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Study finds number of Protestants is falling
Houston Chronicle ^ | July 21, 2004, 12:18AM | By RICHARD VARA

Posted on 07/21/2004 3:53:13 AM PDT by BellStar

For the first time in U.S. history, the number of Protestants soon will slip below 50 percent of the nation's population, according to a new survey.

"As early as this year and certainly, if the projections hold, within the next two years, the majority of American adults will not be Protestants for the first time since the founding of colonial Jamestown," said Tom W. Smith, director of the National Opinion Research Center's General Social Survey.

"We were always at least a majority Protestant country, and that is about to change."

The survey, which was released Tuesday, has studied various aspects of American life, including its religious dimension, for 32 years.

From 1972 to 1993, it found that Protestants constituted 63 percent of the national population. But the total declined to 52 percent in 2002.

The study mirrors results from a recent Harris County survey. Protestants decreased from 56 percent in 1994 to 34 percent in 2004, according to the Houston Area Survey directed by Stephen Klineberg, a Rice University sociology professor.

One reason for the national decline, Smith said, is a failure to keep youths and young adults within the Protestant fold.

From the '70s through the early '90s, Protestant churches retained 90 percent of young people, but that dropped to 83 percent after 1993, he said.

Another reason: Once-nominal Protestants are more open to stating that they are no longer affiliated with any denomination, he said. In the survey, the number of people saying they had no religion grew from 9 percent in 1993 to 14 percent in 2002.

And, some people who once identified themselves as Protestant now call themselves "Protestant now call themselves "Christian," ," which would put them in the survey's growing "other" category. Latter-day Saints, Muslims and Eastern religions are also in the "other" category, which grew from 3 percent in 1993 to 7 percent in 2002.

In the survey, people were identified as Protestants if they were members of such denominations as Southern Baptist, United Methodist and Episcopal.

Jews represented just under 2 percent of the U.S. population.

The study found that Roman Catholics have stayed at about 25 percent of the population over the three decades. With immigration, Smith said, the percentage of Catholics should remain stable.

The Houston survey reflects the national picture, Klineberg said.

Immigration from Central America, Asia, Africa and other nations have changed the Houston religious landscape from white and Protestant to a diverse mix, he said.

The percentage of Catholics in Harris County grew from 26 percent in 1994 to 34 percent this year.

The number of people claiming other religions increased from 26 percent to 32 percent. The study results do not surprise statisticians who study religious groups.

The Rev. Eileen Lindner, editor of the National Council of Churches' Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches, pointed out that even with the decline, Protestants constitute millions of believers. Combined with Roman Catholics, they keep Christianity the predominant religion in the country, she said. She cautioned about certain interpretations from the study, although she had not studied it.

"If you are growing up in a megachurch, you don't have a denominational affiliation," she said. Most megachurches are nondenominational.

Lindner also noted that the boundaries separating Protestant denominations have become blurred, and many people see no reason to affiliate with one particular "brand."

Mainline Protestant denominations have been hemorrhaging members for decades.

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has dropped from 4.1 million members in 1960 to 2.5 million. Over the same period, membership in the Episcopal Church decreased from 3.4 million to 2.5 million and United Methodists have seen their numbers drop from 11 million to 8.3 million.

"Regular participation in a church is not as central as it once was, even if you are a believer," said Jack Marcum of the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies.

"It is much more individualized spirituality than it may have been in the past."

The national survey indicates the drop has been sharper in the last decade, but Marcum said he does not know why. Nor is there much hope the decline can be erased.

"I don't see anything that is going to turn this around, certainly not in the short run," Marcum said.

richard.vara@chron.com


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Miscellaneous; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: christian; christians; country; easternreligions; muslims; protestant; protestants
"People who once identified themselves as Protestant now call themselves "Christian,"

"Christianity is the predominant religion in this country" And if you read the survey it is growing.

"Others" break us up we don't!

Another survey designed to cloud the fact that followers of the Christ are the predominant religion.

WE are and we are growing.

Those Celebrating the walk with Christ our Lord and Savior is if you read that dumb chart about 88% or better!

1 posted on 07/21/2004 3:53:15 AM PDT by BellStar
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To: BellStar

Hmmm!


