political organization

political organization

Father Coughlin: December 18, 1938 - Jewish And Christian Concept Of The Messiah

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Father Charles Edward Coughlin (October 25, 1891 – October 27, 1979) was a controversial Roman Catholic priest at Royal Oak, Michigan's National Shrine of the Little Flower church. He was one of the first political leaders to use radio to reach a mass audience, as possibly thirty million listeners tuned to his weekly broadcasts during the 1930s. Early in his career Coughlin was a vocal supporter of Franklin D. Roosevelt and his early New Deal proposals, before later becoming a harsh critic of Roosevelt as too friendly to bankers. In 1934 he announced a new political organization called the National Union for Social Justice. He wrote a platform calling for monetary reforms, the nationalization of major industries and railroads, and protection of the rights of labor. The membership ran into the millions, resembling the Populist movement of the 1890s. After hinting at attacks on Jewish bankers, Coughlin began to use his radio program to issue antisemitic commentary, and later to support at least some of the policies of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. The broadcasts have been called "a variation of the Fascist agenda applied to American culture". His chief topics were political and economic rather than religious, with his slogan being Social Justice, first with, and later against, the New Deal. Many American bishops as well as the Vatican wanted him silenced, but it was the Roosevelt administration that finally forced the cancellation of his radio program and forbade the dissemination through the post of his newspaper, Social Justice. Coughlin began his radio broadcasts in 1926 on station WJR, in response to cross burnings by the Ku Klux Klan on the grounds of his church, giving a weekly hour-long radio program. His program was picked up by CBS four years later for national broadcast. Until the beginning of the Depression, Father Coughlin mainly covered religious topics in his weekly radio addresses, in contrast to the political topics which dominated his radio speeches throughout the 1930s. His radio addresses began to communicate a more political message in January 1930, when he began a series of attacks against communism and socialism. In addition to attacking communism and socialism, he also criticized the capitalists in America whose greed had made Communist ideology attractive to many Americans. Having gained a reputation as an outspoken anti-communist, in July 1930 he was given star billing as a witness before the House Committee to Investigate Communist Activities. In 1931 the CBS radio network dropped free sponsorship after Coughlin refused to accept network demands that his scripts be reviewed prior to broadcast, so he raised money to create his own national network, which soon reached millions of listeners on a 36-station hookup. He strongly endorsed Franklin D. Roosevelt during the 1932 Presidential election. He was an early supporter of Roosevelt's New Deal reforms and coined the phrase "Roosevelt or Ruin", which became famous during the early days of the first FDR administration. Another phrase he became known for was "The New Deal is Christ's Deal." In January 1934, Coughlin testified before Congress in support of FDR's policies, saying, "If Congress fails to back up the President in his monetary program, I predict a revolution in this country which will make the French Revolution look silly!" He further stated to the Congressional hearing, "God is directing President Roosevelt." --------------------------------------------------------------------------------