Have Evangelicals Been Flushed Out Of the National Election?
It is almost hard for me to believe that four decades ago America was in turmoil: the Kennedy’s & Martin Luther King were assassinated, the Viet Nam War was dividing our country, the Civil Rights, Peace, and ecology movements flourished; American cities witness rioting, looting, burning; the drug and sexual revolution came to the forefront; the Hippie movement, Woodstock, and free love were the norm; gays came our of the closet and marched, women burned their bras and demanded equal right; aids became the new medical epidemic, and abortion became the political hot bed for debate for decades. It seemed the fabric of America was being totally frayed. In the midst of all the political turmoil, the Church became alive: the Jesus Movement, Billy Graham Crusades packing out sports arenas around the world, the influx of televangelists, Jim Bakker, Oral Roberts & Pat Robertson, and the Charismatic Movement. Yet the Church became divided between fighting for social justice through the civil rights campaign, the emphasis of the Democratic Party, and establishing the Religious Right through the rise of the Moral Majority in the Republican Party.
The spirit of this era and the political and religious conflicts of that time were captured in the second verse of a song, This Little Child, written and sung by Scott Wesley Brown:
Many years have come and gone, yet this world remains the same.
Empires have be built and fallen, only time has made a change.
Nation against nation, brother against brother,
Men so filled with hatred, killing one another,
And over half the world is starving, while our banner of decency is torn,
Debating over disarmament, killing children before they’re born.
And fools who march to win the right to justify their sin,
Oh, ev’ry nation that has fallen, has fallen from within.
Yet in the midst of this darkness, there is a hope, a light, that burns.
This little child, the King of kings, someday will return.
Today we are still fighting wars, fighting world poverty, debating disarmament even though we still have the capacity to destroy the whole world through a nuclear war. The gay community is not only coming out of the closet marching, but now have found favor and acceptance at the Democratic Convention that it has never experienced before. America’s moral fibers are still being tested.
It is amazing, politically, what the promises and the winds of prosperity will do to a people. Germany followed the radical leader Hitler for the promise of prosperity, and he delivered while the Lutheran church fell silent. Clinton’s Lewinsky scandal brought a vote of impeachment that fell one vote short because Clinton convinced America that they needed him because he had promised and delivered prosperity in spite of the church’s cry of immorality. Today, the rise of acceptance of gay rights has equaled the decline of an anti-abortion overturning of Roe vs. Wade. Social issues have been lost in the debate over the economy and the promises of prosperity while the church politically has been quieted and politically flushed out.
As America’s Presidential Election approaches, will the Church passively sit by? The Religious Right that has backed the Conservative branch of the Republican Party has been silenced, lost its luster to the Tea Party, and has been diverted to fight big government rather than defend their stand on social mores. Social injustice has again raised its head in the Democratic Party political arena, but without the influence of the Christian church’s influence. All the “morally right” standards advocated by the Religious Right can fall under the squeaky clean banner of a Mormon leader diminishing the political influence of the Evangelical Christian church. All the causes to fight against current social injustices look like the right thing to do, but the word “God” just so happen to disappear from the Democratic platform. In all of this, where is the American Christian Church’s voice in the current political process? Has it been diminished even muted?
The political Religious Right and their conservative cohorts have cultured a disrespect toward the office of President when they don’t get their way nor have their leader in office, and have literally demonized the man currently holding that office who still acknowledges the Christian faith and is not directly opposing it as a political enemy. Their strategy has backfired. Their inbred hatred of Obama has forced them to back a candidate who is considered a member of a religious sect, the Mormon church, who evangelicals look upon as a heretical cult. They have bred an environment where his moral standard and codes are politically correct. If they can’t fight his religious theology, they have no grounds for disapproval of his candidacy. They sit silent!
Where does the Evangelical Christian church stand in this current political climate? Not very influential! I wonder why? Hmmmm. What will the Evangelical Christian church do in the months leading up to the election? Will it be an influence or will it remain a non-entity? Or maybe, just maybe, like forty years ago, the climate of the country is ready for the Church to experience a revival, not politically, but spiritually?