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Same @TheIRD, Different Day

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The Institute on Religion & Democracy is at it again.  This time, they set their sights on Claremont School of Theology – a UMC seminary.

John Lomperis seized on a tidbit from the school and ranted (here) about how the school is effectively stealing from the Christian portion of the seminary budget to fund other non-Christian portions.  He uses intentionally divisive language – par for his course – in order to produce a scandal where none really exists.

Claremont responded with an article that the IRD – graciously, for them – posted on their blog, Juicy Ecumenism (still creeps me out).  Their claims are that the IRD unfairly characterized their recent restructuring and expansion plans – including plans to remove a cross.  They also claim that John Lomperis uses “provocative” language to make his points.

As a previous victim of the IRD’s reactionary carelessness, I was sympathetic to their plight.

The IRD has made a name for itself by sniping at anything that doesn’t fit perfectly into their idea of Christian faith.  They do use provocative language and innuendo in order to make their ideological foes look however they desire them to look – evil.  Since their inception – dating back to the Reagan Revolution and the Moral Majority – they have made it their job to suss out “marxism” within the ranks of United Methodist agencies.  Today, their main goal appears to be sussing out liberal influence, pointing at it in impotent rage or smug condescension, and asking for your money.

Given their particular brand of neo-conservative Christianity, I don’t even think we can call them Methodist, or Wesleyan, even.

Claremont ended their remarks with a nod to our national heritage and the need for actual ecumenism.  I hope the IRD listens:

Surely for the American experiment to succeed, Americans of differing religious viewpoints must learn to live and work together in harmony.  Religion can either continue to be the cause of conflict, or we can work together to make it the foundation for the needed harmony.  We believe that Jesus Christ calls Christians to the latter, being peacemakers and good neighbors.

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