Not Without a Fight

Writing in the Washington Times, Gary Andres claims that old-school Right that has been represented by the so-called “Values Voters” crowd is no longer ascendant following the drubbing the GOP took in the last election.

Andres says there is “growing evidence suggests the ‘culture war’ is indeed changing, causing a wake that could jostle many vessels in the harbor of traditional American politics” and suggests that

As conservative Christianity — particularly as practiced among evangelicals — matures, many are beginning to ask other questions with broad political implications. What does it mean to live in a community? Who is my neighbor? These issues posed by [Rick] Warren, [Michael] Gerson and others signal a new direction for conservative Christians — a shift loaded with implications.

“The broadening evangelical agenda,” as Andres refers to it, certainly sounds promising – unfortunately, as we have noted before, the most politically influential right-wing leaders have long been opposed to attempts to broaden the Religious Right agenda and have openly complained that efforts to address issues such as poverty and the environment weakens their hold on “values voters.”  In fact, just this week, the incoming head of the Christian Coalition resigned because the organization refused to expand its agenda beyond opposition to homosexuality and abortion or give up its “partisan, Republican roots.”

Leaders such as Rick Warren might be trying to turn the movement in a “new direction,” but the Right’s old-guard is having none of it and is currently engaged in a campaign demonizing him for daring to invite Sen. Barack Obama to participate in the “Global Summit on AIDS and the Church.”

If anything, the recent electoral loss appears to have convinced right-wing leaders such as Vision America’s Rick Scarborough not of the need to broaden their agenda, but rather to fight even harder to push their current extremist agenda in order to mobilize their activists

We lost because the majority of Christians still stayed home. We lost because a growing number of Christians are practicing a dead faith … Many Christians meet on Sunday mornings and pray for revival, but when they have the chance to vote their stated convictions and effect positive change through the ballot box, they refuse. Their faith is therefore meaningless and void of life. Not until we address this tragic sin will America be restored.

I believe what America needs today is a massive lobbying effort to get pastors to do what’s right.

We need a massive Get Out the Pastor effort, where millions of pro-life activists lobby their pastors to do what’s right regarding same-sex marriage, abortion and other key moral issues.

Now is the time to recognize where the real battle rages…in God’s Church. Now is the time for us to encourage the thousands of pastors who are standing strong and true, and to confront the ones who are not. Now is the time and — with God’s help and your support — Vision America will lead the charge.

Perhaps leaders such as Rich Warren will succeed in broadening the “evangelical agenda” to cover issues such as poverty and the environment – if so, it’ll only happen over the militant opposition of right-wing political powerhouses such as Focus on the Family, the Christian Coalition, and Vision America.