Using a technique, called the "relational meeting" a person with the training provided by the Industrial Areas Foundation is able to quickly figure out whether the person being interviewed can be used in the future as a speaker, a leader, a facilitator, or in some other function of the organizer's own agenda. On the VOICE-IAF Twitter site, there is a link to an interview of Tara Spuhler McCabe with Jody Manning (click here). McCabe is an IAF trained organizer who spots and identifies other potential leaders for this organization, which has formed spurious relationships with religious leaders of many faiths, including Catholics.
The Industrial Areas Foundation was founded in 1950 by Saul Alinsky, an atheist and political strategist who wrote ‘Rules for Radicals’: one of the most influential guidebooks ever written for leftist community organizers. The IAF conducts training and provides counseling to a variety of affiliated labor unions and community groups with the purpose of inducing social change. The members of the first IAF board of trustees included Catholic Bishop Bernard James Sheil, Kathryn Lewis (daughter of coal miners union leader John L. Lewis), and philanthropist Marshall Field. IAF has cooperated with a number of religiously affiliated groups throughout the U.S., as chronicled by Spero columnist Stephanie Block in her four-volume ‘Change Agents: Alinskyian Organizing Among Religious Bodies.’
The McCabe-Manning interview can be found in its entirety at the Ecclesio website. At the beginning, a little background is provided that describes how these two women of different Protestant faith traditions knew each other and how that was not enough to bring them together until they acknowledged community organizing as a tool that could be used by both. Tara said she "did what is known as a relational meeting through Industrial Areas Foundation with Jody for her interview. This is how we engage with the community around us."
The "relational meeting", according to Wikipedia is "a primary organizing tool used by the Industrial Areas Foundation and other congregation-based community organizing groups including Gamaliel Foundation and PICO National Network – and also often in union organizing. It consists of a one-on-one, face-to-face meeting of two persons lasting at least 30 minutes, where personal topics and stories dealing with values, motivations, self-interest and life are discussed in an often confessional, cathartic sort of manner."
On another IAF connected website, Together Baton Rouge, it is revealed that the interviewer is "to find out the person's self-interests. Self Interests are things that are most important to a person concerning his or her family, community, and job." And then to ask them "What is your vision for your congregation/organization/community?" They are then to "find out whether the person is a doer or a complainer." And then they are told, "Be willing to agitate to see how thoughtfully the person reacts: "Why haven't you done something about these concerns that you have?"
The purpose of these "relational meetings" is not to form relationships simply for the sake of establishing or furthering a friendship, but to get a person to reveal what is sometimes personal information or feelings that can be triggered to spark an interest in a specific project the interviewer wishes to promote.
In isolating a person like this from the possible conflicting judgment and opinions of others who might not approve or choose to go along with the motives and actions of VOICE, it is possible that the person being interviewed can be manipulated to believe their discomfort or disappointments are normal and morally justified and that this organization can help them be part of a legitimate solution. The conversation might also deceive the interviewee into believing the interviewer actually cares about interviewee as a person, when in fact, the interviewer is simply fishing for more participants in an already well-oiled scheme.
It is quite natural that people organize themselves to best work out their problems. And it should be no surprise that religious people in particular are moved to want to help others. What is sad, however, is that the Industrial Areas Foundation and all its nationwide affiliates, including VOICE which is active in northern Virginia (see link here to list of participating churches), work as parasites, feeding on the money collected by faithful congregants, who more often than not, know little about the organization their donations support, other than what they are told in brief church bulletin snippets. (see link here to social justice page of St. John Neumann Parish, Reston VA)
Church members ordinarily have no idea that these IAF affiliates charge "dues" of 1% of the church annual budget, which often amounts to many thousands of dollars. None of this money is given to the poor or to any "action" promoted by the organization. Money to pay for the "actions", as they are dubbed, comes from taxpayer dollars dispersed by heavily pressured elected officials either on a county or state basis. (see link here to Arlington diocese page describing Fr. Gerald Creedon, a VOICE strategy team member).
