Hate is Big Business in America

Hate is Big Business in America

Image by FibonacciBlue on Flickr.

America’s largest Christian charity is funnelling millions of dollars to hate groups.

In a story being picked up by national news sources and originally broken by Sludge, the USA’s largest Christian charity (and 8th largest public charity overall) is giving millions to anti-LGBTQ and anti-Muslim hate groups.

Over the past three years, the National Christian Foundation has passed along $56 million to groups like ACT for America, Alliance Defending Freedom, American Freedom Law Center, the Family Research Council, and the David Horowitz Freedom Center School for Political Warfare. Each is listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Let me lay out a bit about why each of these organization suck:

ACT for America (whose founder Bridgette Gabriel believes, “America has been infiltrated on all levels by radicals who wish to harm America. They have infiltrated us at the CIA, at the FBI, at the Pentagon, at the State Department. They’re being radicalized in radical mosques, in our cities and communities within the United States.” Besides promoting Islamophobic lies, they also ran an online database called “Thin Blue Line” that gave law enforcement the info of prominent Muslim leaders that they should keep an eye on, usually for no other reason other than them being prominent Muslims in America.

Alliance Defending Freedom has worked to criminalize homosexuality and supported the rights of foreign nations to sterilize trans folx.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the American Freedom Law Center has proposed outlawing Islam and deporting Muslims and other “non-Western, non-Christian” people to protect the U.S.’s “national character.”

The David Horowitz Freedom Center is particularly tragic. Horowitz began as a leftist in the 60s who supported civil rights. Since then, he has become a leading force in anti-immigration, Islamophobic, and anti-black movements.

Unfortunately, it isn’t just right-wing charities that are directing funds to these hate groups. Sludge reports that Goldman Sachs, Fidelity Charitable, Schwab, Vanguard and other donor-advised funds have directed funds to these groups as well.

Islamophobia is Big Business

Millions in tax-deductable donations are going to benefit hate groups in our country. And, as I argued in an earlier article, millions more are being invested (with a healthy return on investment) through Christian financial service organizations like Thrivent Financial. As of early 2018, Thrivent had $297 million invested in the military industrial complex.

Christians are donating money to attack Muslims at home and are investing money in attacking Muslims abroad.

In light of recent attacks in New Zealand, and the rise of far right-wing nationalism (with it’s accompanying xenophobia, Islamophobia, and misogyny), we need to come to terms with the source of such hate. A toxic form of Christianity, which flourishes out in open as a subset of evangelical culture, has provided fertile soul for this demonic fruit. And we have no reason to believe the fruit is going to shrivel up anytime soon.

It’s Time to Divest and Disrupt

One huge reason that our society skews right-wing (even our major “left” party is, generally speaking, center-right) is that conservatives have more money, and they spend it to influence society. They invest in war. They donate to hate groups. They fund campaigns.

If our response is to out-spend them, then we’re fooling ourselves. War and hate are profitable. And the wealthy class is heavily invested in the status quo.

As long as white folks have more assets than people of color, anti-racist movements will be at a disadvantage. As long as oppressors are richer, the oppressed will be at a disadvantage. As long as war is big business, Islamophobia and xenophobia will plague us.

Nevertheless, whatever resources people of good conscience have at their disposal needs to be taken out of any and every organization that spreads violence and hate. For suggestions on how to put your money somewhere better, check out the tips on ThriventDivest.com.

But divesting isn’t enough. We need a massive movement of distruptors. As Bayard Rustin wrote: “We need, in every community, a group of angelic troublemakers. Our power is in our ability to make things unworkable. The only weapon we have is our bodies. And we need to tuck them in places so wheels don’t turn.”

As I wrote in my article It’s Time to Disrupt the Church:

Just as Black Lives Matter employed a politics of disruption to raise the national alarm about racist policing. Just as the water protectors at Standing Rock have created a human barrier against pipeline construction. So too, should we disrupt and confound any and every congregation that fuels militarism, economic exploitation, sexism, racism, Islamophobia, or transphobia.

However, we need to go beyond disrupting churches. Just as Jesus disrupted the moneylenders in the Temple (and occupied the temple for a week), we need to “tuck” our bodies into institutions that fund hate. We need to make it so “wheels don’t turn.”

It’s time for divine disobedience and sacred subversion. We need to take an axe to the root. As Christians, we need to get our house in order. Right now our “brothers and sisters” are fomenting hate around the world. Hate is big business in America. We need to help people divest. And disrupt those who refuse.

A Call to Disruption

The National Christian Foundation is headquartered in Atlanta, but has offices all over the country (www.ncfgiving.com/locations). It is time to disrupt their work.

To follow my words with action, I’m asking folks to explore the idea of shutting NCF down.

To start, I need to assess how much on-the-ground capacity there is for something like this. If you’re located in (or near) one of the cities listed below, and have the capacity to help, please contact me.

Please don’t contact me if you’re just interested in showing up or simply think it is a good idea. DO contact me, however, if you feel like you’ve got the mojo and capacity to help organize a local action in your city and are willing to coordinate (via email and Skype) with an organizing team to help with messaging, coordinating, outreach, etc.

Here are the locations of NCF offices:

Alpharetta, Georgia (HQ)
Birmingham, Alabama
Austin, Texas
Dallas, Texas
Houston, Texas
Costa Mesa, California
Charlotte, North Carolina
Arlington Heights, Illinois
Lansing, Michigan
Knoxville, Tennessee
Honolulu, Hawaii
Overland Park, Kansas
Houston, Texas
Indianapolis, Indiana
Lexington, Kentucky
Albuquerque, New Mexico
New York City
Seattle, Washtington
Columbus, Ohio
Orlando, Florida
Littleton, Colorado
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Tampa Bay, Florida
Edina, Minnesota
Ada, Michigan
Brookfield, Wisconsin

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