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Hard Ball On Holy Ground Paperback – May 10, 2005
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I'll leave it to the reader to decide whether Swecker's argument holds water or not, but will say that anyone who has an interest-in,or love-for church should read this little book of his.
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.
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.