Like many mainline Protestant institutions, the National Council of Churches has had a rough couple of years. Once the public face of American Protestantism, the NCC is now just another face in the crowd. Yet with new leadership and a retooled mission, the NCC is poised to rebound from its low ebb of influence and carries a great deal of promise into the future.
Recently 98,000 ministers found a gift in their mailboxes: a special edition of Efraim Karsh’s Islamic Imperialism, compliments of the Institute on Religion and Democracy. Why such generosity? “We learned a lot from this book and wanted to share it with religious leaders,” an IRD spokesperson said when I called to inquire.
When United Methodist Church bishops condemned the U.S. military presence in Iraq, a fax arrived almost immediately at the Century from the Institute on Religion and Democracy's top Methodist watchdog, Mark Tooley. Like some kind of Methodist pope perched over the bishops, Tooley dressed down the bishops: "How woefully absurd that church prelates condemn the United States for attempting to build democracy in Iraq."For three decades Tooley and others at the IRD have been monitoring mainline churches for political statements that are out of step with the views of their rank-and-file members. When there's a gap between the views of church leaders and people in the pews the IRD steps in to take advantage of the controversy.
A lifetime’s worth of inspirational sermons, and the man who wrote and delivered them, 79-year-old Presbyterian minister FrederickBuechner, were honored at a special ceremony last month at the Washington National Cathedral (Episcopal). The author of 30 books was the star of the April 5 event. “‘Tell the truth,’ he would say to us budding preachers.
One of Time magazine's 25 most influential evangelicals
May 17, 2005
Diane Knippers, 53, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, a conservative center best known for decrying progressive stances and liberal leaders in mainline denominations, died April 18 in Arlington, Virginia, of complications from cancer.
EdmundRobbJr. a Methodist evangelist and a founder of the conservative Institute on Religion and Democracy, died December 15 in his hometown of Marshall, Texas. He was 78. Robb helped to form the IRD in 1981 and was its board chairman for more than a decade.
The conservative Institute on Religion and Democracy, a Washington-based critic of mainline denominations, has elected author and philosopher J. Budziszewski as the chairman of its board of directors, succeeding theologian ThomasOden of Drew Theological School.
A conservative gadfly group has released a report asserting that mainline U.S. Protestant organizations criticize Israel for human rights practices more than they criticize any other foreign country. In response, mainline groups contested the methodology and conclusions of the report, issued by the Institute on Religion and Democracy.