Sunday, January 17, 2010

Father Coughlin

And while we're on the subject ...

Father Charles Edward Coughlin, a Canadian-born priest, and once a supporter of FDR's, famously turned against him and campaigned against him in 1936. On July 16 he was the final speaker before a convention at Public Hall. What began as a calm, reserved speech escalated into a feverish screed, where he had to undo his clerical collar and take off his jacket. He denounced the money-changers of the Federal Reserve, and the crowd of ten thousand stood in admiration as he championed his own National Union for Social Justice:
As far as the National Union is concerned, no candidate who is endorsed for Congress can campaign, go electioneering for, or support the great betrayer and liar, Franklin D. Roosevelt....I ask you to purge the man who claims to be a democrat from the Democratic Party—I mean Franklin Double-Crossing Roosevelt.
The culmination of the first convention of the NUSJ was held before 42,000 supporters at Municipal Stadium. Following his speech, where he called FDR a Communist (I mean, come on) he collapsed from exhaustion.

His Union Party nominated William Lemke for President, and after the 1936 election he descended further into Anti-Semetic rhetoric, expressing sympathy for Hitler and Mussolini, and championing American isolationism from World War II.

-David H. Bennett, Demagogues in the Depression: American Radicals and the Union Party, 1932-1936 (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1969)
-Karen G. Ketchaver, Father Charles E. Coughlin—The “Radio Priest” of the 1930

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