCain could have chosen to retire and enjoy the rest of his days in leisure, instead, he chooses to SERVE His Country at the Highest level. His motive is knowable and makes me proud to vote for him.

  • Todd

    “I agree with one thing that you said, it is much more challenging to build up than tear down…. and you my friend do a lot of tearing down in your words to others on this site. It seems you could benefit from your own words.”

    Perhaps so. In the comment boxes I tend to be more critical and you and others tend to notice it because I’m pretty much a minority contributor here. I don’t go with the flow. I don’t even go with the flow among my own ideological flock — if I even have one.

    On the other hand, I never stand on the soap box of personal experience as a foundation for a discussion. I hold my writing colleagues to a high standard because I think they can take the criticism, and because I think all serious writers need it.

    This essay has serious flaws in logic, but I did make a constructive suggestion to Ms Anderson: promote what John McCain would do (or Ron Paul or whomever her candidate of choice is. In other words, write something distinctive, passionate, memorable, and productive.

    Let me ask: would you consult Richard Dawkins if you wanted information on the Catholic Church? Why on earth would I read what people on this site write about Senator Obama? There was good sense behind my suggestion above. I urge political people to consider it.

  • Kevin J Jones

    For a long time, the Campaign for Human Development has granted money to the Alinsky-founded Industrial Areas Foundation. A brief google shows they gave the foundation a $50,000 grant in 2005.

  • K9

    first of all, right on Jeff. RC and karen hall you are hilarious! and columcille, ya scarin’ me.

    to EG: “filthy rich” says it all. lemme just say: i hope i get dirty dirty dirty someday through my hard work and innovation, so somebody can hate me for it later. grrrherhaha whats a few dead babies when you can stick it to the rich!

    to the “whats so bad about obama crowd”:

    If you want to see how Obamas wealth distribution has NOT worked…step out of fantasyland and go back to planet earth, specifically south chicago. why not read the blogs of people that are poorly represented by him? chicagoans against obama is a good place to start. why isnt there anybody from obamas past to step up and vouch for him? no one from college, no colleagues. contrast that with John McCain..

    and he talks about being his brothers keeper? lets hope he does better by us than his own brother who barely knows him and lives in a shed in nigeria on 10 bucks a year.

    alinksy applied is about division and stoking misery. and they are making great progress. the obama campaign looks at everyone as a part of a group -defined by gender, or race, or sexual preference. thats anti catholic – or at least it is the way i practice it. im no scholar, but i know a bad deal when i see it.

    thanks mary jo. i think you are spot on with this article.

  • MJ

    To EG:

    If you ask the question, “What’s wrong with redistribution of wealth from the wealthy to the poor?” it shows that clearly you will be on the receiving end. Either that or you are so wealthy that you wouldn’t notice the government forcibly taking what is yours, that which you worked for and EARNED, in order to give it to someone who has not worked for it and has not earned it.

    Jesus taught us to help those in need, and most people, wealthy or not, Christian or not, subscribe to this. It’s called CHARITY. It is VOLUNTARY. In fact, Americans, who (right now) do not live in a socialist country, give more to charity annually than do people who live in socialist countries.

    As someone who is middle class, who works very hard for what I have, who IS wiling to help those in need through CHARITY, someone like Obama scares the heck out of me. Hillary Clinton did as well. They are SOCIALISTS who want to raise income taxes to 50% or more of everyone’s income, who want to take the financial incentive out of work, who want to turn America into a nation of welfare recipients so THEY, the “benevolent elite” can sit on their thrones and dispense “their” largesse, courtesy of YOUR hard work. SOCIALISM has destroyed every country where it has been tried, and we must not let it destroy this one!

  • William

    Ennie, meanie, minie, moe, catch a liberal by the toe. If he hollers, let him go! Some of the lefty loonies who comment at this site need to realize that they are indeed welcome to their own opinions, but they are not welcome to their own facts. When unable to respond with logic, they immediately turn to invective. They are like the neighborhood brat who, at the first sign of loosing, picks up his marbles and goes home. Alright for them to deal in hyperbole and exaggeration, but they will collapse into a hissy fit of whining when they are subjected to it. So unsure are they of their positions that even the mildest of chiding is for them a mortal wound.

  • John

    I clicked on a link to this article not knowing anything about this magazine. It appears to be the John Hagee and Rod Parsley equivalent for the Catholic crowd, and this is sad. This article is yet another example of so-called religious writers distorting truth to promote their agenda. In other words, this article is simply dishonest.

    Obama never called for the eradication of religion (in fact, he is a professed Christian and he picked a Catholic as his running mate) and he openly opposes gay marriage. So, your stretch to somehow link Marxist ideology to Obama’s call for unity (a call that has nothing to do with destroying religion or promoting homosexuality) is far fetched.

