Tag Archives: religion

Organizing for Action: Barack Obama’s New Community Organization

Lay Catholic Logo

President Obama as Barack the Organizer exposes the purely partisan nature of Alinskyian political organizing.  It’s the Chicago Way.

By Stephanie Block

OFA logo 2One of the most frustrating experiences a congregant can face is watching his faith community join an Alinskyian community organization (also referred to as a socialist community organization by “Lay Catholics”.) Sooner or later, he will approach the pastor, complaining that the organization is “just another political” group. The pastor patronizingly retorts that it isn’t.

OFA logoPresident Barack Obama, however, is providing the chastened congregant with new ammunition. The Obama campaign for reelection has morphed into a non-profit entity called Organizing for Action.[i] Jon Carson, who directed Obama’s Office of Public Engagement during the president’s first term and is now executive director of Organizing for Action, has made a YouTube presentation[ii]…  See below:

…(as has the president’s wife, Michelle[iii]) for the initiative. Carson invites folks – yes, it’s very folksy – to join the group and form a lobbying machine for Obama’s agenda, which is currently working on passage of comprehensive immigration reform legislation, gun control legislation, and a progressive budget. It links to BarackObama.com, so there’s no question who’s the lead organizer.

Are the Alinskyian community organizing networks involved in Organizing for Action? As it would have been awkward for non-profits to have been directly involved with the Obama reelection campaign, it is not surprising that Organizing for Action, rising from that campaign, is not immediately associated with them. However, there are hints that a marriage has been proposed and is forthcoming.

For instance, Ana Garcia-Ashley, Gamaliels executive director, writes:

“As we came upon Election Day, these relationships [that Gamaliel has forged with ‘electoral organizing allies’] may have saved our democracy. … We now have in place a powerful alliance of relationships that allowed us to navigate undeterred through these threats to our democracy. Now we can take next steps together. We seek to create a just world, built around our faith values. We will work together to repeal the laws that limit our democratic rights, and go even further, working to change the system that created the Great Recession and several concurrent wars. As leaders of the new progressive movement in America, we envision an economy that works for all, and with the fire of our faith we will work together to make that dream a reality.”[iv]

There has also been reportage about the convening of various religious left coalitions recently, specifically around the three issues that Organizing for Action has chosen for its opening salvos.

Gun Control:

Sojourners chief Jim Wallis blamed the National Rifle Association as a primary reason for violence in America, citing phenomenally high gun-murder rates in Chicago (but never mentioning Chicago’s strict gun control).[v] Along with the PICO National Network, it used the occasion of the Newtown shootings to lobby 100 senators with a letter, primarily signed by clergy, urging support for gun-control legislation.[vi]

Metro Industrial Areas Foundation, a New York City affiliate of (the Industrial Areas Foundation, founded by Saul Alinsky) the premier Alinskyian organizing network, joined with their Chicago affiliate, United Power for Action and Justice, in a campaign “to shut down the most irresponsible gun dealers in its metropolitan area.”[vii]

Comprehensive Immigration Reform:

The Interfaith Immigration Coalition, which is promoted by Faith in Public Life, includes Sojourners, many of the prominent, dissident Catholic groups (NETWORK, Pax Christi, Leadership Conference of Women Religious, etc.), national denominational entities with strong Alinskyian organizing ties, the PICO National Network and Interfaith Worker Justice.

Of course, this is nothing new.

Throughout the years, Interfaith Worker Justice has coordinated vigils, rallies, and “pulpit swaps” for comprehensive immigration reform. The Southwest Industrial Areas Foundation has coordinated “clergy preaching for the pulpit” on the topic. Gamaliel has run National Prayer Vigil Campaigns and a Civil Rights of Immigrants Campaign. The White House has held gatherings of “faith leaders,” hoping to craft coordinated messages of “religious” support for its efforts. These groups have been working together for a long time.

Obama’s Budget (not Paul Ryan’s):

Congressman Paul Ryan’s (R-Wisc.) proposal for a federal budget based on his understanding of Catholic social principles such as “subsidiarity” and fiscal discipline became a focal point against which the Alinskyian organizing networks and their allies enthusiastically rallied.

