On May 7, the 19-page “An Evangelical Manifesto” was released, along with its 29-page study guide. Many good and wonderful people are among the 77 charter signatories. But, I’ve got a bunch of red flags and question marks—not about its theology, its call to piety and integrity, or its encouragement to walk more intimately and consistently in the way of Jesus. That’s all good and really nothing new. My concerns are with what is new: its political agenda.
As with any manifesto, declaration, or statement, I want to know what this means in real world terms. How will this impact the way I live? How will (or should) this change my behavior or influence the behavior of others? What does this mean in terms of specific policies—how will we prioritize and therefore spend limited resources on specific areas of concern? Should I adjust my evangelical priorities?
I’ve got a number of questions for the drafters and signatories.
1) How can evangelicals be too political when only half of them bother to register and vote? Will the “Manifesto” encourage more or less registration and political interest? If less, then who benefits from evangelicals sitting out of the political process?
2) If evangelicals should be in the middle between the political left and right, can you explain your middle ground position on such vital issues as, partial birth abortion, abortion on demand, the ordination of gay clergy, gay marriage, gay curricula in public schools, hate crimes legislation targeting Christians and the many attacks on religious liberty and free speech attempting to censor Christians? For these issues, how can there be an uncertain, moderate middle ground? You’re either for it or against it. I believe being in the middle means you’re too weak to fight.
3) What are the names of those on the left and the right you’re seeking to disassociate with? Who are these “liberal revisionists” and “fundamentalists” you’re warning us about? Many of you are pastors and therefore should protect your flocks—name names.