Or so I’m told by a few loud and bitter groups from the Catholic Left. To hear their angry denunciations of bishops with a “right-wing political agenda” who invent the “fiction” that religious liberty is endangered, you’d think these folks had never sullied their hands in politics or lifted a finger to assist any politician’s agenda.
So, who are these pure souls, these naïfs scandalized by “politicized” religion?
Let’s start with Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good (CACG). Their board chairman is Alfred Rotondaro:
--senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, a DC think tank started by President Clinton’s chief of staff and also known as the “Democrats’ Public Relations Firm”
Then there’s board member Broderick Johnson (I quote from the bragging on the website of the high-priced lobbying firm that bears his name):
--“closely involved in the last several Democratic presidential campaigns”
--“served as an informal advisor to the Obama presidential campaign, offering strategic political advice and traveling across the United States as a surrogate speaker and campaign volunteer”
--“in 2004 he was appointed a senior advisor for congressional affairs in the Kerry presidential campaign”
--“served in senior roles in the Clinton White House, among them as Deputy Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs”
--“Chief Democratic Counsel for two House Committees”
And board member Mark Tuohey:
--honored in “Top 100 Most Influential Lawyers in Washington Region”
--past president of the DC bar
--current chairman, American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Government Affairs
Don’t overlook board member Edward J. McElroy:
--president emeritus of “the more than 1.4-million-member American Federation of Teachers, having served as its president from 2004-2008”
--during this time he oversaw the endorsement of countless candidates for political office; doled out tens of millions of dollars to political campaigns in all 50 states (including efforts to quash reforms that would allow Catholic schools to compete with unionized government schools); and oversaw the union’s PAC, which in the last presidential cycle was among the nation’s 20 largest, giving 99% of its money to Democrats
The staff of CACG are as untouched as their board members by the ugliness of politics. Consider founding executive director, Alexia Kelley:
--worked for John Kerry’s presidential campaign as religious outreach coordinator
--hired by President Obama in 2009 to direct the Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships under HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius
--promoted by Obama in 2011 to Deputy Director of the White House Office for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships
Then there’s CACG’s (c)(4) sister organization, Catholics United. Its first director was Christopher Korzen:
--helped establish and run the Catholic Voting Project, a 2004 effort to rally Catholics for Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry
-- bragged in a radio interview shortly before the 2008 election that at Catholics United “we do a little bit more edgy work … we can do lobbying and political work unlike your traditional non-profits”
--former organizer for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), one of the largest and most politically powerful unions in America
--now works at Maine’s Majority, a group he founded to create “long-term capacity for Maine's progressive movement through an aggressive, multiissue, media-savvy, year-round political campaign”
The aggressive Korzen left Catholics United in good hands with his successor as director, James Salt (whose bio from the group’s website I quote):
--“has extensive experience working with national progressive Catholic peace and justice organizations as well as political campaigns involving Catholic strategy”
--“oversaw the Kansas Democratic Party’s faith outreach efforts”
--did “messaging work” for Kansas’s then-Governor Kathleen Sebelius, whose notorious Obamacare regulation as HHS Secretary is the single most powerful spur to the bishops’ religious liberty protests
--DC lobbyist for over 3 decades
--former staff director of House Democratic Caucus
--ran Lloyd Bentsen’s campaign for President
Lastly, my personal favorite for squeaky clean, apolitical rectitude, the founder of Catholic Democrats, Eric McFadden:
--founded Catholics for Kerry in 2004
--president of Catholics for Faithful Citizenship in 2005
--spokesman for CACG in 2006 election cycle
--in 2008 primaries, Hillary Clinton’s top Catholic outreach coordinator
--2009, arrested (later pled guilty) to promoting underage prostitution in Columbus, Ohio, where he’d worked for Democratic Governor Ted Strickland
Clearly, this crew has the bona fides to attack the bishops for getting mixed up in disputes between politicians.
Have no fear that the anti-politicization brigade will falter in its relentless crusade against all those who drag politics into religious discussions. Only last week, for example, Anthony Stevens-Arroyo, a regular blogger for Catholics United, posted yet another angry salvo against the American bishops, likening them to dinosaurs and Borgia popes.
And if you’re as outraged as Stevens-Arroyo, by God you can do something about it. Go to the very line of that article where he damns the bishops for their “politicizing” and 3 words away in the margin you’ll find a link to “Catholic Democrats PAC.”
That providential juxtaposition suggests God still has a fine sense of humor.
It also suggests that some folks who gripe about the bishops’ supposed politicking should be laughed out of the public square.
FOOTNOTE: For a deeper analysis of the Catholic Left (and the source of many of my data points), read my Capital Research Center colleague Patrick Reilly’s essay “Rallying the Catholic Left.”