The campaign against mainline denominations

If you are a regular visitor to this site, you know that we are working on a story about the role of secular right-wing foundations in financing the conservative backlash within the Episcopal Church on issues including the ordination of women and the blessing of same-sex unions.

The reach of the foundations is such that most mainline denominations are similarly embroiled. Now, the Web site is rolling out a series of articles on how this issue is playing out in the United Church of Christ.

Talk2Action describes itself as “an online publication, and a forum for discussion, that is focused with unparalleled intensity on the rise of the Christian right as a social and political force – and on what those who are opposed to that movement can do to counter it.”

Here’s their pitch for the stories on the UCC:

“John Dorhauer’s new weekly series on Talk To Action may be unprecedented : Dorhauer’s series concerns an over two decade long campaign, by the far-right wing financed Institute For Religion and Democracy and so called “renewal” groups advocating literal interpretations of the Bible and far right social and political views, to destroy mainstream Protestant Christianity in America. Operating from within mainline Protestant denominations “renewal” groups work to sow dissension via wedge issues such as gay marriage, incite schisms, and so break apart mainstream and liberal denominations and neutralize them as an effective force in American politics.

Before now this campaign has seldom been discussed so publicly, and with John Dorhauer’s series we have an ongoing chronicle from the heart of one embattled denomination, the United Churches of Christ.

There are more Christians on the left/liberal side of politics than on the right, observed George Lakoff, but they are not organized to even remotely the same degree as the Christian right.”

The first two stories are here and here.

My initial take is that while this “here’s how it happened” style of narrative is a good storytelling strategy, you need documents on the public record, such as Internal Revenue Service 990 forms, to demonstrate that foundations on the right are indeed mounting an attack on denominations whose leadership doesn’t toe a Republican line, or fight on the conservative side of the culture wars. Those documents are easily accesible, and perhaps the author has got them, but we haven’t seen them yet.

Past Posts