The money trail

Religion | The National Association of Evangelicals and contraception for the unmarried
by Marvin Olasky
Posted 6/21/12, 12:44 pm

I've been working on a story about strange bedfellows: The National Association of Evangelicals, with its allegiance to commands such as "You shall not commit adultery," and The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, which is devoted to promoting contraceptive use by the unmarried.

I have been unable so far, though, to talk with NAE President Leith Anderson. I hope to hear from him today so as to update this breaking story tomorrow. WORLD plans to go to press on Tuesday with the full story.

Here are several items worth considering now, beginning with the money trail. During the past decade the Hewlett Foundation, one of the nation's largest abortion promoters, gave The National Campaign nearly $50 million. The National Campaign in turn gave $1 million to the NAE in 2008 and is now negotiating with the NAE a new grant that would "continue the work started under the previous grant," according to National Campaign chief program officer Bill Albert.

The $1 million (apparently for use over several years) was not much by Hewlett or National Campaign standards, but it's big for the NAE, which had a total budget of about $1 million in 2009, 2010, and 2011, according to the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability. And what exactly is "the work" that will continue if the NAE gets another grant?

Here's an example: The NAE sponsored a panel in April at the Q Gathering in Washington, D.C., where young evangelicals gathered to hear speakers and panels address numerous topics, including abortion reduction. According to Q founder Gabe Lyons, the NAE "highly recommended" for inclusion in the panel the speaker who ended up dominating it, National Campaign CEO Sarah Brown—without disclosing its financial connection to her.

Brown urged contraceptives for the unmarried as well as the married. No one on the panel disagreed. When it concluded, 372 audience members had the opportunity to answer electronically this question, "Do you believe churches should advocate contraception for their single 20-somethings?" Almost two-thirds voted yes.

News reports trumpeted that result as evidence that the debate over contraceptive use by the unmarried is over, since even evangelicals favor it. In this and other ways, the National Campaign's grant paid off.

That's part of the story. I've been in communication with folks at the NAE, The National Campaign, and Q, and there's more to come.

Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. His latest book is Reforming Journalism. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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