Why Do Catholics Keep Funding the Radical Left?

Every November, including this one, American Catholics -- who constitute approximately 25% of the U.S. population -- are asked to contribute to the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD).  The Catholic faithful have been told that their donations will go to fight poverty.

Little do most of them realize what their money will actually fund.  CCHD is the brainchild of Saul Alinsky, the "father of community organizing."  Alinsky (1909-1972) had numerous connections in the Catholic community of his native Chicago, some of them nearly as radical as he was.  He helped start CCHD in 1969.

Unfortunately, the benevolent-sounding term "community organizing" has a very specific meaning amongst people working in the Alinsky tradition -- and it's not what you would think.  In fact, a more fitting term would be "community disorganizing."  Alinskyites are trained to go into poor communities and psychologically beat people up until those people have lost all hope for any solutions other than radical change.  Once the people are thoroughly demoralized, and have become passive putty in the activist's hands, that same "organizer" will rile them up, exhorting them to blame all their problems on "the establishment."

The "organizer" then incites the people into "direct action," such as "occupying" banks to demand housing loans for people who are bad credit risks and ordinarily would not qualify.  You may recall that this practice, which became widespread during the '90s, was a major cause of the 2008 housing market collapse that quickly compromised the whole financial system -- with the disastrous economic consequences from which we still suffer.  Regardless of intentions, then, the real-world effects of Alinsky-model organizing are to eliminate jobs, rather than create them; to break families, rather than nurture them; to fracture communities, rather than strengthen them.

All this chaos is, sadly, not too surprising when you consider that Alinsky was the kind of guy who would dedicate his most famous book to the king of chaos.  Alinsky's organizing manual, Rules for Radicals, is dedicated to none other than Lucifer -- yes, the devil himself! -- whom Alinsky admiringly described as "the first radical known to man, who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom."

Isn't there something very wrong about taking up collections in Catholic churches to fund groups whose leading light regarded God as "the establishment," hell as a kingdom worth winning, and Satan's rebellion against God as an example to be emulated?  Granted, some of the groups funded by the CCHD are doing good work, but far too many follow the Alinsky model.  Moreover, many CCHD grantees promote abortion, same-sex "marriage," militantly Marxist indoctrination, and other things that are not only offensive to Catholics, but also deeply destructive to families and society.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, under whose auspices CCHD operates, says that these problems have been addressed -- but Catholic groups such as NoMoreCCHD.com have documented that problems remain, and may even have worsened.  According to the American Life League (emphasis added):

[Alinskyite] organizations such as ACORN (which the CCHD defunded because of its involvement in embezzlement), the Industrial Areas Foundation [IAF], People Improving Communities through Organizing (PICO) and Direct Action and Research Training (DART) - which collectively receive the vast majority of CCHD funds - do nothing to provide relief to the impoverished and are, in reality, merely political organizing groups designed to bring about political change.

Two years ago, I downloaded CCHD's entire list of funded groups and read the synopsis of each project.  As a former radical myself, I recognized the code words that I myself had once used to dupe well-meaning Christians into supporting radical causes.  In my experience, bishops are often naïve about such things, and are easily misled by such nice-sounding words as "empowerment" and "justice" that have specific (and distinctly un-Christian) meanings to the left.

The true mission of a bishop is as shepherd and teacher, not political wonk.  He is to frame the "first principles" by which society should be guided when crafting policy, not to attempt to craft those policies himself -- especially given the reality that his policy recommendations will actually be written, for the most part, by diocesan or USCCB staffers, of whom a goodly number are leftist ideologues.

The key issue with CCHD is thus much larger than whether a particular CCHD grantee supports abortion or hands out condoms.  The real problem lies at the very core of CCHD: It is permeated with the worldview of the Alinskyites who founded it, and it continues to be administered by leftist laypeople working within the bishops' conference.  "Fixing" CCHD will take much more than tweaking, tinkering, and defunding a group here and a project there.

You needn't take my word for any of this.  Research CCHD, ACORN, and Alinsky for yourself.  Visit the website of Reform CCHD Now, a group of Catholics who care deeply about helping people out of poverty but have found that much of the work of CCHD is at best, of no help toward that goal, and at worst, downright counterproductive -- as well as in violation of Catholic beliefs, including the Catholic social teaching that CCHD purports to embody.

Catholics should give generously to groups that actually do help the poor, but not to groups that cynically use the poor as mere pawns in their effort to achieve socialist goals.

Kathryn Scharplaz, a former leftist activist, is now a practicing Catholic in rural Kansas.  She can be contacted at kscharplaz@gmail.com.

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