I’d heard of the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD) because during my freshman year of college, I contacted a representative from the organization to comment on the persecution of Christians in Sudan. I was writing a paper on the topic, and I had found some information on the web courtesy of the IRD, and wished to learn more. Since then, I hadn’t really heard anything from the IRD until I received an email yesterday letting me know about a documentary that has been put together discussing, basically, the IRD’s intention to bring about the demise of mainline Protestant denominations (Methodists, Presbyterians, Episcopals, etc).
I just finished watching the 20-min documentary “Renewal or Ruin?” detailing the ways in which the IRD consistently attacks the mainline church and its leaders and serves as a front for the Religious Right. I also did some more looking around the IRD’s website and you get a pretty good sense of what the organization is about when you look at their top two issues: marriage (meaning homosexuality) and life issues (meaning abortion). It was also pretty revealing to take a look at their staff bios, and see some familiar faces (at least when it came to some contentious Presbyterians). Jim Tonkowich, current President of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, wrote in an article entitled “Religion Without Foundations” that “This same confusion over truth is rapidly infecting the evangelical world as churches drink the ’emerging church’ Kool-Aid.”
So if you have 20 minutes or so, you should watch the above documentary and become more informed on what the Institute on Religion and Democracy is about. And if you want more info, check out ird-info.com for more information on the documentary, “Renewal or Ruin? The Institute on Religion and Democracy’s Attack on the United Methodist Church.”