    It’s sad to see the religious right use false statements, stretches of the imagination and misrepresentations to defame those with whom they disagree. If you disagree with someone, be truthful and honest about what that person is really saying; don’t take it out of context, apply some far-fetch stretch-of-content to it and them make it out to be something it is not (in other words, don’t lie) just to paint the person (or group) in a negative light. That’s just simply wrong.

    If you want to support your views, then let them stand on their own merit. Don’t try to prop your own views on your distortions of other’s views.

    Shame on you for writing this and shame on this website/magazine for publishing it.

  • Mary Jo Anderson

    JOE H.

    No need for “red-baitng.” The truth of Obama’s connection to Marxist mentors is his own admission.

    Saul Alinksy’s clones ought to scare you. Please take the time to look deeper without thinking of it as a Obama deal killer. Simply read Alinsky’s books. If you can be comfortable with a man who admired Satan for “at least winning a kingdom of his own” then it says something about your real thoughts on kingdom building.

    As for the Right using euphemisms, no argument there. The problem isn’t euphemisms per se (she passed away vs. she died), but those euphemisms employed by the left to blot out an enormous truth, like “choice” when it means death. “No child left behind” does not cover over a truth. It is a plan that may or may not be effective. The UN twists the Declaration of Human Rights’ provision, “right to marry and to found a family” and now pushes for “various forms of families” in an attempt to blot out the truth that marriage is between a man and a woman. The left adopts the same language in an attempt to blot out the truth of marriage.

    EG
    you admit Obama’s “radical support for abortion and gay rights” but have no problem with Obama’s candidacy? Check the Marxist process of culture deformation;note how prominent abortion and homosexual liaisons are.

    Seems that many who favor Obama do so because they imagine wealth redistribution will right some wrongs, and they tempted to look the other way when a few million babies are aborted and the gay agenda seduces children via leftist school texts promoting homosexual unions, as long as the great god of wealth redistribution is served. But it’s a false hope, Jeff and RC are correct on the point of redistribution.

    Columcille
    Thank you for your response. Many have witnessed just what you described. The seduction of well meaning Catholics in the 1960s was so simple because they trusted that somehow a Marxist might alleviate human suffering, where in measurable fact, they increased it–as Catholic officials learned too late.

    Kevin,
    On Campaign for Human Development and their Marxist recipients, please see my article in Crisis archives.

    Todd
    This is not an essay. It is a column. You said of the logic in this column that it “Strikes me as a case for subjectivism, gnosticism, or both.” “Strikes” is subjective, Todd. Provide facts.

    You’ve assumed that the writer holds certain political positions. The column is not about McCain. It is a look at Obama’s formation in the Marxist mold. This column’s point applies equally for Senator Obama, not only candidate Obama.The mention of McCain is to deflect attention away from discomfort with Obama’s deficits when viewed from the Catholic perspective.

    Mother of two boys,
    Thank you for pointing out that it is necessary to be Catholic FIRST in order to be a good American with a proper sense of civic responsibility.

  • Mary Jo Anderson

    Karen,
    thanks. And I can’t wait until we get to gravity. (smile!)

    K9,
    thank you for pointing out the path of degradation left behind Obama in his South Chicago district. Too few know of this reality of Obama’s brand of power-play.

    MJ
    you are right to note that charity is not a state confiscation racket. Charity is *not* charity when it is forced. Jesus never confiscated Joseph of Arimathea’s wealth, or Joanna’s. Jesus was concerned that wealthy people not rely on wealth as their ticket to paradise.

    That said, I am in favor of public policies that strengthen families who then encourage self-reliance so that we reduce poverty. Then, we as parishes and individuals and communities be willing –happily–to assist others in true need. But please, those those who seek wealth redistribution, keep in mind that when you first redistribute the wealth of Ted Kennedy and the Kerrys, the Clintons, Al Gore, John Edwards, Pelosi (the list is long) then we will have their examples to follow.

    William
    I have a fine cat’s eye leftover from 6th grade!!

    John
    If you can find a false statement in this column, I’ll be delighted to change what I’ve written. The column does not claim Obama would eradicate religion. And, Obama’s running mate is not a Catholic in the sense of one who adheres to the teaching of the Church.

  • Joe H

    Thank you Mary Jo for your gracious replies. Given the heat you’ve been dealt out here by some of us, including me, I suppose it would have been easy to play tit-for-tat.

    The fact is I HAVE read Saul Alinksy’s book “Rules for Radicals”; I’ve owned it for many years. I used to be a far-left atheist. My Catholicism has not pulled me drastically to the right but closer to what I think is a reasonable middle. And I don’t think Obama is following the Alinksy book for the simple reason that once you become a major player in one of America’s two major parties of big business, you are no longer a radical.

