Gay-Activist Plans to Co-opt Church
This report is an open tool box for how the secular gay political-action lobby plans to use the church for their purposes. At the start of the paper, here’s the breathless good news to the progressive political types: “In light of recent political events, secular progressive groups have an unprecedented opportunity to mobilize this existing expression of support [pro-gay groups in some denominations] into a broader political coalition...” (p. 2).
You see, using the church for secular political ends is entirely what they are about. No wonder that gay activists can’t fathom how believers’ Christian convictions could have anything to do with their moral opposition to homosexual license—even within church life. There are people out there who just can’t believe that anybody in a church would actually oppose homosexual practice because of religious convictions. To them, it all must be evidence of a vast right-wing political conspiracy. Nothing more. Nothing less.
Here’s a paragraph of the executive summary, to illustrate:
The opposition is immense, well-organized and largely unanswered by the progressive community: The Institute for Religion and Democracy and other anti-LGBT organizations profiled in this report represent a massive shadow conservative movement pumping millions of dollars into the anti-LGBT movements in America’s religious institutions. These activists, many of whom are connected at the highest levels of the conservative movement, are working behind the scenes to influence the opinions of tens of millions of otherwise moderate Americans, using fear, homophobia and calls for religious purity in organizations that hold great personal and spiritual mportance for their members. (p. 4)
Calls for religious purity? In a church? The scoundrels! What will those Christians try next?
I think you can imagine where the report is headed.
If you, like me, have ever worked alongside a renewal group such as the Institute on Religion and Democracy, you will be left wondering a couple of things: (1) So THAT’S what we were doing--promoting a vast, right-wing political take-over? Silly me. I thought I was living out my calling as a Christian! (2) “Millions of dollars?” What millions of dollars? You've got to be kidding! For all of the PCUSA, IRD has one half-time person staffing Presbyterian Action: me. Quite the "massive movement," wouldn't you say?
This report is full of little nuggets that point out the vacuous theological basis of the progressive political groups seeking ways to co-opt the church into their purely political cause. Here are a few examples, skimmed off the top:
- “If these [mainline] denominations could be won over to support gay ordination and same-sex marriage, it would represent a historic shift in America’s religious landscape” (p. 14). Even secular strategists realize that gay advocacy is something new and unique to denominations, not something at the core of who they are and what they believe.
- “Pastors may rightly be concerned that if they take too strong a political stance, they will alienate many of their members, losing the monetary tithes and offerings that support their churches’ programs and the pastors’ own salaries. The ability of these churches and organizations to operate is almost completely dependent on the good will of the people in the pews” (p. 2). There are two things here: First, even the report writers see how some pastors are out of touch with the people in the pews and thus need to slyly direct the offerings of the unwary to pro-gay causes. But, second, this also shows that churches can stop such subterfuge by not blindly offering their “good will” to unchristian activities!
- “Twenty-five percent of the Metropolitan Community Church’s membership is either straight-identified or from a different religious tradition than Christianity” (p. 10). This idea that you don’t even have to be a Christian to be a MCC member was thought to be really great.
- “Most of these organizations [pro-gay groups within denominations] are working to attract a diverse population across categories of ethnicity, geography, age, sexual orientation and gender identity. For instance, That All May Freely Serve cited a three-weekend anti-racism training course as its most successful event” (p.12). While anyone should work against racism, we need to be careful that pro-gay groups don't co-opt otherwise great events to recruit for their other political interests.
- “The opposition to these organizations is well organized and well funded. For instance, there is a coordinated attempt to undermine the liberal branches of Protestantism through an organization known as the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD). The IRD has helped incubate traditionalist insurrections against liberal policies of Presbyterian, United Methodist and Episcopalian churches…. The IRD is also agitating for schism between conservative and liberal factions in the United Methodist Church and the Presbyterian Church USA” (p. 13). Whew! I’m glad to know that IRD is considered well organized, but charges of undermining denominations and incubating insurrections against liberal policies are a little over the top. The charge of agitating for schism is simply 180 degrees off.
- “Organized opposition to LGBT people within the denominations usually exists in numbers that far exceed those of inclusive churches. For instance, in the Presbyterian Church USA, the number of congregations involved in LGBT-inclusive networks, such as More Light Presbyterians, That All May Freely Serve, and Covenant Network is 501. The so-called Presbyterian “Confessing Churches,” which base their membership on opposition to gay people and on biblical infallibility and the exclusive salvation of Christians, claim 1,309 congregations with 439,095 total members” (p.13). They got the numbers about right, but their description of Confessing Churches says a lot about the writers’ purely secular perspective. And the double use of "opposition to LGBT [or gay] people" couldn't be more inaccurate, since there is no organized opposition to LGBT people. The caring, conscience-driven opposition is to the legitimization of homosexual practice. There's an enormous difference.
- “Soulforce’s annual budget in 2003 was: $380,000. Focus on the Family’s annual budget in 2003 was: $127,974,380 – more than the top 10 gay rights organizations combined” (page 14). The authors forget the “It’s Not All about You” fallacy. Soulforce uses 100 percent of its money to legitimize homosexual practice. Focus on the Family uses only a fraction of its contributions to counter the sexual downfall of America, using the rest for dozens of other Christian ministries unrelated to the homosexual issue. The budget comparison is like comparing a muffler shop to all of Sears.
- Pages 15 and 16 look extensively at the PCUSA, offering such tidbits as “The Presbyterian Church USA has its own anti-gay industry” and “Presbyterian networks would be glad to mobilize around LGBT political issues” in addition to their work within the denomination on ordination issues.
Okay, that's enough for now. But this report is a gold mine for all those interested in the mindset of organizations that oppose biblical morality and want to drag the church into their secular political struggle.