2 posted on 07/21/2004 3:57:11 AM PDT by BellStar (I will not amend my beliefs according to someone else’s politically correct straight jacket.)
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To: BellStar

People who once identified themselves as Protestant now call themselves "Christian,"
"Christianity is the predominant religion in this country" And if you read the survey it is growing.

Absolutely correct


"Others" break us up we don't!

Others(false witnesses) try to divide and conquer. Their thin veil quickly reveals their nefarious agenda


3 posted on 07/21/2004 3:59:37 AM PDT by SunnySide
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To: BellStar

Yeah, it sounds like an artificially narrow definition of Protestant. A lot of Protestant churches don't make a big deal over being, well, Protestant. Bible churches come under that category.


4 posted on 07/21/2004 4:02:33 AM PDT by The Red Zone
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To: SunnySide

"Their thin veil quickly reveals their nefarious agenda"

And what is their nefarious agenda?


5 posted on 07/21/2004 4:06:53 AM PDT by Kerberos (Convictions are more dangerous enemies of the truth than lies)
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To: BellStar
Study finds number of Protestants is falling .....LOL,.......LOL........

Immigration (legal and ILLEGAL) from Central America, Asia, Africa and other nations have changed the Houston religious landscape from white and Protestant to a diverse mix, he said. Throw the 10 Commandments out with prayer 'in the name of Jesus'......bring on the Mosque prayer calls, Buddahs, Harry Putter, the U.N., British Darwinism (Soviet/Nazi),....Island Polygamy,.....Abortionism,....,ACLU/Hague,.....

along with all of 'their' lawyers and judges in the 'land'....

spiritual terrorism abounds in planned immigration at the expense of local/national historic VESTED INTEREST,....and,.....LOL......'Chads' abound.

/sarcasm

6 posted on 07/21/2004 4:11:43 AM PDT by maestro
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To: Kerberos

Their thin veil quickly reveals their nefarious agenda"

And what is their nefarious agenda?




If you don't know by now you're in a sorry(smart azz) state of mind. Pick a topic to read, any topic.


7 posted on 07/21/2004 4:12:09 AM PDT by SunnySide
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To: SunnySide
"If you don't know by now you're in a sorry(smart azz) state of mind. Pick a topic to read, any topic."

Oh, so theirs is kind of a free floating nefarious agenda that can be applied to whatever hobgoblin fits your fancy for the day.

8 posted on 07/21/2004 4:22:56 AM PDT by Kerberos (Convictions are more dangerous enemies of the truth than lies)
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To: SunnySide
"Nefarious agenda!"

That's it!

9 posted on 07/21/2004 4:23:38 AM PDT by BellStar (I will not amend my beliefs according to someone else’s politically correct straight jacket.)
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To: Kerberos

"Oh, so theirs is kind of a free floating nefarious agenda that can be applied to whatever hobgoblin fits your fancy for the day."

Later troll


10 posted on 07/21/2004 4:29:17 AM PDT by SunnySide
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To: SunnySide

"Later troll"

See ya Newbie.


11 posted on 07/21/2004 4:31:47 AM PDT by Kerberos (Convictions are more dangerous enemies of the truth than lies)
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To: BellStar

Well, I would be one of those simply refering to myself as a Christian. Fundamental Christian, if that helps their classification. LOL


12 posted on 07/21/2004 4:36:49 AM PDT by Soul Seeker
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To: SunnySide

My daughter and I were discussing some of the mega-Churches in town, and she had a negative impression of them, but I cautioned her that she had to take what the news people say about Christians with a huge grain of salt-- that they're always trying to make Christians look bad. She was struck by that, and said "that's TRUE!"

More and more people are starting to recognize the anti-Christian agenda for what it is.


13 posted on 07/21/2004 4:37:37 AM PDT by walden
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To: walden

" More and more people are starting to recognize the anti-Christian agenda for what it is."

It's hard to miss unless a person is in a coma.



14 posted on 07/21/2004 4:42:53 AM PDT by SunnySide
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To: BellStar
In the survey, the number of people saying they had no religion grew from 9 percent in 1993 to 14 percent in 2002.

Over at DU, this is the number the are celebrating.

