Monday, February 10, 2014

Saul Alinsky's Self-Described Role in Christianity

I'm reading Hillary Clinton's 1969 thesis on Saul Alinsky, which she wrote in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Bachelor of Arts degree under the Special Honors Program at Wellesley College, and came across this sentence:
Alinsky credits himself with being the second most important Jew in the history of Christianity.
Hillary earlier in the thesis set the background for this sentence:
What TWO [the Temporary Woodlawn Organization] really needed, according to the Alinsky prescription, was an enemy in order to translate community interest into community action. The University of Chicago unwittingly fulfilled that role with its announcement on July 19, 1960, that it intended to extend its campus south into Woodlawn. There had been a history of hostility between the University and the community over the University’s Negro removal tactics in other south side areas, and over its general disdain for the problems of the black slums.

The University for its part, saw itself as one of the few first-rate attributes of the entire city necessarily possessing a longer-range vision than that held by a present-oriented populace. The University, with the support of the Mayor and business groups, was accustomed to having its way and expected no more than a few protests in response to its announcement[...]

With their plans blocked and the forces of the community arrayed against them, the University of Chicago launched a smear campaign against Alinsky and the IAF [the Industrial Area Foundation] .

The attack, outlined in Silberman and other articles, was a strange one to launch in Chicago, as its primary thrust concerned the IAF is [sic] involvement with the Catholic Church. In a city whose leadership is publicly Roman Catholic, it makes little sense to fault a man for being “involved” with the Church. It is true, as University publicity men pointed out to the city newspapers, that Catholic groups had aided Alinsky’s work since 1940, but never under the delusion that they were aiding a “hate” distributor, nor aiding a Catholic conspiracy to foil integration. Both of these charges were echoes of ones that Alinsky had heard before and answered before. He once again pointed to the record of the Archdiocese in the advocacy of integration. Monsignor John J. Egan, director of the office of Urban Affairs of the Catholic Bishop of Chicago, had challenged one of the University’s former urban renewal plans thus incurring that institution’s hostility.
Monsignor Egan vigorously defended Alinsky from the University attack and summed up the attitudes of many religious leaders who have supported Alinsky[...] 

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