    Perhaps Obama now follows some book called “rules for ex-radicals who’ve made their peace with corporate America.” It isn’t Obama’s radicalism that I embrace or that you should fear – it’s John McCain’s, on foreign policy, on tax cuts for the top 1% in the middle of a war (which means MORE BORROWING, which means MORE FISCAL IRRESPONSIBILITY), on domestic security (military police in our streets!) and other issues.

    EG made an excellent point about our Catholic brothers and sisters in every other corner of the world who enjoy “socialistic” programs and benefits, and who often scratch their heads in bewilderment when they hear American propaganda on the issue. I used to conduct political work on a campus filled with international students. I never – I mean NEVER – meat a student from Denmark, Germany, Canada, France, the UK or any other Social Democracy that had anything but nice things to say about their health care and social services in general.

    Now this doesn’t mean that you can’t go out and find someone from one of these countries who does have a problem with it. I’m sure you can. But I think more people are satisfied with it than dissatisfied with it. I think there is a reason Denmark is considered the happiest country in the world, while the US ranks 27th.

    I’m not afraid of “socialism” because I know enough about it know that it and Christianity are not mutually exclusive, anymore than socialism and atheism and materialism are logically or necessarily connected. I think the people who are the most afraid of it know the least about it, because people fear what they don’t understand.

    That said, I’m not a “socialist” in the traditional sense; I’m a distributist, which is neither socialist nor capitalism, which accepts features of both systems and rejects others. And this is exactly what Popes have been doing for 100 years, and what the Church as done through its Compendium on the Social Doctrine of the Church. We have absolutely no obligation to be conservatives or liberals, socialists or capitalists.

    Our obligation is to be Catholic and our goal should be to forge a Catholic social vision, and it isn’t going to look anything like the secular vision of Marx or Alinsky anymore than it will that of Rand or Rothbard. But since they wrote about reality, it may have no choice but to resemble it in certain respects.

  • Joe H

    RC,

    I wasn’t referring to you in particular. Our own pre-eminent Catholic libertarian, Tom Woods Jr., subscribes to the Austrian school of economics, which Rothbard was instrumental in developing.

    If Mr. Woods can talk about Austrian economics without lending support to Rothbard’s abortion arguments (or any of the other arguments he made repugnant to Catholicism, and there are more than a few), I don’t see why I can’t talk about Marx without supporting his atheism.

    Here’s the thing – I DON’T CARE who you reference, whether it is Marx, Rand, Rothbard, or the Boogeyman. The question is, what are you referencing, why are you referencing it, is it an observation that we can integrate into a Catholic worldview, and if it is, great! I don’t rule out the possibility of Rand or Rothbard having made points that are compatible with Catholicism and I don’t knock ANYONE for attempting to use them.

    All I ask is the same respect in turn if I one day mention Marx, Rousseau, Hegel or any other “radical” philosopher.

  • Todd

    “You said of the logic … ‘Strikes’ is subjective, Todd. Provide facts.

    Fair enough.

    You wrote:

    “I’ve learned from covering the United Nations that when radicals cannot get delegates to agree to their terms, they change the meaning of those terms.”

    More substance here, please. What you describe is simple diplomacy, and it might look the same from the outside if a person were willing to concede points.t Or a liar would dissemble and go gotcha! at some later time.

    You lead off your column with something that is essentially your opinion. No UN example. Nothing verified. We have your subjective experience. Provide facts.

    “Hence, ‘health and reproductive rights,’ though it sounds like innocent … the poor and oppressed.”

    You suggest that everybody who promotes a “health” agenda has ulterior motives. It might be that all radicals conceal their true agenda as something with which you disagree. It does not logically follow that all persons with whom you disagree conceal a radical agenda. Your logic does not work.

    “It is a look at Obama’s formation in the Marxist mold. This column’s point applies equally for Senator Obama, not only candidate Obama.”

    I don’t accept your dualism. The senator is moderately liberal. He doesn’t espouse positions I would, as a progressive, characterize as marxist or very liberal. He is not a pacifist, for example. He has not been a strong voice for abolition of the death penalty. He hasn’t advocated for ERA, at least not as a presidential candidate.

    Your last quote doesn’t really tell us a whole lot. Benedict’s observations about marxism may well apply to any extreme philosophy or any philosophy taken to an extreme.

    The Catholic perspective would argue against any “ism” that clouds basic issues of morality, community, freedom, self-determination, and the like. We have only to look at the examples of Russia and Iraq. Two nations with histories of immoral oppression, each having a revolution of sorts, and each replacing an earlier form of terrorism with a new and improved version. For the Russians, they went from socialist totalitarianism to a sort of mob-inspired capitalism. I don’t see much improvement there.

    As for American experiments in socialism, I have to say I’m not terribly impressed with the whining of the rich. Many wealthy people do not earn their riches. They sit pretty on the labors of their parents and forebears. They possess, however, a greater responsibility for what they’ve been given. The latest generation of Lays and Skillings and Freddies don’t seem to appreciate that. There is little Catholic morality in the American obsession with wealth and power.

