Two prominent Southern Baptists recently boasted about being selected for membership in a prestigious New York-based think tank that conspiracy theorists such as Pat Robertson view as a secret society plotting a one-world government and global economy including the United States.

Richard Land, president and CEO of the Southern Baptist Convention Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, and Rick Warren, a mega-church pastor and author of The Purpose Driven Life, are on record as belonging to the Council on Foreign Relations, an influential policy organization of power elites from politics, business, finance, academia and the media.

Land spoke to the group in 2005 on evangelicals and the Middle East. Warren has also addressed the group, presenting his global plan to enlist Christians in the fight against poverty, illiteracy and AIDS.

Those ties raised eyebrows among the Religious Right, who view the organization with suspicion.

“Does anyone not know that the CFR is among the most active and influential organizations promoting an economic and governmental One World Order?” radio personality Chuck Baldwin wrote in a column. “The CFR has been the puppeteer pulling the strings of both Republican and Democratic administrations for years.”

Author Devvy Kidd, in a 2005 commentary on WorldNetDaily, described it as “an organization whose mission is to redefine American policy and slide this republic into a one-world government.”

The Jeremiah Project called it “a serpentine network of international revolutionaries and fascist ideologues whose goal is to end American sovereignty and bring about a global, Marxist paradise.”

In his 1991 book The New World Order, Pat Robertson warned: “This august body of ‘wise men’ has effectively dominated the making of foreign policy by the United States government since before World War II. The CFR has included virtually every key national security and foreign policy adviser of this nation for the past 70 years.”

A conservative society with Dominionist ties, the Council on National Policy, formed in response to the CFR.

Members of the CFR include neo-conservatives like David Rockefeller, Henry Kissinger, George Soros and George Tenet alongside liberals and moderates including labor head John Sweeny, Jessie Jackson, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. Though not a member, President Bush has strong ties to the group. His opponent in 2004, John Kerry, has been a member for 10 years.

Vice President Cheney is a long-time member and a former director who joked to the group, “I never mentioned that when I was campaigning for re-election back home in Wyoming.”

The Council on Foreign Relations is a private membership organization not connected to the government. Membership is by invitation. The CFR holds regular private meetings, conducts research and publishes a quarterly journal called Foreign Affairs.

Formally organized in 1921, the CFR is a branch of a globalist society founded in England with a mission of world interdependence.

Depending on whom you ask, it started much earlier. Conspiracy theorists link it to a plot supposedly hatched in the 1760s called the “Illuminati,” an Enlightenment secret society reputed to secretly control world affairs referenced as a New World Order.

The Illuminati theory became popularized among evangelical Christians through writings and broadcasts by CBN founder Pat Robertson, and a novel by Larry Burkett, a Christian financial counselor who died in 2003, set in 2020 about the Illuminati managing to elect one of their own as president.

The CFR denies it is a secret society, describing itself as an independent membership organization and non-partisan think tank and publisher.

The group is occasionally controversial. CNN’s Lou Dobbs blasted a report calling for a common border around North America by 2010 and allowing freer flow of people between Canada, Mexico and the United States modeled after the European Union.

In 2001 the CFR called for a more accommodating stance with the communist regime of Fidel Castro in Cuba.

The council’s president, Richard Haas, has said state sovereignty needs to be altered in an era of globalization. “In the age of globalization, states should give up some sovereignty to world bodies in order to protect their own interests,” he wrote.

Warren confirmed his membership in the CFR in an exchange with WorldNetDaily founder and editor Joseph Farrah, who took the Purpose Driven author to task for comments he said gave legitimacy to a hostile dictator in Syria.

After Warren issued a press release saying he was misquoted, Farrah challenged him in a e-mail to provide a transcript or tapes of his remark and chided him for causing damage with a “reckless trip.”

“I really didn’t expect to hear back from Warren,” Farrah wrote in a follow-up column dated Nov. 20, “but, a few minutes later, I did, with an absolutely stunning retort.

“He let me know he is a close friend of President Bush ‘and many, if not most, of the generals at the Pentagon.’

“He also told me he did not tape anything while in Syria, ‘because it was a courtesy call, like I do in every country.’

“Warren explained that he had also counseled with the National Security Council and the White House, as well as the State Department, before his little courtesy call for a neighbor.

“‘In fact,’ Warren added, ‘as a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and Oxford Analytica, I might know as much about the Middle East as you.'”

Farrah said he then got a link to a YouTube video of Rick Warren in Syria explaining how great the Assad regime treats Christians and Jews and how Damascus ”does not permit extremism of any kind.”

Farrah said he again challenged Warren, and a few minutes later the video was taken down, but not before a radio talk-show host in Oklahoma downloaded an audio version. It is available here.

Bob Allen is managing editor of

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