The PICO National Network, Interfaith Worker Justice, and others (including NETWORK, Catholics United, Sojourners, and Faith in Public Life) staged “Loaves and Fishes” actions “to highlight the need for moral and political courage in federal budget negotiations.”[viii] NETWORK specifically attacked Ryan’s proposed budget cuts, orchestrating a well-publicized “Nuns on the Bus” tour through nine states.[ix]

In Summary

Clearly, there isn’t a one-to-one correlation here but an observation that fellow travelers, well, travel together. They share the road and the destination, which is important to understand when the Alinskyian organizations protest that they’re “not political.” No, they’re “not political…” just like Obama’s Organizing for Action is “not political.”

Change Agents V1Stephanie Block is a Spero News columnist and author and also edits the New Mexico-based Los Pequenos newspaper. She recently published her four-volume work on Alinskyian political organizing, ‘Change Agents’, available at Amazon.  CLICK HERE to get ‘Change Agents.’

Keep another Obama from

[i] Ken Thomas, “New nonprofit to promote Obama agenda,” The Guardian, 1-18-13. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/feedarticle/10618562 : “In an unprecedented move, President Barack Obama’s vaunted political organization is being turned into a nonprofit group — funded in part by corporate money — to mobilize support behind the president’s second-term agenda.”
[ii] Jon Carson, “Executive Director of Organizing for Action, Outlines Next Steps:”
[iii] “The First Lady on the Launch of Organizing for Action:” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYT68Uii1dk
[iv] Ana Garcia-Ashley, “Show Me What Democracy Looks Like,: Huffington Post, 11-7-12.
[v] Mark Tooley, “Religious Left Wants Control of More than Guns,” Front Page Magazine, 1-18-13.
[vi] Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA), “Newtown rabbi joins Muslim, Christian clergy in urging gun controls,” 3-12-13. Letter and signatories: http://www.piconetwork.org/tools-resources/document/letter-from-Newtown-with-signers-2013-03-10.pdf
[vii] Alec Harris and The Rev. David Brawley, “Gun control without waiting for Congress Wield the buying power of police departments and the military,” New York Daily News, 2-7-13.
[viii] Faith in Public Life Press Release, “Faith Community to Congress: ‘It Doesn’t Take a Miracle to Make a Moral Budget’,” 3-18-13.
[ix] Allison Kilkenny, “The Resistance Continues as Citizens Fight Budget Cuts,” The Nation, 6-26-12.

IRS, “Thought Crimes” and Catholic Catechism Section 2499

Lay Catholics logoWhat would the Catholic Church’s judgement be on an agency or government that exercised political control of opinion and repressed things they considered thought crimes?  Based on a reading of CCC 2499 the Church would consider such an agency or government part of, or a totalitarian state.  See Catechism of the Catholic Church in section 2499 below:

CCC 2499 “Moral judgment must condemn the plague of totalitarian states which systematically falsify the truth, exercise political control of opinion through the media, manipulate defendants and witnesses at public trials, and imagine that they secure their tyranny by strangling and repressing everything they consider “thought crimes.”

It has been reported that employees inside the IRS have allegedly intimidated individuals like Catholic professor, Dr. Anne Hendershott (read here) because of what she thinks and repressed the applications of several groups that are considered to be conservative who applied for 501c status with the IRS.

See the video below for the example of a conservative group facing such repression through an IRS official’s letter at minute 3:40 read by Congressman James Lankford of Oklahoma district 5.  Lankford also demonstrates that many officials at the IRS would have been involved in the creation of the letter:

Additionally, CCC section 2499 does go deeper into how totalitarian states use the media and manipulate persons.  Unfortunately, these other warnings also appear to have potential today in the U.S.

The Seven Gifts of the Holy Ghost

Lay Catholics logoThe Seven Gifts of the Holy Ghost

  1. Wisdom
  2. Understanding
  3. Counsel
  4. Fortitude
  5. Knowledge
  6. Piety
  7. The fear of the Lord

Isaiah 11: 2-3

[2] And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: the spirit of wisdom, and of understanding, the spirit of counsel, and of fortitude, the spirit of knowledge, and of godliness. [3] And he shall be filled with the spirit of the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge according to the sight of the eyes, nor reprove according to the hearing of the ears.”

