Other Group

American Association of Evangelicals (AAE)

Website:

www.AmericanEvangelicals.com

Type:

Online Christian Community

Formation:

2016

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The American Association of Evangelicals (AAE) is a religious organization that describes itself as an “e-gathering of Christians.” 1

The association was founded in 2016 by Christian and right-leaning political activists and commentators including Eric Metaxas, Alveda King, James Garlow, Miles McPherson, Kelly Monroe Kullberg, George Barna and Everett Piper. 2

The Association has gathered examples of donations from George Soros and his Open Society Network to certain Christian and religious organizations that AAE claims are designed to push those groups in a progressive-leaning direction. 3 4

Background

The American Association of Evangelicals is an evangelical Christian organization that describes itself as a “a free and informal e-gathering of Christians exploring how biblical wisdom yields true love for people and true good for cultures.” 5 The AAE, established in 2016, is not to be confused with the National Association of Evangelicals, a large organization founded in 1942. 6

Critics of the AAE have accused it of “promoting conspiracy theories” for criticizing liberal political donor George Soros. 7

Policy Advocacy

The American Association of Evangelicals is active in politics and public policy, and supports the sanctity of life, free speech and civil liberties, creativity, and free enterprise. The group also speaks up for persecuted Christians, Jews, and other minorities globally. 8

The AAE website includes videos promoting scriptural instruction for conservative positions on immigration, biblical principles on marriage and sexuality, and political correctness. 9 10 11

Shortly after its founding in 2016, the AAE released a letter criticizing the “progressive evangelical” movement as being “anti-Christian.” The letter criticized then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and funding from George Soros going to other religious organizations. The letter also blasted the left-wing religious groups Sojourners, the New Evangelical Partnership and Faith in Public Life. It further said American Christians must “capture” America in a similar way that early Christians “captured the Roman empire for Christ.” This is in contrast to the NAE, which is a conservative-leaning group but has previously cooperated with some liberal-leaning Christian groups in the past. The letter was signed by dozens of conservative Christians including theologian Wayne Grudem, retired military officer Jerry Boykin, commentator Eric Metaxas, and publisher Steve Strang. 12

In June 2022, after the leak of the draft Supreme Court opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson that would overturn Roe v. Wade, AAE leaders wrote a letter to Supreme Court justices and pro-life members of Congress that said, “On behalf of millions of evangelical Christians in America, we thank you for standing strong in your respect for the Constitution, clearly reflected in Justice Alito’s draft of Dobbs v. Jackson.” The letter continued, “We pray that you endure the well-paid grievance industry, sometimes called ‘crisis actors,’ and others ‘leaking’ private and sacred documents, those harassing you in your homes and in media.” 13

Criticism of George Soros

The American Association of Evangelicals has been critical of religious organizations that accept money from far-left billionaire philanthropists George Soros. In 2018, the AAE produced a video about how Soros, through his Open Society network of nonprofits, funded left-leaning religious organizations. The video focused heavily on Jim Wallis of Sojourners and liberal-leaning evangelicals in the “Vote Common Good” tour bus. The video alleged that hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Soros network helped fund Sojourners. AAE spokesperson Kelly Monroe Kullberg said, “Anti-American globalists like Soros are funding a growth industry of paid anarchists and political activists to divide and weaken America, including the Church.” 14

In late 2020, members of the AAE published “A Call to Repentance,” criticizing self-professed evangelical Christian groups for taking money from the Open Society Foundations. The AAE said this was paid to “rent” Christians and use pastors as “mascots” to validate leftwing causes. Beyond criticisms of Sojourners, AAE’s report further notes other faith-based groups that have taken money from the Soros-back network. These including the New Evangelical Partnership, Telos, J Street, and Catholics in Alliance for Common Good. The AAE report claimed that faith leaders promoting policies and politicians who advocate for abortion, “stacking” the U.S. Supreme Court, drug and “sex worker” legalization, open borders, mass amnesty and voter fraud should repent. 15

People

The American Association of Evangelicals was founded in 2016 by Christian and political activists and commentators including author and commentator Eric Metaxas; pro-life activist Alveda King, the niece of Martin Luther King Jr.; theologian Wayne Grudem; former pastor James Garlow; pastor and former NFL player Miles McPherson; pollster George Barna; and former Oklahoma Wesleyan University president Everett Piper. 16 17

