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Evangelicals crown Santorum as their man; some hesitate, others split the vote

Evangelicals crown Santorum as their man; some hesitate, others split the vote

UPDATED: This article has been changed to correct a misreading of the David Neff article. Our thanks to those pointing out the error, and regrets for allowing it to slip by for the better part of a day.


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Two New York Times writers describe a January 14th meeting of 150 evangelicals that produced a major endorsement for Rick Santorum for President:

A week before the South Carolina primary, a group of more than 100 influential Christian conservatives gathered at a ranch here and voted overwhelmingly to rally behind Mr. Santorum. An organizer described the vote as an “unexpected supermajority,” a decision that was intended to help winnow the Republican field and consolidate the opposition to Mr. Romney….

The extent to which those attending the meeting will be able to mobilize their followers behind Mr. Santorum remains unclear. The group’s vote is not binding on participants and the leaders did not directly ask Mr. Gingrich or Mr. Perry to drop out of the race.

David Neff was not at the meeting, but in Christianity Today he ponders the power (and, sometimes, illusion) of choice- and king-making.

We are tempted to think we can be kingmakers and powerbrokers, that we can deliver or withhold the support of a voting bloc. But if there is any lesson in the story of this year’s primary elections, it is this: evangelicals have not voted as a bloc and many are not following their leaders….

We should … exercise influence by focusing our talent on the institutions of influence—the universities, think tanks, and media outlets where elites shape culture. James Davison Hunter advocated this approach in his book, To Change the World. But he didn’t advocate it as a strategy for cultural change so much as an exercise in serving the common good.

In 2010, Hunter told Christianity Today, “Whenever Christian churches and organizations partake in the will to power, they partake in the very thing they decry in society.”

An interesting/related item(/byproduct?):

Leading The Way ministries pastor Michael Youssef is endorsing Newt Gingrich, whom he once compared to King David. He claims that only Gingrich “truly understands” the “threat to Western civilization, threat to our way of life, threat to the American Constitution.”

When Yousseff is described as far right, it’s no joke. He has flatly stated that neither Episcopalians nor Presbyterians can possibly be Christians.

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Cyberia Rune

Some time ago, but not so long as to be "obsolete," I felt that my knowledge of "charismatic evangelical fundamentalists" and what they'd been doing in the past few years needed updating. I'd been aware of their beginnings, development, spread, knew a few of their leaders, but hadn't looked in on them for some time.

So, I did.

Now, I am - and there are those here who've noted it with some dismay - not the first horse to leap whichever fence one might point me at.

Oh, I'm a grand jumper, nicely educated, trained well, got talent, mileage and experience to spare. But before you'll get spellbinding flight out of me, you'll surely put in time and pay dues... because I must, I mean, I simply MUST understand you first, then agree to the whole notion that this jump's worthwhile for YOU and the Faith and the Church and for me (which truly isn't arrogance, but just a matter of my having a soul to look out for, too!) Then, I'll find the very best path to approach that fence, get set just right, and... well, it can be glorious!

But if you need an easy hack-ride to go walloping around a course of fences haphazardly, you do not want me for your horse; plain fact.

So, knowing that, you may find it easier to imagine me clomping off like "Crusader Rabbit," intending to discover just what the "charismatic fundamentalist evangelicals" had been doing while I was otherwise occupied. And you may also get a faster picture of my chagrin when I wandered into their precincts.

Wow. No exclamation point. Just Wow.

Understanding them wasn't as difficult as their convoluted sermonizing made the task seem. Choking down their precepts and recognizing that millions of people mistook them for Christianity was like drinking Drain-O. Spending time around the people drawn to those ideas was a variable experience since they were 100% human, and people vary greatly.

Some truly believe that God and The Lord condone the vitriol and bile which they pass along and call "scripture." Others try to overlook the nastier bits and rationalize their membership as continuing a family tradition in what many would term "simple faith." And a few simply enjoy the political power, the "gospel of prosperity" nastiness, and the liberality of loathing which tends to characterize their supposedly "religious" discourse.

