GOING TO EXTREMES

Why Is NYT Columnist David Brooks Giving The Keynote To A Group Of Christian-Right Funders?

David BrooksNew York Times columnist David Brooks is the paper’s house Republican, which means he resides in a world in which the fierce partisanship of today’s GOP is just waiting to melt before some mystical leadership from the president. (As if.) So why is a man who is so smitten with moderation giving the keynote address to a collection of the religious-right’s biggest funders?

Brooks is scheduled to give the luncheon address today at The Gathering, an annual conference that brings together Christian right philanthropists and foundations. “Here we bring committed Christian givers together in a setting that allows for learning, worship, new ideas and fellowship,” according to The Gathering’s own description.

That’s a pretty benign description of one of the great enabling events of antigay funding in the nation. According to Truth Wins Out’s Center Against Religious Extremism, The Gathering is “the centerpiece of the right wing’s giving strategy worldwide. This event is the secret money pot from which the culture wars flow.” Those wars, according to TWOCARE, include the violent campaigns against the LGBT communities in Russia and Uganda.

How does it work? Attendees pony up $1,750 for the privilege of attending the conference, held this year in Orlando. Among those showing up for the conference at are wealthy evangelicals looking for worthy (to them) causes. What they get is a chance to mingle with representatives from the leading Christian-right funds to decide how they want to spend their money.

And spend they do. According to Bruce Wilson of TWOCARE, one of those organizations alone, the National Christian Foundation, gave more than $163,000,000 to leading antigay organizations in just the 2011-2012 period. Among the recipients: the National Organization for Marriage, the American Family Association, and the Family Research Council.

So why is Brooks, a supporter of same-sex marriage, appearing before the group? Maybe he doesn’t know who he’s talking to. Maybe the speaking fee makes everything alright. Or maybe Brooks thinks that sweet reason will prevail and suddenly we’ll all agree to some heretofore unknown common ground. Whatever the reason, the next time you here Brooks trumpeting the virtues of moderation, keep in mind the extremists he’s hanging out with today.