The Religious Roots of Alcoholics Anonymous
and the Twelve Steps
Frank Buchman, Anti-Communist, Union-Buster, Spiritual Strike-Breaker
Playing to the Red Scare of the early 1950's,
the opportunistic Frank Buchman shifted the focus of his publicity
campaign to anti-Communism,
and he claimed that MRA was now the philosophy that would save
the world from Communism.
FOIL TO REDS SEEN
IN MORAL VERITIES
Re-armament Group Ends Its
Sessions as Leaders Cite
Ideals of Dr. Buchman
By FOSTER HAILEY
Special to The New York Times.
MACKINAC ISLAND, Mich., July 18 — The ideology of moral
re-armament as the best answer to communism in Asia, Africa
and other disturbed regions was the theme most stressed
today by speakers at the North American assembly of the
Moral Re-Armament Movement. The addresses were delivered
at the closing session of a ten-day convention.
In addition to the 250 North Americans who have attended
all or some of the sessions, the assembly was visited by
followers from the Philippines, Ethiopia, India, Great
Britain and other countries.
Among the visitors, who discerned in the more absolute of
impulses of the Moral Re-Armament Movement — honesty, purity,
unselfishness and love — the best answer to the Moscow-dominated
doctrine of proletarian dictatorship, were M. V. Karnath, editor
of The Free Press of Bombay; Ross Lim and Roberto Oca of the
Philippines who were delegates to the recent International
Labor Organization Conference recently in Geneva, and Amha
Aberra, governor of a province of Ethiopia.
"Americans may suffer from being too materialistic, but
we — the Indians — suffer from being too philosophical,"
Mr. Karnath told the assembly at one of its meetings. "We
are a lost people — that is why the Communist ideology seems
to have been accepted in so many cases.
"Indians are not basically anti-American and we want the
right people to come and tell us the right things, as Frank
Buchman did with his force of Moral Re-Armament. I have seen
a bomb-throwing Communist change because of Moral Re-Armament."
... Dr. Buchman last year led a caravan of more than 200 followers
on a motor trip through India, Kashmir and Pakistan.... The New York Times, July 19, 1954, page 16.
"The Indian people suffer from being too philosophical?
We are a lost people? We want the right people (white people)
to come and tell us the right things?"
Jeez Louise. Where did Frank Buchman find that pathetic grovelling sycophant?
Indian Buchmanites: Sri Bekkai (far left) and Mohamed Masmoudi (far right), with
the former French socialist Mrs. Irene Laure and the French businessman Robert Carmichael.
Frank Buchman sent his theatrical troup on a world-wide tour, trying to spread his
anti-Communist message around the world. He talked sympathetic people in the U.S.
Air Force into flying his show around the world for free. When this fact became
known, a scandal erupted. The Secretary of the Air Force under President Eisenhower
resigned over it, and then rationalized that he had really resigned for other
reasons. Then Buchman wrote a check to the U.S. Air Force to pay for the use of
the airplanes (which was way too small to cover the expenses), and explained that
MRA never took any free gifts from the Air Force.
"Take on the top athletes and scholars and subvert them."
The MRA propaganda film "The Crowning Experience"
depicts Communist agents plotting to destroy an American Negro university
by "subverting" the top students.
In his analysis of Buchmanism, Geoffrey Williamson commented:
Finally, I think the Buchmanites have made a cardinal error in turning their
energies towards high-pressure politics in general and towards anti-Communist
activities in particular.
Again, they may contend that they are merely exploiting human fears of
another world war to lure people to Caux to listen to the "Message".
But even if that is their alibi, it still seems too drastic a departure
from their registered aims of advancing the Christian religion. Inside Buchmanism; an independent inquiry into the
Oxford Group Movement and Moral Re-Armament,
Geoffrey Williamson, Philosophical Library, New York, c1954, page 222.
Buchman's anti-Communist campaign never caught on.
The MRA organization was reduced to being a mere shell
of its former self. Still, it hung on for a good while longer.
There were always still a few more rich arch-conservatives willing
to make donations here and there, to keep Frank Buchman going for a
little while longer.
What particularly pleased rich ultra-conservatives was Buchman's
preaching that labor's demands for higher wages were merely sinful
Remember Buchman's remarks while praising Hitler:
aren't economic. They're moral and they can't be solved by immoral
Buchman declared that all social and human
problems were due to sin,
and he considered labor's demands for higher wages to be
"immoral" attempts to improve the world, using social
activism when prayer and confession were the only acceptable answers
to the world's problems.
