Hard Ball On Holy Ground
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77 of 83 found the following review helpful:
STORY OF A HOSTILE TAKEOVER BID OF CHURCHES Jun 08, 2005
By Andrew Weaver
In hierarchical and authoritarian institutions like today's Roman Catholic Church and Southern Baptist Convention, debate and dissent are discouraged. Mainline denominations are heir to forms of governance that are representative and transparent. It is the openness of the governance processes of these churches that the radical right has exploited to turn them into battle grounds in the culture wars. Attacks on mainline Protestant churches are meant to discredit these democratic bodies so to impose rule by strict dogma and autocratic governance. This tactic is often on view when the conservative "renewal" factions in the mainline denominations foment internal dissent and generate conflict. In some cases, unaware theologically conservative Christians seeking spiritual renewal are being used by the "renewal" factions for hardball political power designs.
The question remains, why would Richard Melon Scaife, Adolf Coors, Howard Ahmanson, the Bradley Foundation, the Olin Foundation, and other secular political operatives care about funding a multi-million dollar crusade against mainline churches and the National Council of Churches(NCC)?
Think about this: While the members of churches affiliated with the National Council of Churches account for about a quarter of the population, approximately half of the members of the U.S. Congress say they are members of these communions. NCC church members' influence is disproportionate to their numbers and include remarkably high numbers of leaders in politics, business, and culture. The prevailing ethos of American culture is and has been shaped by the leadership and membership of theses churches. Moreover, these churches are some of the largest land owners in the U.S., with hundreds of billions of dollars collectively in assets, including real estate and pension funds. A hostile takeover of these churches would represent a massive shift in American culture, power and wealth for a relatively small investment. If this sounds far-fetched, one need only consider how right-wing groups during recent decades have taken over and now wholly control the Southern Baptist Convention.
Theologically conservative Christians who are seeking spiritual renewal in mainline churches need to look carefully at the hard ball tactics of these secular operatives. The church needs spiritual renewal; what it does not need is more political hardball and takeover bids. If these secular operatives like Scaife and Coors achieve a hostile takeover of mainline Protestantism along with the dismantling of the NCC, they will have muted an important part of America's social conscience and significantly diminished its capacity for civic discourse. The soul of the church is at risk.
8 of 9 found the following review helpful:
PNW Pastor Aug 26, 2007
By R. Henre
Swecker gives an excellent background of how organizations that are not the church, like the Institute for Religion and Democracy (IRD) have assulted mainline churches with agenda causing some of the issues mainline churches face today. He gives good historical background and the make-up of these organizations including the names of the board of directors, to illustrate how a few folk who are not within the mainline church organizational structure can infulence change. He also calls to accountability the church to "wake up" and see what is really going on. An excellent read .
0 of 1 found the following review helpful:
Well researched and attempts to be balanced Apr 12, 2013
By Leonard Buxton
This book 'follows the money' in delving into motivations for policy positions taken. Passionate without being irrationally emotional, it fills the gaps in the progressive-conservatiove debates.
0 of 1 found the following review helpful:
Must Read Dec 02, 2008
By C. Pilgrim
Truly a must read for all Christians - well researched and well written. You may be right to feel under attack. A look behind the curtain.
2 of 5 found the following review helpful:
Now...the rest of the story.... Aug 15, 2008
By Loren R. Harmon
The book tries, and fails, to excoriate the "Institute on Religion and Democracy". The author(s) attempt to do so in two ways: the divination of the motives of the organization and those who work for it, and by engaging in the practice of class warfare. They seem to embrace the idea that wealth is prima facia evidence of evil and poverty is a valid measure of human worth. What the authors seem unable to come to grips with is the disconnect that now exists between common laity swine like me and those members of the Methodist Church Nomenklatura, particularly above the level of Pastor. What IRD does is inform me of things my church doesn't bother to make public. Thus, were it not for IRD I would have no idea that, in the words of Dr. Cobb, author of the foreword, the "...dominant presenting issue ... is homosexuality....". Indeed, the social engineers among the Church elite appear to have two issues: everyone must hate Bush and LGTB trumps all.
Let's do a thought experiment. Assume a time in the future when all Methodists get to vote online to authorize actions by church officials. A Bishop asks the membership of his/her conference to allow the expenditure of funds for the Bishop to attend a conference on "queering the Church". How would the members vote? Right now officials attend such events but the membership seldom knows about it. IRD, along with "Front Page Magazine", does alert the public to what is going on in the Church.
IRD is a positve force for diversity, not a negative force. Rather than suppressing debate, IRD welcomes it.
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