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Is Your Church's Pastor "For Sale"?

The Charlie Kirk Show / Charlie Kirk
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April 18, 2024 5:00 am

Is Your Church's Pastor "For Sale"?

The Charlie Kirk Show / Charlie Kirk

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April 18, 2024 5:00 am

Is your pastor a true believer in biblical principles? Or can he be bought off by sinister forces with a very different agenda? The Daily Wire's Megan Basham joins Charlie with a stark warning about the big money going towards promoting a left-wing, activist version of "Christianity" to American churchgoers.


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Hey everybody, it's Hannah, The Charlie Kirk Show. Is your pastor for sale? A remarkable interview with Meghan Basham, her new book, Shepherds for Sale.

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Go to Has your pastor gone woke? Do you remember a church that might have been a warm and loving community?

All of a sudden, it sounds like an MSNBC hour of political commentary mixed with worship music and maybe an altar call here or there. Well, it turns out that there are millions, tens of millions, hundreds of millions, maybe even billions of dollars being spent to try to subvert Christianity, specifically the evangelical community. Megan Basham is with us today, and she has done an incredible amount of work researching what she calls Shepherds for Sale. It is a book that is now up for presale.

Everyone should buy it, Shepherds for Sale. It comes out in July, How Evangelical Leaders Traded the Truth for a Leftist Agenda. She's also with The Daily Wire. Megan, welcome back to the program. Hey, thanks for having me back, Charlie.

It's always good to be here. So, Megan, so much to unpack here. What is the premise of your book?

That is quite a charge, Shepherds for Sale. I agree with it. Tell our audience about it. So, you know, probably you brought up people who are sitting in their churches.

They're hearing sort of woke policies, married to love your neighbor arguments, and they're kind of going, where is this coming from? And that was my experience. You know, just to give you a little background on how I came to this subject, I was working for a well-known, well-respected evangelical magazine, World Magazine. Loved working there, worked with them for probably 15 years, both as a contractor, as a writer, and then as an editor and podcast host. And I do want to preface this by saying they're one of the few organizations that got their house sorted and dealt with the issue, and that is extremely unusual, as I demonstrate in my book. But while I was there, you know, our editor in chief started to do a lot of promoting of David French. He started to, you know, argue that we needed to change our coverage to deal with America's history of systemic racism that was ongoing. A secret race committee was created to sort of have members of the team, but we didn't know who they were, to start reviewing our work to see how racially sensitive it was.

I found myself harassed by some of my colleagues. You know, I did some coverage of, if you'll remember, the spa shooting in Atlanta, and I didn't mention the race of the victims, that they were predominantly Asian, but not all Asian. And I got an email from a colleague saying that that left her in tears, that, you know, in a very brief sort of podcast news hit about those events, I didn't mention race because it was not clear that race was a factor.

So why would I have mentioned it with very limited time? So this was the kind of thing that I was noticing, and I was also seeing it with, you know, pastors that I admired. And I was seeing it in publications that I used to trust, publications like Christianity Today and the Gospel Coalition. And so it just became, you know, this big question of what is going on. And I became so frustrated that I ultimately left World Magazine and went over to Daily Wire, where I was free to do some reporting that I might not have been free to do elsewhere. So I dug really deep. You know, some of the first things that I uncovered was that these pastors, these ministry leaders, they were partnering with Francis Collins of the National Institutes of Health to push particular COVID propaganda. And you and I talked about that a couple of years ago when it happened.

And that was sort of my first, whoa, what's happening here? Like, it wasn't like they just invited Francis Collins to some of their podcasts and then offered alternative views. It was pure propaganda. And then I discovered that some of these propaganda outlets, like Ed Stetzer's Billy Graham Center, were actually formally partnering with the federal government. So we're assuming money's changing hands here. And there were other programs, one called Christians and the Vaccine that David French heavily promoted that were also partnering with the federal government.

