"The people have spoken and the only American thing to do is abide by the will of the people." (Father Coughlin)
Traditionally in American culture, members of the clergy have been among the most trusted people in the nation, while politicians have been the least trusted. So, one might ask, what happens when these two classes collide into the form of one person? The result, it appears from history, is rarely all good, perhaps due to the difficulty of reconciling the moral high ground with political mud.
For whatever reasons, clergymen rarely make good politicians, and there is perhaps no better example of this than Father Charles Coughlin, a Depression-era priest-turned-demagogue who was seen as an angel by some and a devil by others. Both viewpoints had plenty of reasons for their perspectives, for the same man who cruelly castigated the Jews also spoke eloquently on the needs and rights of the most downtrodden in society. The same orator who said, "Roosevelt or ruin", later cried, "Roosevelt and ruin." He was a radio priest who came to power after being victimized by the Ku Klux Klan and then used his power to spread racial hatred against others. He was a highly political Catholic who hated the first Catholic presidential candidate in American history.
Coughlin has always been a slippery subject to wrap one's mind around, and this was so even at the height of his power, but nobody can deny his influence. In the 1930s, his effective use of the radio revolutionized mass communications, and millions of people listened to his every word. It would have been impossible for well-known televangelists and religious figures like Jerry Falwell and Billy Graham to rise to national prominence without Coughlin setting the precedents decades earlier.
Father Charles Coughlin: The Life of the Controversial Catholic Priest Who Revolutionized Radio chronicles the colorful life of one of the most famous priests in American history. You will learn about Father Coughlin like never before, in no time at all.
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