Yesterday the Republican Party-aligned Institute on Religion on Democracy (IRD), a group funded by right-wing extremists, released a "report" critical of funding sources relied on by the National Council of Churches USA.
"The institute, a Washington-based think tank, is allied with conservative groups on issues such as same-sex marriage. From its founding in 1981, its primary effort has been to challenge what it calls the "leftist" political positions of mainline Protestant denominations, such as the United Methodist Church and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)," reports The Washington Post.
IRD has long opposed positions taken by the NCC on issues ranging from anti-poverty efforts (IRD promotes policies that benefit the wealthy at the expense of the "least of these" in society) to issues around war and peace (IRD strongly advocates the use of U.S. military force to resolve nearly all international disputes). The group even questions the existence of global warming.
IRD's leaders often confuse the Republican Party platform with the Gospel teachings of Jesus.
The Washington Post, in their article on the release of IRD's report, reported today that:
...the institute released a 90-page report, titled "Strange Yokefellows: The National Council of Churches and Its Growing Non-Church Constituency." It argued that the council in recent years has faced diminishing contributions from its member churches and has made up the shortfall with grants from such "left-leaning" groups as the National Religious Partnership for the Environment, the Ford Foundation and the Sierra Club.
"Several of these [non-church] groups that the NCC has turned to for financial and other forms of support are so blatantly partisan that they can be accurately described as . . . the shadow Democratic Party," the report's main researcher, John Lomperis, told reporters.
The article did not mention that Lomperis worked on the Bush 2004 campaign.
However, The Washington Post did report that:
James Tonkowich, the institute's president, said that about 60 percent of its roughly $1 million in annual revenue comes from individual donors and about 40 percent from conservative foundations, such as the Scaife, Bradley, Coors and Smith Richardson family charities.
Tonkowich also acknowledged that his organization has made public less information about its funders than the NCC has.
NCC, under the leadership of The Rev. Bob Edgar, has diversified their funding sources and turned a nearly $6 million deficit into a balanced budget. The council has also worked with bi-partisan leaders in the United States on several issues and been critical of both democrats and republicans when needed. Unlike IRD, the NCC is not beholden to partisan political interests.
Click on the photo to see John Lomperis on the job for the Bush campaign.