Friday, October 24, 2003


The Rev. V. Gene Robinson, who is awaiting consecration as the Episcopal Church's first gay bishop, charged yesterday that the campaign against him is funded by a few major conservative donors with a broader political agenda.

Robinson did not name the donors. But his supporters have provided reporters with tax filings and other documents showing that the two main organizations battling the Episcopal Church USA over Robinson's election are heavily financed by the Scaife and Ahmanson families, heirs to banking fortunes who have given to a range of conservative causes....

The two organizations leading the charge against Robinson are the American Anglican Council (AAC), an umbrella group for "biblically orthodox" Episcopalians, and the Institute for Religion and Democracy (IRD), a think tank that tries to counter what it sees as left-wing activism in mainline Protestant churches.

...According to public tax filings, the IRD received $3.8 million in grants from conservative foundations from 1985 to 2002, including $1.7 million from the Carthage, Scaife Family and Sarah Scaife foundations. All three are run by Richard Mellon Scaife of Pittsburgh, who is also a major funder of the Heritage Foundation and who bankrolled American Spectator magazine's $2.4 million "Arkansas Project" to investigate President Bill Clinton.

The AAC's tax filings do not disclose the names of its donors. But a spokesman, Bruce Mason, said that it receives at least $200,000 annually from Howard F. Ahmanson Jr., much of it in matching grants to encourage other contributors. Ahmanson, who lives in Newport Beach, Calif., has been among the largest donors to California Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom McClintock and to the Chalcedon Foundation, a California-based religious movement that calls for a theocratic state enforcing biblical law....

--Washington Post

So what's next? Is Scaife going to hook up with Randall Terry? And if so, am I too old for Canadian citizenship?

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