Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Religious Right Gets Unpredictable

Rev. Ted Haggard, founder of the 10,000-member New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colo., never hesitated to tell his flock of his close association with the Bush administration. But after Haggard was forced out of that pastorship because of his relationship with a male prostitute, his replacement, Rev. Brady Boyd, has a very different attitude toward overt political involvement: he steers clear.

Boyd is the poster child for the current divisions in the evangelical community about which (Republican) candidate to support for the presidency ... and the main subject of this very interesting article in the LATimes today. the three years since [2004, when nearly 9 in 10 evangelical Christians supported George W. Bush's reelection], many Christian conservatives have expressed a growing unease about the entanglement of politics and pulpit. Among young evangelical adults, nearly half say involvement in politics is problematic....

Some of that disillusionment comes from disappointment with Bush's policies, including the war in Iraq. But there's also shame at the often-bombastic, sharply partisan rhetoric of the traditional standard-bearers for conservative Christian values....

One-third of evangelicals under 30 told [an interviewer] that they were embarrassed to call themselves believers.

"They're tired of the hard-edged politics that the Christian right has practiced in the last couple of generations," said John C. Green, senior fellow at the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. "They see all this division, all this anger, without a lot to show for it."

Florida pastor Troy Gramling says he would never consider telling his congregation of 14,000 how he planned to vote: "That would be putting pressure on them to agree with me, and I don't feel I have a right to do that. God doesn't call me and tell me who's his favorite."

Wow. 'Pears we've moved a little left of Pat Robertson, who's recently had an amazing revelation from The Big Guy that Rudy Giuliani is the right pick, despite Rudy's flagrant mastication of everything Rev. Robertson considered holy about 30 minutes ago.

With Jerry Falwell gone from the scene, with Pat Robertson impersonating Gyro Gearloose, and with pastors like Brady Boyd and Troy Gramling admitting they'd be crazy (not to mention un-Christian) to get involved in partisan political gamesmanship, maybe we really are moving beyond a Republican Party dominated by religious dictators.

That is, if El Presidente doesn't take us all to be with the Lord before the last tick-tock of his regime.

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