Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Evangelical politics

Christianity Today posted an article yesterday about the effect on the Christian green movement of Richard Cizik's forced resignation from the National Association of Evangelicals.

For those who do not follow all the politicking of the NAE, Cizik -- former vice president of governmental affairs for the NAE -- was not forced to resign because he is gay. That was Ted Haggard, the former NAE president.*

Cizik, who appears to be heterosexual, was forced out because, as an intelligent person, he understands the difference between civil and religious law. He told Terry Gross on NPR's Fresh Air, "I would willingly say that I believe in civil unions. I don't officially support redefining marriage from its traditional definition, I don't think."

Okay, so the "I don't think" at the end is a little waffley, but maybe he's just trying to leave room to redefine marriage from certain traditional definitions -- like the ones that include having sex with your daughters (Noah), rapists purchasing their victims and making them their "wives" (the Law), and profligate polygyny (David and just about every other man mentioned by name in the first half of the Good Book). I would think any lock-step evangelical would be proud to redefine traditional marriage as between two, and only two, consenting adults, but apparently this is controversial.

Lock-step evangelicals don't want to heed Paul's advice to let government be government and church be church. Cizik, who apparently reads the Bible more carefully than those who purport to be the face of orthodox Christianity, understands the difference.

Cizik also figured that, if the Bible is true, then the Creator gave us brains to use and a responsibility to use them. This belief led Cizik to take a stand on global warming. But the large knee-jerk faction of the NAE did not like this. "If pagans are in favor of the earth, we have to be against it," seems to be their logic.

Reading the Christianity Today article reminded me why I stopped subscribing to that magazine. The writing is usually good, but it gives way too much ink to poorly thought-out, reactionary opinions that just don't require that many words to explain. I mean, do you really need two pages to say, "And then a bunch of reactionaries who'd like to bury their heads in the sand accused Cizik of being an unrepentant heathen"?

*Ted Haggard now claims to be "transformed" from his homosexual inclinations.

No comments: