President Obama, Joseph Cardinal Bernardin and Universal Health Care
November 19, 2009
Growing up, I always thought Jesus’ admonition in the Book of Matthew, “The poor you will always have with you,” wasn’t meant to be taken literally as a directive to ignore the poor, but that’s exactly what a prominent Roman Catholic charity believes.
As this Sunday’s “second collection” approaches, most Catholics planning to donate to the Catholic Campaign for Human Development probably think their money will be used to help the poor by funding soup kitchens and homeless shelters. Well, the joke’s on them. CCHD has never provided direct relief to the poor. That’s not its purpose.
It is an extreme left-wing political organization created to feed and foster radical groups like ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now). Most Catholics are blissfully unaware of its true mission, though it says right on its Web site that it aims to support “organized groups of white and minority poor to develop economic strength and political power.”
Long mocked as the “Catholic Campaign to Help Democrats,” CCHD is the charitable arm of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Since its creation in 1969 – the year before ACORN was founded – CCHD says it has given more than $290 million to fund what it calls more than 8,000 “low-income-led, community-based projects that strengthen families, create jobs, build affordable housing, fight crime, and improve schools and neighborhoods.” Some say the grand total is closer to $450 million.
Both ACORN and CCHD were inspired by radical agitator Saul Alinsky, the Marxist Machiavelli who dedicated his activism opus, “Rules for Radicals,” to Lucifer, whom he called “the first radical.” The late Mr. Alinsky developed the concept of “community organizing” in order to mobilize poor neighborhoods to make demands, long and loud, on public officials and the private sector.
CCHD gives generously to the Industrial Areas Foundation, which Mr. Alinsky himself founded, and to similar leftist groups including the Gamaliel Foundation, People Improving Communities Through Organizing (PICO), and Direct Action and Research Training Institute (DART).
Over the years, some Catholics have called out CCHD for its Marxist radicalism.
Former Treasury Secretary William E. Simon, a Catholic layman, complained in the late 1980s that CCHD was a “funding mechanism for radical left-wing political activism in the United States, rather than for traditional types of charities.”
Catholic writer Paul Likoudis observed that CCHD could be considered “a political mechanism bonding the American Church to the welfare state.”
But President Obama is a big believer in CCHD. In 1985-88 he ran the Developing Communities Project from an office in Chicago’s Holy Rosary Church. The project was part of the Gamaliel network.
“I got my start as a community organizer working with mostly Catholic parishes on the South Side of Chicago that were struggling because the steel plants had closed,” Mr. Obama told Catholic Digest. CCHD “helped fund the project, and so very early on, my career was intertwined with the belief in social justice that is so strong in the church.”
Mr. Obama has said he “tried to apply the precepts of compassion and care for the vulnerable that are so central to Catholic teachings to my work [such as in] making health care a right for all Americans.”
[Catholic Digest]: What are the top reasons American Catholics should vote for you in 2008?
Obama: I got my start as a community organizer working with mostly Catholic parishes on the South Side of Chicago that were struggling because the steel plants had closed. The Campaign for Human Development helped fund the project, and so very early on, my career was intertwined with the belief in social justice that is so strong in the Church. I’ve tried to apply the precepts of compassion and care for the vulnerable that are so central to Catholic teachings to my work, [such as in] making health care a right for all Americans — I was the sponsor in the state legislature for the Bernardin Amendment, named after Cardinal Bernardin, a wonderful figure in Chicago I had the opportunity to work with who said that health care should be a right. And in the United States Senate, (I was) working on issues such as immigration reform that would combine the principle that we’re a nation of laws with the notion that we are also all God’s children and that we have to open our hearts to those who are less fortunate than we are.
Click Here to read Chicago’s Joseph Cardinal Bernardin: Universal Access To Health Care is a Right – from his ‘Consistent Ethic of Life and Health Care Reform (pdf)’ speech, 1994. SEE Pages 9-11.
- In 1981, the bishops spoke of health care as a “basic human right . . . “
- ” . . . the bishops were not saying that a person had a right to health, but that, . . . one must have a right to access . . .
- Under the title distributive justice, society has the obligation to meet the reasonable claims of its citizens so that they can realize and exercise their fundamental human rights.
- I believe that the only way this obligation can be effectively met by society is for our nation to make universal health care coverage a reality. Universal access is not enough. [Emphases in original]