Letters to the Editor
Rocky Mountain News
Denver, CO 80202
Thank you for your article of June 30, 2008 entitled “Evangelicals' political clout wanes, scholars say.” This waning political influence is long overdue. For years, Christians and their churches have been inappropriately used as partisan political tools. The consequences have been most unfortunate.
From 1980 to 2000, there was always a drumbeat about the need for Christians to vote Republican. When George W. Bush mentioned Jesus during the 2000 campaign, things went crazy. Based on just one statement, evangelical leaders relentlessly promoted Bush as this great Christian man and insisted that Christians stand with him foursquare. Someone said that it was as if they wanted to add Bush to the Holy Trinity.
Millions of evangelicals thus became fervent supporters of unprovoked war, torture, warrantless searches and spying, rogue police and guilt without trial. They became cheerleaders for the most un-Christlike behavior imaginable.
When called on this, they often would try to frighten people, saying things like, “Do you want liberals in power?” Well, our “conservative” president outspends his liberal predecessor by $1 trillion per year. Every liberal program these “conservatives” say they oppose is larger and costlier than ever. Abortions are as available now as they were in the Clinton years.
Christians are called to be light in a world of darkness and salt in a world of decay. While we need to be involved in politics, we must not compromise Christianity for the sake of political victory. We must acknowledge the very strict limits of what government can accomplish and that the state almost always does more harm than good.
We must also not yoke ourselves unequally with secular political movements. This unholy alliance of evangelical Christians and the Republican Party has given Christians a reputation as warmongers, cultural control freaks and partisan political jerks. This is not how Christ called us to live.
Let us look to the Bible and to the teachings of Christ, rather than temporal partisan political agendas, as our guide toward influencing our world.
Douglas F. Newman