Some of the big businessmen loved the sound of that.
As usual, Frank Buchman exaggerated and lied about his accomplishments
in the field of labor relations.
He loved to tell rich industrialists that he had saved some other
industrialist millions of dollars by "changing" some labor
leader, like John Riffe, Executive Vice-President of the CIO, and
the labor leader had gotten down on his knees and cried to God and
confessed all of his sins and shortcomings to the business executive,
who was so touched that he had gotten down on his knees, and confessed
his sins. Then, the two of them successfully negotiated a fair labor
contract. The only problem with that story is that it never
Still, Frank Buchman's preaching about labor's
demands for higher wages being sin was music to big business' ears,
and Frank got his donations.
Peter Howard, the fascist
who would assume the leadership of Moral Re-Armament
after Frank Buchman's death, wrote in one of his shallow books of
propaganda that Buchmanites were solving all kinds of labor problems
just by getting the leaders of labor and management to stop being angry and resentful.
This story of two young Buchmanites ending a labor strike is
typical of Frank Buchman's simple-minded solutions to major social problems:
In Britain two young Trade Unionists offer a first-rate example of
industrial statesmanship by the ordinary man who sees the battle line clearly.
In the area where they work the bitterness between the men's leader
and the manager of a large-scale concern had created difficulty and
deadlock. At a critical period of World War Number 2 the men's leader
called a strike which might involve 5,000 families. Work stopped.
The two young Trade Unionists talked things over. Then they called on
the men's leader and asked him to come and see the manager with them.
He said, "Not me. I'm not going to crawl to that you-can-guess-what."
The two young men then went to the manager's house. They asked him to
write to the men's leader inviting him up to his house. The manager
Then these two young fellows said something like this:
"Look here, sir, this bad feeling causes endless suffering. It must
stop. Why don't you take the first step?"
After two hours' talk the manager pocketed his pride and they got
their letter. The men's leader was so astonished at its friendly tone
that he pocketed his pride and went with them. After several hours'
conference every personal difficulty was ended. A provisional
settlement, agreed unanimously by the employees in the morning, was
drafted. The men went back to work.
The manager agreed to meet the men's leader face to face once a month
and try to reach with him, in a spirit of honesty, the right answer
to all problems arising in undertakings within his control. From that
moment a new spirit began to grow. Grievances which for years had
rankled started to move toward solution. So every family connected
with those huge concerns and the nation's interests also were
safeguarded by the industrial statesmanship of two ordinary working
These two young fellows are out to fight the war of ideas throughout
industry. They are out to build teamwork in the best interests of the
nation and in the spirit of Keir Hardie and the Labor pioneers. Ideas Have Legs, Peter Howard (1946), pages 123-124.
MRA pretended to be neutral in labor disputes, but they were actually very biased
against labor unions. The MRA members thought it pretty funny to ridicule unions
and strikes with fake picket signs like "United Oughta Workers".
There was no mention of money. There was no consideration of the
never-ending conflict between the stockholders' demands for
greater profits and the workers' demands for higher wages.
Frank Buchman's understanding of economics was non-existent.
Once again, we see Buchman's belief that
"Human problems aren't economic.
They're moral and they can't be solved by immoral measures."
In Frank Buchman's simple mind, conflicts between labor and management were
all just a matter of bad feelings, bitterness, pride, and selfish "Materialism"
— "personal difficulties" between the labor leader and the manager
— all of which could be resolved with
just a few hours of friendly "honest" talk.
Then everybody would unanimously vote to go back to work
as if nothing had ever happened. (So why did the workers go out on
strike in the first place? Did they have no genuine grievances?
Were they all just in a bad mood?)
And notice how Howard imagined that there was a "right answer to
all problems" that could be found with just a little honest talk.
That is childishly simplistic thinking.
Worse than childish was the way that Buchman and his followers constantly
exaggerated and lied about their successes. At one point, Buchman claimed
that there had been no more labor difficulties or strikes on the London docks since
Moral Re-Armament started its campaign among the dock workers. Tom Driberg,
a Labor Party Member of Parliament, immediately listed three large,
serious, prolonged and expensive strikes that had occurred in spite of Buchman's
meddling in labor union
Likewise, when Driberg investigated the MRA claims that their campaigns had greatly
increased production in the coal mines, he found that their claims were completely bogus,
and that their statistics were fabricated out of thin air.
