Political Community Organizing through Places of Worship

November 2nd 2009

By [post_author] – I have just learned that my Monterey Bay Area church has given large sums of money to a political Interfaith Network organization called COPA. COPA stands for Communities Organized for Relational Power in Action.

COPA is a member of Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) which was founded by Saul Alinsky in the 1940’s. Alinsky authored two books that are used as manuals by socialist and communist change agents – Reveille for Radicals in 1946 and Rules for Radicals in 1971.

It is a serious concern that the money I’ve been giving to my church is being used for political and radical ideological purposes without my knowledge or authorization. There are many Interfaith Networks operating under different names throughout the country and most of them like COPA, are members of IAF.

In their own words,

Industrial Areas Foundation
helps build broad-based, non-partisan organizations of dues-paying member
congregations, schools, unions, business associations, and non-profits
committed to building power for sustainable social and economic change.

Alinsky in his book writings puts it like this,

You do what you can with what
you have and clothe it with moral garments.  Make the enemy live up to
his/her own book of rules.  You can kill them with this.  They can no
more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to

Believing that the ends justify the means, Alinksy stated

In action, one does not always
enjoy the luxury of a decision that is consistent both with one’s individual
conscience and the good of mankind.

So churches are being used for political purposes rather than for spiritual reasons. COPA affiliated churches use congregational capital to influence local politicians and intensely advocate for so-called “affordable housing” developments built by well paid so called,  “non-profit” developers.

The reality is that our money is funding an undisclosed massive subsidy for building projects benefiting individuals who are very ineffective at cost containment. This should give pause to anyone thinking that COPA and IAF are organizations out to help the downtrodden. Those downtrodden are the means, the pawns, in COPA’s game plan.

Where was I when these political shenanigans were being discussed?  Was it part of a sermon or simply handled as a financial transaction behind closed doors? It’s alarming that I and my fellow congregants missed the discussion about morphing my church into an instrument of socialist/fascist economic change. This is antithetical to what I believe in.

Your church may be doing this too. Go to the IAF Industrial Areas Foundation “affiliates” page. Click on your region on the left side of the page. In our area, COPA was formerly known as CCIS – Central Coast Interfaith Sponsors.

Congregations across the country find themselves attached to COPA-like organizations with names like Washington Interfaith Network (WIN), Communities Helping All Neighbors Gain Empowerment (CHANGE), Tying Nashville Together (TNT) or Southeastern Wisconsin Common Ground.

Most of us never saw this happening. We trust our places of worship and attend in order to honor God and invigorate our spiritual beliefs. Now we discover that an outside political action group is working insidiously to infiltrate our church and undermine our ethical and spiritual structure.

COPA/IAF is clear that their mission is to train parishioners in community organizing tactics in order to achieve a political result through lobbying. Sound familiar? ACORN has been in the news recently for exploiting poor neighborhoods through the use of misleading promises used in community organizing and lobbying.  ACORN targets neighborhoods. COPA and IAF target places of worship and unsuspecting parishioners.

COPA/IAF are coming into our churches and synagogues, misleading many of our ministers and other leaders by having them support COPAand IAF politics.

Is your church or temple involved with an interfaith congregation network and IAF? If so, you need to ask:

  1. Is my church a member of a network or organization that supports IAF? What is the organization called?
  2. If yes, why did our church
    leadership decide to join?
  3. What was the commitment made to
    the organization?
  4. Has the pastor, minister, rabbi
    or other spiritual leader been informed about the true nature of Interfaith
    Networks and Congregation Based Community Organizations?
  5. Has the congregation been informed?

Call to action – Let your church know how you feel about affiliations with political and ideological groups such as IAF and COPA.

Political Community Organizing through Places of Worship by Freedom Advocates

More on Political community organizing through churches:

Industrial Areas Washington Rural Organizing Project 

Interfaith Community Based Organizing Funding IAF, Gamaliel, etc

Catholic Social Doctrine and Alinskyian Community Organizing website

Radio w/ Jo Joyce Politics and Religion Alinskyian type community organizing through the church

Radio Liberty Radio Show on Gamaliel  

Communities Organized for Relational Power in Action (COPA) Convention materials (Watsonville, CA)

Catholic Investigative Agency: The Rockefeller Foundation (video)


This article contains links to outside sources not controlled by Freedom Advocates and therefore are subject to change.

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