Dark Christianity
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May 2008
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dogemperor [userpic]
Here come the evangelicals


This American Prospect article talks about evangelicals claiming political power.

On March 9, evangelical Christians will converge in Washington, D.C., for the annual convention of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), which represents various Protestant churches and denominations across the country with a combined membership of between 30 million and 40 million people. Anybody concerned about the increasing influence of religion on U.S. public policy ought to be paying close attention.

A key event during the convention will be the release of a 12-page statement of principles meant to serve as guidelines for unprecedented political engagement by U.S. evangelicals. Called For the Health of the Nation: An Evangelical Call to Civic Responsibility, this manifesto for a Bible-based public policy calls on evangelical Christians to recognize that it is their religious obligation to advocate for government policies that support their religious beliefs.

The preamble to the document quickly makes clear that the group is not looking to influence policy on the margins but to become a major voice in the political process: “Evangelical Christians in America face a historic opportunity. We make up fully one quarter of all voters in the most powerful nation in history. Never before has God given American evangelicals such an awesome opportunity to shape public policy in ways that could contribute to the well-being of the entire world. Disengagement is not an option. We must seek God’s face for biblical faithfulness and abundant wisdom to rise to this unique challenge.”

It is important to note that the March NAE meeting will not mark the launch of some bomb-throwing religious-right pressure group. The NAE has had a presence in Washington since the 1940s, and has long trod the middle road between mainline Protestantism and the separatist anti-intellectualism of fundamentalist Christianity.

Nor is this a short-term play for publicity meant to push a particular issue. The policy statement is broad in scope, has been years in the making, and has been vetted by hundreds of evangelical ministers from across the country.

What the March meeting will indicate is that American evangelicals have been thinking, planning, and, indeed, praying for a long time about how best to actively engage in the political process. What they have decided is that they are required, not just as citizens but also as Christians, to advocate for political change and, above all, to mobilize the more than half of self-identified evangelicals in the country who currently don’t vote.

That’s right: Half of the evangelicals in the United States -- the group largely credited with delivering a second term to President Bush -- don’t vote in most elections. Consider their power as a truly mobilized voting bloc.

Read the rest of the article, along with their manifesto at the site.