Blessed Be GodAs published in BLESSED BE GOD A Complete Catholic Prayer Book © 1925 by Very Rev. Charles J. Callan, O.P., S.T.M. and Very Rev. John A. McHugh, O.P., S.T.M.

The Four Cardinal Virtues

Lay Catholic LogoThe Four Cardinal Virtues

  1. Prudence
  2. Justice
  3. Fortitude
  4. Temperance

Blessed Be GodAs published in BLESSED BE GOD A Complete Catholic Prayer Book © 1925 by Very Rev. Charles J. Callan, O.P., S.T.M. and Very Rev. John A. McHugh, O.P., S.T.M.

The Three Theological Virtues

Lay Catholics logo

The Three Theological Virtues

  1. Faith
  2. Hope
  3. Charity

Blessed Be GodAs published in BLESSED BE GOD A Complete Catholic Prayer Book © 1925 by Very Rev. Charles J. Callan, O.P., S.T.M. and Very Rev. John A. McHugh, O.P., S.T.M.

Organizing for Action: the Democratic Party’s New Machine (Alinsky/Socialist Community Organization)

President Obama as Barack the Organizer exposes the purely partisan nature of Alinskyian political organizing.  It’s the Chicago Way.

By Stephanie Block

OFA logo 2One of the most frustrating experiences a congregant can face is watching his faith community join an Alinskyian community organization (also referred to as a socialist community organization by “Lay Catholics”.) Sooner or later, he will approach the pastor, complaining that the organization is “just another political” group. The pastor patronizingly retorts that it isn’t.

OFA logoPresident Barack Obama, however, is providing the chastened congregant with new ammunition. The Obama campaign for reelection has morphed into a non-profit entity called Organizing for Action.[i] Jon Carson, who directed Obama’s Office of Public Engagement during the president’s first term and is now executive director of Organizing for Action, has made a YouTube presentation[ii]…  See below:

…(as has the president’s wife, Michelle[iii]) for the initiative. Carson invites folks – yes, it’s very folksy – to join the group and form a lobbying machine for Obama’s agenda, which is currently working on passage of comprehensive immigration reform legislation, gun control legislation, and a progressive budget. It links to BarackObama.com, so there’s no question who’s the lead organizer.

Are the Alinskyian community organizing networks involved in Organizing for Action? As it would have been awkward for non-profits to have been directly involved with the Obama reelection campaign, it is not surprising that Organizing for Action, rising from that campaign, is not immediately associated with them. However, there are hints that a marriage has been proposed and is forthcoming.

For instance, Ana Garcia-Ashley, Gamaliels executive director, writes:

“As we came upon Election Day, these relationships [that Gamaliel has forged with ‘electoral organizing allies’] may have saved our democracy. … We now have in place a powerful alliance of relationships that allowed us to navigate undeterred through these threats to our democracy. Now we can take next steps together. We seek to create a just world, built around our faith values. We will work together to repeal the laws that limit our democratic rights, and go even further, working to change the system that created the Great Recession and several concurrent wars. As leaders of the new progressive movement in America, we envision an economy that works for all, and with the fire of our faith we will work together to make that dream a reality.”[iv]

There has also been reportage about the convening of various religious left coalitions recently, specifically around the three issues that Organizing for Action has chosen for its opening salvos.

Gun Control:

Sojourners chief Jim Wallis blamed the National Rifle Association as a primary reason for violence in America, citing phenomenally high gun-murder rates in Chicago (but never mentioning Chicago’s strict gun control).[v] Along with the PICO National Network, it used the occasion of the Newtown shootings to lobby 100 senators with a letter, primarily signed by clergy, urging support for gun-control legislation.[vi]

Metro Industrial Areas Foundation, a New York City affiliate of (the Industrial Areas Foundation, founded by Saul Alinsky) the premier Alinskyian organizing network, joined with their Chicago affiliate, United Power for Action and Justice, in a campaign “to shut down the most irresponsible gun dealers in its metropolitan area.”[vii]

Comprehensive Immigration Reform:

The Interfaith Immigration Coalition, which is promoted by Faith in Public Life, includes Sojourners, many of the prominent, dissident Catholic groups (NETWORK, Pax Christi, Leadership Conference of Women Religious, etc.), national denominational entities with strong Alinskyian organizing ties, the PICO National Network and Interfaith Worker Justice.

