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The Flag of the World

-G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

This here blog is a glimpse or two or three at the condition of the 'fortress of our family' through the eyes Timothy Goddard, a Christian writer with an unhealthy interest in politics living in the Puget Sound area.

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Tuesday, April 27, 2004

 

Wishful thinking and "freestyle" evangelicals
Via my father comes Albert Mohler's thorough takedown of the American Prospect's wishful article about how "freestyle evangelicals...just might swing the vote -- in favor of the Democrats." The Prospect piece is bursting at the seams with anecdotal evidence, but with nothing solid backing it up. Aside from the editor of Sojurners, Tony Campolo and Jimmy Carter--all relics that hardly reflect a growing trend--the article mentions two twentysomethings mired in academia. Gee, that's original. (Though it should be noted that I have a high amount of respect for Campolo, when he's not talking about anything that even resembles politics). Mohler does a good job of deconstructing any argument based on those men, but the most telling paragraph in the whole article was this:
After Jonathan Eastvold's preferred candidate, Wesley Clark, dropped out of the presidential race, he contacted the Kerry campaign to inquire about starting up a "Christians for Kerry" forum on the senator's Web site. Although he was unsure whether he would support Kerry, he hoped to correspond with other undecided believers in the lead-up to the election. The campaign Web site already hosted many other interest groups, such as "Firefighters for Kerry" and "Students for Kerry." Eastvold was politely informed that if he wanted to open up a Yahoo.com Web group, he would be welcome to do so -- but he was not invited to join the official campaign Web site.
The trouble with Christians and progressives making common cause is that Christianity is in large part that which progressives are trying to progress away from! There will never be more than a fringe group of Christians with a conservative theology but a liberal politics, because the liberality of liberal politics extends from a liberality in theology. It's not just about abortion or homosexuality, it's about original sin, the fallen nature of Man, the nature of salvation and the very nature of Christ. The furor over The Passion demarcated this line very clearly. Even if you could convince evangelicals that Christ's commands were directed at governments, not individuals (unlikely), you'd still have to convince evangelicals to overlook the deep philosophical disputes they have with the very essence of liberalism. A precious few can manage of it (many of them teach here at Bethel), but overall, it's just not going to happen.

Evangelical Christians whose righteous desire to care for the poor and the downtrodden drives them into the progressive movement should think twice about trying to convince the rest of their brethren to join them. They should instead focus on inspiring those same Christians to live Christ's message in their own lives. Then, they can make common cause with those of us who firmly believe that we must carry out our Savior's commands--but who also think that the government is not the way to do it.
Agree, disagree, have more information on the topic? Please, feel free to leave a comment. No profanity!
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