So that was kind of my first clue. And then when I started digging in, you found it on all sorts of policy prescriptions. And I can give you sort of the big headline one right now, which is illegal immigration. There is an organization called the Evangelical Immigration Table, and they became very well known for putting out public letters that ran as full page ads in like the Washington Post and the New York Times, sort of hammering President Trump for a 90-day moratorium on accepting refugees from seven countries known for harboring terrorists. So when that happened, I mean, there was garment rending, there was suggestions here that he was racist, that he was Islamophobic. And these were coming from people like Russell Moore, who at that time was the head of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, which is the policy arm, the lobbying arm of the largest Protestant denomination in the US, the Southern Baptist Convention. So let's be clear, he was doing this work with tithe money. I mean, he's being paid with the tithe money of Southern Baptists. Well, then when I started digging into it, I discovered that this group, the Evangelical Immigration Table, was nothing more than a front group for the left wing open borders group, National Immigration Forum.

Sorry, there's so many acronyms, sometimes you got to keep them all on your head. So essentially, they were a front group, they were created as a front group, there's no legal separation between the two of the National Immigration Forum, and that's an acknowledged left wing group. So if you go back to 2012, 2013, that's when this group was formed, the Evangelical Immigration Table, and Russell Moore took a leading role in that.

He was very high profile, he was meeting with Obama at that time, pushing for open borders legislation, at that time, the Gang of Eight bill. Well, it turns out that this is all being funded, not all, not exclusively, but overwhelmingly funded at that time by George Soros. So this comes out, they tried to deny, oh gosh, the Evangelical Immigration Table, we don't have any connection to George Soros. A lot of evangelical outlets went ahead and published that without really checking their facts on it. They slammed Breitbart at the time calling it fake news.

It wasn't fake news. It turned out after a lot of investigation that yet George Soros' own internal records show that they had access to Southern Baptists. They brag about it in their own board books for the Open Society Foundation, which is George Soros' foundation.

So we are still here. So that's how this started in 2012. And now, you know, flash forward to today, and you have the Evangelical Immigration Table working with World Relief doing the exact same thing with the backing of, I mean, all number of Southern Baptist leaders, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. They are still promoting open borders policies. They heavily backed Senator Lankford's bill that the base didn't like. And so these are the things that are going on.

So these are the bought Shepherds. And they're pushing these policy prescriptions that are very debatable. I mean, we may be able to disagree on what is the best policy for Christians to back when it comes to immigration, but it is certainly not clear that, hey, love your neighbor, let in any amount of illegal immigrants at the border because they claim to be asylees. That's not loving your neighbor because, look, some other things happen to your neighbor when that happens, and you can ask Lake and Riley's family about that. You can ask blue collar workers who are seeing their wages driven down.

You can see the people who are out of jobs because they're being replaced with illegal immigrants. So anyway, that was kind of how I got into the subject, and that was how I started writing the book. Can you just spend a minute of explaining further who is Russell Moore and the influence that he has? He was formerly head of the Southern Baptist Convention. For some of our audience that are not as part of the Southern Baptist Convention, which they are the biggest, but they're not the only, really quickly, Ed Stetzer Russell Moore in particular.

Right. So Russell Moore, as I said, he was a very influential Southern Baptist leader. He came up through Southern Seminary. I mean, if you sort of trace his history, he held various positions.

He, I believe, was a professor at Southern Seminary and then rose through the ranks to eventually run the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. And in fact, there was something of a revolt because what people need to know is that the Southern Baptist Convention is overwhelmingly conservative in the pews. It's their leadership that's the issue. So you have a lot of conservatives who are sitting in the pews.

They're not really paying that much attention to what their leadership is doing, to what their ties are going to. So at that point, Russell Moore was really using his office to push what you might call Washington Post, New York Times, Atlantic-style priorities. And he was appearing in all of those outlets frequently. He was going on MSNBC. He was being lauded. So he was really using that position to sort of build up his national public profile. And as I said, in the background, he's also working very closely with groups like the Evangelical Immigration Table to do things like push these bills. As we approach another critical election year, a wave of concern washes over America.

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You're strengthening a movement dedicated to preserving the principles we hold dear. Join now at slash kirk. That is a-m-a-c dot u-s forward slash kirk. The book is Shepherds for Sale. Pre-order it, Shepherds for Sale. Megan, you were making a point.

Please complete it. Right, so essentially the point was that Russell Moore was very much using his position at the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission to push what you might call progressive-leaning policies in the name of Southern Baptists who didn't want those policies. I mean, overwhelmingly, you know, they support the First Amendment, free speech. They support things like closed borders. They support having strong national security.

