Heartland Evangelicals Enter the Political Octagon

The Family Leader’s mission is to be “a consistent, courageous voice in churches, in the legislature, in the media, in the courtroom, in the public square… always standing for God’s truth .”  Given that lofty description, eyebrows are being raised about The Family Leader including on their short list of possible endorsements the twice divorced, thrice married Newt Gingrich.  Just when it looked like they’d go over the cliff holding hands with Most Evangelical Michele, they decide to float the Newt balloon, compromising their purity for a selection process that may simply be William F. Buckley’s “most electable conservative” approach.

This isn’t the way heartland evangelicals thought it would be.  Compromise is for cowards.  An absolute worldview requires absolute and unchanging political convictions.  Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall hold office.  Iowa is the state that tried to anoint Pat Robertson and Mike Huckabee to be priest-kings.  Heartland evangelicals thought they would change the way politics are done.

But now Newt is in the conversation. So what happened?  Family Leader might just be learning the rules of the rough sport we call politics. It’s about power, money, connections, rhetoric, and compromise. (We also must have faith that principles are somewhere involved, faith being the substance of things not seen.)  If you don’t get on board the winner, you’re a loser.  The Family Leader might be figuring out there is a disjuncture between religion and politics.

Given this evangelical submission to politics, one might ask whether politics is more powerful than religion. The answer is that politics is more powerful than religion in the political octagon. To be more precise, politics follows its own rules and has its own set of skills; smile and be earnest all you want but if that’s all you’ve got, get ready to tap out. And, given the different rules and skill sets, it doesn’t make any more sense to send our pastors into the political octagon than it does to ordain politicians.

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This entry was posted in Church and State, Conservatism, Constantinianism, evangelicals, Family, Michele Bachmann, Presidential campaigns. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Heartland Evangelicals Enter the Political Octagon

  1. lee n. field says:

    The Family Leader’s mission is to be “a consistent, courageous voice in churches, in the legislature, in the media, in the courtroom, in the public square… always standing for God’s truth .”

    Really? Then how come the closest thing I find to an explication of God’s Gruth is “Beliefs
    The FAMiLY LEADER champions the principle that God is the ultimate leader of the family. Our goal at The FAMiLY LEADER is to honor and glorify God – not a political party, not a candidate, and not a program. The FAMiLY LEADER is a Christ-centered organization that will lead with humility and service to strengthen and protect the family.”?

    (My personal politics anymore are “nuanced”. “Pessimistic Calvinist with libertarian sympathies”. )

  2. mikelmann says:

    It’s a quote from the middle of their page, Lee. It’s right under their advertisement for The Thanksgiving Forum. Beyond that, I’m not sure what you want to talk about.

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