We at the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD) have long been critical of the National Council of Churches (NCC), arguing that it appears to have abandoned its founding goal of working for unity among U.S. Christians. Instead the council now seems more eager to champion a divisive political agenda that lacks a clear biblical mandate. In so doing, it often picks fights with more theologically and politically conservative Christians.
Perhaps, however, a new face might bring a fresh approach...
At the NCC's 2005 General Assembly, I decided to seek an interview with then President-elect Livingston. He agreed and told me to arrange the details with Wesley "Pat" Pattillo, NCC Associate General Secretary for Communication. In the short list of questions that I had prepared, I had looked forward to soliciting Livingston's thoughts on the prospects for improved relations with the IRD and other more conservative U.S. Christians. But my hopes were frustrated as Pattillo angrily refused to schedule the interview. I would have to wait to see whether Livingston might try to move the NCC in a different and more truly ecumenical direction.
So I was an eager reader of one of Livingston's first public speeches as NCC president. Unfortunately, it suggests that little significant change in the council's direction should be expected from his leadership. Speaking last week to a meeting of the NCC Communications Commission in Cleveland, OH, the new NCC leader lashed out at a vaguely defined group of fellow Christians whom he found repugnant.
Read the entire article on the Institute of Religion and Democracy website (new window will open).