They support things like the right to bear arms. And so you've seen the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, you know, very much working against those policies. And so that created a lot of frustration. And then came the big kicker. He sort of really branded himself in the media publicly as the, you know, never-Trump Christian.

You saw this coverage everywhere. He routinely sort of hammered the former president. And, you know, as someone who sat back and watched it at the time, it was really hard to process because even I was like, I thought we respected this guy. What's happening here? And, you know, on the one hand, you go, I wasn't particularly in any camp as far as on the right when we were in the primaries, but I knew for sure I wasn't going to vote Hillary Clinton.

I wasn't going to vote Joe Biden. And so all this man did was repeatedly sort of attack President Trump. And, you know, he's sort of very famously good friends with David French, and they took the same arc.

You kind of saw them both evolve in the same direction. And, you know, I want to break really quick and say for your listeners, for your viewers who don't really understand this world and they don't really understand why they care, the reason you care is because about 35% of the U.S. electorate identifies as evangelical. So there has been this all-out effort to capture those votes or even just sort of blunt the impact of those votes. I mean, the Atlantic has called evangelicals America's most powerful voting bloc, and they're a captive audience in churches every weekend. So there's a very good reason that the left has been so interested in infiltrating their ministries, their seminaries, their churches. So Russell Moore has very much been an instrument of that. You see him pop up on just about every sort of progressive policy that the left feels like it can conceivably push into churches.

So that's really where Russell Moore's evolution went. And after that, there was a revolt. It got so bad that really people in the pews did start to notice. And so, you know, at the annual Southern Baptist Convention, which is their annual gathering to do the business of the association, you started to hear a lot of complaints, motions to abolish the ERLC.

So at that point, Russell Moore, and I go into this in deep detail in the book, but I can tell you that he sort of engineered a media narrative that there was an abuse apocalypse in the Southern Baptist Convention. And I'm here to tell you there wasn't. You know, there are individual cases of abuse, of course, because we live in a fallen world and any institution is going to deal with it.

But as far as rate of incidents, it was very low. And the cases that they made very high profile were, in fact, extremely murky allegations between adults. A lot of questions should have been asked.

It was very sort of me too stuff. Adult women saying, oh, gosh, I was in this 12-year adulterous relationship, but the whole time from the age of 26 to 38, it was never consensual. I was abused the whole time. And those were the kind of allegations that Russell Moore was going out with to say the Southern Baptist Convention has a massive abuse problem. And it became a media storm. He was very successful at it.

He had help from people like JD Greer. And you could say at that moment, he sort of blew up the Southern Baptist Convention, announced he was leaving, and took a position at Christianity Today. So he is now their public theologian and their editor-in-chief.

And side note on Christianity Today, a little research on them shows that they are heavily Democratic now. I looked into their political donations from 2015 to 2022. They had about 72 political donations, including editorial staff, which is a journalistic malpractice. And they all went to Democrats, every single one, including Elizabeth Warren. So that was sort of the backdrop of going, why is this happening? Who are the major players?

And Russell Moore may very well be the best known player in this world. So, Meghan, I want to get into detail, the amount of money and who's actually financing this. And this is very depressing for a lot of Christians to hear that their faith leaders are for sale.

And, I mean, the Francis Collins example is the most glaring one. That the federal government came and quote unquote partnered with evangelical churches in a moment of crisis to push the vaccine, to push non-science. Very important stuff. Debt. It keeps you tossing and turning at night. You can't get away from it. But the truth is, the system is designed to trap you in debt. Insanely high interest rate credit cards and loans make it nearly impossible to pay off your debt. There's a new way out of the debt trap, pivotal debt solutions. Pivotal debt solutions isn't like the old school debt relief companies that string your debt out for years. They have new aggressive strategies that can end your debt faster and easier than you thought possible. With pivotal debt solutions, you can cut or even eliminate interest. Find programs to write off your balances so you owe less. Stop these threatening phone calls and without bankruptcy and without a loan. Bottom line is they find every solution possible to end your debt permanently. Before you do anything, contact pivotal debt solutions first to talk to them for free. Find out how fast they can get you out of debt. Visit

That is, So Megan, how much money has been funneled into these churches and who is receiving it, who is financing it? Give us the specifics and the particulars that your research has discovered. Right. And you'd have to break this down by a particular policy issue because if you look at an issue like climate change, you have the Clinton Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, Hewlett Foundation, which is the largest funder of Planned Parenthood, by the way, sort of funneling money into the evangelical environmental network, which is climate justice kind of thing. But if we go back to our example of immigration, we know that when the National Immigration Forum was first founded, they were taking millions from George Soros.

