The subject came up because we were talking about the great Andrew Mellon—the late uncle of whom he was enormously proud—and the Mellon family presence in the Shadyside and East Liberty area of Pittsburgh. He told me that East Liberty Presbyterian is known as “the Mellon church,” because of all the money the Mellons pumped in. He told me his father was Episcopalian and mother was Presbyterian, “as were all the Mellons.” When Dick was 18, he was given the choice of being Episcopalian or Presbyterian. He chose Presbyterian.
Scaife told me that he even served on the board of the East Liberty Presbyterian church, though he said the meetings were terribly boring and he always fell asleep, especially if he had been drinking at dinner beforehand. He bolted the church when the new pastor, Charles P. Robshaw, “came out in favor of Fidel Castro.”
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I cannot confirm whether Robshaw was pro-Castro, but if one thing really upset Dick Scaife, it was people on the Religious Left who were sympathetic to or duped by atheistic-totalitarian communists. And so, with that, Dick bolted and never went back to the church.
But the big picture is this: Dick Scaife told me he was not an atheist. This is something that will not be discussed in obituaries of the man, but it is most definitely something on the minds of many who knew him.
And in the end, when it comes down to it, despite everything else Dick Scaife supported with his billions, this truly is what matters most. A mere 82 years is nothing compared to eternity.
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