The following story which MRA published also shows the standard MRA attitude about labor
unions and strikes:
Gordon MacDonald, Briggs Local 212, United Automobile Workers Union, CIO,
speaking at Mackinac about his work in Detroit:
I worked for the company back in 1924-30 but was discharged because of an argument
with a minor executive. Four years later I was back with the company. During that
time my hatred for this person grew larger and larger. When the Union came in
during 1937 I immediately saw a chance to get back at this person. First, I took
the position of Steward over some 20 people. Then Chief Steward of some 800 people.
I went up to Chairman of the Shop Committee of 15,000 and then was elected First
Vice-President of the Company, employing 27,000. That was the spot I'd wanted.
It was one week before Pearl Harbor. I was out to get even with that person,
but an Executive Order from Washington said no more automobiles and my equipment
was taken out of my hands so fast I didn't know. Instead of having some 22,000
people to back me up I had some 22,000 saying, "Where's my job?"
The weapon was turned back at myself.
During this time our relationship with Management was terrible. I would have some
flare-up in the shop among the few people that were working and called the Management.
That was how it was until one day we were called to the office of the industrial
relations man with three or four from the Revue. So we agreed to put the show on for
By that time I had maybe 4,000 people working who had suddenly become prima donnas
in their own estimation in the world of industry. They were very touchy and easily
agitated. I was at a loss about what to do. Our meetings because chaos. We would have
commonsense for 15 minutes, then for two or three hours we battled and settled nothing.
We had the Show. I didn't see the answer to my problem, but a couple of the boys
that are in the Army now — Duncan Corcoran and Stuart Smith, every time I looked
out of my office door I saw one of them, so I came up to Mackinac and got a little
bit of philosophy, but I still had that feeling in my heart. When I went back
after the first visit here I found that the plan had dissolved a little bit.
Then the boys were on my doorstep again and back I come. After being here I went
back on the job and suddenly found, through being honest, that what I thought was
the poorest example of a personnel man wasn't such a bad chap. I found out he had
been waiting for me to be honest and I had been waiting for him, and neither one
of us was ready to give in. But the mutual respect and feelings that we have now
has done a lot. The concessions that the Company has given us in the past nine
months are more than we have got in the past six years.
Formerly we paid a high salary to a lawyer to put trick clauses in our contract.
The Company did likewise. We used to give our Chief Stewards and Committeemen an
interpretation of the contract — a Union interpretation — the Company gave their
Supervisors their interpretation, and it was like reading the Bible and reading
some fiction. They didn't jibe. We had continued quarrels. To show you the
difference — what honesty and unselfishness has done in that plant.
We signed this contract in less than 24 hours, a contract that previously took
30 to 60 days. Preview Of A New World; How Frank Buchman Helped his country Move from isolation
To world responsibility; USA 1939-1946, Arthur Strong, page 136.
Again, we got the standard MRA story that all difficulties between labor and
management were caused by some laborer having a silly resentment against
the management, and the cure for the problem was a dose of Moral Re-Armament philosophy,
as expressed in a song-and-dance show. Henry Ford must have been pleased.
Also notice how the MRA recruiters, Duncan Corcoran and Stuart Smith,
kept coming around again and again, determined to add the scalp of a
union official to their belts. --United Auto Workers, no less.
Henry Ford must have been very pleased.
In 1942, Frank Buchman found it amusing to celebrate Labor Day with a fake
"labor union convention" that declared that Moral Re-Armament was the best
The Moral Re-Armament "labor union convention" arranged around
the front porch of the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. Frank Buchman is
on the porch, at center.
"Materialism" was one of Frank Buchman's favorite words.
Buchman found both labor and management guilty of it. When workers
wanted higher wages, that was Materialism. When factory owners wanted
greater profits, that was also Materialism.
Materialism is our great enemy. It is the chief "ism" we have to combat and conquer.
It is the mother of all "isms". There is the battleground. There the warfare must
be waged so that we can firmly establish those homely truths of honesty,
unselfishness and obedience to God that are the hallmarks of personal and
national sanity. ...
This is the battle of Moral Re-Armament. Without the conquest of materialism,
our nations will decay from within while we prepare to defend ourselves against
attack from without.
Materialism and atheism are breeding-grounds for corruption, anarchy and revolution.
