Thinking Anglicans

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.

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J. Collins Fisher

[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… Read more »