Is the Founder of The Veritas Forum Behind an Anti-Muslim Facebook Campaign?

Jullberg

What is going on with Kelly Monroe Kullberg, the founder of the Veritas Forum?  Here is a taste of Asysha Kahn’s piece at Religion News Service:

Fact-checking website Snopes linked the network to Kelly Monroe Kullberg, the founder and president of The America Conservancy, whose aims, as Kullberg has described online, are “advancing Biblical wisdom as the highest love for people and for culture.” All 24 Facebook pages had financial ties to Kullberg directly or organizations she helps lead.

Posts on the network decry “Islamist Privilege and Sharia Supremacy” and claim that Islam is “not a religion”; that Islam promotes rape, murder and deception; that Muslims hate Christians and Jews; that Muslims have an agenda to “spread Sharia law and Islam through migration and reproduction”; and that resettling Muslim refugees is “cultural destruction and subjugation.”

The tactics seem to mirror the playbook of Russian troll farms, with page titles purporting to originate with diverse demographic groups like “Blacks for Trump,” “Catholics for Trump,” “Teachers for Trump” and “Seniors for America.”

Snopes found that Kullberg and her associates’ agenda appeared, at least in part, to be working to re-elect President Donald Trump in 2020. The “astroturfing” campaign — referring to efforts made to look as if they come from legitimate grassroots supporters — was at least in part funded by right-wing political donors, including a prominent GOP donor who served as a fundraiser and campaign board member for 2016 presidential candidate Ben Carson.

I was happy to contribute to the Khan’s report:

“If you would have told me about this investigation 20 years ago I would have been very surprised,” said John Fea, a professor of American history at Messiah College and author of the book “Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump.” But given Kullberg’s more recent politics, he said, it’s hardly shocking.

Once a mainstream evangelical Christian figure, Kullberg is the founder of the The Veritas Forum, a prominent non-profit organization that partners with Christian college students to host discussions on campus about faith. The discussions attract non-evangelical, non-Christian and secular speakers as well as leading mainstream evangelical voices.

Her 1996 book “Finding God at Harvard: Spiritual Journeys of Thinking Christians” topped bestseller lists. Now based in Columbus, Ohio, she has served as a chaplain to the Harvard Graduate School Christian Fellowship and spent time as a missionary in Russia and several Latin American countries.

Most recently, Kullberg appears to have shifted further right politically, taking what Fea described as a “pro-Trump, Christian Right, culture war posture” laced with anti-social justice rhetoric. The American Association of Evangelicals, for which Kullberg is the founder and spokeswoman, is “essentially a Christian Right organization whose supporters read like a list of evangelical leaders who have thrown their support behind Donald Trump as a savior of the country and the church,” he said.

“She seems obsessed with the influence of George Soros on progressive evangelicals and believes that social justice warriors have hijacked the Gospel,” Fea noted.

Read the entire piece here.

While running the Veritas Forum, Kullberg worked with Christian speakers such as Francis Collins, Robert George, Os Guinness, Tim Keller, Peter Kreeft, Madeleine L’Engle, George Marsden, Frederica Mathewes-Green, Alister McGrath, Richard John Neuhaus, Alvin Plantinga, John Polkinghorne, Dallas Willard, Lauren Winner, Nicholas Wolterstorff, and N.T. Wright.  She put some of these speakers into dialogue with the likes of Anthony Flew, Christopher Hitchens, Nicholas Kristof, Steven Pinker, and Peter Singer.

In her new role with the “The American Association of Evangelicals” she works with court evangelicals and pro-Trump evangelicals such as Eric Metaxas, James Garlow,  Everett Piper, Tim Wildmon, Wayne Grudem, Steve Strang, David Barton, and Lance Wallnau (the Trump prayer coin guy).

The divisions in American evangelicalism are widening.   The American Association of Evangelicals (AAE) is now the conservative, Christian Right alternative to The National Association of Evangelicals (NAE). Here is how it understands its relationship to the NAE:

Kullberg is also a leader with Evangelicals for Biblical Immigration (EBI) a more conservative evangelical immigration group that appears to be an alternative to the Evangelical Immigration Table (EIT).  While the EBI includes many of the culture warriors I mentioned above, the EIT includes people like Leith Anderson (President of the NAE), Shirley Hoogstra (President of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities), and Russell Moore (President of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission).

New alignments are forming.  Evangelicalism is changing and fracturing.

12 thoughts on “Is the Founder of The Veritas Forum Behind an Anti-Muslim Facebook Campaign?

  1. This wretch lives in my community. Not that long ago we found that someone else with a respectable cover was running the nazi publication “Daily Stormer” out of an nice office in Worthington, Ohio The nazi bastard was a “nice kid” who went to the highly liberal “Worthington Alternative School”. His dad helped him with the operation – and managed the money. Needless to say Ms. Kelly Kullberger is not going to be very popular in Upper Arlington any more. Why is it that the cruelest, most racist assholes are most often Evangelicals.

