09 July 2006

IRD and Political Dirty Tricks in Religion

This blog excerpt comes from Rev. Susan Russell's blog where she is quoting Peter Laarman's recent column "A Canterbury Tale: U.S. Episcopalians in Manufactured Schism."

Rev. Russell is President of Integrity, the Episcopal Church's "leading grassroots voice for the full inclusion of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) persons in the Episcopal Church and our equal access to its rites."

Here's the interesting excerpt.
It's the old liberals' dilemma, ecclesiastical version. They fight dirty; we don't. They organize; we temporize. They seize the pendulum and give it a rightward shove; we wait meekly for the pendulum to swing back.

The liberals could at least point out -- and I hope that Bishop Jefferts Schori will be the first to do so -- how shamelessly the rift within the U.S. denomination has been manipulated and exacerbated for many years by a little-known but well-financed and quite deadly operation called the Institute for Religion and Democracy (IRD).

Created by cunning Schactmanites and by ex-CIA operatives during the time of Reagan's dirty wars in Central America, the IRD's core work plan has always called for dividing and disabling the larger Mainline Protestant denominations -- the Episcopalians, Presbyterians, United Methodists, and Evangelical Lutherans -- using any means necessary. The means that has worked best by far is relentlessly flogging the issue of homosexuality and accusing religious progressives of departing from the true faith by preaching that God really does love everybody.

Thanks to the IRD's skillful fingering of this hot button through the different front groups it operates within each body, all four national denominations have been pretty much AWOL from the more urgent moral debates this moment: e.g., imperial wars of choice, torture, civil liberties, Katrina, climate change, and economic terrorism from above. The denoms just don't have the energy. Nearly all their attention and focus have been consumed by internal debates on matters Levitical.

I was reliably informed that the IRD operated right out in the open at the Episcopal convention back there in Columbus. And why shouldn't they crawl out of the woodwork and get kinda jiggy at this point? In Ohio they scored their biggest coup in a quarter-century of patient stalinoid boring from within.

One final irony: several of the guiding spirits in forming the IRD went on to create the intellectual foundations of the Bush-Cheney "dominance doctrine." So it's not that these folks doubt for one minute that Americans should rule the world; they are in fact quite passionately committed to taking up the White Man's Burden. It's just that in order for American dominance to be secured against all possible sources of domestic opposition, the liberal churches needed to be silenced. And for this purpose, what better CIA-like cover could possibly be contrived than multicultural deference to the spiritual interests and biblical views of the very same ex-colonials -- Africans, Asians, and Latins -- whose material interests and worldly aspirations our peerless American Empire will continue to shunt aside with total and utter contempt.
The IRD covert involvement in creating schism in Mainline Protestant Churches as a way to neutralize their prophetic voices for social justice has been very successful. Our Congregationalist cousins in the United Church of Christ are dealing with their IRD-supported schism called the Biblical Witness Fellowship.

I suspect the reason that the IRD isn't interested in creating schism within the UUA is we just aren't big enough to worry about. If we were to grow larger as a denomination, I wouldn't be surprised to see IRD support of schism movements within the UUA.

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