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IRD Exposes National Council of Churches' Controversial Funding

Contact: Loralei Coyle, The Institute on Religion and Democracy, 202-682-4131, 202-905-6852 cell, lcoyle@ird-renew.org


WASHINGTON, Jan. 10 /Christian Newswire/ -- IRD held a press conference today to release its findings on the NCC's funding. This exposé is a result of two years of research by Alan Wisdom and John Lomperis, authors of Strange Yokefellows. They found that the mostly liberal foundations are donating as much if not more than the member churches that the NCC is supposed to be representing. They released the following statement.


Alan Wisdom, IRD Vice President, commented:

"The larger political project in which the NCC and its yokefellows are engaged is the attempt to construct a Religious Left that will be a counterweight to the much-reviled Religious Right. Bob Edgar, in his recent book, tries to identify the NCC with "Middle Church"; however, the political stands that he takes on behalf of 45 million claimed constituents fall almost uniformly left of center.


"That shrinking membership is no longer able or willing to bear the financial load of the NCC. But non-church givers with political agendas have stepped in to save the council. And, in preserving and strengthening the NCC, they help to project an exaggerated image of the Religious Left—beyond what the NCC's or any other constituency could justify. The Religious Left simply does not have anywhere near 45 million people in the pews on any given Sunday.


"Bob Edgar has declared his personal support for same-sex marriage. He and other NCC leaders repeatedly criticize fellow Christians who defend the traditional definition of marriage. In thus fostering the impression of an evenly split U.S. Christian community, the NCC serves the interests of its "progressive" yokefellows who are campaigning for the legitimization of same-sex marriage."


John Lomperis, IRD Research Associate, stated:


"We found numerous common themes among the dozens of non-church entities from which the church council has recently sought or received funding. These groups have very little demonstrated interest in religion beyond recruiting faith communities to support their favored social and political causes.


"NCC programmatic partners include People for the American Way—founded in the early 1980s to fight the emerging "Religious Right"—and US Action, whose President spoke at the 2005 Convention of the Communist Party USA."


Members of the media can receive a complimentary copy of Strange Yokefellows by calling 202-682-4131 or emailing lcoyle@ird-renew.org.