While we have tracked the emergence of the religious right in America, Fr. Robert A. Sirico writes in the National Review about the political power of the religious left.

EXCERPT:  It is telling that the Washington Post report on the religious Left's Circle of Protection campaign for big government describes the effort as one that would "send chills through any politician who looks to churches and religious groups as a source of large voting blocs," because, in fact, this is not an honest faith-inspired campaign to protect the "least of these" from Draconian government cuts, as claimed. It is a hyper-political movement that offers up the moral authority of churches and aid organizations to advance the ends of the Obama administration and its allies in Congress.











  1. Aliagins says:

    You might want to consider the source. 

    Father Robert Sirico: Power Broker on the Rise

    By Bill Berkowitz, AlterNet
    Posted on July 3, 2001, Printed on August 5, 2011

    Father Robert Sirico and his Acton Institute for the Study of Religion
    and Liberty are on a roll. Sirico, who has been operating below the
    radar of the mainstream media for more than a decade, is definitely
    moving on up. Late last year, more than 400 people gathered at the Amway
    Grand Plaza Hotel in Grand Rapids, Michigan to celebrate the
    Institute's 10th anniversary. Who is Father Robert Sirico and why are so
    many conservatives saying such nice things about him?During the
    last 18 months, Father Sirico advised President George W. Bush on
    "charitable choice" and the future of welfare reform; responded to a
    call from the Vatican and edited a book delineating the Catholic
    Church's teachings on social justice issues; launched a right-wing
    religious environmental coalition; sponsored a conference on
    globalization at the Vatican; and published op-ed pieces in numerous
    U.S. dailies. Topping it off, Acton Institute advisory board member
    Father Avery Dulles, son of former secretary of state John Foster Dulles
    and nephew of former CIA head Allen Dulles, was designated a Cardinal
    by the Vatican.Moving from left to rightFather
    Sirico has a colorful though rarely publicized background that includes a
    1970s stint as a "roll-em-on-the-floor Pentecostal boy preacher, who
    was packing 1,500 people into a Seattle theater every week," says Jerry
    Sloan, executive director of the watchdog group Project Tocsin. Sirico
    moved to Los Angeles, joining the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan
    Community Churches, and later served as executive director of what is
    now the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Community Center. Sirico later
    termed this his "soft Marxist" period.After embracing
    libertarianism, he turned to the Catholic Church. "I heard homilies
    preached that inevitably insulted business people," Sirico says, and he
    was determined to turn that around.In 1990, Father Sirico founded Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Acton Institute.
    Named for historian and social philosopher Baron John Emerich Edward
    Dalberg-Acton, known as Lord Acton. The Institute's mission is to
    "promote a free and virtuous society, characterized by individual
    liberty and sustained by religious principles."In the
    mid-nineties, the Acton Institute, then little known outside of
    conservative circles played a significant role during the welfare reform
    debate by establishing its National Welfare Reform Initiative in 1995. A
    strong supporter of welfare reform, Father Sirico argued in
    congressional testimony for greater restrictions on welfare recipients
    and was an early advocate of moving social welfare programs into the
    hands of faith-based organizations.According to The Right Guide,
    published by the Ann Arbor, Michigan-based Economics America, Inc., in
    1997, 94 percent of the Acton Institute's $1.8 million budget came from
    contributions and grants from foundations, businesses and individuals.
    Major donors included the $100,000 from the Scaife Family Foundation,
    $50,000 from the Richard and Helen deVos Foundation, $50,000 from the
    John M. Olin Foundation and $40,000 from the Lynde & Harry Bradley
    Foundation.Revising the Church's social agendaWhile
    many criticisms can be justly lodged against the Catholic Church, one
    thing is clear. It has been invaluable in its provision of services to
    the poor. Many priests and nuns were on the front lines with Cesar
    Chavez and the farm workers movement. Even President Bush recognized, in
    his recent speech at Notre Dame University, the charitable work of
    Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker movement. Now, along comes Father
    Sirico with a strategy for subverting the progressive aspects of
    Catholic teachings on economic issues. He converts the Church's advocacy
    on behalf of the poor, promoted by John Paul II in his 1991 encyclical
    Centesimus Annus, into a paean for the free market.Since he
    disagrees with many of the social teachings of the Church, the news of
    his editing project for the Vatican was particularly chilling. According
    to the conservative National Catholic Register, Father Sirico was
    assigned to "sift out the most important passages from the social
    teachings of the popes from Leo XIII to John Paul II." The finished
    work, "The Social Agenda: A Collection of Magisterial Texts," a 225-page
    book containing nearly 370 quotations from some 75 Church documents,
    was released at the Vatican in April 2000. For Father Sirico, the
    central theme of the papal social encyclicals is "the principle of
    subsidiarity." This means that wherever possible responsibilities should
    be "handled at a lower organizational level" (read less government
    regulation and intervention). Sirico also emphasizes "the right to
    private property," aligning the Church's teachings with his own free
    market philosophy.Professor Anthony Basile, in the September
    1998 issue of Culture Wars, accuses Father Sirico of "portray[ing]
    poverty as the fault of the poor individual, and not due to social
    injustices," a fundamental departure from Catholicism. Basile sees the
    creation of the Institute's Center for Economic Personalism as
    facilitating the melding of ideology and practice to "indoctrinate all
    [its] seminarians and theology students along these ideological lines."Religious right targets the environmentIn
    time for Earth Day 2000, the Acton Institute helped launch the
    Interfaith Council for Environmental Stewardship (ICES), an organization
    aiming to inject conservative religious tenets into the environmental
    debate. Father Sirico believes that "environmental ideology is
    increasingly being used, not to preserve nature's beauty, but to
    restrict human enterprise that is essential to a more humane existence
    for people."The Cornwall Declaration on Environmental
    Stewardship, the organization's founding document, was the first major
    pronouncement on environmental issues by a coalition of
    ultraconservative religious groups. The Declaration prioritizes the
    needs of humans over nature, advocates the unleashing of free market
    forces to resolve environmental problems and denounces the environmental
    movement for embracing faulty science and a gloom-and-doom approach.Signers
    of the Declaration include such right-wing ringleaders as Focus on the
    Family president Dr. James Dobson, Campus Crusade for Christ founder
    Bill Bright, Prison Fellowship Ministries' head Charles Colson, the Rev.
    Donald Wildmon, president of the American Family Association, Rabbi
    Daniel Lapin, head of Toward Tradition and Father Sirico. ICES' advisory
    committee contains Dr. D. James Kennedy of the Ft. Lauderdale,
    Florida-based Coral Ridge Ministries, a controversial anti-gay leader
    and an outspoken denier of separation of church and state. Kennedy said
    that "if ever an issue needed sound Biblical Doctrine brought to bear
    upon it, it's the environment, and [ICES] accomplishes this." President
    Bush's "compassionate conservatism" guru Dr. Marvin Olasky, professor of
    journalism and history at the University of Texas, Austin, is also on
    board.ICES's website maintains that its "network of religious,
    academic and community leaders" will provide a "credible alternative to
    liberal environmental advocacy for people in congregations, schools,
    government, and the religious and secular media."In late
    November 2000, Father Sirico added globalization to his portfolio.
    Acton, along with the Pontifical Council for the Family, sponsored a
    Vatican City conference examining "the impact of globalization on the
    family." The conference was also an important development in the ongoing
    conversation between evangelical Protestants and conservative
    Catholics, as major players like Father Richard John Neuhaus, Dr.
    Dobson, Charles Colson, Rep. Chris Smith, (R-N.J.), and Catholic scholar
    Michael Novak were in attendance. At his late December meeting with
    Bush, Father Sirico remarked that "tackling the problem of poverty will
    require that persons of different religions, races, backgrounds and
    political persuasions, come together around a common agenda." Father
    Sirico's agenda mirrors the Heritage Foundation's Robert Rector, who, in
    the chapter on Welfare in Heritage's "Issues 2000: The Candidates
    Briefing Book" emphasizes "marriage and responsible fatherhood,"
    "educational choice" including charter schools, vouchers and tuition tax
    credits, and "empowering faith-based private charities through
    charitable tax credits and other reforms."Father Robert Sirico's
    work at the Acton Institute covers a broad spectrum of hot button
    issues from reinterpreting Catholic social doctrine and the creation of a
    right-wing religious-based environmental organization, to advocacy for
    charitable choice and a reduction in government programs. His star is on
    the rise.Bill Berkowitz is an Oakland-based freelance writer covering the Religious Right and related conservative issues and movements.