These have their allies in the selfishness that rules our homes, the bitterness
that separates class from class, and the spirit of faction that divides a nation. Remaking the World: The Speeches of Frank Buchman, Frank Buchman,
Is it "materialism" if you desire that your children have food and clothing?
Is it "selfishness" to desire a good home for your family and a good
job for yourself?
Is it "materialism" to want a fair day's pay for a fair day's work?
Is it "materialism" to want good health care?
Is it "materialism" to desire a retirement fund?
How much can we rise above abject poverty and misery before we are, in the
eyes of people like Frank Buchman,
immoral and guilty of "materialism"?
That's the problem with Frank Buchman's simplistic, absolute, black-and-white thinking.
Whether someone is "materialistic" or just surviving in this material world is a
matter of shades of gray. It's easy to make absolute, sweeping statements.
It's much harder to be realistic and truthful.
And even more to the point:
Why didn't Frank Buchman's consider his ultra-rich sponsors
and multi-millionaire patrons guilty of wallowing in "materialism"?
How did they rate a life of wealth and leisure?
Why didn't Frank Buchman think about his own materialism when he
lived a luxurious first-class lifestyle in the Waldorf Astoria and Mayfair Hotels,
and in the first-class salons of floating palaces like the Queen Mary?
Or was Frank Buchman's entire "philosophy" just so much selfish hypocrisy?
Frank Buchman's disciple Peter Howard likewise wrote:
The Materialists of the Right treat labor as a commodity to be taken on
and thrown off as convenient. They treat employees as ciphers in a ledger,
as things not people. Some of them want to swing Management into a
full-scale class war, to coerce and hold down the working classes.
They want a class war for just the same reason as extremists of the
Left — because they think they can win it. ...
Within the ranks of Labor, two sections struggle for mastery.
Shall extremists there, who love an alien ideology [Communism]
more than their own country, control the men who wish to
maintain and re-create the best traditions of Trade Unionism?
Or shall they be controlled by them?
The sound elements in Labor are baffled by the subversive forces.
They do not realize exactly what their game is, except that they
do not like it. They do not recognize the war of ideas, and so
they risk defeat in it. Many of them lack absolute standards of
faith or conduct with which to measure the proposals and dealings
of the Materialists ...
It takes a passion to cure a passion, a plan to beat a plan.
Sound Labor needs an ideology and faith to answer the faith
and ideology of the extremists. ...
The old Socialists had a philosophy which prevented them from lining
up with class hatred and the use of armed revolution. They had
a positive picture of free Labor in a God-controlled world. ...
Keir Hardie [wrote]
"Selfishness ... is not by any means a monopoly of the rich.
The same causes which lead the rich employer to lower wages or the
rich landlord to raise rents operate quite as freely with
working men when opportunity and self-interest dictate a like
course." Ideas Have Legs, Peter Howard (1946), pages 117-120.
Peter Howard denounced "The Materialists of the Right", but
I didn't see any denunciation of Henry Ford for hiring gangs of thugs
to beat up strikers...
issuing warnings about the threat of armed revolution. In 1946
both Britain and the U.S.A. were war-weary, having just fought
and won World War Two. The people were relieved to be at peace.
Nobody was in the mood for an armed revolution — there was absolutely no
chance that either the U.S.A. or Great Britain would be taken over by
a Communist revolution — but the Buchmanites raised such fears anyway
(as did Sen. Joseph McCarthy, his mad-dog lawyer Roy Cohn, and other Red-Baiters).
(Can you imagine a spoof where Frank Buchman delivers Martin Luther King's
I Have A Dream speech:
"I have a dream — I see a land where little black children and little white
children work together side by side, and they are all the obedient slaves of
a fascist God..."?)
A playbill for an MRA theatrical production in London, by Peter Howard and Cecil Broadhurst, circa 1956.
Peter Howard wrote a lot of the MRA propaganda, so much so that
MRA literature actually listed Peter Howard's occupation as "playwright".
And this is too good to skip over:
In that same book, Ideas Have Legs,
"the subversive forces of Materialism" for undermining the
British Empire in India:
India is recognized by the subversive forces of Materialism as the keystone
of our whole Imperial edifice, so they concentrate the main strength
of their divisive attacks upon it, endeavoring to stir up unrest between
the various peoples of India and Britain. Ideas Have Legs, Peter Howard (1946), page 150.
