The General Convention of the Episcopal Church Diocese of New York recently authorized the creation of a joint task force to “Assess the threat to religious freedom posed by the activities of the [Institute on Religion & Democracy (IRD)] and related groups” and to “Develop recommendations to mitigate such threat.”

Mark Tooley, president of IRD, told OneNewsNow that the United Methodist Church along with the Presbyterian Church USA may join in an investigation concerning the supposed upheaval caused by his organization.

So what is this nefarious organization that poses a threat to religious freedom? The Institute on Religion & Democracy (IRD) is a group co-founded by Richard John Neuhaus whose mission is to “reaffirm the church’s biblical and historical teachings, strengthen and reform its role in public life, protect religious freedom, and renew democracy at home and abroad.”

It seems hard to imagine that the the problems within these denominations is caused by a watchdog group. Indeed, as Tooley say, some of the mainline denominations might consider looking internally for the cause of decline over the decades:

“[Instead] what they want to do is prove that the ongoing schism in the Episcopal Church is not the fault of the liberal leadership of the denomination and their schismatic policies, in terms of denying Christian teachings, but actually the fault is owing to a sinister outside organization like the IRD.”

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