The Milquetoast Manifesto

caspar milquetoast

It’s always fun when secular media gets it better than the insular circles of American religion.

I read this piece yesterday afternoon as I sat waiting for my doctor’s nurse to call me in. Insofar as I think Evangelicalism is an articifice at best and completely bankrupt at worst, I hesitate to agree that “America’s Evangelicals…deserve better.” While getting that the EM says absolutely nothing, Miller seems to miss that Evangelicals’ problems are their own making. Observe Mouw’s own rehearsal of socio-political categories to not only vent his frustration over “how little his efforts have yielded” but counter claims that the EM “really amounts to a green light for evangelicals to vote for Obama,” as if that is some sort of problem that the project of Christianity is at all interested in:

“I do not support gay marriage. I do not support the ordination of gays. I am a right-to-lifer. Does that make me a lefty?”

Michael Cromartie declined to sign, but only because specific political questions are not answered. Huh? One might as well say it says nothing about who I should hire to finish my basement. What does one have to do with the other?

It seems to me that Drs. Mouw and Guinness are way too worried about the wrong things.

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11 Responses to The Milquetoast Manifesto

  1. sean says:

    It’s the old line about asking an evangelical what the gospel is, and getting some diatribe about voting republican and how teaching on evolution is ruining our kids and america.

  2. Zrim says:

    …and something about fetuses, don’t forget the fetuses because they don’t want anyone to forget the fetuses. It’s funny how they try to link up the minority socio-political morality about fetuses with the majority ones about civil rights. They want everyone to believe that the same ones who fight for fetuses are the same ones who fought for civil rights. But fetus evangies were silent in the 60s when the civil rights evangies were clamoring. They also want everyone to believe they were also the ones setting slaves free 200 years ago. I guess it gives more cultural clout to an unpopular fetus dogma. They don’t even seem to understand there are different kinds of themselves historically speaking.

    Sometimes I feel guilty for blaming evangelicals for behaving like good evangelicals. But then I realize my ire has more to do with those who would claim a Reformed identity and take the cues of the sawdust trail.

  3. sean says:

    Yes of course, how could I leave that one out.

    “historically speaking”

    Now come on, what self-respecting evangie has any sort of historical perspective, unless it was proferred to them by Peter Marshall.

  4. David R. says:

    The funny and sometimes frustrating thing is that so many who would identify themselves as Reformed confessionalists also act like it’s somehow un-PC to draw a clear boundary between us and evangelicals.

  5. Zrim says:


    Great point. Who says those who eschew political correctness aren’t just as vulnerable to it? I think they mean “the other guy’s PC is bad, but not ours…because it’s ours.”

  6. Joe Brancaleone says:

    Milquetoast was the name of that cockroach in the Bloom County comic strip. He would sneak into humans’ bedrooms at night and whisper subliminal messages in their ears while they slept. Stuff like: “Cockroaches are our friends, they deserve all our leftovers”

    just sayin’

  7. Joe Brancaleone says:

    But to almost get on topic, I was a big Bloom County fan as a kid. I recall a series of Bloom County strips where Bill the Cat got saved, became a televangelist named Oral Bill, started a show called “The Hour of Glour”, and began railing against Penguin Lust as immoral filth from the pit of hell threatening to undo all that is decent in American society.

    I think that might be the number one reason why I could never take seriously any of the moral crusades launched by politically charged evangelicalism over the years. It was lampooned so well I could only crack a smile rather than get riled up.

    just sayin’

  8. Joe Brancaleone says:

    oops, that would be “The Hour of Glower”

    glower – “to look or stare with sullen annoyance or anger”

  9. The problem with trying to find political unity among Christians is that Christians are not as unified as people think when it comes to political party. I pastor a Hispanic church that is full of democrats, even though my political positions would make Nancy Pelosi look like Rush Limbaugh.

    I do sometimes think that the only thing that will stop polarization between denominations, and even different wings within denominations, is some persecution. Friends of mine in Cuba say that under persecution, all Christians cling together, because they are all simply believers in Jesus being persecuted by a common enemy. “Are you born again, too?” is the most common question, without regard for denominational flavor.

    Anyway, we can dream.

  10. John Bugay says:

    Zrim, I think the last statement in the article gets to the nub of the problem:

    “America’s evangelicals, especially those struggling with consciences about how to vote in November, deserve better.”

    Poor American evangelicals, who don’t have their own brains to use.

  11. Zrim says:

    Joe, too funny.

    Al, I agree that persecution is the greatest equalizer. I disagree over what unites, namely an experience over a confession.

    John, I don’t know if you are, but I guess I’d hesitate to imply something about intelligence. It is really about a system that is sub-Christian.

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