Apparently, we are supposed to believe that if the
"subversive agitator for the forces of Materialism",
had just shut up and quit "stirring up unrest" and quit trying to
get food and freedom for his followers,
that the British Imperialists and their Indian subjects
would have gotten along just fine. That was the "brilliant
new morality" of Moral Re-Armament.
What is even funnier is that Frank Buchman liked to count Mahatma Gandhi
as another one of his many famous
friends and admirers. The Buchmanites often boasted that Mahatma Gandhi
had (supposedly) said that Frank Buchman brought very high spirituality to India,
that Frank Buchman's brand of spirituality — MRA — was the best thing
that had come from the West to the East. And the Buchmanites even
painted murals that
portrayed Buchman and Gandhi together.
Nevertheless, Peter Howard still as much as accused Gandhi of
"stirring up unrest" in the British Empire — of being part
of the "subversive forces of Materialism". (Since Mahatma
Gandhi pretty much put an end to the British Empire, I suppose the
hard-core old imperialist Peter Howard had reason to hate Gandhi.)
Peter Howard was of course completely ignoring the cruel materialism that caused British
imperialists to go to the other side of the world to enslave and oppress and rob poor people
for the enrichment of the upper class in England. That is such a huge glaring contradiction
that it is hard to find anything moral in Peter Howard's philosophy.
The art and photo team:
(Back, left to right) Elie Purdy, Annelou Teixeira, Georgina Weaver, Signe Lund, Charlotte Simpson,
Erma Phillips, Van Wishard.
(Front, left to right)
R. Fleming, Nancy Curtis, C. Kennington
and Ray Purdy Jr.
The Buchmanite true believer Arthur Strong was a
draft-dodging British photographer
who traveled with the Moral Re-Armament road shows in the USA from 1939 to 1946.
He later put together a book of photographs and
stories about that adventure. He explained how they rigged photographs of
management and labor union leaders "making peace" with the help of MRA:
At every meeting or revue performance, Bill Jaeger takes round the photographer
allotted him for the evening. He shows who and where they are sitting. These will
be labor union officials, often with their families.
The photographer makes the necessary notes, then joins the other photographers at
the back. They in turn have been shown the leading management, armed forces,
educationalists, club women and any other representative people. Then we have
guidance about what pictures to take, who with who, and above all what is the big
idea symbolic of the whole evening.
During the evening we generally have one cameraman roving for interesting
expressions and good crowd angles. Another stays at the back to cover any who
might have to leave early.
Another goes back stage to pick up any good candid shots of how we work.
It gives you an idea of the importance of pictures in the life of the work
when I mention that short as we are of tenors, I have been excused from
production to give all my time to the pictures.
The big time is when the meeting or revue is over. Then to battle stations.
Bill Jaeger is like a fast bull dog. Sometimes he has a celebrity in tow like
Admiral Sir Edward Cochrane, whom he'll take round to be photographed with
labor man after labor man. The remaining photographers cover the others as
guided (by God).
Quite often we have a youngster to every photographer, carrying flash bulbs and
Of course there will be a few management with labor pictures.
With the evening fully covered we return to our temporary darkroom. Generally one
of us stays to develop, sometimes right through the night, having 5 by 7 prints
ready for the morning team meeting.
Then one photographer goes over the labor pictures with Bill, writing on the back
how many prints are needed — sometimes as many as 16 off one. Others of us go
over with responsible people in the other sections. Management generally prefer
10 by 8. Bill uses as many as 150 in a week. They are used as calling cards for
inviting people for the Sunday follow-up meeting. Bill maintains that it is the
pictures that turn the scale in getting labor to make the 300 miles from Detroit
to Mackinac. Preview Of A New World; How Frank Buchman Helped his country Move from isolation
To world responsibility; USA 1939-1946, Arthur Strong, page 136.
So the Buchmanites would steer labor leaders towards the managers, to be photographed
in smiling, hand-shaking poses, and then, the next day, Moral Re-Armament would be
bragging that it had brought about a new peace between management and labor.
And then Bill Jaeger and the other recruiters used the photographs as an
excuse to get in the door,
to invite people to the Sunday meetings and to lure people to the Mackinac
Island MRA training center for more indoctrination.