In his book, 'Old Errors and New Labels,' Bishop Fulton J. Sheen wrote:
"The tendency in modern charity is towards a deification of society at the expense of the individual. The philosophical principle behind this tendency is not that of the common good, which claims that individuals shall effectively cooperate for the well-being of society, but rather the principle that individuals should be submerged for the sake of the collectivity.
It is assumed throughout the whole process of alleviating the ills of mankind that mankind has no other destiny than the present, and that the fruits of helpfulness and philanthropy, if they extend beyond a stomach, a playground, or a clinic, never go any further than a formula gleaned from those experiences. The true philosophy of charity would not condemn these modern tendencies and ask for their destruction. Rather, it would ask that they be elevated to conform to these three principles: (1) Charity must not only be organized, but must also be organic; (2) Charity must deal not only with society but also with individual souls; (3) Charity must not be absolute, but sacramental, i.e., not only of the earth earthy but of the heavens heavenly."
Involvement of Catholic churches in an IAF organization such as VOICE, which has no loyalty nor any real respect for the Church, that uses the money received from willing pastors and benefits from their enrollment numbers to promote an egalitarian society by bullying elected officials is reprehensible and should be halted in every diocese across the country. To perpetuate these relationships is a stain on the Church itself. It can serve only to dupe Catholics into the erroneous belief that they are contributing to charity. It may very well promote the idea that all we have to do is write a check, let secularists do the rest, and all will be well with the world. It advances a particular political agenda without ever addressing the needs of the hearts and souls of those who sometimes appear to have gained from the effort.
We should be asking ourselves instead how much better off is the soul of a child when all we've given him is a plaything or a ball field built with tax payer dollars? What we risk teaching these members of our society is not that God loves them and has a path for their lives which will bring them peace and joy, but only that resentment, aggression, anger, agitation, and threats will bring about a change in their immediate material needs.
VOICE is not limited in what it can do by the truth of the Gospel, as Catholics are. It welcomes many whose views are in conflict with the Catholic Church. VOICE is referred to as a faith-based organization so as to appeal to religious people, but it embraces even those with no faith as does the Unitarian Universalist Church in Arlington, Virginia, to which each participating pastor is directed to mail dues payments.
Bishop Sheen said, "Charity came in with the Incarnation. Will it pass out with the de-Christianization of society? What will be the motive force behind helping the poor and the needy fifty years from now if Christ's inspiration passes out of charity? Will love of humanity keep it alive? Hardly, for the self-centered humanity will be just as cold and as chilling as a self-centered individual.
It is only the proximate end of charity that looks to the diminution of social ills. Social ills must be remedied in order that the life of the soul and the spirit may be free to move on to God. It is a very unidealistic social service that ends in filling empty stomachs and empty stockings; it is a Christian social service that fills these things as a prelude to filling empty hearts."
Knowing that many thousands of dollars are spent annually for dues that could be better used for direct aid of the poor and that our failure to connect personally with those we serve denies us the further opportunity to witness to them as the evangelists we are called to be. Bishops, pastors, and all Catholic individuals need to reassess their ties to any and all organizations founded by the socialist, Saul Alinsky, which serve not the hearts and souls, but seek only to create more and more allegiance to a leftist ideology. We should be asking ourselves, what then is the real motivation to support VOICE? Knowing that it does not meet the test of true Catholic charity, can it be anything more than a way to use parish funds to advance a political agenda?
Alinsky said, "To hell with charity; The only thing you get is what you are strong enough to get – so you had better organize.” We have to decide which road we will follow. Will it be the one paved with Alinsky's socialist agenda, or the one advocated by Bishop Sheen, which we know is the only one that represents the incorruptible love and truth of Christ?
Spero columnist Chriss Rainey is a freelance writer residing in Virginia.