So I think we're talking about 3 million when they first launched. And the issue with the evangelical immigration table is it's really hard to know how much of that went to funding that particular initiative because it's just an initiative of the National Immigration Forum. Because they tried to say, oh, hey, we cordoned off the George Soros money. So unless you can get a look at their internal books, it's hard to know. But what we do know is that when the DC leaks happened and some of those internal board books from George Soros was listed, he had several sort of notations in these books saying, okay, $200,000 on this date went to the Bibles, badges, and business program, which was part of what the evangelical immigration table was doing.

So that was just a part of it. So what we know is that there were at least 3 million that first couple of years going to the National Immigration Forum, which is also the evangelical immigration table. So you look at other groups like, say, the Arcus Foundation, which is the largest LGBTQ foundation in the world, they've been funneling millions as they are very clear to a variety of denominations and churches that are Protestant. I would say they very directly spent maybe 2, 3 million directly funding the schism in the United Methodist Church to convince it to start embracing trans ideology, to start teaching that homosexuality is not a sin anymore. And we know the slippery slope that that leads to.

You're not going to get one part of that package without getting the entire package of the whole rainbow panoply. So that's what's been going on as far as who is funneling the money. You're looking at George Soros, you're looking at the Hewlett Foundation, the Clinton Foundation, the Tides Foundation, really all of the really big major left-wing foundations. And by the way, Pierre Omidar also, who is well known as the founder.

eBay. He's not a Christian. He's a Buddhist. None of these people are.

So help me understand. So are they funding individual churches at times? Are they also paying one-off deals or is it more through these NGOs?

It's through the NGOs. So essentially what they do is these NGOs will have pastor partners. So let's take the evangelical immigration table slash National Immigration Forum. They will have pastors come work for them, right? So there's a Southern Baptist pastor.

His name's escaping me right at the second. But he's an example of they will hire this guy. He will show up at the convention, set up a table, start pushing these policies. And the argument is, I work for the evangelical immigration table. That will be his claim. But when you go and look at the job posting for what he does, it says he works for the National Immigration Forum.

They're really no different. So he's drawing a paycheck from them. And the job description is to recruit pastors to meet with legislators to convince them that evangelicals want these particular open borders bills, these amnesty bills.

So that is how it works. They will pay the NGO. The NGO will hire pastors. So technically it's like, hey, I have a job working for the evangelical immigration table slash National Immigration Forum.

And that all looks above board. So they're not drawing a direct paycheck. They might be able to say, I'm doing a job here. Or I sit on the board of something in a way that I draw a paycheck for being an officer of this particular NGO. So that's how it works.

So let's go deeper into this. But first, I just want to reiterate that these are leftists that are pumping tons of money into Christianity, not because they care a sliver about Jesus or about the Bible or the word or saving souls, but because they care about leftism. And so why are Christians why are any Christian leaders partnering with secular left wing Marxists and taking their money? Where why are these shepherds selling themselves?

They sound more like prostitutes than shepherds. That is a really good observation. And the question of why sometimes, as you pointed out, I think it can be sort of explicitly transactional. We're going to hire you for a role in our organization, you're going to be a mobilizer and then you go to, you know, say some event like the Southern Baptist Convention and you push these policies or you publish articles saying that evangelicals want these policies or you lobby legislators.

So you know, that's explicitly transactional, but they're not all like that. I mean, I think you have to look at people like Russell Moore, who by the way, just side note. He's listed as a grantee in George Soros' own documents. Now, it doesn't say why he's a grantee. My assumption is that it is related to his work with the evangelical immigration table.