Arthur Strong captioned this picture:
"The President of the Associated Industries of Florida (center), after seeing
the Revue. He wanted to be photographed with leaders of labor who also were in
the audience. So five State leaders of the C.I.O. and A.F.L. met and talked with
him at the reception which followed the Revue. The woman had written an article
against him in the labor paper only this week. One week later she wrote in a
different spirit." Preview Of A New World; How Frank Buchman Helped his country Move from isolation
To world responsibility; USA 1939-1946, Arthur Strong, pages 106+107.
John Riffe, the Executive Vice President of the AFL-CIO, and other labor union leaders:
Bob Shippey, Charles Haines, Jim Thimmes, and Jack Flannery Preview Of A New World; How Frank Buchman Helped his country Move from isolation
To world responsibility; USA 1939-1946, Arthur Strong, page 40.
John Riffe was an enthusiastic convert to Buchmanism who tried for years to entice
other labor union leaders to get "changed" and join Buchman's organization.
Preview Of A New World; How Frank Buchman Helped his country Move from isolation
To world responsibility; USA 1939-1946, Arthur Strong, page 177.
The captions on the pictures are:
The Riffe and Scott families with Frank Buchman:
Scott is Financial Secy. Ford Local 600 UAW-CIO,
Riffe, ten years later, was elected Executive
Vice-President of the CIO.
Joe Yablonsky, CIO, Warner Clark, John Riffe, Robert Hall, UAW,
John Ramsay, Bethlehem Steelworks, CIO, Dick Stollery, Canada.
George L. Eastman, Pres., Security Materials Co., Los Angeles,
(Left then clockwise): Robert H. Keys, Pres. Foreman's Assn. of America,
Detroit; H. Birchard Taylor, Vice-Pres. Cramps Shipyards; W. Edgar Gallway,
Pres. Vacudri Corpn., Oakland; H. Baugh, Personnel Mgr. Cramp Shipyards,
Philadelphia; Stanley Parker, Chairman Boston City Plans.
William Schaffer, 1943 Pres. of Shipyard Union, Cramps CIO, of 17,000 men,
with Dale Reed, Pres. Aeronautical Ind. District Lodge No. 727, Int. Assn.
Machinists, AFL — 80,000 members.
This story of 'spiritual strikebreaking' is from Arthur Strong's book
of praise of Frank Buchman and Moral Re-Armament:
Preview Of A New World; How Frank Buchman Helped his country Move from isolation
To world responsibility; USA 1939-1946, Arthur Strong, page 137.
This is one Moral Re-Armament portrayal of labor union leaders:
bigamists, cons, and thugs — even after they had been converted to belief
Preview Of A New World; How Frank Buchman Helped his country Move from isolation
To world responsibility; USA 1939-1946, Arthur Strong, page 205.
Arthur Strong captioned the photograph:
William Schaffer, 3rd from rt. Pres. Local 42, Cramps Shipyard with his most trusted lieutenants.
One has 2 wives — both living in the same house! Another is a former bouncer, who
has been in Sing-Sing prison. He has lost a finger in a fight, and causes us much
merriment when he talks about MRA's 4 standards and holds up 3 fingers.
Schaffer's body-guard is an ex-bouncer with an unusual interpretation of our work.
"Before I got MRA," he says, "I used to hit everybody. Now I just hit the ones Schaffer
tells me to." — C. Clark.
The labor unions did not see things the same way as Frank Buchman did.
Echoing Tom Driberg's earlier denunciation of Buchman's organization as
"spiritual strike-breakers", the International Confederation
of Free Trade Unions condemned Buchman's meddling in labor relations:
WORLD LABOR BODY
Says Moral Rearmament Group
He Heads Is Anti-Union --
Indians Defend Him
Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.
BRUSSELS, Belgium, Sept. 22 — The
International Confederation of Free Trade Unions has issued
a "hands off" warning to Dr. Frank Buchman and his
Moral Rearmament Movement.
In a report recently approved by the confederation's executive
board and now distributed from its headquarters in Brussels
to all affiliated trade unions, the Moral Rearmament Movement
is alleged "to interfere with trade union activities and to
make anti-trade union efforts even to the extent of
trying to found 'yellow unions.'"
The report said there had been cases, "for example, a report
we received from a Swedish worker," where the employers had
exercised very strong pressure on their workers to get them to
join the Moral Rearmament Movement.
"This movement is clearly an exceptional body which is trying
to obstruct the trade union movement with its ideas and through
a small group of followers is trying to introduce its directives
into factories," the report said. "These directives seldom
correspond to the will of the majority and in view of the
sectarian character of the Moral Rearmament Movement are
hardly aimed at the welfare of mankind in general.