    I’d say a person should be able to work to make a life for self and family. I can’t imagine Senator Obama would deny that. The Catholic approach to wealth is very clear in the gospels, building on the Jewish tradition of seeing it as a blessing from God.

    As for another commentator above, I’d say charity is neither mandatory nor optional. It is a civic responsibility. It is possible for a person to opt out of a responsibility. I would put such a person in the same category as one who abandons a spouse and children.

    If you’re going at this from a Catholic perspective, you’re going to have to look a little deeper into church teaching. State your case from there and leave aside your personal reflections.

  • Timothy

    It is always sadly amusing to watch far right commentators invoke Christ’s name to legimatize unequal distribution of wealth. A good chunk of rich people are born into their wealth and plenty of other rich people amassed their fortunes in immoral ways. There is nothing voluntary about many poor people being poor. THe rich people are sending the jobs overseas. In essence, many rich people “stole’ their fortunes so it is perfectly moral to mandate they share some of their wealth through taxation. Also, Obama never once has stated he suppports 50% taxes for anybody. I find many of these blatantly pro-rich comments distasteful and very unorthodox.

  • R.C.

    Timothy:

    What country do you live in?

    In the U.S., some 90% of millionaires had little or no inheritance and started life as middle class.

    In the U.S., the vast majority of the supporters of free-market economics are not rich, but have middle-class or lower-class incomes.

    In the U.S., those whose economic and social politics are on the “conservative” side of the spectrum give more to their churches and to charities than those on the left side of the spectrum, throughout all levels of income.

    In the U.S., with the exception of drug dealers or other crooks (who probably represent a tenth of a percent of the wealthy), wealthy people got wealthy by selling goods and services to other people who voluntarily bought them — or, more often, employing other people to do it for them — and by avoiding consumer debt.

    Timothy, your description sounds like a perfectly accurate description of Russia under Putin’s approved oligarchies.

    It doesn’t resemble in the slightest the country in which I live. Where do you live?

  • Joe H

    RC,

    You write,

    “In the U.S., those whose economic and social politics are on the “conservative” side of the spectrum give more to their churches and to charities than those on the left side of the spectrum, throughout all levels of income.”

    Actually, no less a Christian conservative than Dinesh D’souza has stated that he found that the order of charitable giving goes like this:

    Religious conservatives
    Religious liberals
    Secular conservatives
    Secular liberals

    In his debate with Michael Shermer over the question of whether or not religion is a force of good or evil in the world, he admitted that he had wished it would have been the secular conservatives coming in second, but he had to admit that religious liberals were, suggesting that it is religiosity in general and not political ideology that seems to indicate how much a person gives to charity.

    As for the crooks, again, where is this statistic “a tenth of a percent” coming from?

    It may not be illegal to do business in China and in other authoritarian countries, but it is to me very unChristian and very uncharitable when companies go to these countries specifically BECAUSE the governments prevent workers from fighting for higher wages, or for rights that would ultimately cost employers more and cut into their profit margins.

    The percentage of the wealthy who do business in this way, directly, or benefiting from it indirectly as shareholders, is a hell of a lot higher than a “tenth of a percent” – in fact, I can’t imagine that the percentage of extremely wealthy Americans who do not benefit in some way from the repressive policies of a foreign country is anything less than 100%.

    Some poor and middle income Americans may support some version of “free market economics” but I doubt they would ever allow their children to work in one of Wal-Mart’s Chinese factories. We profit from labor performed under conditions that very few Americans would tolerate, let alone morally endorse within the boundaries of the United States. So think about that.

  • Joe H

    We often hear about the politics of envy, but reading the book of Wisdom today, I think it is pretty clear what God’s priorities are. We would do well not to forget, either:

    “For to him that is little, mercy is granted: but the mighty shall be mightily tormented. For God will not except any man’s person, neither will he stand in awe of any man’s greatness: for he made the little and the great, and hath the care of all. But a greater punishment is ready for the more mighty.” (Chapter 6, verses 7-9)

    I guess God is guilty of “class warfare” too.

  • K9

    dear God,

    please protect me from tim and todd’s hostile good intentions and mandates. thank you.

  • Jeff

    I have to admit, I can no longer stomach abstract, academic marxism.

    You see, everything I needed to know about the class-war utopia — what is often mistakenly referred to as “Catholic Social Teaching” (you have to admire the chutzpah!) — anyway, what I needed to know, I learned from the Polish Post-war Poets who saw class-warfare close up, not from the lofty academic’s point of view, but from the receiving end of their gulags and torture chambers.

