Friday, 24 October 2003

AAC funding queried again

The Washington Post has published a report Conservatives Funding Opposition, Priest Says which contains charges that the American Anglican Council is closely linked to another right-wing lobby the Institute for Religion and Democracy (IRD), “a think tank that tries to counter what it sees as left-wing activism in mainline Protestant churches”.

This link has been reported previously in the (London) Observer, the Church Times, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and elsewhere.

Some extracts from the Post article:

The AAC’s tax filings do not disclose the names of its donors. But a spokesman, Bruce Mason, said that it receives at least $200,000 annually from Howard F. Ahmanson Jr., much of it in matching grants to encourage other contributors. Ahmanson, who lives in Newport Beach, Calif., has been among the largest donors to California Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom McClintock and to the Chalcedon Foundation, a California-based religious movement that calls for a theocratic state enforcing biblical law.

Scaife and Ahmanson did not respond yesterday to requests for comment through their foundations. Knippers said she did not know Scaife’s religious affiliation. Ahmanson is an Episcopalian whose former pastor in California was the Rev. David C. Anderson, president of the AAC.

In some years, Ahmanson’s grants to the AAC have amounted to nearly a third of its total funding. Ahmanson’s wife, Roberta, also sits on the IRD’s board of directors. The Ahmanson family has donated $50,000 to $100,000 a year to IRD, which has an annual budget of about $1 million, according to Knippers.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 25 October 2003 at 12:10am BST | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: News

[AAC spokesman] Mason: "Somehow when conservatives get together it's a conspiracy, and when liberals get together, it's working for justice. It's a total double standard."

But liberals have no money (I sure as heck don't).

Here's the thing: highlighting the Right Wing billionaires funding the AAC/IRD (et al) is but a voice crying in the wilderness. After all, I think the Christian Right (inc. the Episcopalian contingent) largely still buys (as it were) into an Old Testament "Wealth = God's favor" model.

While I can't prove it, I think that the Christian Left collectively have no less zeal or acumen than the Right. However, they have long operated out of the "Cannot Serve Two Masters/Blessed are the Poor" model. Certainly, there are *some* wealthy Christians on the Left (and they need to give far more). But basically, when you look at the differences of, say, the funding of George W. Bush's (Heaven forbid!) Re-Election, and the money of the 9 Democratic candidates combined, you're looking at the same problem (I think it's a problem anyway).

W/ the Right's "he who dies w/ the most toys (and then passes it onto his heirs, sans 'Death Tax' {snort!}), WINS" philosophy, you just can't shame 'em about money. In other words, because they're doing the Lord's work, they attract the wealthy, who became wealthy because they did the Lord's work.

It ain't the Gospel, but it is the Reality. The Right will always have money, and the Left will always be envious . . . unless the Left lets go of the envy. Remember, at The End, everything gets turned around: the poor inherit the earth, the rich wish Poor Lazarus would come "cool their tongues" (et al!).

Posted by: J. Collins Fisher on Saturday, 25 October 2003 at 6:23am BST