The following article demonstrates how neo-Marxism adulterates Christian churches and saps their funds, using many churches in Wisconsin as examples. To the other forty-nine, how does it compare to your state? One operation cited is the Gamaliel Foundation, former employer of Barack Obama in Chicago.
– G u l a g – B o u n d –
by Nancy Kormanik
Wisconsin Christian News
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to bring good news to the poor, liberty to captives, new sight to the blind, and to set the downtrodden free”
– Luke 4:18
Jesus quoted the above from Isaiah 61 in speaking of Himself while preaching in the synagogue on the Sabbath, but He also calls us, by way of His gospel, to do the same. There are organizations, however, that manipulate this Scripture and others to effect change in churches and society that has nothing to do with the gospel. These “neo-Marxist” (a term broadly used to describe opposition to social inequalities such as status and power) groups work their way into churches in a seemingly noble attempt to fix social inequalities among the people mentioned in Luke 4:18. But what is lacking is an emphasis on the gospel. They twist the meaning to garner support for their social and political causes, and churches have bought into their deception.
Groups such as the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), the Gamaliel Foundation, and their affiliates seem well-intentioned in portraying themselves as Christian, faith-based organizations that want to form relationships with churches and religious organizations to bring about social justice, as they approach them for financial contributions. They even have Bible verses on their websites.
Many people believe that social justice is simply helping the poor and needy; thus, moved by the desire to help vulnerable populations, they are led to believe that their monetary support to these groups will assist those in need. In actuality, the broader scope of the term “social justice” involves much more than this, and helping the poor and downtrodden is only a fraction of these groups’ social justice teaching. “People in the pew” who contribute money are ignorant of the fact that their support is really used to train leaders and pay lobbyists to lobby against biblical values. The groups exist as a vehicle by which people can “bargain, strike, struggle to advance their agendas; create a power-oriented community organization willing to use militant, confrontational tactics; and promote a democratic organization where organizers develop local leaders.”
These organizations exist for themselves and use churches to advance their political agenda. While they and their affiliates have biblical acronymic names, what they do has little to do with the Bible.
The IAF, established by Saul Alinsky (a self-proclaimed satanist/Luciferian) around 1939, focuses on “creating independent organizations, inventing and establishing new social realities.” IAF leaders and organizers build organizations whose primary purpose is power and whose chief product is social change.
Common Ground is one organization in a national network affiliated with the IAF. Common Ground targets clerical leaders, small business owners, health care providers, corporations, and government officials. Launched in 2004 with $700,000 raised by the Greater Milwaukee Council from various Catholic, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Episcopal, and United Church of Christ churches, as well as foundations, individuals, and unions, it aims to “achieve positive changes in the community” by focusing on nationalized health care, low-income housing, soft mortgages, schools, immigration, and prison reform programs.
The Gamaliel Foundation (Gamaliel) is named after Gamaliel, a biblical wise man and teacher to St. Paul (Acts 5:38-39). Gamaliel was founded in 1968 under the direction of Ed Chambers, a friend and disciple of Saul Alinsky from the IAF. Gamaliel calls itself “a community of people living out our faith and values to collectively transform our society and bring about justice locally, nationally, and globally.”
While Acts 5:38-39 is quoted on Gamaliel’s website, the following also appears, showing that the foundation hardly adheres strictly to the gospel of Christ in meeting the physical and spiritual needs of those it helps: “Gamaliel’s organizing work draws on struggles for justice by people of faith stretching back thousands of years and spanning many nations, faiths, and cultures. Our work draws on Biblical Scripture, Christ’s life and teaching, the Torah, the Qur’an, Catholic social teaching, the founding principles of American democracy, the U.S. civil rights movement, and many other sources.” Gamaliel trains and develops leaders in low-income communities. Their goal is “to assist local community leaders to create, maintain, and expand independent, grassroots, and powerful faith-based community organizations that have power to influence political and economic decisions that impact cities and regions.”
Over the years, Gamaliel has refocused its efforts from neighborhood organizations to coalitions that can influence metropolitan areas. Gamaliel’s long-range goal is to establish metropolitan organizations in every major population area in the United States. Its affiliates focus on nationalized health care, driver certificates for illegal aliens, tuition for children of undocumented illegal aliens, and other issues.
