Tuesday, October 16, 2007


That's what John Dornhauer and Sheldon Culver call it. We wish they had chosen another word, but we are still awfully glad that they wrote their book by that name, about which you can learn more by clicking the link.

Bottom line: A cluster of "renewal groups" have sprung up in mainline Protestantism these past 25 years, accusing their various denominations of straying from the path of orthodoxy and calling them to return to a theological orthodoxy that looks and sounds remarkably like Republicanism. They want you to believe it is a coincidence, but it isn't.

They're all funded by Richard Mellon Scaife, through the Institute for Religion and Democracy. Scaife foundation money has planted the seeds of the Presbyterian Layman, the WordAlone Network, and God knows hoiw many other mean-spirited purveyors of minority discontent. In other words, one cranky right-wing bazillionaire has created the schisms and discontent that have eaten away at Presbyterian, Lutheran, Methodist, and Episcopal communitiers for decades, and essentially destroyed the ability of those bodies to speak with any unanimity on moral matters.

This is not really a secret. Recent writing about the "theocons" has touched on it.

But it isn't well-known, either, for the good reason that Scaife is a secretive, paranoid freak, and the IRD is a slick operation with competent PR people. Like the one who responded to the book by pointing out, correctly, that a "steeplejack" is the guy who repairs your damaged church building. Sigh. Quite true, which is why we wish the book had a better title. Maybe "Those Rich Bastards Stole Your Church."

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