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Organising for Health CareSeptember is make or break time for leftist organisations and networks pushing Obamacare in the United States.  Some of these have church affiliations.

There is much to read for those who are interested in the networks and how they operate.  Brief highlights with links to blogs and documents follow. My sincere apologies for the formatting problems below.

But, first, please note the official Obamacare marque and the words ‘organising for’.  Who ‘organises for’ anything except a leftist?  The rest of us ‘organise’ things, like a sock drawer.  Now read on …

HotAir reports on ‘astroturfing churches’, ironic for an administration supported by people who believe in a separation of church and state.  Oh, well, when it comes to Obamacare, it’s all right for them to stick their secular noses into church but not okay for you to have a nativity scene at the courthouse come Christmastime. Ed Morrissey warns (emphasis mine):

If you attend church in Ohio on a regular basis, you may notice a subject creeping its way into your pastor’s sermons over the next two months. A Hot Air reader working at a non-profit received this RFP [Request for Proposals] from the Ohio chapter of UHCAN, the organization behind the Health Care for America Now counter-demonstrations at town-hall forums, where volunteers are trained to disrupt and shut down dissent.

In other words, UHCAN wants to pressure churches into transforming themselves into campaign rallies.  That kind of contact could risk their tax-exempt status (and should), but the moral problem goes beyond that.  Will pastors who agree to this disclose that they’ve been lobbied and pressured by ObamaCare advocates?  If they do, it would undermine the credibility of the sermons, but if they don’t, it undermines the credibility of the minister and the church itself.

I deliberately chose the word ‘creeping’ in the lead.  This is a rather creepy idea, one which essentially asks ministers to become tools of the state.  It’s one thing to ask ministers to join their cause, but another entirely to launch a lobbying campaign to astroturf their sermons.  It shows the level of desperation among ObamaCare organizers as Americans reject their radical agenda

It’s creepy because someone in the not-too-distant past also intimidated churches and demanded fealty from pastors. A Socialist masquerading as a Christian. Not sure who it was?  (Here’s a hint: Godwin’s Law.)

In California, PICO is pushing Obamacare.  PICO stands for Pacific Institute for Community Organising. It receives 6% of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development monies annually.  Stephanie Block, an investigative journalist, has more here in her article ‘How to Shoot Yourself’ (see page 3). She writes:

The California Right to Life was particularly disturbed by mobile health vans that travel around to different area dispensing health care services. As these vans are under the supervision of the County Public Health Department, they refer their clientele, including school children, to county agencies and non-profits such as Planned Parenthood that dispense birth control and abortion. Families without medical insurance are encouraged to sign up for Healthy Families, a California medical care program with options to cover such referrals.

The Contra Costa PICO affiliate was the primary promoter of the mobile medical van. In addition, PICO affiliates are the major source for lobbying in Sacramento for more school-based health clinics and government health care programs.

Even more insidious, individuals have become ‘application assistants’ within their church communities, trained and authorized to sign up fellow congregants with Healthy Families.

 

 That was a few years ago.  Now, California Catholic Daily examines PICO, the Sojourners and the Catholics in the Alliance for the Common Good in promoting Obamacare.  Gibbons J Cooney tells us:

 

How did pro-abortion Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez end up speaking in a Catholic Church? The ‘prayer vigil’ for healthcare was sponsored by the Orange County Congregation Community Organization. This group is an affiliate of the PICO National Network… Ten of the Orange County group’s 22-member congregations are Catholic churches. 

I have experience with one such group. In 2000, my parish signed up with the Bay Area Organizing Committee. They are an affiliate of the Industrial Areas Foundation, another Alinskyite umbrella organization. We held some meetings. Some other more active parishioners and I were invited. At the first meeting I asked the Bay Area Organizing Committee representative what we were going to try to accomplish. The answer was that we were going to join together for common action. But for what aim? I asked… 

I received no answer … because the technique of Alinskyite organizations is to avoid concrete issues whenever possible. Issues such as abortion or same sex-marriage are to be avoided because they are ‘divisive’, and divisiveness would inhibit the growth of the organization. For the Alinskyite organizer, as for any political organizer, growth equals power

PICO was founded in Chicago in 1972 by a Jesuit priest, Father John Baumann. It continues to receive much support from the Jesuits. One of this year’s Jesuit Foundation grants at the University of San Francisco will go to ‘training 50-75 USF students, faculty, and staff in the best approaches to community organizing’…

