Defunding ACORN is laudable but insufficient

politics | Oct 18, 2008 | By Stephanie Block

On October 16, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) announced that it is suspending further funding to ACORN after learning that Dale Rathke, the brother of ACORN founder Wade Rathke, embezzled nearly $1 million from the organization between 1999 and 2000. Thanks to a whistle-blower, the incident became public this summer, as the organization had been handling the matter “in-house”, according to Maud Hurd, ACORN’s president.

CCHD, which claims to give grants to groups “fighting poverty”, has finally had to distance itself. Having given more than $7.3 million to ACORN projects over the last 10 years and $1.13 million just this year, this latest disclosure among a slew of convictions, indictments, investigations, and lawsuits against ACORN for voter fraud has tipped the scale.

It’s about time. After decades of warnings, Ralph McCloud, executive director of CCHD, told a reporter from Catholic News Service, “The whole idea is making sure that the efforts of the groups we fund are working in nonpartisan efforts and focusing on the kind of work that we would like for them to do”.

Good! Now it’s time to take the next step of distancing itself from Alinsky’s Industrial Areas Foundation and its affiliates who in 1996, set its membership to work in a get-out-the-vote drive called Active Citizenship Campaign. The effort included working with individuals from the Democrat Party to “streamline” the naturalization process and fraudulently put an IAF-backed candidate, favorable to legalized abortion, into Congress rather than her pro-life opponent. Though Active Citizenship Campaign was found guilty of abusing the naturalization process and a congressional investigation concurred that the seat they had supported was not honestly obtained, the CCHD continues to pour money into this network.

We’ve been telling you for decades…

CCHD has been collecting money from generous Catholics annually since the early 1970s, ostensibly “to help the poor.” There has always been a group of people, however, complaining that the money has little to do with “the poor” and everything to do with left-wing politics.

In the first years, to take an example, there was CCHD’s $157,900 to Alianza Federal de Pueblos Libres, awarded in the 1972-3 grant period. It wasn’t as though the CCHD didn’t know what they were funding. The Alianza had made New Mexico news five years earlier in an incident that involved an armed raid on a courthouse, a standoff between the National Guard and the “activists”, and two wounded law officers.

Twelve years after the Campaign began, the complaints were growing more strident. One Catholic periodical, The Wanderer, called CCHD funding “a scandal” and fired, “In little more than ten years, the Bishops have received almost $60 million from the Catholic people to ‘help break the hellish circle [sic – the actual word used by the Campaign was “cycle”] of poverty’….and instead directed the funds to groups which seek to ‘empower the poor’ and ‘change sinful institutions’.”

In 1989, researcher Laurene Conner wrote, “While the average Catholic assumes his contribution is for charitable causes, CHD’s objectives suggest an entirely different set of priorities. Its present executive director, Fr. Alfred P LoPinto, has been quoted as saying, ‘We’re not really involved in charity…it’s considered funding for justice.”
Conner goes on to explain that the principle recipients of CCHD grants are “community organizing projects in the Saul Alinsky radical left-wing tradition: the Industrial Areas Foundation he founded; Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN); the Youth Project; and the Citizen Action groups.”

Ten years further down the road and the Bishops were each sent a 4” binder that detailed the continuing problem of funding radical Alinskyian organizations and the progressives with whom they network.

The binder provided source materials from ACORN and the other Alinskyian networks that receive millions of Catholic dollars every year. It demonstrated their socialist ambitions and their political activism – including serious, proven incidents of voter fraud.

It demonstrated the CCHD’s funding pro-abortion networks – such as the Justice, Economic Dignity, and Independence for Women (JEDI Women) grants in $20,000 in 1994 and $20,000 in 1995 –a group that worked in coalition with Planned Parenthood, Utahans for Choice, and Utah NOW.
The CCHD put the word “Catholic” in its name and improved its guidelines to disqualify openly pro-abortion groups but has continued to fund the Alinskyian organization that are politically networked to the pro-abortionists.

The CCHD can be applauded for finally acknowledging that illegal activity must not be rewarded with Catholic money, but it must take the next step toward authentic human development funded – one that respects life. 

Stephanie Block editr Los Pequenos Pepper, a New Mexico-based newspaper.



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