    Matthew 25:34 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,”

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  2. James,
    Oh, yeah, there are many Christians with impressive scientific credentials. Many of them wrote the IPCC reports! Unfortunately more people know about James Inhofe’s snowball than know of Alister McGrath, John Lennox, Francis Collins, or Hugh Ross combined. So that’s what our kids and grandkids will hear about when they wonder what Christians were doing about creation care when it mattered the most. We were retarding the global effort to care for God’s creation.
    “When God created Adam and Eve, He gave us a planet with optimized precipitation patterns… Because of human abuse, we have disturbed that.” -Hugh Ross.

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  3. Alex,

    There are scores of evangelical Christians with higher scientific credentials than Mrs. Thatcher, the pope, or Hayhoe. I don’t know where they stand on global warming, however. It is not a concern to me one way or the other. I am not saying this to disparage the three individuals you mention, by the way; it’s just that all Christians are not without scientific educations. Just start with Alister McGrath, John Lennox, Francis Collins, or Hugh Ross.

    James

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  4. Alex,

    When I spoke of the lack of monolithic thought among Christians, I was speaking of theology, ecclesiology, eschatology, angelology, anthropology, bibliology, soteriology, etc.
    By the way, your 87% figure doesn’t comport with Dr. Fea’s analysis of 2016. You are a bit higher.

    James

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  5. How interesting that so many prominent Christians are also self described experts in physics, astronomy, chemistry, and atmospheric science. Of course, the only prominent Christians I can think of who have degrees in those topics are Katharine Hayhoe, Margaret Thatcher, and Pope Francis, who have all strongly affirmed the scientific consensus on the causes and dangers of climate change.

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  6. “With that being said, it is difficult for anyone to generalize about the motives of today’s evangelicals. They are hardly a monolithic group.”
    That’s kinda the central topic of debate for evangelicals. Not even a majority of evangelicals think Jesus is the only way to heaven. That should be the one thing all Christians agree on, especially a group calling themselves “Evangelical Christians”.
    I wanted to flow into my next point, but this still floors me. That is a serious problem.
    Now consider 87% voted for Trump. That is about as monolithic as it gets. Evangelicals are now more a political movement than a religious movement. That’s why Fallwell jr believes the best way to get evangelicals to become even more monolithic in their voting is to talk less about religion and talk more about politics.

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  7. Harry,

    Applying II Chronicles 7:14 to America or any nation other than ancient Israel was always dispensationally questionable.

    With that being said, it is difficult for anyone to generalize about the motives of today’s evangelicals. They are hardly a monolithic group. And I am not talking about political ideology here but rather about goals which define “The Kingdom” and specific strategies to carry the competing visions out. If, however, you think that the movement as a whole will devolve into a secular Ayn Rand love-in, you have not been spending a lot of time among the rank and file. From what I can see, not even the numerically-small post millennial types are on the verge of abandoning traditional Christian theology.

    The greater internal danger to Evangelicalism is from the Emerging Church and the progressives who have their clearly secularized vision. Fortunately, these people usually peel away from nominal orthodoxy within a generation or less.

    Of course, I will allow that orthodox Christians of all ages have been confronted with the temptations of the sins common to man such as greed, lust, pride, lack of love, self-seeking, etc. Those sorts of sins are not unique to evangelicals living in 2019.

    James

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  8. Each day, it seems, I find one more reason not to be an “Evangelical.” That was my label back in the Moral Majority days of yore, but it has become so far removed from the teachings and heart of Jesus that I can’t accept it. I no longer prayer for God to ‘heal our land.’ The late Leonard Ravenhill once observed that revival would not come to a people who figured they could get along without it. The Christian Right doesn’t want revival; it wants political power and the ability to crush its detractors.

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  9. Each day, it seems, I find one more reason not to be an “Evangelical.” That was my label back in the Moral Majority days of yore, but it has become so far removed from the teachings and heart of Jesus that I can’t accept it. I no longer pray for God to spare America from judgment or to bring revival. The late Leonard Ravenhill once observed that revival would not come to a people who figured they could get along without it. The Christian Right doesn’t want revival; it wants political power and the ability to crush its detractors. All that 2 Chronicles 7:14 stuff is lost on a people who see no reason to fulfill its prerequisites. They don’t want humility but rather hubris. They don’t really want prayer but rather political grandstanding. And as for turning from evil ways, they’re too busy idolizing the mega-rich and passing out ‘mulligans’ for their egregious sins. Something’s going to happen-I don’t know what and don’t pretend to know. Perhaps then the secularized, egotistical, Ayn Rand-worshipping, Donald Trump-worshiping Evangelicals will see the monsters they have created and see their need for revival. Unfortunately I’m not that optimistic. I envision it as a time of increased hate, scapegoating, and more lying in the name of the One who commanded us to walk in truth. At this time persecution won’t likely come from Islam as it will from those who call themselves ‘Christians.’
    Be prepared.

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  10. In addition to being a font of vitriolic racism, Kullberg is also, guess what, a climate change denier. That should surprise no one who understands how these toxic ideologies flock together.

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  11. The Veritas Forum has excellent podcasts addressing a wide range of thorny subjects.

    I enjoyed learning that Kelly Kullberg is also doing other excellent Christian work.

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