  • Chris

    For anyone who waxes nostalgia for the “good ol’ days” of the pre-1970s Northern urban Democrats and their mix of social conservatism and economic liberalism, I want to remind you they were often laced with racism and collusion with organized crime.
    God bless.

  • Mary Jo Anderson

    Todd, you do realize your own “personal reflections” are all over your responses. (grin)

    You are simply not familiar with the technical terms of negotiation at the UN, Todd. That led you to assume (a habit??) that the phrase is a diplomatic bon-bon that I take exception to for my own reasons. Not so.

    The phrase is used in negotiated documents. It is not a diplomatic ploy, but carries precise meanings. (Check with Bill Saunders, Austin Ruse) So you see, I did not lead the column “with personal opinion” or subjective interpretation of the UN’s use of the now technical term. It is factual. As is the remainder of what I wrote.

    As for my “dualism”, groan….you wrote of yourself, “…that I would, as a progressive, characterize as marxist or very liberal. ” Todd, Marxism is hardly liberal. The point stands. The column is about Obama’s formation in the Marxist mold. This would be true if he never ran for an office higher than county tax collector. It is germane because he seeks the highest office, and the “unity” he envisions is a Marxist unity, not a libertarian permissiveness.

    Lastly, Todd, you wrote,

    ” Your last quote doesn’t really tell us a whole lot. Benedict’s observations about marxism may well apply to any extreme philosophy or any philosophy taken to an extreme.”

    Unnerved you, did it? Actually, that quote tells a great deal to those with ears to hear. The Pope ‘s observations were particular to Marxism, not general. And he used a particular word to describe its effects: “Horrors.” Let the wise hear.

    JH, I think I “hear” you. I understand your aggravation with corporate malfeasance that has caused miseries. But I am at a loss to understand why Obama is viewed as the answer?

  • Tony

    EG wrote: Aside from his pro-infanticide and pro-fay policies, what would be so bad about his social policy?

    What is his social policy? Is it the social policy he espoused while pandering to his base during the primary, or is it the social policy that moved so far and so fast to the center for the general election that I expected to see him in a neck brace for whiplash.

    Or maybe is it some other, different, more insidious social policy of the “G.D. America” variety, or maybe the social policy espoused by Weatherman, William Ayers?

    A scene from the movie Con Air comes to mind where Cameron Poe (played by Nic Cage) is talking to a black radical in the stripe of William Ayers named Diamond Dog.

    [quote=Someone]Diamond Dog: Yee-ha! What’s on your mind, hillbilly?
    Cameron Poe: Now, let’s see, what was I thinking? Oh, yeah

  • Timothy

    RC, I live in Rural Minnesota in a small town. In general, we are conservaitve folk with the notable exception that many of us believe in economic populism.

  • Joe

    While people may get themselves into a froth over the matter, the fact remains that Barack Obama espouses policies that are, at their very best, unworkable and demonstrably so.

    Socialized healthcare with multiyear waits for surgery — ask me how I know — and its attendant bureaucracies will not work. “Social programs” with their attendant bureaucracies will foster even greater dependence on the Federal teat and not less. A pathological naivete on the evil which stalks the world will place the freedom of our nation and our allies in greater jeopardy. Having a malleable (ahem) frame of mind on ostensibly core issues engenders doubt about character, not clarity on matters of principle.

    Now, it is pretty well established that words can have their meanings changed to suit the desires of those advocating such etymological evolution. I am reminded of Lewis Carroll’s quote: “‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.'”

    The Alinsky matter is an issue of fact. It is unfortunate that pointing out the truth is so easily dismissed these days as “red-baiting.” Sometimes a candidate does have such a collection of baggage to which attention ought be brought, and it is legitimate to point it out.

    This is not to say that McCain is a panacea. But the ironically-named progressivism which has become the mallmark of what remains of the Democrats (to which many Catholics attempt to latch themselves while excusing away the gravely evil positions on abortion, marriage, etc., in the name of the illusory “seamless garment”) simply make it impossible for me to even consider so much as voting for Obama-Biden.

    Just one man’s opinion.

  • Joe H

    Mary Jo,

    “JH, I think I “hear” you. I understand your aggravation with corporate malfeasance that has caused miseries. But I am at a loss to understand why Obama is viewed as the answer?”

    He’s not. He’s the lesser of two evils on every issue but abortion and gun control as far as I’m concerned.

    And, I truly believe McCain wants to lead us directly into World War III.

    I also want to be clear – there is corporate malfeasance, which is bad enough, and then there is simply business as usual, which is sometimes worse. That’s why I’m a distributist.

  • Todd

    Mary Jo, thanks for the direct response.

    “That led you to assume (a habit??) that the phrase is a diplomatic bon-bon that I take exception to for my own reasons.”