Reading through the responses above, seeing the warp and weft of thinking and viewpoints, I am struck by certain differences between those responses and their trends, and what I experienced of discussions among those whose election of Santorum as their candidate began this thread. First, demons have not arisen, either figuratively or as possible culprits of anything. Be advised, according to those "leaders" who voted Santorum into prominence amongst their "faithful," demons are everywhere - literally. I'm not being snide or sarcastic. Those "leaders" and their followers have more "demons on the brain" than the Spanish Inquisition.

Overall, the responses here trend towards helpfulness. Within the precincts of those "leaders," condemnation rules all things. Here, a single priest is thought to have been perhaps incompetent, and sorrow is expressed for the sad results of that lack. There, the "failing of faith" is the first cause of the disaster, assigned to the lady in question, her guilt descended of Eve's, a wrought-iron construction of gall and vinegar forced down the faithful's throat with Old Testament verses twisted into whips for lashing such "failed" fodder, and that fodder surely bound to be burned in Hell.

"Un-Christian"?

Well, yes. That's my point. Although I was familiar with their beginnings and foundations, even knew quite well the foibles upon which they were built, the fixation upon demons seemed more a matter of "projection" than anything else!

And no, it's certainly not surprising that millions of people are repelled by any mention of anything that they equate with such sheer wickedness - and it is indeed very wicked. Their "fear and loathing" of all who call themselves Christians is in no small measure caused by just such wickedness as that.

Are we Anglicans "wooly," in our outlook upon such things?

No, and articles that chop the forest down, looking for some mythical "sprig of truth," are opinions without stewardship, overblown to emphasize another point entirely, careless of the real threats that the whole Church faces. And please understand, the Church does face a very real threat now.

According to those "leaders," whose new campaign is "To Change the Whole Church and Christianity!," there are demons involved. Having spoken with some of those "leaders" not that long ago, there are days when I'm not quite entirely sure... but I think, I just might believe them, too.

Yet maybe, if we can just hold on long enough, just hang onto that helpful desire firmly enough, just maintain energy enough to be able to say, every time, every place, "I know, I know, dear. But that's not really us," then in the end, we'll be all right. After all, it's not the first time that we've stood against an "Inquisition," and upheld the Faith while doing it!

What Anglican was back then, at our beginning, Anglican and Episcopal still are, even now.

Blessings! Rev. CW Brockenbrough

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tgflux

I want to affirm what Jim N just said, Chris H.

I hope you can see, however re

Many liberal blogs sound very much like that priest.

that ANY kind of blog, and a counseling relationship, are COMPLETELY different contexts.

For better or worse, a blog (inc responses thereon) is more like an unrestrained Id. Whereas counseling requires an (ego-restraining) Superego!

My prayers for you and your family.

JC Fisher

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Jim Naughton

Chris, I am really sorry for what happened to your mother. And I don't want to turn your personal story into a debate. So I ask with all respect whether her deeply regrettable treatment wasn't more a complete failure in pastoral care, more than it was a question of the priest's ideology. Any competent priest ought to be able to counsel someone whose views of their scripture differ from that of the priest. I am sorry your mother had to deal with someone who wasn't up to that.

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Chris H.

Sorry, the above is Chris Harwood.

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Chris H.

Not snide, heartbroken. And it's not the pews, but the pulpit that really bugs me. For both of my parents refuse to have anything to do with the church because of priests that didn't believe what they preached or what the website above says they do. My mother, the conservative who was crushed when the priest she went to for marriage counselling mocked her literalist faith. Many liberal blogs sound very much like that priest. And my father is an agnostic after talking to several different priests and deciding they were all church leaders because they wanted to control people, or get a bishop's hat, not because they had faith,since no particular faith is required. I can't help thinking that if the church wasn't going in so many different directions, my parents would have been more willing to look elsewhere than to simply say, "It's all a lie."

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