In what I find some of the least surprising news of the day, the right wing Evangelical National Christian Foundation, which claims to be the largest Christian charity in the US is helping people launder donations to hate groups.
Shelby Spong has asked, “Has religion in general and Christianity in particular degenerated to the level that it has become little more than a veil under which anger can be legitimatized?”
The answer is, of course: Fomenting hate is all the Talibaptists have left:
The nation’s eighth-largest public charity is pouring tens of millions of dollars each year into a number of mostly anti-LGBT hate groups, a Sludge investigation shows.
According to the three most recent available tax filings—which cover 2015-17—it has donated $56.1 million on behalf of its clients to 23 nonprofits identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as hate groups.
“I certainly don’t know of any public disclosures of funds to hate groups at levels anywhere near this,” Heidi Beirich, director of the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center, told Sludge. “It’s pretty astounding and certainly concerning.”
The far-right evangelical National Christian Foundation (NCF), which offers Christian donors “expert guidance and creative giving solutions,” is the fourth-largest donor-advised fund by 2017 revenue in the U.S., having raised over $1.5 billion that year. Such funds offer individual accounts to their clients, allowing clients to get immediate tax breaks on donations to these accounts and to direct NCF to disperse the money to the nonprofits of their choice, mostly churches and other Christian nonprofits, at their own pace. Clients donate through donor-advised funds anonymously, so even the Internal Revenue Service won’t know their identities.
According to a 2017 Inside Philanthropy article, NCF “is probably the single biggest source of money fueling the pro-life and anti-LGBT movements over the past 15 years.” In 2017, NCF’s donation to anti-LGBT, anti-Muslim, and anti-immigrant hate groups rose to over $19 million.
By far the biggest recipient of NCF donations is Alliance Defending Freedom, a large network of Christian extremist lawyers who have supported criminalizing homosexuality, sterilizing transgender people, and claimed that gay men are pedophiles. The group recently came out against congressional Democrats’ Equality Act, which would ban discrimination against LGBTQ Americans.
Anti-LGBT hate group Family Research Council, which has attempted to tie gay men to pedophilia for many years, accepted over $5.3 million from NCF from 2015-17.
As Lisa Gilbert at Public Citizen notes, “It’s interesting to me that big donors have a mechanism to give money to causes that would be unpopular, like going after gay rights ……… It’s not always so much about the total amount as it is about the mechanisms for funneling money into politics ……… This is like a shell-game funnel of corporate money. So it might be an organization that has an innocent name, that sounds like a good, upstanding, innocent group” but is being backed by wealthy donors.”
It really is remarkable just how much hate trumps any other considerations with the Christofascists.