Of course, this is nothing new.

Throughout the years, Interfaith Worker Justice has coordinated vigils, rallies, and “pulpit swaps” for comprehensive immigration reform. The Southwest Industrial Areas Foundation has coordinated “clergy preaching for the pulpit” on the topic. Gamaliel has run National Prayer Vigil Campaigns and a Civil Rights of Immigrants Campaign. The White House has held gatherings of “faith leaders,” hoping to craft coordinated messages of “religious” support for its efforts. These groups have been working together for a long time.

Obama’s Budget (not Paul Ryan’s):

Congressman Paul Ryan’s (R-Wisc.) proposal for a federal budget based on his understanding of Catholic social principles such as “subsidiarity” and fiscal discipline became a focal point against which the Alinskyian organizing networks and their allies enthusiastically rallied.

The PICO National Network, Interfaith Worker Justice, and others (including NETWORK, Catholics United, Sojourners, and Faith in Public Life) staged “Loaves and Fishes” actions “to highlight the need for moral and political courage in federal budget negotiations.”[viii] NETWORK specifically attacked Ryan’s proposed budget cuts, orchestrating a well-publicized “Nuns on the Bus” tour through nine states.[ix]

In Summary

Clearly, there isn’t a one-to-one correlation here but an observation that fellow travelers, well, travel together. They share the road and the destination, which is important to understand when the Alinskyian organizations protest that they’re “not political.” No, they’re “not political…” just like Obama’s Organizing for Action is “not political.”

Change Agents V1Stephanie Block is a Spero News columnist and author and also edits the New Mexico-based Los Pequenos newspaper. She recently published her four-volume work on Alinskyian political organizing, ‘Change Agents’, available at Amazon.  CLICK HERE to get ‘Change Agents.’

[i] Ken Thomas, “New nonprofit to promote Obama agenda,” The Guardian, 1-18-13. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/feedarticle/10618562 : “In an unprecedented move, President Barack Obama’s vaunted political organization is being turned into a nonprofit group — funded in part by corporate money — to mobilize support behind the president’s second-term agenda.”
[ii] Jon Carson, “Executive Director of Organizing for Action, Outlines Next Steps:”
[iii] “The First Lady on the Launch of Organizing for Action:” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYT68Uii1dk
[iv] Ana Garcia-Ashley, “Show Me What Democracy Looks Like,: Huffington Post, 11-7-12.
[v] Mark Tooley, “Religious Left Wants Control of More than Guns,” Front Page Magazine, 1-18-13.
[vi] Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA), “Newtown rabbi joins Muslim, Christian clergy in urging gun controls,” 3-12-13. Letter and signatories: http://www.piconetwork.org/tools-resources/document/letter-from-Newtown-with-signers-2013-03-10.pdf
[vii] Alec Harris and The Rev. David Brawley, “Gun control without waiting for Congress Wield the buying power of police departments and the military,” New York Daily News, 2-7-13.
[viii] Faith in Public Life Press Release, “Faith Community to Congress: ‘It Doesn’t Take a Miracle to Make a Moral Budget’,” 3-18-13.
[ix] Allison Kilkenny, “The Resistance Continues as Citizens Fight Budget Cuts,” The Nation, 6-26-12.

The Student Attacking GW Newman Center Priest is a False Priest in a False So-Called Catholic Church

Lay Catholics logoTwo homosexual students are attacking and trying to remove the Catholic priest who runs the Catholic Newman Center at George Washington University.  Why?  Because he teaches Catholic doctrine on homosexuality.

Turns out that one of the aggressor students (Damian Legacy) toward Father Greg Shaffer (the Catholic priest at the Newman Center) was ordained as a priest in the heretical “North American Old catholic church.”

Here is an excerpt from The GW Hatchet story about Damian Legacy’s ordination:

“Now on the precipice of graduation, the openly gay student is an ordained priest within the North American Old Catholic Church, which encourages LGBT members to join its clergy. Legacy was ordained in October, and since then, has held personal morning masses and structured prayer sessions six times a day. He also hosts masses for other students in his City Hall room.”

