CCHD's funds to ACORN stopped
Should Catholic donations, given to help the poor via Catholic organizations, be diverted to secular organizations that support a partisan agenda?
This is the latest scandal involving the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. It seems that the Catholic bishops have been giving money to ACORN, a progressive organization that has been used by Senator Obama to gather votes to help him win the primary election over Senator Clinton.
Right now, ACORN is in the headlines for voter registration fraud: some reports say they have registering dead people, Mickey Mouse, and one teenager 18 times,.
Ah, but there is Good news: the Catholic Campaign for Human Development no longer will fund ACORN.
The bad news: the funding wasn't cut because ACORN was a partisan political organization, or because it supported a radical pro abortion Senator for president.
The funding was cut because of "financial irregularities".
Huh? You didn't know about the "financial irregularities"? Well, the NYTimes had an article about it last June, so it must be true.
It seems that in 1999-2000, the brother of the head/founder of ACORN embezzled a million dollars. The theft wasn't made public: Instead, the family agreed to repay the money if the thief wasn't prosecuted, and the board of the organization decided that they didn't want the bad publicity, so it was not reported to either the authorities as a crime, or to any of the donors that gave the money to ACORN.
The good news: The family has repaid one fifth of the amount so far. And once the whistleblower made it public, they announced that a "donor" will pay the rest back for them.
The bad news: The thief and his brother didn't resign from ACORN until June 2008, when the theft was made public.
So, immediately someone at the Bishop's conference...well, not exactly immediately. It took four months, but on Friday, the CCHD spokesman made an announcement that ACORN will no longer get money from the CCHD.
It made a big splash in the headlines: not.
Googling Catholic bishops and ACORN, you find the story only on Catholic sites, and not one in a major news paper.
In fact, there are only 163 stories that the embezzlement lawsuit by 2 of ACORN's 51 Board members, asking that ACORN to open it's books for financial investigation, has been dropped.
The full board said the lawsuit was a distraction, making it difficult to fight the real enemy: The Republicans accusing them of voter fraud.
But don't worry: The bishop's spokesman said that they will send accountants to check the books to assure everyone that no Catholic money has been stolen.
What's wrong with this picture?
Problem one: Catholics are urged to give money to the Campaign for Human development to "help the poor". The average Catholic thinks this is for food banks, rent payment, adoption fees, drug rehab programs, etc.
Yet the money isn't going to the poor: it is going to pay the salaries of community organizers.
Money donated by Catholics for Catholic organizations is being given to secular organizations that have little or nothing to do with Catholicism, and have nothing to do with actually helping the poor via direct action.
This is deception.
If Catholics want to give to such organizations, let them do it. Of at least let them know where the money goes, so they can chose where it goes (similar to many United Way donations).
Problem two: Progressive organizations often support abortion on demand.
In this case, ACORN workers were paid to work for Senator Obama's campaign, and Senator Obama is radically pro abortion.
Presumably, the Catholic money wasn't used here, but that's beside the point.
It's like a budget. Mom gives you ten dollars for gas money. That allows you to use ten dollars you have stashed away to buy marijuana. Mom isn't helping you buy drugs, so she's innocent....
Nonsense. She knows you buy drugs, so she also knows that any money she gives you enables you to buy more. In addiction medicine, this is called being an enabler.
Problem three: the CCHD spokesman assures us that they have "guidelines" that are supposed to examine where the money goes, and the bishops approve of the money.
I worked for the government. Let me tell you how these things work.
Usually certain people get together and suggest where funding is supposed to go. Often these groups include "forward looking" peace and justice types, who equate socialist type government programs with Catholic dogma.
So they get up their list, which is then presented to another board, which might actually include Catholic laypeople who might actually have some economic expertise.
Yet if one board member should ask: Why is so much money given to X? you can be sure that Sister Y will gives a summary of what they do and why they need money. But one wonders if the summary is phrased in language that obscures the political agenda of the group, so it gets passed.
There is an alternative explanation: the "board" that approves of the charities is from the same "peace and justice" wing of the church, and they equate the gospel with the progressive agenda, and seem oblivious that anyone would think differently.
As for the bishop: he has a million things to do, so often simply rubber stamps a list given to them by someone else.
So the CCHD will give money to ACORN, and on paper it is being given to them to help immigrants.
But once it is in ACORN's budget, the CCHD has no way of knowing if Catholic money had been given to voter registration, or for getting out the vote in the primaries for Senator Obama, or if it was part of the money embezzled.
But this begs the questions: why is Catholic money going to an organization with close ties to one political party that is on the forefront of promoting abortion in it's politics?
Finally, one is indeed happy to hear that, in light of the embezzlement, the CCHD will get some accountants to examine the books, to see if Catholic money was stolen.
But one suspects that, after the election complaints about ACORN is no longer in the news, that the grants will be reinstated without bothering to notify the average catholic in the pew.