Author and activist Kelly Kullberg has been a spokesperson for the American Association of Evangelicals. In the early 1990s, she was a chaplain with the Harvard Graduate School Christian Fellowship and established the Veritas Forum. She is the author of Finding God at Harvard. 18 She helped run a network of 24 Facebook accounts with a combined 1.4 million followers with names such as “Blacks for Trump,” “Evangelicals for Biblical Immigration,” “Veterans for Trump,” and “Nurses and Doctors for America.” Among the posts were a claim that refugee programs represented “cultural destruction and subjugation” and a claim that Muslims could not assimilate into American society. 19

References

  1. “About Us.” American Association of Evangelicals. Accessed June 1, 2024. https://americanevangelicals.com/about-us/
  2. “About Us.” American Association of Evangelicals. Accessed June 1, 2024. https://americanevangelicals.com/about-us/
  3. Chumley, Cheryl. “George Soros and his ‘rented evangelicals’ outed by Christian leaders.” Washington Times. October 22, 2018. Accessed June 1, 2024. https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/oct/22/george-soros-and-his-rented-evangelicals-outed-chr/
  4. Zmirak, John. “Evangelicals Call Progressives to Repentance.” The Stream. November 3, 2020. Accessed June 1, 2024. https://stream.org/evangelicals-call-progressives-to-repentance/
  5. “About Us.” American Association of Evangelicals. Accessed June 1, 2024. https://americanevangelicals.com/about-us/
  6. Summer, Sarah. “Should We Stop Calling Ourselves ‘Evangelicals’?” Right on Mission. July 26, 2023. Accessed June 1, 2024. https://www.rightonmission.org/post/should-we-stop-calling-ourselves-evangelicals
  7. Clark, Fred. “Baptizing Breitbart: Eric Metaxas, George Barna Among Evangelicals Promoting Conspiracy Theories.” Patheos. September 29, 2016. Accessed June 1, 2024. https://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2016/09/29/baptizing-breitbart-eric-metaxas-george-barna-among-evangelicals-promoting-conspiracy-theories-about-international-jewish-financiers/
  8.  “About Us.” American Association of Evangelicals. Accessed June 1, 2024. https://americanevangelicals.com/about-us/
  9. “The Bible and Immigration.” American Association of Evangelicals. Accessed June 1, 2024. https://americanevangelicals.com/immigration/
  10. “What is a Biblical View of Sexuality and Marriage?” American Association of Evangelicals. Accessed June 1, 2024. https://americanevangelicals.com/what-is-a-biblical-view-of-sexuality-and-marriage/
  11. “From Political Correctness to Life Giving Truth.” American Association of Evangelicals. Accessed June 1, 2024. https://americanevangelicals.com/dave_sterrett/
  12. Robertson, Brandan. “The Battle For The Heart Of American Evangelicalism.” Huffington Post. September 30, 2016. Accessed June 1, 2024. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/the-battle-for-the-heart-of-american-evangelicalism_b_57ee8c83e4b07f20daa1087f
  13. McDonnell, Faith J.H. “American Association of Evangelicals Urges Supreme Court Justices and Pro-Life Members of Congress to ‘Be Strong and Courageous’” June 6, 2022. Accessed June 1, 2024. https://cornwallalliance.org/2022/06/american-association-of-evangelicals-urges-supreme-court-justices-and-pro-life-members-of-congress-to-be-strong-and-courageous/
  14. Chumley, Cheryl. “George Soros and his ‘rented evangelicals’ outed by Christian leaders.” Washington Times. October 22, 2018. Accessed June 1, 2024. https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/oct/22/george-soros-and-his-rented-evangelicals-outed-chr/
  15. Zmirak, John. “Evangelicals Call Progressives to Repentance.” The Stream. November 3, 2020. Accessed June 1, 2024. https://stream.org/evangelicals-call-progressives-to-repentance/
  16. “About Us.” American Association of Evangelicals. Accessed June 1, 2024. https://americanevangelicals.com/about-us/
  17. Clark, Fred. “Baptizing Breitbart: Eric Metaxas, George Barna Among Evangelicals Promoting Conspiracy Theories.” Patheos. September 29, 2016. Accessed June 1, 2024. https://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2016/09/29/baptizing-breitbart-eric-metaxas-george-barna-among-evangelicals-promoting-conspiracy-theories-about-international-jewish-financiers/
  18. “About.” Kelly Kullberg. Accessed June 1, 2024. https://www.kelly-kullberg.com/
  19. Fang, Lee. “Inside the Influential Evangelical Group Mobilizing to Reelect Trump.” The Intercept. May 23, 2020. Accessed June 1, 2024. https://theintercept.com/2020/05/23/coronavirus-evangelical-megachurch-trump/
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