But you don't call someone your grantee if they've never received money from you. So Russell Moore is a grantee of which organization? George Soros' Open Society Foundation. So that's in the Open Society documents? That's in Soros', yeah, his own internal documents.

You know, the difficulty is it doesn't know why. Why was he a grantee? We don't know. But I mean, do we think George Soros made a mistake? Because when you asked the Southern Baptist Convention leadership about this, when it came out a few years ago, their argument was, no, no, no, that's just, you know, people are peddling conspiracy theories. Well, this conspiracy theory was black and white in George Soros' own documentation, so there's a lot to answer for there. And Russell Moore has never explained why George Soros seems to be under the impression that he is a grantee, that Russell Moore is a grantee of his organization. I hope people understand Russell Moore is one of the top-leading, quote-unquote, thought-leading intellectuals in American Christianity. Megan, you are going to finish a point.

Please continue. Well, and I also wanted to really quick hit, because he is now at Christianity Today and discussing, you know, how just far left-leaning. And it's very obvious now if you look at Christianity Today's coverage and who they promote. But they are also taking millions. You want to talk about specific dollars. They're taking, I think it was something, I have to look at my notes, but something like 1.25 million or something from the Lilly Endowment, which is the foundation established by the Eli Lilly Pharmaceutical Company, to do some sort of pastoral training, to put together a curriculum, to help pastors learn how to preach better. Why is the Lilly Endowment doing that? And why is Christianity Today getting into the business of taking millions from the Lilly Endowment to do this, you know, sort of special project that they were specifically invited. They were privately invited. They didn't just go solicit this money.

They were invited to apply for this grant. So this is the kind of thing that you see happening all over. And when you look at, yeah, why are they doing it, it's because, as some people have pointed out, in a very real way, evangelicals are the sort of last bastion of sanity as far as keeping back all of the negative policies, all of the destructive policies that we see in the US.

They are the ones who are holding it up. And that is why there has been a cottage industry, a massive explosion of books. By the way, you feature heavily in a lot of those books from people like the Atlantic's Tim Alberta.

I'm in all of them. Yeah. Right. And what makes me laugh is you've got Tim Alberta saying, Oh, gosh, isn't it so terrible that Charlie Kirk is getting involved in the faith arena and discussing how our politics, how our faith should inform our politics. And yet I just heard you do something that I don't hear those guys do, and that is read a disclosure of, hey, we're supported by this foundation.

And you were very clear about that. They don't do that. You don't know who's supporting them.

They don't come out and say, hey, by the way, we're taking money from the Rockefeller Foundation, from the Hewlett Foundation, from the second largest funders of Planned Parenthood also give us money to push curriculum to tell you how your churches should approach politics. And that's another thing that Russell Moore is involved in. So let me just pause really quick. And, Megan, your research is profound and important.

It is shepherds for sale. So I'm going to ask you a personal opinion through all of your research. Do you think these people are actually Christian?

Man, I don't like to read the state of people's soul, but the fruit is really bad, isn't it? I look at Russell Moore and I go every sort of pernicious influence is there. People that I would never want to accept money from, even if they told me, hey, we're just giving this to you because they will often say we just believe in pluralism and we just want everybody to have a voice and yet they don't actually support conservative voices.

I would say no. You know, if the Clinton Foundation came to me and said, we're going to offer you money to do these things, I would say no. So at the very least, I can say these are some bought men.

Why do they do these things? And I cannot come up with any sort of charitable answer, to be honest with you. And so, Megan, the book is Shepherds for Sale.

It's coming out in July. Have any of these people respond to the comment for you as you reach out to them? Have you asked Russell Moore, is George Soros paying you?

So I have reached out to Russell Moore on numerous stories that I've written that have touched on these things. I ran into him in an airport. And by the way, always he was too busy. He had COVID.

He was traveling. He always had a reason from his assistant why he could not respond to me. And so then once I ran into him in an airport, and this was sort of when the COVID propaganda thing was going on, we were on the same flight. And I just said, your assistant tells me you're too busy. And I said it very politely, very sweetly, very winsomely. And I said, could we talk about it right now? We're both standing here in a line. We got nothing to do for the next 30 minutes.

