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Steeplejacking

I was chilled when I first heard of the Institute on Religion and Democracy a few months ago. As Charles Currie said:

IRD, as a refresher, is a conservative political group set-up in the early 1980s by Republican activists who aimed to silence Christian voices opposed to the Reagan administration’s foreign and domestic policies. The group is funded by extremists such as Richard Mellon Scaife. Their ongoing goal: to actually take over mainline churches, silence those prophetic voices still speaking out against war and economic injustice, and to use the resources of Christian churches to promote the conservative political agenda.

In their new book Steeplejacking, United Church of Christ ministers John Dorhauer and Sheldon Culver document the organised right-wing movement to eliminate progressive voices in mainline churches. The preface, written by Michelle Goldberg, has been posted at Talk To Action.

I was thrilled to discover progressive Christianity and St. Stephen’s. I was aware that the deep divisions around the issue of homosexuality (including gay ordination, gay marriage and even church membership in some cases) in the United Methodist Church (especially as a supporter of the Reconciling Movement in the UMC). What I find very disturbing is the existence of an external organisation, funded by people like Scaife family and Howard Ahmanson, working against the progressive movement in the church.

“Of course, it goes a little further than that. There was a period of time when the Christian Coalition determined that its number one legislative priority was tax cuts for the rich…I don’t know what Bible they are reading,” Obama said, as the crowd applauded. “Didn’t jive with my version.”

(From Radio Iowa, via Talk to Action.)

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