"It is our view that the Moral Rearmament Movement should be
prevented from encroaching on trade union preserves."
Ex-Reds Reported Enrolled
The report said that in building up his movement Dr. Buchman
enlisted former Communists. It added:
"The sources from which the Moral Rearmament Movement draws
its necessary funds are completely unknown. All that can be said
is that those who supply the money must be very well off.
In 1946 the movement bought three castles at Caux [Switzerland].
The MRA resort hotel headquarters at Caux, Switzerland.
"As the leaders of the movement themselves emphasize, people of
all races and classes of society and of all political and
religious beliefs belong to the movement. It needs strong
financial support for the upkeep of its considerable machinery,
etc. These amounts can by no means come from the workers in the
ranks of its supporters.
"The movement needs these funds and this certainly means that
it has to make concessions, scarcely in keeping with the original
Buchman program, to those who donate the money."
The world labor body solicited material about the Moral Rearmament
Movement from its affiliated trade unions.
Walter Reuther, president of the Congress of Industrial Organizations,
pointed out in his reply that at the C. I. O. convention of
1951 a resolution was drafted expressing opposition to the movement.
In view of the possibility that such a resolution might be
misinterpreted as an expression of anti-religious opinion,
no formal vote was taken, he said, although no doubt was left
about the feeling of the vast majority.
Mr. Reuther added that an overwhelming majority of the leaders
of the C. I. O. still held the same views. The New York Times, Sept. 23, 1953, page 15.
Notice how the C.I.O. was reluctant to criticize Frank Buchman's political
activities for fear that their statements would be misinterpreted
as an attack on a religion.
Buchman took full advantage of that confusion. He routinely promoted
a fascist political agenda while claiming that he was winning more souls for Christ.
If anyone criticized his behavior, Buchman hid behind the Bible
and claimed that his enemies were immoral and opposed to the Will of God.
Remember Frank Buchman's disciples Peter Howard and Paul Campbell writing:
Moral Re-Armament cannot be honestly opposed on intellectual grounds
because it is basic truth...
Opposition to Moral Re-Armament has special significance.
It always comes from the morally defeated. Remaking Men, by Paul Campbell and Peter Howard, page 66.
TIME magazine reported:
The militantly anti-Communist International Confederation of Free Trade Unions,
which represents 97 unions in 73 countries, tossed a monkey wrench toward the
machinery of Moral Re-Armament, the nondenominational, untheological, polite
revival movement that evolved out of Frank Buchman's old Oxford Group. A report
prepared by I.C.F.T.U.'s secretariat accused the Moral Re-Armament movement of
interfering "with trade-union activities and [making] anti-trade-union
efforts, even to the extent of trying to found 'yellow unions.' " M.R.A.,
it said, was undemocratic: "Buchman does not build up his movement from below
. . . but from the ranks of leaders . . . The sources from which the Moral
Re-Armament movement draws its necessary funds are completely unknown. All that
can be said is that those who supply the money must be very well off."
TIME magazine, Oct. 05, 1953
In spite of M.R.A.'s declining fortunes and the mounting criticism and
denunciations, the true believers continued
to insist that it was a wonderful organization. When Frank Buchman
turned 80 years old, a group of his admirers put together a book
of praise of Buchman that declared:
Coming generations will value him rightly and give his work its
rightful place. The world of today, blinded by lack of ideological clarity,
is not ready to give him bouquets and crowns of laurel. But in the
hearts of all true revolutionaries he is greatly valued and respected.
I thank God for a man who gave my life a new direction. Frank Buchman, Eighty, by His Friends, Blandford Press, page 101.
Likewise, the degree to which the Buchmanites were in denial about any
problems with their religion was almost unbelievable.
In 1963, James M. Coltart, one of the faithful, wrote a letter to Tom Driberg,
the London newspaper reporter and Labor Party Member of Parliament
who had done so much to expose the shortcomings and dishonesty
of Frank Buchman and his organization, saying:
Now may I be frank with you, because I am sure you would expect no less
When I said earlier that your constant criticism didn't disturb me,
what did concern me was that a man like yourself would persist in
criticism year after year,
yet after twenty years you had not to my knowledge been able to discover
and expose any real weakness in the beliefs of MRA. The Mystery of Moral Re-Armament; A Study of Frank Buchman and His
Movement, Tom Driberg, 1965, page 281.