Little magazines, especially those on the Left, have received some attention here at the blog and at our conference, but little organizations, especially religious ones, fade in and out of view. High-profile think tanks and groups like the John Birch Society have been addressed. But think tanks are a special case for intellectual historians by nature of their work, and have been discussed many times at the blog. And the John Birch Society doesn’t qualify as little, given the number members (60-100,000) and local chapters that existed by the early 1960s.
Since religious history is intellectual history—“without qualification,” in Eran Zelnik’s words (with which I agree)—then perhaps we should pay more attention to little religious organizations that mobilize to effect momentous outcomes, or that symbolize a nexus of key issues.
One such organization has come up in discussions of Phyllis Schlafly’s passing: The Cardinal Mindszenty Foundation. And it just so happens that this one intersects with the activities of Birchers. The NYT obituary for Schlafly provided the following basics: Continue reading