The NY Times has a very interesting article about an evangelical minister who decided that subordinating his religious beliefs to the Republican Party and the Holy Defender of the Blessed Blastocyst was a bad idea:
After refusing each time, Mr. Boyd finally became fed up, he said. Before the last presidential election, he preached six sermons called “The Cross and the Sword” in which he said the church should steer clear of politics, give up moralizing on sexual issues, stop claiming the United States as a “Christian nation” and stop glorifying American military campaigns.
“When the church wins the culture wars, it inevitably loses,” Mr. Boyd preached. “When it conquers the world, it becomes the world. When you put your trust in the sword, you lose the cross.”
Well, Boyd’s congregation of 5,000 lost 1,000 members, but the rest stayed. Another minister realizes that the blurring of (or, actually, Olympic long-jumping over) the line between church and state might be why more people would not vote for an evangelical than a Jew or a Catholic:
“There is a lot of discontent brewing,” said Brian D. McLaren, the founding pastor at Cedar Ridge Community Church in Gaithersburg, Md., and a leader in the evangelical movement known as the “emerging church,” which is at the forefront of challenging the more politicized evangelical establishment.
“More and more people are saying this has gone too far — the dominance of the evangelical identity by the religious right,” Mr. McLaren said. “You cannot say the word ‘Jesus’ in 2006 without having an awful lot of baggage going along with it. You can’t say the word ‘Christian,’ and you certainly can’t say the word ‘evangelical’ without it now raising connotations and a certain cringe factor in people.
“Because people think, ‘Oh no, what is going to come next is homosexual bashing, or pro-war rhetoric, or complaining about ‘activist judges.’ “
While this is encouraging, too many Christian conservatives still think this mural (from a mega-church) is appropriate:
Well, at least some evangelicals are starting to realize that the First Amendment protects them too.