Read the entire story from The GW Hatchet HERE.  It is entitled “Keeping the faith, defending sexuality.”  There is also a photo of the student appearing to celebrate (m)ass.

O Holy Spirit, strengthen us to defend all that is holy.

Peter L. Hodges Sr.

EWTN “White” Smokes the Secular Media on Live Papal Election Coverage

Colleen Carroll CampbellDuring the Papal conclave, EWTN had the best backdrop, the best commentary, the best guests and the best coverage.  All of it free of odd secular political context.

Their live coverage on March 13, 2013 when the white smoke billowed from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel was not just better than the national U.S. television media.  It was superior.

Colleen Carroll Campbell who was EWTN’s anchor for the live event, gracefully moderated her guests when they didn’t know when the smoke would come or what color it would be.  The guests were knowledgable and interesting.  The guests educated the viewers on the history of the papacy, the conclave and many other things of Catholic significance.  The other national U.S. television media just couldn’t do it.  That’s why many, including myself, tuned to EWTN and received superior coverage.

I don’t mean to throw EWTN into a competition with our secular national media but, EWTN smoked them.  “White” smoked them!

I hope and pray EWTN can continue to do more.  They proved their superiority in this coverage of the conclave that elected Pope Francis.  God bless their good work.

O Holy Spirit, strengthen us to defend all that is holy.

Peter L. Hodges Sr.

Catholicism Teaches it is a Grave Duty and Right to Use Arms for Self-Defense; Catechism 2263-65

Lay Catholics logoThe Catholic Church does not call for disarming the people.  As you will see below the Church calls for legitimate defense.  The duty to legitimately defend implies the capacity to do so.  That is to say that the person responsible for the lives of his family is sufficiently prepared to stop a potential aggressor who is armed by being armed hisself.  Therefore, the banning of firearms makes it impossible to defend and uphold the common good in one’s household and also in the community by a civil authority.  CCC section 2265 shows that the civil authority’s responsibility to repel an aggressor is secondary to the person’s grave duty to repel an aggressor when it states that those in authority “also” have the right to use arms.  This allows one to reason that the responsibility belongs to and starts with the person.  The conclusion is that the banning of firearms is illegitimate and contrary to Catholic teaching because it undermines and disrespects a person’s right to life as shown in CCC 2264.

CCC photoThe following sections are excerpted from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition (CCC 2263-2265.)  These sections are in the context of what is legitimate defense under the Fifth Commandment, “You shall not kill.”:

CCC 2263     The legitimate defense of persons and societies is not an exception to the prohibition against the murder of the innocent that constitutes intentional killing. “The act of self-defense can have a double effect: the preservation of one’s own life; and the killing of the aggressor…. the one is intended, the other is not.”

CCC 2264     Love toward oneself remains a fundamental principle of morality.  Therefore it is legitimate to insist on respect for one’s own right to life.  Someone who defends his life is not guilty of murder even if he is forced to deal his aggressor a lethal blow:

If a man in self-defense uses more than necessary violence, it will be unlawful: whereas if he repels force with moderation, his defense will be lawful…. Nor is it necessary for salvation that a man omit the act of moderate self-defense to avoid killing the other man, since one is bound to take more care of one’s own life than of another’s.

CCC 2265     Legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for one who is responsible for the lives of others.  The defense of the common good requires that an unjust aggressor be rendered unable to cause harm.  For this reason, those who legitimately hold authority also have the right to use arms to repel aggressors against the civil community entrusted to their responsibility.

O Holy Spirit, strengthen us to defend all that is holy.

Peter L. Hodges Sr.

Pope Benedict XVI Resigns (Video of Full Statement and Text)

Pope Benedict XVIBelow is the statement from the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI announcing his resignation in a written statement and the video of him reading the statement:

Dear Brothers,

I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonisations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognise my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.

Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.

From the Vatican, 10 February 2013

BENEDICTUS PP XVI

Video (Notice Cardinal Burke’s eyes and body language as he gets the gravity of the Pope’s words.  Cardinal Burke is seated on the right side of the screen in red):

Pray that the Holy Spirit will breathe into the Cardinals as they prepare to select our next Pope.

O Holy Spirit, strengthen us to defend all that is holy.

Peter L. Hodges Sr.