Monday, November 06, 2006


Jesus Protests

I can't see Jesus standing with signs at an anti-gay rally. It's hard to picture that.
That is how a 42-year-old evangelical pastor from Missouri named Adam Hamilton expresses some of his differences with the likes of Dr. James Dobson, who tries to scare his flock with visions a nation filled with married gay couples. Hamilton also said the religious right has "lost their focus on the spirit of Jesus and have separated the world into black and white, when the world is much more gray."

So begins the Newsweek cover story "An Evangelical Identity Crisis." According to the piece, there are a couple of sources of this growing trend:

Some Christians, exhausted by divisive wedge politics, are going back to the Bible and embracing a wider-ranging agenda, one that emphasizes reaching out to the poor and disenfranchised.
Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, is often cited as an exemplar of this part of the change in attitude. He encourages his flock to sign up for missionary stints in Africa, feed the homeless and see themselves as part of a global Christian community.

Other evangelicals are

... disillusioned that the power they entrusted to the religious right has produced so few results [and now] prefer a break from politics -- as former Bush aide David Kuo puts it, "a fast." "You can't find a values leader out there that is not disappointed, discouraged," says Richard Viguerie, who was one of the architects of the Moral Majority, a forerunner of the religious right.
The dissolution of the stranglehold of the extreme right over "values voters," if that is what is happening, will be a positive development for democracy, encouraging a more nuanced political agenda. And it will ultimately advance the real interests of religious people, because the most dependable rule of politics is that the voter who is sure to vote for a politician or party, has just lost all political clout.

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