By Frank Walker
April 19, 2009 - After the elections of 2004, Democrat political groups attributed much of their losses to an inability to connect with religious voters. Democrat pundits and politicians identified this weakness and began to make feeble attempts to apply a Christian moral equivalence to what were often clearly immoral and anti-religious policies. Today in the wake of the 2008 election, we can see how successful the Democratic strategy was to use the American Catholic “social justice” apparatus to produce Christian votes. Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good was a key element in this overall strategy.
Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good (CACG) was founded in 2005. Alexia Kelly is the director and claims to be the principle founder, but many individuals have worked to build this organization. The CACG and other similar political organizations, such as Catholics United, Pax Christi, Network, Center of Concern, Just Faith, and Call to Action work closely together and share leadership. Their direction and affiliations however extend well beyond these Catholic-focused groups to Democrat party operatives and funding sources, Unions, Catholic leadership universities and charity organizations, national politicians, and now the White House.
In 2004, Kelly served as religious outreach coordinator for the Kerry campaign. Working at the DNC that year, she attempted to neutralize abortion as a Catholic election issue. Prior to CACG Kelly worked for Chris Korzen at the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. The CCHD was notable last year for their annual contributions to ACORN, the inner-city action group that prompted so many investigations for false voter registrations and fraud. Korzen, who serves on the board of CACG, is the founder of Catholics United, a partner political group. He directed the Catholic Voting Project in 2004 and 2005.
Rep. Tom Perriello also worked closely to found CACG. Perriello narrowly won congressional seat in Virginia in 2008 as a Catholic pro-life candidate who does not support any abortion ban. “I firmly believe that abortion should not be criminalized, nor can we allow any action that seeks to coerce women by reducing access to care or making the process less safe." After the Kerry campaign Perriello was very active in strategizing and founding of the CACG, Network, Faithful America, and other Catholic-related Democrat groups. CACG contributed toward his 2008 campaign.
James Salt who was on the launch team for CACG, currently leads Catholics United along with Chris Korzen. Prior to this he worked on the campaign for Catholic governor Kathleen Sebelius and the Kansas DNC. Sebelius, currently nominated as Secretary of Health and Human Service for the Obama administration, is notorious for her support of abortion including partial birth abortion. In Kansas she was cautioned several times by Bishop Joseph Naumann not to receive communion in the diocese. Salt has worked at length with CACG partner groups such as PAX Christi, and Network.
CACG Chair, Elizabeth Frawley Bagley is a major DNC fundraiser. In 2008 she served on the Obama national finance committee, personally raising over $350,000. Bagley also coordinated the highly-successful Catholic outreach program for the Obama campaign.
Other CACG leaders, advisors, and partners include:
- Dr. Arturo Chavez: President and CEO of the San Antonio-based Mexican American Catholic College. Chavez has been named to the new White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
- Jim Wallis: Founder of The Sojourners; the largest organization of progressive Christians in the country. Wallis was asked by the Obama administration to speak at the National Prayer breakfast on January 22, 2009.
- John Halpin: Center for American Progress, Democrat speechwriter and advisor for John Podesta; served on the Al Gore campaign, member of SEIU
- Professor Lisa Sowle Cahill: Boston College, Served on Catholic advisory committee to the Obama campaign
- David Wilhelm: Former Director of the DNC; worked to form the CACG board at the group’s inception.
- Broderick Johnson: Advisor to Obama Campaign. Deputy Assistant and House Liaison to Clinton administration; provided over $60,000 to democrat political causes and candidates in 2008; drafted the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986.
- Frank Doyle: Founding executive director of the Catholic Development Conference. Mr. Doyle served in various positions within the USCCB including assistant director
- John Gehring, CACG Senior writer and media specialist: Formerly assistant director for media relations at the USCCB. Former national education reporter for Education Week newspaper
- Annette M. McDermott, SSJ: Consultant to the USCCB.
- Victoria Kovari, CACG Field director and Rene Brereton, advisory committee: Both originally from the Gamaliel Foundation, a well-funded urban faith-based community organization group.
- Rev. William J. Byron, S.J.: 12th president of The Catholic University of America, Former president of the University of Scranton, and interim president of Loyola University New Orleans.
- Dr. Joseph Fahey: Founding member and General Secretary of Pax Christi USA. He has served on the Peace Studies Association; the Consortium on Peace Research, Education and Development; and the Fellowship of Reconciliation.
- Prof. Jennifer Mason McAward: Notre Dame School of Law
- Mark J. Brinkmoeller, ONE Senior Director, US NGOs & Faith Relations: ONE has ties to the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation
- Mary Wright: JustFaith
- Patricia Daly OP: Dominican Sister of Caldwell, Executive Director of the Tri-State Coalition for Responsible Investment. She represents the Coalition to the National Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility. This coalition of religious groups holds more than 110 billion in assets.
- Fr. Larry Snyder: President Catholic Charities
- Sisters Ann Curtis and Mary Waskowiak: Leaders of Sisters of Mercy of the Americas; In 2005 Mobilized to free police-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal and brutal murderer Stanley “Tookie” Williams.
