The Communist and the Catholics, Part 2

Editor’s Note: The following is Part 2 of Dr. Paul Kengor’s series that blows the lid off of what really drives the current administration. If you missed Part 1, go here.

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In my previous commentary, I talked about Frank Marshall Davis, Hawaii mentor to a young Barack Obama, and the subject of my new book.

I noted that Davis, a literal card-carrying member of Communist Party USA, saw the Catholic Church as an obstacle to his plans for the state. “The Catholic hierarchy,” he complained, had launched a “holy war against communism.” And so, Obama’s mentor targeted the Church in commentaries he wrote for the Chicago Star, the Communist Party publication of which he was the founding editor-in-chief.

In one commentary, a July 20, 1946 piece titled, “A-Bombs for Russia,” Davis began by expressing his admiration for Stalin’s Russia: “I salute the Soviet Union,” said Davis. “I admire Russia for wiping out an economic system which permitted a handful of rich to exploit and beat gold from the millions of plain people…. As one who believes in freedom and democracy for all, I honor the Red nation.”

Yet, as Davis hailed Joe Stalin’s state for its alleged freedom and democracy, there was something else he didn’t admire: It was the “Big Money Boys” and so-called “prostitute press [that] brazenly solicits public hate for [the Soviet Union].” Among those that Davis listed as “hate evangelists” was Cardinal Francis Spellman, who, by Davis’s estimation, longed to “knock out Russia” by bombing it to the Stone Age.

Said Davis: “We’ve got to make the plain people realize that those hate evangelists preaching war against Russia are their enemies, and that peace, freedom and democracy can come only from forcing official America to work in harmony with the Soviet Union.”

Yes, that is, Stalin’s Soviet Union—which, according to Frank Marshall Davis, wanted peace.

Who was obstructing that peace? Davis blamed Harry Truman, the Marshall Plan, Wall Street, big business, capitalism, the press, and the likes of Cardinal Spellman and the Catholic Church. Not only were these “hate evangelists,” according to Frank Marshall Davis, Obama’s mentor, but they were the new “Pontius Pilates.”

I’ll share more on those Pilates in my next commentary.

For Catholic Exchange dot com and Ave Maria Radio, I’m Paul Kengor.


Dr. Paul Kengor is professor of political science at Grove City College and executive director of The Center for Vision & Values. His books include “The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism” and “Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century.”

Dr. Paul Kengor


Dr. Paul Kengor is professor of political science at Grove City College and executive director of The Center for Vision & Values. His books include “The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism” and “Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century.”

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  • 10brink

    What’s so bad about Communism?

  • mally el

    10brink, some American graduates might say that there is nothing wrong with communism. However, millions of people who suffered in the USSR and in China will tell you that they lost freedom – even for workers to protest – and the methods of eliminating critics and opponenets – real and imagined – were terrible.

  • James H, London

    What indeed? They only needed a double barbed-wire fence, 3 metres high, running all the way from the Baltic to the Adriatic, just to keep their people inside the system. Nothing wrong at all, everyone was very happy, there.

  • James H, London

    Oh, sorry, I forgot about the machine-gun towers. Those nice, free, easygoing, People’s Democratic machine-gun towers.

  • MaryK

    Hmmmmm!  Well, I rest my case!  I posted a response to “Part I” with my opinion of your conclusions and I still find them one-sided, politically weak, and even less inspiring than before. So, i will say it again…just because the neutral premises you began with appears to “mirror” the original socialistic goals of an oppresive country, [the attempt to legislate wealthy individuals to pay their share of taxes; national healthcare, etc], it does not mean the premises are evil in themselves.  The need for solutions to social injustice does not sink into the same abyss as did Frank Marshall’s interpretations.  Not everyone who works for social justice, healthcare for all, or taxation equality extolls the virtue of Communist Russia.  Just bc Davis praised Stalin [who put to death all those he considered inferior, didn’t agree with him, and trashed the current system of government that wound up enslaving a whole nation], does not negate the need for social justice in the America.

    And, finally, though Davis was reportedly once a said “mentor” of young Obama in Hawaii does not mean he swallowed the lesson whole.  I remember when I was in the 4th grade, I had a friend who liked to steal candybars from the store and had me convinced to keep the storekeeper busy with questions while she stuffed her pockets.  Did that mean I grew up to be an habitual thief?  No – but I suppose getting caught was part of the lesson learned. So, even if the Davis/Obama story is true, [which I doubt], does every kid believe every word that proceeds out of the mouths of all teachers, parents, friends?