    Not so. I’m saying the method is used all the time, by people from all parts of the ideological spectrum. I question the notion that it applies to Senator Obama. As someone else already mentioned, by the time a politician is on the national level, she or he is pretty much bleached of radical tendencies. I didn’t deny the use of language for the purposes of deception–though you have to admit that adult diplomats at the UN should have a degree of reading comprehension and tenacity to slog their way through texts of such initiatives.

    “Todd, Marxism is hardly liberal.”

    Oh, I agree. I found my college professors with marxist sympathies to be fairly hidebound for the most part. The Former Soviet Union and today’s China are hopelessly conservative.

    “The column is about Obama’s formation in the Marxist mold.”

    I think the notion is a non-starter. His most significant period of academic formation was in US law. You seem to be suggesting this is a sort of Manchurian Candidate kind of situation–that the Illinois Senator will get elected president and suddenly the Executive branch will start dismantling all sorts of American traditions.

    Oh wait … that already happened with civil liberties, Justice appointments, and such.

    Who was it you said we should be afraid of again?

    “(T)he ‘unity’ he envisions is a Marxist unity, not a libertarian permissiveness.”

    Proof, please, that you can actually see into the man’s mind and distill this information for us. This is textbook gnosticism, my friend: that notion that you can read the signs and have some secret dollop of truth to pass on to the rest of us.

    Take the last word; I’m out.

  • Claire

    Joe H

    “And, I truly believe McCain wants to lead us directly into World War III.”

    Would you care to give an example of anything McCain has ever said or done that would lead to such a belief? He may be more willing to fight than you would like, and he is not willing to just up and forfeit our current conflicts, but come on! The only people who would like world war III are Putin and Medvedev, and they are counting on America to stay out of it while Europe appeases them for a while longer.

    “I hate war. It is unimagineably terrible” Know who said that? John McCain.

  • Mrs. Carroll

    Dear Ms. Anderson,

    Your argument is well-crafted. Obama’s rhetoric of change and unity sound frighteningly akin to the rhetoric of a young, polished, “community organizer” and Marxist devotee named Fidel Castro. He used the same devices to deceive the Cuban people — primarily the educated middle class — who elected him. Now, nearly fifty years later, we all know Fidel Castro destroyed the once beautiful, successful, advanced and admired country. The people of Cuba under Castro’s regime have NO freedom and little hope for change! I pray the people of the United States do not fall victim to the same fate. I fear, if Obama is elected, we may.

    May God bless America!

    Mrs. Carroll
    Proud Cuban-American Catholic

  • sully

    The quote from Cardinal Ratzinger describes the liberal agenda and is exactly right.

  • Monica

    Brilliant article! Bernard Nathanson admitted to creating the phrase “Pro-choice” as an atheist abortionist, and he said he engineered the language to deceptively “advertise” murder as a good. And he was proud of how effective he was. Well you know the rest – when ultrasounds were invented, and he saw a baby in pain run from the murder weapon, he stopped the killing. He is now a Roman Catholic fighting for life. I listen to Obama and knowing his stance – above his pay grade or not – and it gives me the chills. I envision a baby struggling to live on a cold steel table after a botched abortion. I hear him crying for HOPE to live, and begging for a CHANGE in the nurse’s apathy, the doctor’s indifference, while a disinterested Obama just looks on and shrugs as this poor child dies. Remember when asked about any regrets he had in his past voting records, he said he wished he hadn’t voted for government intervention in the Terri Schiavo case. More shivers. This man terrifies me, period. There is no bigger issue than life. I hate to sound so simplistic but it is true. We have to vote for life or lose our own (eternally). Those are the facts. No mincing words here.

  • mary jo anderson

    Thanks to all for a stimulating exchange.
    Claire, Mrs. Carroll, Sully and Monica have added important insights: I can think of no pro-war comments made by John McCain;
    the comparison with Castro is very sobering; the quote from Cdl. Ratzinger is magnifying glass for all political theories;Monica’s outline of Bernard Nathanson’s clever misuse of language is spot on.

  • kathy

    MJ,

    I agree 100%.

  • MarkF

    I too am somewhat suspicious of Sen. Obama. I see all the signs in his background and make up that point to him being a radical who has learned to tone down and dress up his rhetoric to make himself electable. I too see his connections with the so-called Rev. Wright, with Bill Ayers and link this with his support of all abortions and special rights for homosexuals.

    But I’m also not sure about where he really stands. Is he a doctrinaire radical who’s cleaned up his act? Or is he a typical politician who’s learned to pander to the left in this very left leaning year in order to get elected?

    Either way, he isn’t the kind of person I’d vote for.

    I also have a strong gut feeling that he’s a thoroughly secular person and not a Christian at all. His membership in the thoroughly political group that Rev. Wright leads speaks volumes as to his faith.

    Sen. McCain is not perfect by any means. But he’s more likely to chose a pro-life justice for the Supreme Court and to stand up to the excesses of Congress.