Let's talk. And he said, no, no, no, I can't do that. You have to call my assistant. Something has to be set up.

So and of course, I never heard back after that when I went home and reached out. Maybe he is on George Soros' payrolls. We deserve an answer. So, Megan, I do want to get your comments on this Mark Driscoll story. It is rather remarkable. So essentially, there was this guy who calls himself a pastor, who I don't think is a pastor, who had some sort of a male strip, let's just say, exercise at a male's conference. And he takes his shirt off at the male's conference and swallows a sword and goes up on the pole.

Mark Driscoll then shows up, I believe, the next day and calls it out. So, Megan, what do you make of this now very, very viral story in Christianity? Man, so many feelings about this viral moment trying to make, you know, sense of what happened there. I can tell you that I asked a few people because there's obviously a lot of people who are now saying like, oh, it was pre-planned, you know, it was a stunt. And I have asked a few people who were there. They tell me it was not pre-planned. But I don't really get what the big controversy was for this particular event. I mean, I think the whole event looks a little chaotic.

I don't see a lot of substance there. But when you look back through other clips of this event, they've had shirtless men doing various shirtless things. And I watched the video with the sword swallower. And I would not have known that that guy was a straight—it didn't appear sexual to me at all. And I wouldn't have known that the guy was a former stripper based on the performance if, you know, that hadn't been sort of the big claim on social media immediately after.

And apparently he is, but I couldn't get, you know, any really hard facts on what exactly his background is other than he's been on America's Got Talent and Great Britain Has Talent swallowing swords exactly like he did. So I'll be honest with you. I thought the whole moment was sort of goofy and opportunistic. And I don't really get what the Jezebel spirit is. To me, what I looked at was, okay, this seems very performative as far as what masculinity is and what men do. And the condemnation didn't really—I don't know what a Jezebel spirit is. I mean, that doesn't point me to a specific scripture.

So I didn't really buy into all of that. But the one thing I will say when I watched it is I went, men need to be served by the church. And this event and what happened there tells me that they're not. They are so hungry to not be sort of dismissed and to be shamed for being men. And they need their masculinity affirmed and praised in healthy ways. And that's why we're getting sort of these, you know, I might say sort of fringy events where quirky, bizarre things are happening because men aren't being fed in their churches.

So to me, this is all symptomatic of a much larger problem. In closing here, let's go back to the book. Meghan, anything about the book that you want to mention that we did not cover here, Shepherds for Sale?

Oh, gosh. I mean, there's so much. Probably the biggest thing I want to cover is, you know, the things that we've touched on today. One are just, you know, the very tippity top of the iceberg of what I cover in this book. And that is just, you know, the tip of the iceberg of what is happening. So, I mean, I'm very clear that these are simply representative examples of what's going on.

But by no means is it exhaustive. And people need to know what's happening in their churches because, one, it is a spiritual sickness that this is being allowed to happen. And that so many pastors are turning over their pulpits to left-wing propaganda. So that's an issue.

But it's also bad for our nation because if the evangelicals fall and buy into this sort of thing, it's going to, you know, Christianity is going to be fine, but it will be the death of our nation. I agree. And so let me just kind of summarize this. This is deeper than people realize and kind of a wider breadth.

How do we solve it? Well, I think the biggest issue is, first, know it's happening because I think there's been a lot of confusion. A lot of people haven't realized why is this going on. And so, you know, when they're shamed by their pastors for racial injustice and they're like, I'm not racist.

I don't understand this. So the first thing is to know that it's happening, why it's happening. And then the second thing is get out of those churches, go find solid churches where they're not doing that. Don't give your attention and your money and your tithes to the guys who are pushing this. So that would be, you know, my biggest thing, find solid churches, find good pastors. And when you see it happening, you know, be respectful, be gracious, but don't ignore it. Call out what's happening. And if you see your pastor falling prey to it, I would very respectfully push back and say, hey, why are we doing this?

Why are we preaching this instead of the word? Megan, thank you so much. God bless. Talk to you soon. Thanks. Thanks for having me. For the record, I thought that the entire display was outrageous. Having homoerotic male strippers at a church event is a desecration of the holy.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-04-18 06:15:07 / 2024-04-18 06:28:53 / 14

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