15 posted on 07/21/2004 4:49:25 AM PDT by Kenton ("Life is tough, and it's really tough when you're stupid" - Damon Runyon)
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To: SunnySide

"It's hard to miss unless a person is in a coma."

Well, a lot of people (particularly young people) are still very credulous, and too inclined to believe that the media are unbiased. While they know that such negative characterizations of Christians don't fit anyone they know personally, they still give the benefit of the doubt to the news people. And, since "there is no cause so noble that it won't attract a few fuggheads", they can always find that one dipstick in a multitude of decent Christians and use him to paint us all as evil. It's a "divide and conquer" strategy to balkanize the Christian community.


16 posted on 07/21/2004 5:31:43 AM PDT by walden
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To: BellStar

All this show is that more people do not ally themselves with a particular denomination. It does not take into account the growing number of non-church attending Christians. It does not mean that Christianity is on the wane but that many established churches are.


17 posted on 07/21/2004 5:36:15 AM PDT by foolscap
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To: foolscap
All this show is that more people do not ally themselves with a particular denomination. It does not take into account the growing number of non-church attending Christians. It does not mean that Christianity is on the wane but that many established churches are.

You've hit the nail on the head. As the clerical leadership of the old line Protestant churches have drifted further and further to the left and have become fixated on secular matters so they have shed more and more of their congregations. The Episcopal Church ( Full disclosure I'm a member) is rapidly declining into irrelevance. Divorce is OK. Homosexual marriage is OK. There is no longer a moral backbone provided by the church for it's regular members. I'm coming to the belief that it's better to belong to one of the evangelical churches except I haven't figured out which one yet.

18 posted on 07/21/2004 7:33:23 AM PDT by Timocrat (I Emanate on your Auras and Penumbras Mr Blackmun)
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To: Soul Seeker

Ditto!

As for the nefarious agenda, it's the same one. Convert The World.


19 posted on 07/21/2004 7:39:15 AM PDT by Valin (Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. It's just that yours is stupid.)
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To: Kerberos; SunnySide

You're BOTH a couple of newbies! :-)


20 posted on 07/21/2004 7:40:35 AM PDT by Valin (Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. It's just that yours is stupid.)
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To: BellStar

Us Catholics are breedin' like rabbits.

The Pope made us do it! ;-)


21 posted on 07/21/2004 7:40:58 AM PDT by Happygal (Kerry has a chin that could chop cabbage in a glass!)
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To: Happygal
The Pope made us do it! ;-)

Wow. No wonder he looks so worn out. You should leave that poor old gentleman alone.

22 posted on 07/21/2004 8:27:31 AM PDT by Timocrat (I Emanate on your Auras and Penumbras Mr Blackmun)
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To: Valin
You're BOTH a couple of newbies! :-)

LOL

23 posted on 07/21/2004 8:57:56 AM PDT by Kerberos (Convictions are more dangerous enemies of the truth than lies)
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To: Valin

:-)

..ahem ..Thank you

I'd rather be a newbie of the lord

.. than a troll for Satan.

(smiles sweetly)


24 posted on 07/21/2004 10:53:34 AM PDT by SunnySide
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To: Valin
You're BOTH a couple of newbies! :-)

Speak for yourself, newby. :-D

25 posted on 07/21/2004 11:40:16 AM PDT by Theo (homeschooling: small class sizes, effective discipline, healthy socialization, family values ...)
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Collection Plates for Communism--The National Council of Churches
Frontpagemagazine/discoverthenetwork ^ | 2-22-05 | DiscoverTheNetwork.org

Posted on 02/22/2005 7:42:56 AM EST by SJackson

The National Council of Churches has a long history of supporting Communist causes -- and condemning the United States and Israel.

