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Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Who is funding the Anglican reactionaries?

According to the British Observer, California multimillionaire Howard F. Ahmanson Jr has bankrolled a number of controversial right-wing causes over the years:

These include a magazine called the Chalcedon Report, which carried an article calling for gays to be stoned [this one?]; a think-tank called the Claremont Institute which promoted a video in which Charlton Heston praises 'the God-fearing Caucasian middle class'; and a scientific body which rejects the theory of evolution.

Among his projects is the American Anglican Council:

Leading the backlash is the American Anglican Council (AAC) based in Washington. Until recently the AAC's chief executive officer, David C. Anderson, ran St James Church in Newport Beach, California, where Ahmanson is often to be found in the congregation. The AAC's vice-president, Bruce Chapman, is president of the Discovery Institute, on whose board Ahmanson sits and which publishes research insisting Darwin was wrong.

AAC stalwart James M. Stanton, Bishop of Dallas, admits that Ahmanson gives $200,000 a year, although many observers believe it is considerably more. An internal memo from the vice-president makes fascinating reading. 'Fundraising is a critical topic ... But that topic itself is going to be affected directly by whether we have a clear, compelling forward strategy. I know that the Ahmansons are only going to be available to us if we have such a strategy and I think it would be wise to involve them directly in setting it as the options clarify.'

The AAC's influence is bolstered by its close links to another right-wing religious organisation, the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD), which operates out of the same Washington office as the AAC, and on whose board Ahmanson's wife, Roberta, sits.

Between 1997 and 2002, the IRD, set up during the Cold War to fight the spread of communism, spent at least $2.5 million to monitor and resist the liberalisation of America's churches.

Much of the IRD's money comes from the conservative philanthropist Richard Scaife, heir to a banking and oil fortune and owner of the Greensburgh Tribune Review, the Pittsburgh newspaper that became the bane of President Bill Clinton's life, with a series of allegations surrounding the Whitewater affair.

("US millionaire bankrolls crusade against gay Anglican priests," Jamie Doward, Observer 10.12.03)

Copyright © 2003 by Philocrites | Posted 14 October 2003 at 6:23 PM

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Bob Chen:

October 15, 2003 01:38 PM | Permalink for this comment

If the Claremont Institute is a bastion of "Anglican reactionaries," then I'm the King of Siam. I hope everyone reads the Heston speech you linked to. The line -- IN CONTEXT -- is far, far less damning than your fevered imaginings would have us believe.


October 15, 2003 02:32 PM | Permalink for this comment

Ah, context is everything. I'm quoting a British newspaper — that's why these passages are in block quotes. The article examines funding sources, and identifies a pattern. If you have a quarrel with the pattern, say more — and take it up with Jamie Doward, the journalist who wrote it. Maybe Doward has a fever, but nothing I wrote does. Thanks for reading carefully!

Incidentally, I received a complimentary copy of the Claremont Review of Books this summer, admired the typography, learned a thing or two from reading it, and decided that its sniffy conservatism wasn't for me.

Bob Chen:

October 15, 2003 04:04 PM | Permalink for this comment

If the Claremont Review of Books is a journal of sniffy conservatism, then the UK Observer is hard-core pornography!


October 15, 2003 04:22 PM | Permalink for this comment

Bob, how would you characterize the Claremont Review's editorial stance? And how would you compare it to other magazines?

I read First Things as well as the Christian Century, and I pick up Commentary and the Weekly Standard to complement my subscriptions to the New Republic and the New York Review of Books. Sure, I have a point of view, but I'm also genuinely curious.


October 16, 2003 03:17 PM | Permalink for this comment

Bob Chen, who has vanished back into the fair and balanced ether, left us with the following observation:

If the Claremont Review of Books is a journal of sniffy conservatism, then the UK Observer is hard-core pornography!

Here's how the Claremont Review of Books describes itself:

The Claremont Review of Books makes cutting-edge arguments for a new, reinvigorated conservatism, one that draws upon the timeless principles of the American founding, and applies them to the moral and political problems that we face today. We believe this is essential if conservatism is to understand its own majestic purposes, and become a more effective political force.

Why, that sounds just like sniffy conservatism! I'll wear a Yankees cap in downtown Boston this weekend if someone can show me where the Observer identifies itself as a work of hard-core porn.

Bob Chen:

October 16, 2003 07:44 PM | Permalink for this comment

I guess it's sniffy then. I've heard worse descriptions. Ah well, back into the ether for me . . .

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