Few people, journalists included, have any idea of the scale of fundamentalist philanthropy that funds the culture wars. But in 2016 the National Christian Foundation gave out just under $1.4 billion in grants. NCF supports creationism & the claim that the Bible is infallible.
NCF is the biggest philanthropy of The Gathering, a yearly confab of neo-fundamentalist multi-millionaires & billionaires conceived of at a 1985 meeting of "friends" at "The Cedars", the Alexandria, VA mansion retreat of The Fellowship which hosts the National Prayer Breakfast.
The Gathering has long kept a very low public profile. I discovered it in 2011 and promptly downloaded its audio archive of talks given at the event that went back to 1996. A couple of years later that archive was wiped from the official website of The Gathering. Too late!
Also in that archive was The Gathering's regular newsletter, which by the first decade of the 2000s was a quarterly, full color professionally produced affair. One of the 2005 newsletters featured an op-ed from a Christian Reconstructionist pastor known for his position that...
...disobedient children should be stoned to death. His op-ed pointed out that this is what Leviticus says to do, but our current legal system doesn't allow that. So, he argued that parents should at least disown rebellious kids. His audience included people with fortunes of...
...hundreds of millions and even billions of dollars. Now, there's a range of opinion among the folks of The Gathering running from hard right to Taliban-esque Christian theocracy. The op-ed was, it seems, considered not overly controversial within the Gathering community.
Even though the philanthropists of The Gathering dole out a couple of billion a year in grants, that's not much to take the world for Jesus, which is the ultimate goal....
...accordingly, they have developed a strategy - infiltrate federal, state, and local government and quietly redirect public funds towards their cause. For example, at least several billion dollars for federal foreign aid and relief $ (cash and in-kind) goes to evangelical...
...aid and relief nonprofits such as the mammoth World Vision, whose budget is beginning to rival, in scale, the regular (non-peacekeeping) budget of the United Nations. World Vision USA gets hundreds of millions each year in in-kind food aid, from USAID. It then turns around...
...and funnels that aid to World Vision International, which is, officially, a church. Yes, a church. That's on its 990 tax form: a church. None of this is exactly hidden. I have seen World Vision's top leaders publicly declare that their goal is to take dominion over...
...all sectors of society - business, government, education, and so on - for Jesus. Their Jesus, BTW, tends toward the "Supply Side Jesus" model though they're somewhat less averse to government than many in the #GOP. Another thing - they've moved on from the "Rapture"...
As I've mentioned, they're after global dominion. And what of Jesus' return? Well, they look at it this way - taking the whole Earth, in Jesus' name, is a precondition for his return. And in some charismatic variants of the faith, Jesus no longer even returns as a discrete being
rather, Jesus returns as some sort of collective manifestation incarnated within the body of the faithful, sort of like a spirit or a mood. Thus does eschatology get reshaped to fit the contingencies of the moment.
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