NATIONAL COUNCIL OF CHURCHES

475 Riverside Drive
Suite 880
New York, NY
10115

Phone :212-870-2227
URL :http://www.ncccusa.org/

    National Council of Churches's Visual Map


  • Largest coalition of leftwing religious denominations in the United States
  • Has long record of financial support for Communist regimes
  • Remains faithful ally of Communist Cuba 
  • Reserves criticism on moral issues for Israel and the United States
  • Makes common cause with environmentalist radicals
  • Masks leftist politics in faith-based declarations


 

Earlier this month, the National Council of Churches condemned Israel – a nation plagued in recent years by an epidemic of Palestinian suicide bombings aimed at civilians – for having “established hundreds upon hundreds of checkpoints, roadblocks, and gates across the Occupied Territories, making daily life and travel extremely difficult for ordinary Palestinians.” Proclaiming that “[s]tereotypes of all Palestinians as terrorists must be broken,” the Council explained that “[t]he crushing burden of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory contributes to deep anger and violent resistance, which contributes to fear throughout Israeli society.” The Council lamented that while “[a]t least half of the Palestinian people live in poverty, . . . too many Israelis have little or no knowledge of the human rights abuses experienced by Palestinians.”

In making the these statements, t
he National Council of Churches offered neither social nor historical context. For example, it did not mention that fully 70 percent of Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza approve of the murder of Jews via suicide bombings; that there is no trace of an Arab peace movement urging the cessation of such terror attacks (a stark contrast to Israel, where the movement demanding concessions to Arabs in the name of peace is a formidable political force); that Palestinians in Israel enjoy more civil and human rights than their counterparts in any Arab nation on earth; that Israel came to occupy the West Bank and Gaza not as a result of expansionist impulses, but rather because of its victory in the 1967 war that was ignited when Israel was attacked by Egypt, Syria and Jordan; that in 1973, yet another coalition of Arab armies attacked Israel and were defeated; and that when Egypt (the spearhead of that 1973 assault) became the lone nation to agree to a formal peace with Israel, it was rewarded by Israel with the return of the entire captured Sinai with all its oil riches.  

The foregoing facts notwithstanding, the National Council of Churches betrays no recognition of the fact that Israel has demonstrated a remarkable willingness to negotiate peace with, and relinquish land to, even defeated aggressors who have previously demonstrated a burning desire to destroy the Jewish state. “[I]t is clear,” maintains the Council, that “the overriding problem is Israel’s continuing occupation of Palestinian territory.” The Council’s critical stance on Israel is mirrored by its history of consistently opposing U.S. policies as well. These two nations are singled out for rebuke by the Council with greater frequency than any others.   

Since its founding in 1950, the New York City-based National Council of Churches (NCC) has remained faithful to the legacy of its predecessor, the Communist front-group known as the Federal Council of Churches, which the NCC absorbed in 1950. At one time an unabashed apostle of the Communist cause, the NCC has today recast itself as a leading representative of the so-called religious Left. Adhering to what it has described as “liberation theology”—that is, Marxist ideology disguised as Christianity—the NCC lays claim to a membership of 36 Protestant, Anglican and Orthodox Christian denominations, and some 50 million members in over 140,000 congregations. 

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the NCC has soft-pedaled its radical message, dressing up its demands for global collectivization and its rejection of democratic capitalism in the garb of religious teachings. Yet the organization’s history suggests that it was—and remains—a devout backer of a gallery of socialist governments. In the 1950s and 1960s, under cover of charity, the NCC provided financial succor to the Communist regimes in Yugoslavia and Poland, funneling money to both through its relief agency, the Church World Service. In the 1970s, working with its Geneva-based parent organization, the World Council of Churches, the NCC supplied financial support for Soviet-sponsored incursions into Africa, aiding the terrorist rampages of Communist guerrillas in Zimbabwe, Namibia, Mozambique, and Angola. 

