Thursday, January 11, 2007

The "Religious Left"

Seventh Day Baptists have long since withdrawn membership from the National Council of Churches. It's a good thing:
The National Council of Churches is becoming financially beholden to secular groups with liberal political leanings, according to a report by a religious watchdog organization.

The Institute on Religion and Democracy, a group formed by members of the NCC, says the group accepted the majority of its charitable donations last year from nonreligious organizations and has been pursuing an agenda that does not mesh with the majority of its church members, including support for abortion and homosexual "marriage."

"We found numerous common themes among the dozens of nonchurch entities from which the church council has recently sought or received funding," said John Lomperis, a research associate with IRD who co-wrote the group's report on the NCC.

"These groups have very little demonstrated interest in religion beyond recruiting faith communities to support their favored social and political causes."

Politically affiliated groups who donated to the NCC between 2004 and 2005 include the Sierra Club; the Ford Foundation, which advocated for "reproductive rights"; the United Nations Foundation, which is funded by billionaire media mogul and philanthropist Ted Turner; and the Connect US Network, which has ties to George Soros' Open Society Institute, Mr. Lomperis said.

Mr. Lomperis says the NCC also applied for a $100,000 grant from, a liberal political-advocacy group that worked to defeat President Bush in the 2004 election, but has not yet received any grant money from the organization.

IRD Vice President Alan F.H. Wisdom says the problem lies not with the NCC accepting such money, but that the groups who are donating it do not reflect the views of the member churches. "The religious left simply does not have 45 million people in the pews on any given Sunday," he said. [links added]
At IRD - "Executive Summary of 'Strange Yokefellows"

At GetReligion - "Looking Beyond the Press Conference"

More at Get Religion 1/19 - Knight's Crusade

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous3:17 PM

    Just read this piece of commentary on

    Regardless of your opinion of the IRD or the NCC, the report raises serious questions about the National Council of Churches and it’s sources of funding. Bob Edgar, like the UCC’s John Thomas, doesn’t like to have his motives questioned and will undoubtedly respond by claiming a right-wing conspiracy instead of actually explaining why the National Council of Churches hasn’t been more transparent about it’s sources of funding. In September, 2005, the United Methodist Church (Edgar’s own church and the largest member of the National Council of Churches) sent a “letter of concern” to the NCC over the departure of the Antiochian Orthodox Church and called for “immediate steps to understand” why the Orthodox church left the NCC. In the same letter, the United Methodist Church also expressed it’s “disdain” over a politically loaded fund raising letter that Edgar sent out in June of 2005.

    Edgar’s initial reaction to the criticism he received from the letter was to suggest a conspiracy by “those who try to dilute our witness and mislead our friends by suggesting that the National Council of Churches is a partisan, left-leaning organization.” However, his tune changed after the UMC letter. Thomas Hoyt, then President of the National Council of Churches, said that Edgar now “has acknowledged that the letter was sent from the development office without proper review.”

    The IRD, on the other hand, has a clear political agenda. Unlike the National Council of Churches, their agenda is transparent and their sources of funding are very public. But the biggest difference between the NCC and the IRD is their constituency. Whether you love them or hate them, the IRD’s members voluntarily and directly subscribe to their values and principles. The 45 million members that the NCC claims to represent are so buried under multiple levels of bureaucracy between their local churches, associations, conferences and denomination offices that there is literally no connection between the NCC and it’s members. Further, since the NCC claims to speak with a prophetic voice on a range of issues, it has a moral obligation to publicly disclose it’s sources of funding and political alliances – but it does not. At a minimum, the IRD report provides a level of transparency that the NCC won’t disclose on it’s own.


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