Thursday, February 08, 2007

National Council of Churches Chief Assails Church Split

The Falls Church News-Press interviews the general secretary of the National Council of Churches in the USA, Dr. Bob Edgar.

Extracts from the whole:
He blamed the rise of radical conservatives in numerous denominations with the push to divide over secondary issues, such as gay or female clergy. These elements, he said, have been encouraged by groups like the Institute for Religion and Democracy, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy organization that “gets a lot of its money from secular conservatives like the Scaife, Bradley, Smith Richardson and Coors family charities.”

This group, he said, is “all about creating division,” designating staff to work in Presbyterian, Methodist, Episcopalian and other denominations to shadow their operations and promote schism.

He said that mainstream churches failed to take the rise of the radical right within their ranks seriously until recently. “The more defensive we have been, the more we have encouraged more attacks,” he said. “It is time to stand up and go nose-to-nose with them.”

Writing in his new book, “Middle Church: Reclaiming the Moral Values of the Faithful Majority from the Religious Right,” Edgar calls on “progressive people to take back the moral high ground from the right-wing extremists and make America a better, not more divided, country.”

He adds, “The Bible seldom mentions homosexuality, doesn’t mention abortion at all, but discusses poverty and peace more than two thousand times.”
The congregations that voted to separate from the Episcopal Church “should be careful who they associate with,” he added. “If caught, homosexuals are executed in Nigeria. How is associating with that being faithful?”

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