Investigative reporter says UMC's sin-affirming road was paved with left-wing money

Investigative reporter says UMC's sin-affirming road was paved with left-wing money

Investigative reporter says UMC's sin-affirming road was paved with left-wing money

The cultural rot that has torn apart the United Methodist Church, which officially endorsed homosexuality in the pulpit last week in a landslide vote, was bolstered by tons of left-wing cash over many, many years.

AFN has reported how homosexual-affirming leaders within the UMC took a victory lap after delegates voted 692-51 to strip a rule about "practicing homosexuals" from the denomination's Book of Discipline. That vote to openly reject biblical sexuality has been building for decades, leading to a huge split among UMC congregations that will only worsen now. 

In light of the UMC vote, Daily Wire reporter Megan Basham has followed a trail of money that begins with powerful left-wing groups. Their grants then trickle down to LGBT groups - hundreds of them - that are working daily to transform society, including in the pulpit. 

"It’s not organic," Basham told AFR host Jenna Ellis. "When I dug in, I found these tentacles that we see so much in politics are also in the church.”

Basham describes her research in a forthcoming book, Shepherds for Sale, which describes the Left's "march through the institutions" including the Church. 

Basham, Megan Basham

Much like the trail of left-wing money that is funding anti-Israel groups, which are organizing the campus protests and all those brand-new tents, Basham has researched groups that are dangling money in front of faith leaders to woo them from a biblical worldview. 

One unsurprising donor Basham found is billionaire George Soros, whose Open Society seems to fund any effort to destabilize the West. Another name uncovered by the Daily Wire reporter is Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay.

“He’s a very well-known Leftist billionaire who has set up foundations much like George Soros," Basham said. "He’s been called the new George Soros to establish these foundations that give away money."

Omidyar was already on Basham's radar when she and others noticed he dropped a donation to the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, or ERLC, the lobbying arm of the Southern Baptist Convention. He donated $50,000 to the ERLC for its "MLK50 Conference" in 2017. 

One non-profit Basham has watched closely is Arcus Foundation, founded by billionaire homosexual activist Jon Stryker. 

The group's website openly states its goal is to build a "network of faith leaders to challenge anti-LGBT views.”

That 450-word press release, from 2017, is like discovering an opposing team's playbook since it describes the LGBT groups collecting Arcus funds and the goal of their work. A group called United We Dream Network is focused on immigrants who are LGBT. A group called the Public Religion Research Institute uses its research - and Arcus money - to lobby lawmakers to reject religious exemptions in law. 

“They make grants to institutions, Christian institutions included, to influence how they talk about politics, which is of course policy," Basham said of Arcus. "They explicitly say that their purpose is to reform Christian theology and doctrine to make it, quote-unquote, LGBTQ affirming.”

The slow drift of the United Methodist Church has not gone unnoticed by Arcus, which has been dropping grant money to LGBT-affirming UMC congregations going back decades.

Back in 2015, the watchdog group Institute on the Religion and Democracy noticed when Arcus sent a grant to a group named Reconciling Ministries Network. With help from Arcus, RMN set up a fund to pay the salary of UMC clergy who were suspended for performing same-sex weddings. 

Arcus wants to change Africa

According to its own words, another target for the Arcus Foundation is the continent of Africa and African nations. The press release mentions Africa four times. Groups such as Reconciling Ministries Network, mentioned above, is also trying to "win over" religious leaders in Liberia. A group called Fellowship Global is working in Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

That lobbying effort in Africa is especially telling after outnumbered UMC leaders from Africa defended the Bible and biblical sexuality at the General Conference last week. 

"Today we have a majority General Conference, characterized by liberals and progressives. who are doing everything to change the Bible to something else," Jerry Kulah, a delegate from Liberia, told his fellow delegates.

COVID pandemic opened eyes of many

Because her journalism beat includes exposing liberalism within the Church, Basham has numerous stories to tell. In the AFR interview, she told Ellis there is a reason Bible-believing Christians have gotten confusing messages from major church leaders going back years.

That confusing message, she said, is the "fruit" of millions of dollars circulating to influence the Church. 

“There have been other issues, especially during the COVID era," she recalled. "A lot of us were shocked at how our churches peddled ideas from the government that were very debatable, issues that should have been a matter of personal conscience, like whether or not to take the COVID vaccine." 

Russell Moore, now editor of Christianity Today, was head of the ERLC during the COVID-19 pandemic and preached a pro-vaccine message at the time. "I think we need to make very clear the government isn't forcing people to get the vaccine," Moore told PBS in April 2021. 

President Biden ordered 80 million Americans to get the shot, or get fired, five months later.  

Curtis Chang, a Duke divinity professor, wrote to the U.S. House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis. An opponent of religious exemptions, Chang partnered with the federal government through Christians and the Vaccine, Basham pointed out.

David French, an attorney and former staff writer for National Review, was interviewed by the news media to denounce religious exemptions. He was also involved in Christians and the Vaccine, Basham said.

“The Billy Graham Center, which was run by Ed Stetzer, they partnered with the CDC and Francis Collins to pus this narrative that to love your neighbor meant you had to accept the COVID vaccine,” Basham said.

Collins was the director of the National Institutes of Health, a government organization, at the time.