As one of the leading contributors to the Program to Combat Racism (a program created in 1939 by the NCC-parent group, the World Council of Churches, and discontinued in 1996), the NCC played a central role in subsidizing revolutionary Communist movements in the Third World. Sensitive to the controversy which over the years has enveloped the Program to Combat Racism (PCR), the WCC has consistently declined to divulge both the contributors to, and the recipients of, the program. The WCC has gone so far as to establish an independent budget, the Special Fund to Combat Racism, in order to conceal details about the funding of the program. Despite these efforts, the WCC has not been entirely successful in obscuring the PCR’s paper trail. An August 1982 report by Reader’s Digest revealed that during the 1970s the PCR disbursed over $5 million to some 130 organizations in 30 countries. While the WCC held fast to the claim that the funds were directed solely toward those organizations dedicated to fighting racism, the facts suggested otherwise. According to the Reader’s Digest report, more than half of the money that went to the PCR wound up in the hands of Communist guerrillas. The report further traced PCR funds to a series of Communist rampages in Africa. During the 1970s, over $78,000 went to Cuba’s Soviet-sponsored MPLA to foment Communist revolution in Angola; some $120,000 went to the Marxist FRELIMO in Mozambique; and another $832,000 to Namibia’s Communist regime, the SWAPO; another grant, for $108,000, was funneled to the Patriotic Front in Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia), a Communist guerrilla force whose campaign of indiscriminate terror claimed the lives of 207 white civilians, 1,721 blacks, and nine missionaries as well as their children. In the face of this grim evidence, PCR administratorsmany of whom were culled from the ranks of the NCC—continued to push the line that, rather than bankrolling Communist death squads, the organization was simply supporting “liberation movements.” From this position the WCC has never wavered. In an archival overview of the PRC, published in 2004, the WCC dusted off its claim that “the main aim of the PCR is to define, propose and carry out ecumenical policies and programs that substantially contribute to the liberation of the victims of racism.”

Other beneficiaries of the NCC’s leftist philanthropy included El Salvador’s Sandinista guerrillas. Using the Evangelical Committee for Aid to Development (CEPAD), an organization established to distribute the charity donations collected by U.S. churches in Latin America—and whose leadership openly professed solidarity with the Sandinistas’ Marxist aims—the NCC made common cause with the Sandinista government in Nicaragua, contributing nearly $400,000 to the Sandinista Party between 1981 and 1983. Documents seized from El Salvador’s guerrillas in 1983 revealed yet another Communist group on the take from the NCC’s collection plate.

Another of the NCC’s leftist faith-based initiatives is support for Communist Cuba. Having pushed for the United States to normalize relations with the Castro regime since 1968, the NCC throughout the Cold War pressed its considerable authority on moral issues into the service of whitewashing the hard-line regime’s record of oppression. In 1977, after heading a delegation of American church officials to Cuba, the Methodist bishop James Armstrong, who would be elected NCC president the following year, issued a report that may justifiably be described as supportive of the murderous dictatorship. “There is a significant difference,” Armstrong insisted, “between situations where people are imprisoned for opposing regimes designed to perpetuate inequities, as in Chile and Brazil, for example, and situations were people are imprisoned for opposing regimes designed to remove inequities, as in Cuba.” 

On the rare occasions that the NCC was unforthcoming with a public rationalization for Communist repression, it communicated its support through silence. For example, despite its oft-declared commitment to human rights, the NCC could find little to say about the ascension to power of Ethiopia’s Marxist government, which left 10,000 dead and shuttered 200 churches. Likewise, on the matter of the Soviet Union’s 1978 invasion of Afghanistan, the NCC kept conspicuously mum.

Not until the Soviet Union’s collapse did the NCC see it fit to weigh in on the subject of Communist oppression. In 1993, Joan Brown Campbell, a former NCC General Secretary, made a striking admission. Acknowledging that the NCC had failed to challenge the brutality of Communist rule, she explained, “We did not understand the depth of the suffering of Christians under Communism. And we failed to really cry out under the Communist oppression.”

Campbell’s comments, however, did not prompt the NCC to withdraw its support for Communist totalitarianism. On the contrary, to this day the NCC remains an unwavering ally of the Cuban government. Still pressing for the lifting of the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba, the NCC continues to evince scant concern for the plight of victims of the Castro regime. On occasion, the NCC has even turned against them. No sooner had the NCC used its charity arm, the Church World Service, to establish a Cuban Refugee Emergency Center in Miami, than it soured on the center. The reason was that Cuban refugees had regularly denounced the Cuban government—an outcry that was intolerable to the NCC’s Castro-friendly executives. Kenneth Lloyd, the author of a history of the NCC called From Mainline to Sideline: The Social Witness of the National Council of Churches, noted that one NCC declaration condemned the anti-Castro recriminations of the refugees because they
“abetted our government’s effort to discredit Cuba” and “encouraged humanitarian sentiment that generated hostile attitudes toward Cuba among U.S. congregations.” 

