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National Council of Churches Welcomes Controversial Funding

“If there is no concern about the money trail from liberal foundations compared to their member churches, then why the secrecy? ” -John Lomperis, IRD Research Associate

Contact: Loralei Coyle 202-682-4131, 202-905-6852 cell, lcoyle@ird-renew.org; Radio Interviews: Jeff Walton, jwalton@ird-renew.org; both with the Institute on Religion and Democracy

WASHINGTON, Mar. 1 /Christian Newswire/ -- This past weekend the National Council of Churches (NCC) held its Governing Board Meeting in New York City. IRD’s John Lomperis attended the meeting. Lomperis authored along with Alan Wisdom an exposé of the NCC that was a result of two years of research. In that exposé, Strange Yokefellows, they found that most liberal foundations are donating as much if not more than their member churches.

John Lomperis, IRD Research Associate, commented:

“At the meeting there was no talk of the grants from liberal foundations being problematic, rather, committee spokeswoman Cheryl Wade boasted ‘we continue to have excellent results’ from foundations and individuals. Examples of these foundations include the pro-abortion Sister Fund and the pro-homosexuality Annie E Casey Foundation. NCC General Secretary Bob Edgar boasted to me that Strange Yokefellows had helped them ‘with our fundraising,’ continuing that they had foundations contact them to ask how to help.

“Neither Bob Edgar, Cheryl Wade, or anyone else displayed any overt worry about the foundation influence or surprisingly about the statement of the Chairman of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese. Olof Scott stated that Strange Yokefellows fleshed out the primary reason for the Antiochian NCC membership withdrawal. Rather, in their very brief comments, Edgar and Wade (especially the former) treated the heavy dependence on foundation funding as an unambiguously, unreservedly welcome development.

“Since the NCC became aware that we were working on Strange Yokefellows, they have ceased having publicly available written reports on their foundation funding at their board meetings. This is a dramatic departure from previous practice. If there is no concern about the money trail from liberal foundations compared to their member churches, then why the secrecy?

“As if to support the arguments made in Strange Yokefellows about the NCC's priorities, the Communications, Education & Leadership Ministries, and Interfaith Relations commissions indicated that all have political agendas as significant parts of their work. That is in addition to the NCC's Justice & Advocacy commission, which Strange Yokefellows reported received some 40% of the NCC's budget. The primary goal of the NCC as listed on their website is ‘for ecumenical cooperation among Christians in the US.’ Yet a New York document stated that the 2007 Mission focuses predominately on their pet liberal political initiatives. In fact out of eleven stated goals ten were political.”

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