Obama Advisor is Well Known Dissenting Catholic

Deal W. Hudson
December 7, 2007

Marshall Ganz, a Harvard sociologist, was a major force behind organizing Voice of the Faithful (VOTF), a dissenting Catholic organization devoted to “structural” change in the Church. VOTF, you may recall, used the occasion of the priest sex scandals to call for changes in Catholic doctrine such as the addition of a married priesthood and popularly-elected bishops.

Ganz is a nationally known expert in political organizing. In 2004 he was an adviser to Howard Dean – Ganz now advises Democratic presidential candidate, Barak Obama.

Ganz’s intent in helping to found VOTF is made clear from a letter published on the VOTF web site by his former graduate assistant, Aimee Caravich. Caravich was hired by VOTF to develop a training program for regional coordinators and affiliate leaders.

Caravich, in a letter to VOTF members, wrote:

I sincerely believe… VOTF can rise to its feet and claim a piece of the power that the Catholic hierarchy currently holds. I am here to get that ball rolling… After all, as the VOTF opening prayer states, ‘We are the Church.’

Ganz recruited her into VOTF after they spent two years together teaching “People, Power, and Change” at the Kennedy School of Government.

Now the same man who helped create an organization to change the hierarchical structure of the Catholic Church is a chief adviser to Barak Obama. Last summer, for example, Ganz helped to design and implement “Camp Obama” in five cities across the country. Camp Obama was a three-day training session for volunteers who were tasked with creating a precinct level political organization from the grassroots up.

The Camp Obama website features a video where Ganz explains, “How we can develop our own stories of self so we can relate with voters on a deeper emotional level than just to transfer information.”

Ganz certainly has the credentials for this line of work. He was a civil rights and labor organizer with figures like Cesar Chavez. Additionally, he also worked for 16 years with the United Farm Workers, eventually becoming their National Organizing Director. Ganz tells the story of his work with UFW in his book, Why David Sometimes Wins.

Perhaps Ganz sees Obama as the David who can topple the Goliath who is Hillary Clinton. Obviously, he views the successful grassroots organization as a key to an Obama victory over the well-financed Clinton political machine.

But the presence of Ganz in the Obama campaign suggests the candidate himself applauds the kind of change in the Catholic Church Ganz and his associates were trying to effect through VOTF.

So what is Obama’s attitude toward Catholics?

In his speech, last summer to the Call to Renewal Conference he explained, “The majority of Catholics practice birth control because they, like all Americans, ‘intuitively’ recognize religious teachings that are ‘more culturally specific’ and may be modified to accommodate modern life.”

Marshall Ganz may or may not have had a hand in writing that speech, but it sounds like it came right out of the VOTF handbook for Catholic dissent. Obama applauds Catholics in their dissent against Humanae Vitae as intuitive and distinctively American.

Obama has Catholic support, including a priest from Chicago, Fr. Michael Pfleger who said,”I think Barak Obama is in a class of his own.” Not really, Father. Just like presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, and Rudy Giuliani, Obama is pro-abortion and pro-gay marriage.

Now that Clinton is sliding downward in the polls, and the Obama campaign is gaining ground, we may be hearing more of Obama’s opinions on Catholic teaching.

By Deal Hudson

Deal W. Hudson was born November 20, 1949 in Denver, CO, to Emmie and Jack Hudson, both native Texans. Dr. Hudson had an older sister Ruth, and eventually, a younger sister, Elizabeth. Emmie Hudson, Ruth Hudson and Elizabeth Hudson now live in Houston, TX; Jack Hudson passed away some years ago. The late Jack Hudson was a captain for Braniff Airlines in Denver at the time of Dr. Hudson’s birth. Later the family moved to Kansas City when his father joined the Federal Aviation Agency. From Kansas City, the Hudson family moved to Minneapolis, then to Massapequa, NY, and finally to Alexandria, VA, where they first occupied a home overlooking the Potomac River adjacent to the Mount Vernon estate. After a year, the family moved to a home on Tarpon Lane a few houses up the street from the Yacht Haven boat docks. Dr. Hudson attended Mt. Vernon Elementary School from grades 4 to 6 and has a special gratitude for the teaching of Mr. Hoppe who first told him was a ‘smart lad.’ Having moved with his family to Fort Worth, TX in 1960, Dr. Hudson attended William Monnig Junior High and Arlington Heights HS. In high school, Dr. Hudson was captain of the golf team, editor of the literary magazine (Guerdon), and performed the role of Peter in the ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ during his senior year. Dr. Hudson graduated cum laude with a major in philosophy from the University of Texas-Austin in 1971 where his undergraduate advisor was Prof. John Silber. His teachers at the University of Texas included Prof. Louis Mackey and Prof. Larry Caroline. Dr. Hudson minored in both classics and English literature. Dr. Hudson lived in Atlanta from 1974-1989, where he attended Emory University, receiving a Phd from the Graduate Institute for the LIberal Arts. He also taught philosophy at Mercer University in Atlanta from 1980-89. In 1989 Dr. Hudson and his family left Atlanta when he was hired to teach philosophy at Fordham University in the Bronx. Dr. Hudson taught at Fordham, and also part-time at New York University, from 1989 to 1994. Dr. Hudson first came to Atlanta in after graduation from Princeton Theological Seminary (PTS) with an M.Div. While at PTS, Dr. Hudson managed the Baptist Student Union at Princeton University and became its first director. Dr. Hudson also was licensed at a minister in the Southern Baptist Convention at Madison Baptist Church in Madison, NJ. Dr. Hudson’s primary area of study at PTS was the history of Christian doctrine which he pursued with Dr. Karlfried Froelich. In 1984 Dr. Hudson was received in the Catholic Church by Msgr. Richard Lopez, with the special permission of Archbishop Thomas A. Donnellan, at the chapel of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Cancer Home in Atlanta. Dr. Hudson has been married twenty-five years to Theresa Carver Hudson and they have two children, Hannah Clare, 23, and Cyprian Joseph (Chip), 15, adopted from Romania when he was three years old. The Hudson family has lived in Fairfax, VA for more than fifteen years, after having lived five years in Bronxville, NY and a year in Atlanta, GA, where Theresa and Deal were married.

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