In January of 2000, eager to affirm its Castroite sympathies, the NCC forced itself into the controversy over the fate of Cuban refugee Elian Gonzalez, becoming one of the loudest voices demanding that the boy be sent back to Cuba. Most recently, in January of 2004, the NCC dispatched a delegation of church leaders to Cuba for a six-day visit. NCC spokesmen claimed that, in addition to paying a visit to Havana churches, the delegates intended to discuss with Castro himself the fate of 75 political prisoners jailed by the dictator in 2003. But if an NCC statement was any indication, the delegates had no intention of seriously pressing for the prisoners’ release. The NCC’s only bone of contention was, “We find [their] sentences excessive.” 

This should not be taken to mean that the NCC has been wholly silent on the issue of human rights. The organization continues to issue press releases decrying abhorrent human rights conditions around the world. However, the countries that the NCC chooses to single out for opprobrium evidence the extent to which the organization’s religious mission has been corrupted by its radical leftist politics. One study, conducted by the Institute of Religion and Democracy in September 2004, found that “of the seven human rights criticisms it issued from 2000-2003, Israel received four, the United States two, and Sudan one.” Moreover, the study noted, “Fully 80 percent of the NCC resolutions targeting foreign nations for human rights abuses were aimed at Israel.”

The NCC’s programmatic opposition to U.S. foreign policy is another manifestation of its deep-rooted leftist politics. Taking refuge in the counsel of the New Testament —  “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9) — the NCC has repeatedly condemned U.S. military interventions. In 1991, the NCC played a central role in The Return of the Peace Movement, a coalition of leftwing religious groups arrayed against the first Gulf war, when American forces repulsed the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. At that time, the leaders of 32 NCC churches announced that the risk of military intervention was “out of proportion to any conceivable gain.” 

The NCC’s assessment of the second Gulf War was identical. In January of 2003, the NCC’s current president, the Methodist preacher Bishop Thomas L. Hoyt, Jr., joined 46 other religious leaders in signing a letter to President Bush. The letter expressed the signatories’ “continuing uneasiness about the moral justification for war on Iraq,” and suggested that the President accord them the “opportunity to bring this message to you in person.” Citing scheduling conflicts, Mr. Bush, through a spokesman, politely declined. Having failed to thwart U.S. military intervention, the NCC did not reconsider its reflexive opposition to U.S. policy following the fall of the Saddam Hussein regime. Rejecting the notion that America could play the role of a post-war peacemaker, the NCC, in May of 2004, issued yet another letter (which it encouraged member pastors to read to their congregations) urging the U.S. to abdicate authority in Iraq in favor of the United Nations. “We would ask that members of our churches, as they feel appropriate, contact their respective congressional delegations to urge the U.S. to change course in Iraq,” the letter noted. The NCC is a member organization of the Win Without War and United for Peace and Justice anti-war coalitions. 

Even as it has traduced U.S. foreign policy, the NCC has continuously injected itself into debates on domestic policy. Here, again, the NCC’s strategy involves veiling its leftwing politics in expressions of religious faith. On more than a few occasions, the NCC has preached the gospel of environmentalism. In 2002, the NCC was a party to an environmentalist campaign against the automobile industry. This campaign — called “What would Jesus drive?” — exhorted car manufactures to embrace stricter emissions standards. It was engineered by the Evangelical Environmental Network, a coalition of left-leaning religious groups that views “‘environmental’ problems as fundamentally spiritual problems.” 

The NCC also levied an opposition campaign against the Bush administration’s environmental initiative, the Clean Air Act. In an ad placed in The New York Times, the NCC framed its agenda in the language of a concerned moral appeal. Wrote the NCC leadership, “In a spirit of shared faith and respect, we feel called to express grave moral concern about your ‘Clear Skies’ initiative—which we believe is the Administration’s continuous effort to weaken critical environmental standards to protect God’s creation.” Nor was this the first time that the NCC employed such tactics. While proclaiming the virtues of the Kyoto protocol in 1998, the NCC’s then-General Secretary, Rev. Joan Brown Campbell, insisted that an acceptance of the (radical) environmentalist movement’s assertions about global warming ought to be made a “litmus test for the faith community.”

