Saturday, May 10, 2008

An Evangelical Manifesto (2)

Evangelicals Lament a Politicized Faith
New document calls for allegiance higher than political party, nationality, or ideology.
Adelle M. Banks, Religion News Service posted 5/09/2008 12:04PM

Evangelical Christians should be defined by their theology — and not their politics — to avoid becoming "useful idiots" of a political party, a group of leaders said Wednesday in a new statement.

The document, "An Evangelical Manifesto," reflects the frustration of some within a movement that claims about one in four Americans over how they are perceived by others and who can speak for them. The 19-page document declares that evangelicals err when they try to politicize faith and use Christian beliefs for political purposes.

"That way faith loses its independence, the church becomes 'the regime at prayer,' Christians become 'useful idiots' for one political party or another, and the Christian faith becomes an ideology in its purest form," the document reads.

The statement, however, resisted calls to privatize or personalize the faith, saying their is an important place for evangelical voices in the public square.
"Called to an allegiance higher than party, ideology and nationality, we Evangelicals see it our duty to engage with politics, but our equal duty never to be completely equated with any party, partisan ideology, economic system, or nationality," the document says.

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A Gentle Plea for Civility
Why America needs An Evangelical Manifesto.
Os Guinness, Religion News Service posted 5/09/2008 12:05PM

A terrible question now stalks this land: Who will step forward to lead America out of the bitterness and divisions over race and religion in public life?

Race is the older problem, and to Americans it stands as class does for the English — an abiding curse that has not healed and will not go away. Religion in public life is the newer challenge. Once thought settled through what James Madison called "the true remedy," it has degenerated sharply with the endless controversies of the past generation.

Both race and religion require healing and civility for their resolution, but in the present bitter climate, each has been used to exacerbate the other, and civility has been shouldered aside as weak and ineffectual.

Who, then, will deliver the Gettysburg Address of the American "culture wars?"

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