God’s money moves in mysterious ways

OpenDemocracy previously reported the dark money being used by US evangelists to finance “grassroots” pressure groups. But the story is much, much bigger.

US Christian right ‘fundamentalists’ linked to the Trump administration and Steve Bannon are among a dozen American groups that have poured at least $50 million of ‘dark money’ into Europe over the last decade, openDemocracy can reveal today.

Between them, these groups have backed ‘armies’ of ultra-conservative lawyers and political activists, as well as ‘family values’ campaigns against LGBT rights, sex education and abortion – and a number appear to have increasing links with Europe’s far right.

We’re talking in some cases about bona fide hate groups using money to push their agenda globally.

The SPLC explains that “viewing homosexuality as unbiblical or simply opposing same-sex marriage” is not enough to be categorised as a “hate group”. Groups on this list go further – claiming that homosexuality is dangerous, linked to paedophilia and should be criminalised, disseminating “disparaging ‘facts’ about LGBT people that are simply untrue”

This is, says SPLC, “no different to how white supremacists and nativist extremists propagate lies about black people and immigrants to make these communities seem like a danger to society”

OpenDemocracy hasn’t traced the dark money to UK anti-LGBT groups yet, but it’s there: it’s a key reason we’re suddenly debating LGBT rights again.

Joss Prior connects the dots between US fundamentalists’ dark money and UK anti-trans groups.

All the anti-trans groups and agitators in the uk, have at some time or another set-up crowdfunders and raised thousands overnight. Quite often filled with significant anonymous donations of 100s or 1000’s.

Ever wonder why there is a moral panic about trans people using toilets and sex-segregated spaces, even though trans people have had these freedoms since 2010?
Its because the argument is lifted from a different legal landscape, and people are earning by sharing regardless.

Back to the OpenDemocracy piece:

“This is dark money coming into Europe to threaten human rights, and we’re not doing anything about it”, warned Neil Datta, secretary of the European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development, describing the amounts of money involved as “staggering”.

“It took the Christian right 30 years to get to where they are now in the White House,” he said. “We knew a similar effort was happening in Europe, but this should be a wake-up call that this is happening even faster and on a grander scale than many experts could have ever imagined.”