FAST, Faith and Action for Strength Together, is a progressive political organization in Pinellas county made up of a variety of religious congregations. They purport that their mission is to work to “hold systems accountable” and to promote “social justice”. They have a mission that claims to represent “the poor and middle class” although they advocate policies that often leave people locked in poverty. What is not well known is that FAST has the same roots as a variety of left-wing political groups that have promoted bigger government for decades. The Godfather of FAST is Saul Alinsky, the same man that wrote “Rules for Radicals” that he dedicated to an entity that the Church Fights: Lucifer.
“Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history… the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom — Lucifer.” Saul Alinsky, Creator of FAST model.
So how does a group of churches adopt a method of organizing and activism created by a man who dedicated his “bible” of community organizing to Lucifer? The answer is long and complicated but begins in Chicago in the 1930’s when Saul Alinsky developed “community organizing” as a means of fighting capitalism, growing socialism and promoting wealth redistribution through larger government. It ends with the group “DART” (Direct Action and Research Training Center), based in Miami, forming about 20 “congregation-based” community organizing groups from Florida to Ohio. Dart is modeled after a group started by Alinsky in 1942, the “Industrial Areas Foundation” (IAF), and has been replicated by other groups such as PICO and the Gamaliel Foundation. The Gamaliel foundation is the group where now President Barack Obama got his start as a Community organizer. In the 1980’s, President Obama was the “Lead Organizer” of the Developing Communities Project (DCP), funded by South Chicago Catholic churches and the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD).
John Calkins, the DART founder and director, has deep roots into groups that support the Democrat agenda, Progressive politics and methods to grow that political ideology. He began as a Wisconsin state leader for the National Welfare Rights Organization (NWRO) – a group fighting to preserve a welfare program that ultimately had to be dismantled due to the many failures, including locking people into a cycle of poverty and dependence. He now serves on the Board of “The Organizers Forum” which also includes ACORN notable Wade Rathke, the head of the George Soros funded “Tides Foundation” (Drummond Pike), Andy Stern of the SEIU, and representatives of the AFL-CIO and various other community organizing groups including President Obama’s own alma mater the Gamaliel Foundation. (See Full List below). Calkins, as chair, can join these illustrious folks at their next “Dialogue” in La Paz Bolivia in September, organized by Wade Rathke.
ACORN has become notorious for its corruption and lost funding from Congress because of it. The organization was caught encouraging tax evasion and the methods of importing underage girls from El Salvador to be prostitutes. They have run fraudulent voter registration drives. The group ACORN was funded by the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) which has been heavily criticized by many within the catholic church for its heavy bias toward left-wing and progressive political groups. The CCHD collects funds in annual nationwide Catholic Church collections. The CCHD was forced, after many years of protest, to pull their funding of ACORN when it was discovered that Wade Rathke’s brother, Dale, has been embezzling from the organization (nearly $1 million). The total amount from Parishioners to ACORN through CCHD was $7.3 million. CCHD now funds DART. CCHD spends little to no money on direct aid to any person, but funds organizations that work for “social Justice” to get government and others purportedly to do so.
Members of the congregations comprising FAST may not be aware of these connections or the many problems with FAST that have been discussed here many times. Yet the clerical leadership of these churches speak and act as if involvement of the congregation is just and righteous and needs no discussion. These clerical leaders take from the offertory to fund FAST to the tune of about 1% of the total church budget – without congregation approval. They allow no elections of representatives to FAST. No open discussion of the FAST mission or agenda. No opportunity of inclusion of alternate pathways for social justice that involve less government and more personal community involvement. There is no transparency of the real players behind the FAST/DART/IAF/Community Organizing/Progressive agenda. Why no discussion on the fellow board members of Tom Calkins and his sponsoring organization DART like Wade Rathke, Drummond Pike and their progressive allies? All the while, these clergy use the good name of the Congregation to give political cover to them and FAST – tarnishing the name of those congregations and their larger organizations (like the Catholic Dioceses of St. Petersburg).
It is time for FAST to require that all churches allow only VOLUNTARY donations to FAST through special collections. The names of the churches should not be used, but merely be“chapters” from those churches who would be members. There should be open discussion of many more issues relating to FAST and its agenda with all members of the various congregations. Anything short of that promotes Social Injustice and is wholly immoral.
Board of Directors, The “Organizers Forum”.
- Deepak Bhargava, Executive Director, Center for Community Change
- John Calkins, Director, Direct Action and Research Training Center
- Tho Thi Do, Secretary-Treasurer, Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union
- Mary Gonzales, Associate Director, Gamaliel Foundation
- Ken Johnson, Southern Regional Director, AFL-CIO
- Michael Kieschnick, President, Working Assets Funding Service
- Drummond Pike, President, Tides Foundation
- Wade Rathke, Chief Organizer, ACORN & Local #100 SEIU
- Mark Splain, Special Assistant, Department of Organizing, AFL-CIO
- Andy Stern, President, Service Employees International Union
- Pat Sweeney, Regional Director, Western Organization of Resource Councils (WORC)
Staff and other Personnell
- Barbara Bowen, National Coordinator, The Organizers’ Forum
- Miguel Contreras, President, Los Angeles County AFL-CIO
- Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, Executive Officer, South Bay Central Labor Council & Executive Director, Working Partnerships
- Jim Sessions, East Tennessee Workers Rights Board and Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice
- Mark Splain, Special Assistant, Department of Organizing, AFL-CIO