    And, fellow readers – don’t call me a “lolligagging liberal” – I am not, and though i will be holding my nose while i vote, it will probably be for the Mitt – though it pains me to say so.

  • edmund burk

    sorry, if your suggesting that soviet dictatorship started with stalin your wrong,
    it started with lenin.

  • MaryK

    Your reply indicates that you think I don’t know my history – well, it may get fuzzy now and then bc of my age, but if you read the column, part II, you would see i was merely referring to the author’s line, “…Davis hailed Joe Stalin’s state for its alleged freedom and democracy…” Perhaps I should have said, “Davis praised Stalin who helped Lenin to murder…” so people who only read what others say until they can find a word to fault them for will be appeased.

    But alas!  I guess I’ll forgive you.

  • mally el

    I believe the story is true. Though many of us do not believe every word that proceeds out of the mouths of teachers, there are some ardent disciples that are swayed by their gurus.

  • mally el

    And even the workers who, at the beginning, supported them had no rights. Were strikes and protest marches allowed? Not in the least!

  • Gabriel Austin

    Unless you believe that the Communists [Bolshevists] are devils incarnate, you must examine their premises.  Were all Communists wicked? Was there no justice on their side? Let us examine the state of affairs at the time [if only in Russia]. From whom did the Bolshevists learn about secret police [the tsarist Okhrana]?] Who first developed the prison system in Siberia, which evolved into the Gulag?
    Were traditional working conditions under the Tsars very much different from slavery?
    Should we go further and examine conditions in English factories? in the U.S.? In the rest of Europe? In Latin America? Is there truly a good excuse for the comfort of our episcopacy while their sheep are going hungry? “Blind mouths” Milton called them.
    Consider the mansions built [and now being torn down] by the overly rich. Facing the Lord on the latter day, I think I should rather be found among those who – however, mistakenly pleaded for the poor – than among those who were growing overweight with what Thomas Aquinas called excess beyond need which is to the poor for their sustenance. Why do you think God makes the poor?

  • vitto

    well, as Chesterton said, Christianity is a hard thing that has never been tried. The same can be said about communism – it simply has not been tried on a major scale. Stalinism was just a perversion of communism, and the whole Soviet system (in which I grew up) – just a form of State capitalism, with the traditional ruling class and enormous inequality. Milder forms of socialism, meanwhile, have enjoyed enormous success in certain places Europe, especially Scandinavia. It is an acceptable compromise system on the way to more radical emancipation from slavery to capital and the ruling class.

  • vitto

    by the way, nice job, dear afraid censors, trying to block me out. But you will have to try again

  • catholicexchange

    Where did Chesterton ever say that Christianity is a hard thing that has never been tried? That doesn’t even make very much sense, since there are over a billion people trying it right now. As to Communism, it certainly has been tried, and on a very large scale, and the result has been misery. 

  • Vitto

    “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.”
    One of the most famous quotes, definitely known to those familiar with Chesterton.
    The true principles of Christianity, as well as of Communism, very often overlapping, have never been tried on a significant scale. Chesterton is of course not talking about personal attempts.

  • catholicexchange

    Yes, I’m very familiar with that quote–but as anyone can see its completely different from the bogus version you posted. Chesterton is pointing out that Christianity is difficult to practice, and therefore many give up trying. Your version states simply that “Christianity is a hard thing that has never been tried”–G.K. never said that–nobody could say that, since many people have tried it, and many saints have done quite well with it. Worse, you not only garble Chesterton’s quote, you then try to adopt Chesterton and use the misquote to endorse communism, a system which has been tried on a major scale and ended in shameful failure.

  • GabrielAustin

    It has been said that GKC’s comment on Christianity not having been tried [Kierkegaard has a similar comment] is to be found in his WHAT’S WRONG WITH THE WORLD. This will give all you lazy commentators a chance to re-rea that wonderful book.
    I add a note: what difference does it make who said it? Is it true or not?  

  • MaryK

    Thanks CE for setting that straight.  I noticed Vitto’s misquote immediately, but was too busy to respond at the time.  Now I don’t have to. You covered it well.