The NCC has also expressed concern that the Patriot Act constitutes a trampling on the civil liberties of those living in America, whether they live there legally or illegally. “We believe it is time for us to stop and think about where we should draw the line in our search for security,” said the NCC in 2004. “The 2004 Social Justice Sunday [September 26] theme invites us to consider this issue as a critical point in our history. . . . Only a self-obsessed society pursues security at all costs.”

Recently, some prominent religious figures have voiced concerns that the NCC is less a spiritual than a political organization, less concerned with ministering to the souls of its parishioners than with shaping a future that is in concordance with its leftist agenda. Mark Tooley, a director at the Institute on Religion and Democracy, has taken the NCC to task for positioning itself as an impartial religious group. “We do not think the NCC is impartial. They have been openly sympathetic to the Cuban government for many years,” Tooley told the Washington Times in January 2000. The Rev. Richard John Neuhaus, a former Lutheran minister and now editor of the Catholic journal First Things, has observed that 50 years of rigid adherence to leftwing orthodoxy has taken its toll on the NCC. “The NCC is a shadow of what it once was,” Neuhaus has said. “It has been sidelined. Its 50th anniversary was more of a requiem than a celebration. It has lost the confidence of its membership.” 

Complicating the NCC’s situation is its history of financial mismanagement. While doling out hundreds of thousands of dollars in support of various leftist causes, the NCC been saddled with fiscal woes. The organization’s leadership has long spent beyond its means, and in 1998 the NCC found itself facing a deficit of $1.5 million. In 1999, NCC expenses exceeded total revenues by some $4 million. These budgetary shortfalls have compelled the NCC to appeal to its member denominations—seven of which account for 90 percent of the NCC’s budget—to step up their contributions. For instance, in 1999 the NCC requested that its chief sponsor, the United Methodist Church, increase its yearly contribution of $2.5 million by an additional $700,000.

Despite such stopgap measures, the NCC has proved incapable of reining in spending. In 2002, records showed that the NCC continued to spend 30 percent more than it received, with the United Methodist Church and the Presbyterian Church USA responsible for 64 percent of NCC revenues. The support of the United Methodist Church is of particular importance to the NCC. According to the 2004 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches, a chronicle of church membership published by the NCC and edited by the NCC Deputy General Secretary for Research and Planning, Rev. Dr. Eileen W. Lindner, the United Methodist Church has recently experienced small declines in membership. That sets it apart from other NCC member churches. Partially as a consequence of growing dissatisfaction with the radical agenda espoused by the NCC’s leadership, many of these churches have suffered a precipitous decline in their membership.

The NCC endorsed the Million Mom March, a May 2000 anti-gun rally in Washington, DC that drew some 750,000 participants and has since evolved into a national organization with the same name. Today Million Mom March is a member group of America Votes, a national coalition of 33 grassroots, get-out-the-vote organizations. America Votes is one of the seven groups forming the administrative core of the Democrat Shadow Party. Its get-out-the-vote efforts and those of NCC target likely Democratic voters, such as swing voters (working women and young people) and Democrat base voters (especially blacks and Hispanics). Among the causes America Votes promotes are environmental extremism, unregulated immigration (Open Borders), and the leftwing agendas of the teachers’ unions. By contrast, it opposes the Patriot Act and gun ownership rights. The coalition’s most pressing objective in 2004 was to defeat George W. Bush in the Presidential election. These are ideals to which NCC similarly subscribes.

The NCC was also a signatory – along with more than 120 other leftwing organizations – to a 2000 campaign to increase the minimum wage.

Compensating somewhat for its sagging private donations of recent years, the NCC has received some funding from a handful of foundations, including: $100,000 from the Ford Foundation in 2000; $149,400 from the Annie E. Casey Foundation in 2000-20001; $150,000 from the Beldon Fund in 2001; $500,000 from the Lilly Endowment in 2002; $50,000 from the Rasmussen Foundation in 2003; and $75,000 from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund in 2003.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/1348488/posts

26 posted on 02/15/2006 7:32:16 AM PST by TaxRelief (Wal-Mart: Keeping my family on-budget since 1993.)
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