  • Sam

    In my experience (here in Chicago), Alinsky has been a powerful factor in destroying Catholicism in the city. The Catholicism of Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi (as manifested in this city) is the fruit of Alinsky. There is an untold story here about how Alinsky was able to be paid by the Catholic Church in Chicago to run his “community organizing” in the Catholic social clubs. He destroyed the faith and morals that these organizations were designed to build up.

    The Alinsky doctrine of pragmatism cloaked in moral rhetoric was so corrosive and widespread that only a handful of Catholics in public life escaped its effects.

    Chicago, one of the biggest Catholic populations in America, today is in a place where the homosexual minority has more political power than the Church.

    Alinsky is one of the chief reasons for the collapse of Catholic culture in Chicago and elsewhere as his ideas spread throughout the country.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a link between the sexual abuse crisis and the “organizing” of Alinsky.

    Obama is a pure ideologue, he hasn’t a Christian bone in his body. What is worse, he has messianic pretensions, and his supporters are in search of a New Age “transformational leader” to usher in a new era of enlightenment and peace.

    If Obama is elected, you can expect believing Catholics to be persecuted in the years following. This is no joke.

    Columcille,

    Great post! My wife is from Chicago (and I’m from Milwaukee) originally but we both live in suburban Boston now. I would only add that if you read Dr Michael Jones’ book “The Slaughter of Cities: Urban Renewal as Ethnic Cleansing” (St Augustine’s Press, 2004), you will see that not only the Alinsky/Obama tactics destroyed once-Catholic Chicago but also the “sainted” Martin Luther King who was a tool of the WASP elite who wanted to break up the political and demographic power of the ethnic Catholic neighborhoods in cities like Chicago by using federal housing policies against them to forcibly integrate those neighborhoods when even blacks didn’t want to live in those neighborhoods. Unfortunately, in the 60s some Catholic clergy got sucked into the “social justice” angle of this ethnic cleansing campaign not knowing that they were dooming their parishes and neighborhoods to decay as well as breaking up the burgeoning Catholic political and demographic clout.

  • Saoirs

    With respect:

    This is highly selective quoting – you neglected Alinski saying:
    – Start with people as they are, not as you want them to be; don’t be arrogant – you are not there to impose your view;
    – His criticism of “far out” New Left youth (they’ve left the third-world and gone to a fourth world in outer space);
    – That the guiding star of any activism and strategy should be “the dignity of the individual”;
    – that the middle classes were being used and abused too, and they also needed a voice (not just as an instrument to help the poor and minorities);
    – the difference between getting people and communities to organise on their own behalf AS OPPOSED to being used by a political campaign;
    – the “iron rule” of community organising: never do for people what they can do for themselves – i.e. don’t encourage passivity or reliance on outsiders.

    Alinski was a rogue and a rascal; he was deliberately provocative – but he always tried to show a respect for the communities he operated in as a collection of individual human beings shaped by their experience – not simply as political instruments. And he was sometimes brutally, or comically, honest about how he operated.

    Whatever about his own faults, it simply isn’t appropriate to invent more to justify an anachronistic political battle that he had no part of, or to impose others’ faults upon him.

    I am a practicing Catholic, and I happen to think his ideas for effective organising are far superior to the kind of political and cultural sectarianism and ideological zealotry that is all too common. He makes a favourable analogy between a good community organiser and a good investment strategist, by the way.

    I don’t see why my – or your – Catholicism precludes us from wanting to effectively help our communities to help themselves. You should read both of the rascal’s books. And if you let left-wing ideologues monopolise his ideas, well shame on you then.

  • Saoirs

    And I apologise for the double post, but need to respond to the comment about not finding any war-like statements from McCain:

    Isn’t this the man who wants to “Bomb-bomb-bomb, bomb Iran”?

  • Malachi

    Please everybody in the Name of our LORD Jesus Christ, wake up and smell the coffee. If a candidate condones Abortion than we can not compromise our Human Dignity for other more favorable policies. If This Nation keeps legally killing the un-defensable infants then GOD will judge this country just like he has done in other dynasty’s. Remember, this country is only ~230 years old. How arrogant the politians and law-makers have become. Yes we have the beauty of freedom of religion, but make no mistake about it, our constitution was created and based on Christian principles including a devout beleif in one all-mighty GOD. All the signs are here, if Obama is elected president, then prepare for the Tribulation of Revelation. I’m serious, not crazy. Read your scripture and look toward 2012. Prepare yourselves and consider this a warning. Do not neglect this warning, For I don’t want anyone of you to be lost….I love you all in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ…..J.M.J

  • MH

    EG says, “What’s wrong with reasonably redistributing the income of the wealthy to help the poorer? Since when is liberal capitalism the doctrine of the Church? And since when is it a sin to say that from whom much is given much is to be expected, that the rich have social responsibilities to not live as they do while their brothers live in squalor or otherwise struggle to live week-by-week?”

