Tonight I had the chance to attend the IndyCAN meeting at the Pilgrim Lutheran Church in Carmel with State Senator Mike Delph as the special guest. IndyCAN bills itself as "an alliance of congregations representing tens of thousands of families across Marion County that develops the capacity of ordinary people to improve the quality of life and expand opportunities for families in the Indianapolis Metropolitan region." . . .
What Senator Delph may have learned tonight is that there are people out there who are more than willing to misuse their religious faith and their leadership positions in churches to advance their pet political causes by falsely claiming those causes have to do with "social justice."
Senator Delph was led to believe that the meeting with IndyCAN would be an informational meeting, an opportunity to learn each other's positions. IndyCAN clearly had no intention of being involved in that type of meeting. It packed the hall with its supporters and invited the media. Then it proceeded with a tightly scripted agenda to make sure only one side of the issue was presented.Ogden says the meeting was conducted by the pastor of a Lutheran Church in Carmel who claimed that IndyCAN represented tens of thousands of church members. Ogden noted that his own St. Monica's Catholic Church parish was listed as a supporter. "I don't recall being asked at Mass whether we parishioners support IndyCAN or a massive expansion of mass transit paid for, in part, with a 19% increase in the local income tax," Ogden observed . . . "I think people attending those churches identified by IndyCAN as supporters would be furious at the false representation that they support IndyCAN and its agenda, including mass transit." This is a typical method of deception employed by Alinsky. Check that one off.
Ogden describes how IndyCAN then presented testimonies from three persons who were supposedly victims of the lack of a comprehensive mass transit. Typically, Alinsky taught his supporters to use paid actors to stand up and provide heart-wrenching accounts to tug at the hearts of the masses to support the agenda you are pushing. Check that one off. Next came a Power Point presentation based on a supposedly reliable research report. "It consisted of a Power Point presentation which failed to actually include any statistics having to do with mass transit," Ogden writes. "The only statistics mentioned involved poverty and, strangely, statewide versus national unemployment." The imagery is clear. Equate poverty to the lack of mass transit. Check off that Alinsky tactic.
Finally, IndyCAN's invited guest, Sen. Delph, was given the opportunity to speak--for only five minutes. Here's how Ogden describes Delph's presentation and the IndyCAN supporter's rude reaction to his comments.
Senator Delph stated he was surprised by the presence of the media and that it was not the type of meeting he had expected. The Senator noted that his father was near death in a hospice in Florida but he had delayed flying out until after the IndyCAN meeting out of respect for the organization. (Senator Delph said he would be missing the committee vote on mass transit on Tuesday because he'd be with his father.) Moving on to the issue of mass transit, Senator Delph talked about the fact that surveys in his district showed 54% did not support the expansion. He pointed out that the anecdotal evidence IndyCAN didn't support the massive expansion of mass transit proposed by the bill. Very quickly though Senator Delph's five minutes were up and he had to sit down.
An IndyCAN representative though wasn't done with Senator Delph. He demanded to know if the Senator would support the mass transit bill. The Senator said he would not support a state wide tax increase for mass transit and would wait to see the final version of the bill before deciding whether to vote for it. People, supposedly Christians, in the audience began to jeer Senator Delph and interrupt him. The IndyCAN representative again demanded to know whether Senator Delph would support mass transit. When he received the same answer, the presenter simply stated (falsely) that Senator Delph promised to support mass transit.
When your opponents don't agree with your view, Alinsky taught his followers to get in your opponent's face. Do everything you can to marginalize and demonize him. Check off another Alinsky tactic.
The last part of the program was a time for questions and answers, but as Ogden noted, the only questions that were permitted to be asked were the pre-scripted, pro mass transit questions. Other persons in the audience who came to the event who wanted to ask questions were cut off and told the program was being concluded. To their dismay, Sen. Delph stayed behind and answered questions until midnight. Here's how Ogden summed up the meeting.
The conduct of many of the IndyCAN members was utterly reprehensible and very unchristian. They were bullies who were not in the slightest bit interested in an honest exchange of ideas. Those who put on the meeting were especially at fault for the dishonest way in which they ran it. They weren't interested in a meeting in which both sides got heard. They had put on the meeting to set up Senator Delph, to put him in a position, in front of a room full of people with the media present in which he would feel so much pressure he'd pledge to support the mass transit bill. What a thoroughly disgusting tactic. Members of IndyCAN should be ashamed of what their leaders tried to pull Monday night.I can't say that I'm surprised by how IndyCAN approached this meeting. If we actually had a media in this town that was interested in presenting both sides of the debate, a good investigative reporter might dig into IndyCAN's finances and who is bankrolling its efforts to lobby for mass trass transit. People who belong to these churches need to take church leaders to task who are misrepresenting their congregation's support of mass transit. These churches do not have official positions on mass transit. I have heard lots of people who attend various Catholic Church parishes in Indianapolis complain about political activism by their priests and their use of the pulpit to push political views down their throats during church services. Fellow blogger Ruth Holladay has written about this happening at her parish as well.