Right now PICO is running a national ad supporting ‘Health Insurance Reform’–the most divisive issue in recent memory. They are urging people to contact their representatives to express support…

Though ten of the Orange County affiliate’s 22-member churches are Catholic, in San Francisco, 22 Catholic churches are listed on the website of the San Francisco Organizing Project, and the archdiocese is listed as ‘a partner’. The San Francisco group is an affiliate … Go anywhere: in Denver, home of Archbishop Charles Chaput, it’s the Metro Organizations for People. Of the 17 churches belonging to the Denver group, nine are Catholic—Denver is an affiliate of PICO. Does this mean all those churches and bishops support the network’s lobbying for healthcare bills that include publicly funded abortion?

… because these prelates agreed with PICO on other issues, they tolerate it. And this policy has allowed the organizing committees to consolidate their power via Catholic parishes, using the parishioners’ own money

Alarming — please be sure to read the whole article.  There’s more on PICO, again in the California Catholic Daily, ‘Healthcare “Reform”‘, excerpted here:

PICO, in conjunction with the Sojourners, has provided a document it calls the ‘Health Care Tool Kit: A Guide to the Health-Care Reform Debate’.

… PICO’s position becomes even clearer: ‘Some people will try to twist the issue into a secret plan to socialize medicine or have a government takeover of the health-care system. This is not true, but some fear it excessively just the same.’

… note the unnamed ‘some people’ … demonized (‘secret plan’) and accused of wanting to ‘twist the issue’. Thus the spinning. 

 … For faithful Catholics, the issue of publicly funded abortion and conscience protection looms large. But in the section ‘A Role For the Faith Community’ PICO informs us there is nothing to worry about …

Once again a categorical, declarative statement asserting something PICO/the Sojourners cannot possibly know to be true. No evidence is offered, no citation given, no quote from any legislator.
   
This is the document discussed in the article — worth reading in full if you live in the US.

 

Back to Stephanie Block, who has three articles about Obamacare and the link to Alinsky community organising:

‘The Shenanigans of Alinskyian Organising’:

On Sunday, August 2, 2009, Sanchez spoke at St Callistus Catholic Church, Garden Grove, California as part of an event identified as a ‘Healthcare Prayer Vigil’ on the Orange County Congregation Community Organization (OCCCO) website.  

‘OCCCO is an Alinskyian community organization, affiliated with the PICO National Network.’

… Georgeann Lovett, Director of Respect Life, Justice and Peace for the Diocese of Orange, responded that ‘the event was an OCCCO event, not a Loretta Sanchez event or an exclusively Catholic event. OCCCO is an interfaith organizing group that works through various congregations and some of our parishes, including St. Callistus, are participants.’

‘Alinskyian Organising and Activism II: The IAF’ [Industrial Areas Foundation]:

Greater Boston Interfaith Organization (GBIO) [an IAF local in Massachusetts] claims to have 70 institutional members though it actually only lists 59, most of which are churches and synagogues. Healthcare is an important issue for the group…

‘Exerting real political pressure’ makes GBIO a real political organization with a real political agenda… Real progressive political pressure, leveraged with the support of religious bodies, while vitiating their core moral values…now that’s Alinskyian organizing for you.

‘Alinskyian Health Care Push, Part III’:

With only a little more than a month to counter growing public sentiment against federal health care plans, many of the key players of the We Believe Together – Health Care for All coalition – PICO National Network, Sojourners, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, and Gamaliel among them – have begun a special campaign, 40 Days for Health Reform.

 To understand the work of We Believe Together – Health Care for All and 40 Days for Health Reform, one must understand that PICO and Gamaliel are community-organizing networks built on the theories of Saul Alinsky. They organize primarily among religious institutions …

In order to clothe health care ‘reforms’ in moral clothing, 40 Days for Health Reform sponsored a highly publicized conference call (Sojourners called it a national ‘call in’) between President Obama and the ‘people of faith’ within its networks to discuss the issue. It has also run a nationwide TV ad, featuring clergy, to support health care reform. It has prepared printed material that misapplies scripture verses, such as the Matthew 25’s warning that people will ‘be judged by how they treat the least of these’ as a spiritual mandate for health care reform

PICO is pushing this in several states: Alabama, Colorado, California, Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Vermont.

Apologies for the long post, but it’s important to be aware of the emotional blackmail which is likely to increase dramatically as September draws to a close.

 

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