    What’s wrong is that too many of the poor, whether you want to hear it or not, do not take the necessary initiative to lift themselves up out of the “squalor” in which they find themselves. That is irresponsible. If I can do it by becoming aware of educational opportunities and ways to pay for that opportunity through loans, part-time jobs, or other (legal) means, then so can they. Basic education in this Country is FREE!! However, they simply want to see themselves as victims of the ‘system’ and wait breathlessly for their next handout. Thus, they become dependent on those handouts and any incentive to improve disappears. It then becomes generational and any semblance of family support, which I had, becomes nonexistent.

    So taking the income of the ‘wealthy’, whom I presume to have earned that income through hard-work or determination (innocent until proven guilty), is not fair. It is not doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. It is nurturing and supporting destructive behaviors. It does away with the need for personal responsibility. Moreover, it has recently been shown that ‘wealthy’ conservatives give much more to charity than ‘wealthy’ liberals (in case you were implying that conservatives are the evil boogeymen here). It is not a sin to say that “from whom much is given much is to be expected.” Just open your eyes and see that most of the wealthy in this country do live up to their social responsibilities through either providing jobs or donating time and money to charity.

    If you are looking to simply move dollars from one person’s pocket to another person’s pocket because that is ‘social justice,’ then I would say that is thievery, not justice in any form at all.

  • Jen

    People, how as a Christian can you vote for Obama? He has used the Christian faith to get a foothold in this process. Did you see the interview where he stated “sin is when something is not in line w/ MY values”, not our Lord’s commandments that He gave us? that Jesus is a “historical figure…a great teacher”, never once does he state that Jesus is God. He says he came to Christ through an alter call, not baptism. Is he really a Christian? I am not so sure… He is for abortion, embryonic stem cell research, appointing Supreme court judges who will make laws not interpret them. He lies to get ahead (numerous documented inaccuracies in his books, his relationship w/ Jeremiah Wright, Farakhan, and Ayers) and he cheats to win (look at how he won his legislature seat). The “change” he speaks of is a change we so do not want. I have a fear that the Chastisement is upon us and we are about to reap our reward. Lord Jesus forgive us.

  • Skippy

    You WILL NOT BELIEVE THIS!! No wonder the dems wanted to get that ACORN stuff into the BAILOUT PACKAGE!!! And WE have been paying for this through our taxes.

    OBAMA

  • James Patrick

    “Despite this, Alinsky coached his devotees to work with the lower-middle class to obtain

    a series of partial agreements and a willingness to abstain from hard opposition as changes take place. They have their role to play in the essential prelude of reformation. . . . This is the job of today’s radical — to fan the embers of hopelessness into a flame to fight. To say, “together we can change it for what we want.”

    As Obama would do 50 years later, Alinsky used churches and people of faith to acquire a legitimate image” (like Sanger’s Negro Project?) “(and financial assistance). Alinsky tapped Msgr. Jack Eagan for entr

  • Shannon

    I cannot understand why people of the Catholic faith would refuse to serve her fellow community. Is it not a tenent of Catholic faith and doctrine to help the poor, the powerless and the weary? I have absolutely no qualms with what Obama is trying to do. He is uniting us for a greater cause- whether it be with the environment, health care or schools. Every human has flaws and is indeed flawed- but who can blame Obama for trying to diregard the differences between us and unite?

    Exclusion and hate are not Catholic tenents and if you feel either of those as part of your characters you should be doing a lot of praying. Either way, I will pray Obama keeps a clear and honest head and that people involved in our Catholic faith do not seek to hate him. Jesus was different. Difference should not be feared.

  • Carrie

    Last night I was at a bible study at my parish. The question was asked who we thought were “prophetic” people of our time. My Priest said “Cesar Chavez” and “Saul Alinski.” I had a friend with me who is a non-catholic, and this answer stunned both of us. How am I to make sense of this answer?

  • benintn

    First of all, you’re wrong about Obama. Obama’s contribution to the book, “After Alinsky” (published by University of Illinois Springfield) explains clearly that Obama wants to rely on developing indigenous resources rather than the kind of crass economic redistribution proposed by Marx (and to an extent, Alinsky).

    Furthermore, I’d encourage you to think more about what Jesus taught and how Jesus lived. We see in Jesus a systematic preference for the poor. As St. Paul says in II Corinthians, Christ became poor for our sakes. And we are called to fulfill the law of Christ by loving one another as Christ loved us. When Christ calls us to give, he isn’t satisfied with 10%. Christ wants 100% of us – all we are, all we have.

    To conclude, I’ll quote Dom Helder Camara: “When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why they are poor, they call me a communist.” Perhaps we need to do more thinking about the ways we can work to end poverty by following the example of Christ – if we claim to be Christians.

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