Barack Obama, George Soros and the Religious Left
Periodically, the professional left and their comrades in the traditional news media highlight religious leaders cheering for President Obama's compassionate statism or denouncing Republicans as sons of the devil. I'm sure we can expect this pattern to become more frequent and more frantic as we approach the 2012 elections.
As Obama's allies on the Religious Left step forward to promote Obama's agenda and build momentum for his 2012 campaign, we should be prepared to expose them for who they really are. In many cases we will discover that these religious leaders are well-compensated hyperpartisan mercenaries whose religious rhetoric is merely a threadbare cloak for their core values -- values that have no basis in traditional religion or biblically-based teachings.
Four members affiliated with the religious group Faith In Public Life held a brief press conference during FFC's afternoon intermission to denounce the GOP's adherence to the philosophies of anti-government, anti-religion author Ayn Rand. The leaders -- Rev. Jennifer Butler, Jim Wallis, Rev. Derrick Harkins, and Father Clete Kiley -- asserted that the GOP efforts to cut funding from many anti-poverty programs while balancing the budget on the backs of the poorest Americans were not in line with Christian values...
So who are these "religious" leaders, and what is this organization, Faith in Public Life?
Let's break it down. First, we'll look at the four leaders listed above, then we'll look at the board members at Faith in Public Life (FPL)...
Jim Wallis, one of the aforementioned religious leaders denouncing the GOP's modest efforts to save future generations from crushing debt, has deep roots in Marxism, Communism, and radical anti-Americanism:
Wallis founded an anti-capitalist magazine called the Post-American which identified wealth redistribution and government-managed economies as the keys to achieving "social justice." He also railed against American foreign policy and joined the Students for a Democratic Society.
In 1971 Wallis and his Post-American colleagues changed the name of their publication to Sojourners, and in the mid-1970s they moved their base of operation from Chicago to Washington, D.C. Wallis has served as Sojourners' editor ever since.
In parallel with his magazine's stridently antiwar position during the Seventies, Wallis championed the cause of communism. Forgiving its brutal standard-bearers in Vietnam and Cambodia the most abominable of atrocities, Wallis was unsparing in his execration of American military efforts. Demanding greater levels of "social justice" in the U.S., he was silent on the subject of the murderous rampages of Cambodia's Khmer Rouge. Very much to the contrary, several Sojourners editorials attempted to exculpate the Khmer Rouge of the charges of genocide, instead shifting blame squarely onto the United States.
Giving voice to Sojourners' intense anti-Americanism, Jim Wallis called the U.S. "... the great power, the great seducer, the great captor and destroyer of human life, the great master of humanity and history in its totalitarian claims and designs."
Jim Wallis reluctantly admits to accepting large donations from radical left-wing billionaire George Soros (transferred from Soros' Open Society Institute (OSI) to Wallis' organization, Sojourners). Wallis minimizes the importance of Soros' donations, but the numbers speak for themselves:
Wallis said that Sojourners applied for and received three grants totaling $275,000 from OSI between 2004 and 2007. After consulting with a staff member on the specific dates, Wallis said Sojourners received $200,000 in 2004 that was spent on "broad civic engagement." In 2006, OSI gave Sojourners a branding grant of $25,000 that Wallis said was used to merge the organization Call to Renewal with Sojourners. In 2007, Sojourners received a $100,000 grant for immigration reform, half of which went to another local organization in Los Angeles, he said.
"I have no apologies for taking a donation on immigration reform from Open Society. We'd do it again."
Rev. Jennifer Butler, another member of FPL, sees clash a between Christianity and capitalism. Executive director of the Washington-based group Faith in Public Life, Rev. Butler said the fact that religious values seem to trump political or class differences can help groups like hers advocate for the poor.
And in ongoing debates in Washington over the budget and cuts to domestic spending, that means "making the wealthiest Americans and corporations pay their fair share in taxes" she said.
"People of faith have a unique ability to show political leaders that the economy is a moral issue," she said. "Even some members of Congress are beginning to echo our argument that protecting the most vulnerable as we get out of debt is a moral duty."
Butler clearly echoes Jim Wallis in suggesting that statism is "God's politics."
Meet Faith in Public Life's Father Clete Kiley. He's the "new labor priest," the "spiritual leader of the labor movement," and one of the four prominent FPL members mentioned by Think Progress, whose hackneyed hard-left rants are often cloaked in Biblical rhetoric.
If you're looking for a left-wing pastor who is radical enough to fill a void left by Jeremiah Wright, Faith in Public Life's Rev. Derrick Harkins is apparently the best man for the job. Flashback to the earliest days of the Obama era:
Barack Obama and his family attended services yesterday at one of the oldest historically black churches in Washington, thrilling a congregation that honored the president-elect...
The Rev. Derrick Harkins focused his sermon on how God prepares people to do incredible things in challenging times. "Mr. President-elect . . . perhaps, perhaps, just perhaps you are where you are for such a time as this," he said.
Rev. Derrick Harkins is a tireless proponent of amnesty for illegal aliens.
Having taken a look at four of the most prominent members of FPL, let's look at some of its board members:
- Dr. Nicole Baker Fulgham
- Rev. Meg Riley
- Rev. Tim Ahrens
- Rev. Timothy Boggs
- Rabbi Steve Gutow
- Rev. Dr. Derrick Harkins
- Dr. Nazir Khaja
- Tom Chabolla
- Fred Rotondaro
- Rev. Dr. Susan Thistlethwaite
As noted above, Fred Rotondaro is among Faith in Public Life's board members. Fred Rotondaro is also a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress (CAP). CAP has received millions of dollars in contributions from radical left-wing billionaire, George Soros.
The SEIU representative on the CACG [Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good] board is Tom Chabolla, who serves as assistant to SEIU President Andy Stern. Before joining SEIU, he was associate director of programs for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), the agency of the Bishops that funded ACORN to the tune of $7.3 million over the last decade. Funding of ACORN-but not of groups like Gamaliel-has been suspended by the Bishops.
Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good has been criticized for taking money from George Soros' Open Society Institute.
Rabbi Steve Gutow, yet another board member at Faith in Public Life, frequently brushes shoulders with Jim Wallis, and other CAP cronies. He has ties [more here, here, and here] with the radical Islamic Society of North America [background information].
Board member Rev. Timothy C. Ahrens also has a cozy relationship with Soros' friends at the Center for American Progress.
Following the 2004 elections, I gathered with other people of faith at the invitation of John Podesta from Center for American Progress, to reflect about what we might do. I emerged from that meeting as the leader of a group empowered to start another nonprofit, which has become Faith in Public Life (FPL).
The Washington Post connects the dots for us very nicely (May 20, 2006):
Organizations and Web sites that meld religion and liberal politics have mushroomed since the 2004 elections, said Clinton White House chief of staff John D. Podesta. The think tank he heads, the Center for American Progress, has helped form alliances between some of these new groups -- such as Faith in Public Life, theCatholic Alliance for the Common Good and FaithfulAmerica.org -- and long-standing organizations, such as the National Council of Churches.
One big happy family of radical leftists!
As Neal Boortz might ask, "How many dots do you have to connect before the image starts to look like a hammer and sickle?"