    © 2011 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.
    View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/11114/

  2. Aliagins says:

    Before anyone gets too excited about the "left taking over the world" they need to study what the "right" has been saying for a very long time.  They have been making the claim that it is the left with the Socialists, Progressives, Humanists, Agnostics, Atheists that are the root cause of all the ills of mankind.  They have an agenda to rid the country and the world of these Satan following horrors and then the world for Jesus.

    When the Right finally does take over and turns this country into a theocracy the first that they will target will be all those they consider on the Left.  They will go after those that are not Christians and finally those Christians that refuse to be converted to their doctrine of Dominionism.  The question really is who will stand up for those that are persecuted?  Will it be Adventists? Or will they wait until their turn comes near the very End? 

    EGW writes that "the whole world" will be converted to their cause…except there will be a small number that remain true to God and God ordained Freedom of Conscience.

  3. Ray Tapajna says:

    Reading Father Robert Sirico's Defending the Free Market was a heartbreaking experience. We review his book at http://tapsearch.com/amazon-friends. We lived in two different worlds. I come from the real work world and have more than a sixty year history in the business world, the factories and in several businesses of my own. I never experienced the so called free market. Free trade and globalization later ransacked what was left of the free enterprise system. Our economies based on making money on money instead of making things is burning out. The money changers and the investment communities control both major political parties.

    Both President Bush and President Obama bailed out the failed system and put the money changers back in control while ignoring the suffering of all who lost their jobs and businesses due to free trade. The U.S. has gone through the most massive dislocation of jobs in its history including the Great Depression. All of our four last presidents have betrayed the American workers. In the computer industry, what took more than forty years to develop was quickly given away in a very short period of time. Free trade is not trade as historically practiced and defined. It is basically about moving production from place to place anywhere in the world for the sake of cheaper labor. The labor pool is endless and with production being portable , the degradation of workers will continue no matter what party is in control. Obviously, workers have no voice in the process. How can anyone talk about defending something that first of all isn't really there while watching the decay of human dignity in the workday. Recently, the Federal Reserve Bank bought more bonds to protect the stock market. We now have an investment community economy where it no longer matters where the jobs and the workers reside.

    In the computer industry alone, millions of workers lost their jobs and thousands of computer businesses were forced out of business due to free trade and the so called free market. Many of my friends in the industry faded away as if they were old elephants looking for a place to die. See http://tapsearch.com/communications-by-rank

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