This Sunday, May 21, on The Interfaith Alliance Foundation’s radio show State of Belief, Rev. Welton Gaddy exposes the coordinated effort to undermine mainline Protestantism — and render America’s largest denomination incapable of standing up to right wing politics.
This unprecedented look into the takeover of America’s churches reveals the ugly truths, personal experiences, and exhaustive research of four leaders:
Dr. Bruce Prescott, Executive Director of Mainstream Oklahoma Baptists, is, like Welton, a veteran of the purges that marked the conservative takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention. The strategy, says Prescott, is to keep mainstream denominations in turmoil over wedge issues such as gay marriage, so that conservative leaders can be free to achieve their political and religious goals.
Dr. John Dorhauer, minister for the St. Louis Association of the United Churches of Christ, has seen congregations around him descend into in-fighting, provoked by right-wing propaganda. Dorhauer explains, “What the politically motivated achieve is the silence of the religious conscience voice that has historically led this country….If you take out the 45 million people that are represented by the National Council of Churches, you are going to hollow out one of the cores of our nation’s democracy.”
United Methodist pastor and research psychologist Dr. Andrew Weaver has traced the campaign against mainline Protestantism largely to the Institute on Religion and Democracy, a think-tank funded by uber-conservative industrialists such as Richard Mellon Scaife and Adolph Coors. Weaver says that the IRD and so-called religious “renewal” groups are funneling money in “a systematic effort to undermine mainline churches that still have democratic, transparent processes.” The problem in countering these efforts, he says, is that “All of these traditions have niceness at the core; while we’ve been thinking it’s touch football, they’ve been playing tackle.”
Welton offers listeners a wake-up call: “The Southern Baptist Convention was lost not because of those trying to take it over, but because of people arguing that it wasn’t a big deal.”
This issue has never before been discussed on national radio, and continues State of Belief’s — and The Interfaith Alliance’s — focus on how religion is being manipulated for partisan political purposes. State of Belief: religion and radio, done differently.
Interfaith Alliance is a network of people of diverse faiths and beliefs from across the country working together to build a resilient democracy and fulfill America’s promise of religious freedom and civil rights not just for some, but for all. We mobilize powerful coalitions to challenge Christian nationalism and religious extremism, while fostering a better understanding of the healthy boundaries between religion and government. We advocate at all levels of government for an equitable and just America where the freedoms of belief and religious practice are protected, and where all persons are treated with dignity and have the opportunity to thrive. For more information visit interfaithalliance.org.