Gamaliel’s Wisconsin organization is WISDOM, headed by former Catholic priest David Liner. WISDOM’s local affiliates throughout the state are:
• JONAH (Eau Claire) – “Joining Our Neighbors, Advancing Hope;” John Stedman, organizer;
• ESTHER (Fox Valley) – “Empowerment Solidarity Truth Hope Equality Reform;” Gwen Gibson, president; Stephanie Gyldenvand, organizer;
• JOSHUA (Green Bay) – “Justice Organization Sharing Hope and United for Action,” led by Emily Gaumer; a coalition of clerical leaders from churches such as St. Matthew’s Catholic Parish, Divine Temple, Nativity of Our Lord Catholic Church, St. Bernard Catholic Church, and First United Methodist Church;
• SOPHIA (Waukesha) – “Stewards Of Prophetic, Hopeful, Intentional Action;” a coalition of 12 Waukesha faith communities supervised by Joel Gaughan, president, and Sister Barbara Pfarr, SSND;
• MICAH (Milwaukee) – “Milwaukee Inner-city Congregations Allied for Hope;” Martha Tempesta, organizer; a coalition of clerical leaders from 20 congregations including Gesu Catholic Church, St. Sebastian Catholic Church, Santa Fe Lutheran, and Ascension Lutheran Church;
• NAOMI (Wausau) – “North Central-Area Congregations Organized to Make an Impact;” led by Rabbi Dan Danson, Father Steve Brice, and Pastor Gary Froseth;
• RIC (Racine) – “Racine Interfaith Coalition;” a coalition of clerical leaders from various churches under the direction of Lutheran pastor Reverend Michael Mueller; Joe Ellwanger is the main organizer;
• CUSH (Kenosha) – “Congregations United to Serve Humanity;” led by Susan Larkin;
• AMOS (LaCrosse) – “Advocating, Mobilizing, Organizing in Solidarity;” involves clerical leaders from the Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, and Presbyterian churches organized by Curtis Miller.
MICAH’s website states: “The Scripture tells us in Romans 13 to submit to authority because God Himself ordains and appoints it. This is in reference to righteous authority that honors the will of the people, and not the agenda of an empire.” But the Bible doesn’t say we are to submit only to righteous authority.
Romans 13:1 says, “Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.” God has put all governing authorities in place for His purposes and we are to submit to them unless they command us to disobey His Word, not just because they’re doing something we disagree with. Upon further reading of MICAH’s website, the organization seems to be twisting this verse to use it for its own political agenda.
JOSHUA’s website quotes part of Joshua 1:7: “Be strong and very courageous.” Adding a Bible verse and claiming the organization is “faith-based” or an “interfaith coalition of faith communities” can be appealing to people of faith who believe these organizations support biblical values. But JOSHUA’s mission statement reads: “JOSHUA deepens relationships within and among congregations and empowers people to act together for justice in pursuit of their individual and collective interests.” This doesn’t sound like anything having to do with biblical faith.
In their respective areas of the state, these groups get local churches to become member congregations who pay dues to WISDOM, based on the number of congregants and ranging from $1,500 to $14,000 per year. WISDOM turns this money over to Gamaliel which in turn gives it to various unions (AFL-CIO, WEAC, SEIU, ACLU), foundations, media, and corporations to lobby for legislation that doesn’t always comply with biblical mandates. (Since Gamaliel and its affiliates are 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations, they technically cannot lobby for legislation.)
To date, there are at least 350 Wisconsin churches that are member congregations of these social justice groups. But some clerical leaders are unaware of what these groups actually advocate and do. For example, millions of dollars have been funneled through various Catholic churches to the Catholic Campaign for Human Development to support WISDOM affiliates that promote abortion. While these groups claim to be faith-based, they often contradict biblical teachings that churches who support them uphold, and churches don’t even know it.
Consequently, people are often unaware of where their tithes and offerings are going and don’t think to question it because they trust their church leaders and cannot imagine that their money would be supporting causes they would openly oppose if they knew.
What can Christians do to stop these groups?
(1) Pray for our pastors, ministers, deacons, elders, bishops, and priests to return to the true teachings of Jesus Christ that they vowed to follow.
(2) Write letters to the clerical leadership to express dissatisfaction with how the money is spent.
(3) If all else fails, switch churches and attend another church that follows the gospel of Jesus Christ.
(4) Pay attention to where the money is going. No longer write checks or open your wallet until you investigate the organization that wants your money. To make sure the group is a legitimate non-profit organization, check it out on www.irs.gov or www.capitalresearch.org.
(5) Volunteer on church committees where you can follow the money. The organizations are multi-layered and often change their name and Employer Identification Number (EIN). Follow the group to another group to another until it is traced back to the parent organization to determine what they support and where your money is going.
Common Ground’s website states: “We created Common Ground to address critical social issues. Our members come from all races, religions and political backgrounds, but we share a common mission: To replace despair with hope in our community.” Christians know that the only true hope to replace all despair is in the gospel of Jesus Christ. If we only meet people’s physical and social needs and not their spiritual need of salvation through Christ, then we are doing them the greatest disservice for eternity.
Jesus warns about deceivers when He refers to Himself as the good Shepherd in John 10. Remember this before giving to organizations that may sound good but in actuality defy biblical principles: “Truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers. I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”