Fr. Tom Greene: Immigration lawyer and illegal immigration advocate
- Steve Callahan and Tiffany Heath: AFL-CIO
- Tom Chabolla, Service Employers International Union; Just Faith organization
- Edward McElroy: President Emeritus of the American Federation of Teachers
- Melba Novoa, Alfred Rotondaro, Stephen Schneck, Mark Tuohey, and Agnes Williams: CACG board members who donated to the Obama campaign or the DNC.
Instead of a true pro-life agenda, the CACG and their partnering groups promote Democrat platform, claiming that it reduces the number of abortions every year. Alexia Kelly, CACG Executive Director and Chris Korzen, argued in a Boston Globe interview that an abortion ban would be unhelpful. On his blog Korzen claims, “Like so many things, saying that a candidate’s position on abortion makes him or her unfit for the Catholic vote works better in theory than practice.”
The CACG produced its own political platform in 2008, as well as a voter guide and a convention rally. They also ran phone banks during the election to urge Catholics to broaden the issues they followed. Their website states that government action is needed to:
- Reduce abortions through robust alternatives
- End death penalty
- Treat federal budgets as moral documents
- Enhance workers rights and union contract negotiation
- Change criminal justice so it reduces recidivism and ends discrimination
- Integrate ex offenders and provide them support
- Reduce military weapons budget
- Eliminate nuclear weapons
- Move away from for-profit healthcare
- Promote renewable energy technologies
- Address global warming
In 2008 the CACG organized a political rally which gained them an invitation to in the national democratic convention. To produce the rally, CACG partnered with Network: A National Social Justice Lobby, directed by Sister Simone Campbell SSS. Campbell’s Network organization supports Call to Action, the pseudo-Catholic group whose members were excommunicated by Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz in Nebraska some years ago. Call to Action agitates for an end to priestly celibacy, as well as female priests, artificial contraception, and other dissident teachings.
Network has produced a voting review of the 110th congress, which is available at their website: http://www.networklobby.org/issues/alsoofinterest/2008VotingRecord.pdf
In this scorecard at least half the Democrat congressman received a 100% rating. In contrast, no Republican in the house had a perfect rating and very few were high.
In August 2008 CACG released a study which showed that spending on a variety of social programs could significantly reduce the number of abortions. It also suggested that legislation to restrict access to abortions had little or no effect. This study, developed with scholars at Georgetown and Notre Dame, later proved faulty, and has been discredited chiefly through the efforts of Michael New at the University of Alabama. In November, the CACG replaced the original study with another which shows only borderline results, and Michael Bailey from Georgetown removed his name from the revised study. Regardless, at the height of the election the original study provided scientific justification for many Catholic leaders to support Democrat candidates.
The Catholic League has recently revealed that the George Soros-funded Open Society Institute gave $100,000 to CACG in 2005. CACG is also affiliated with the John Podesta’s Center for American Progress. CAP works closely with CACG and has provided funds to Catholics United and Faith and Public Life. CAP received 3.5 million from the Soros organization in 2005. William Donohue, of the Catholic League has stated that George Soros supports CACG for the same reason he supports the pro-choice group, Catholics for Choice. They help to “make abortion rights a respectable Catholic position.”
The CACG is run and advised by powerful Democrats. Their board, staff, and advisory committee include top fundraisers and strategists as well as major labor union representation. Elizabeth Bagley and Broderick Johnson are quite valuable to the national campaigns. Sister Patricia Daly is connected to a very large religious philanthropy. Catholic Church Leadership from the Sisters of Mercy, the Jesuit order, the government-funded Catholic Charities and Catholic Relief Services are also represented at CACG. Catholic academia has a strong presence.
The CACG has powerful representation from the AFL-CIO, the American Federation of Teachers, and the Service Employees International Union. The CACG, SEIU, ACORN, and the Obama campaign are all united in common objectives such as the Freedom of Choice Act. In December 2008 members of the SEIU, which donated millions of dollars to the Obama campaign, demonstrated in support of the FOCA, a virulent anti-Catholic anti-life piece of legislation. At that time the SEIU filed an amicus brief with the Ohio Supreme Court defending ACORN against voter fraud prosecution. SEIU is not affiliated in any formal way with ACORN, nevertheless they provided valuable legal reinforcement. Interestingly, The SEIU and ACORN were both started by Wade Roethke, founder of 60’s radical group SDS. SDS was the parent group of the murderous Weather Underground. Bill Ayers, Chicago-based political mentor for Barack Obama, was a well-known member of the Weather Underground and SDS. Today Roethke’s ACORN is funded partly through the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. The CCHD is funded by the Church and represented on the staff at the Catholic Alliance for the Common Good.
The bottom line – CACG maintains a Catholic veneer because this subterfuge helps it to achieve its objectives. In reality though, CAGC is nothing more than a trojan horse with a Catholic veneer and a body full of left wing political activists and dissenting Catholics. Their sole purpose is to advance a political agenda that is inimical to the average man-in-the-street and diametrically opposed to many of the Church’s most fundamental moral teachings.