Endorsements from the Christian Right

So TV-preacherPat Robertson endorses Giuliani, pro-death and pro-gay though he be. And fundamentalist spokesman Bob Jones endorses Mitt Romney, though a Mormon.

It appears that at least some leaders of the Christian social conservative political movement do not much care about the “Christian” part or the “social conservative” part.

Or is going for pure power a sign of political and theological maturity for Christian activists?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • organshoes

    I’m going to object to the term ‘pure power’, with its negative connotations.
    I do think power is what members of the Christian right are after, but it’s as much a defensive power as a power grab, and not a concession on their issues. It’s a hope of preventing the Godless left from achieving any more power.
    I see nothing wrong in that.
    So, I do think the Christian conservative ‘leadership’ has concerns about both the Christian and the social parts, and care very much. And how they’re showing that concern is in endorsing candidates they think will win.
    Me and Pat Robertson on the same political page. Whoddathunk?

  • Joe

    This is step one on the how to make the Christian right irrelevant in republican politics. If Rudy is the nominee and gets the support of values voters in the primary then were done as a political movement.

  • fwsonnek

    I am really not sure what the term “pro gay” means here in this context and in practical terms. and I am gay…. go figure…… interesting how terms get slung around to broadly label people.

  • tim prussic

    Hehe.. *condescendingly* what you all fail to understand is that politics is our saviour and we must be true to her. The first law is that of electability. It matters not that our electable candidate eat defenseless babies for breakfast and lunch (with a sensible dinner), so long as he can be defeat the great satan (the opposition party’s candidate). Let’s all repeat: Casear Kurios estin! Casear Kurios estin! Now, let us sacrifice our children.

  • Patrick Kyle

    More sad examples of the politics of expedience. The “Christian Right” is so addicted to the crack of political favor that they will compromise what is right just to win. Robertson is engaging in naked fear mongering. If these people would endorse someone like Ron Paul or Mike Huckabee(who was endorsed by various other elements of thr CR) they could effect the election seriously even if their candidate didn’t win by forcing the nominee to adopt some of the issues important to these people in order to secure their large block of votes.

  • http://www.stevedumas.com Steve Dumas

    Tim (#4):
    You get it. You really, really get it.
    Thanks for a good laugh (and maybe cry if I think about it too much)

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Robertson’s endorsement is pathetic. Not that I’m surprised, but it’s still pathetic.

    Organshoes (@1), you said, “It’s a hope of preventing the Godless left from achieving any more power. I see nothing wrong in that.” Yes, let’s preserve power for the godless right instead. That’ll teach those lefties who made ‘em! Come on — this has nothing to do with Christianity! It’s all about political power.

    One interesting question to ask would be how Rudy (he was mayor during 9/11, did you hear?) feels about Robertson’s blaming 9/11 on America’s sin. Rudy (who was mayor during 9/11, I am told) seems to bristle when anyone not endorsing him suggests that America’s actions may have provoked 9/11. Oh, and speaking of 9/11, Rudy was mayor then.

  • Mrs. T.

    What do you do when the Christian Right is Unchristian Wrong?

  • Don S

    I agree with Organshoes to a large extent — this is a fallen world and we already know that we are not going to prevail in it until Christ returns. Our reason for being here is to do Christ’s work and bring as many lost to Him as we can, in the time we have alloted to us. So, my point of view is to elect the candidate who is more likely to protect our ability to exercise our right as Christians to freely practice our faith and as parents to direct the education of our children. Therefore, in the general election, if my choice is between Rudy and Hillary, there is absolutely no question that I will vote for Rudy, for the reasons Organshoes so eloquently stated. In particular, he will protect the courts by appointing much better judges than Hillary ever would (think Ruth Bader Ginsburg), and there should be quite a few Supreme Court openings during the next president’s term.

    However, that being said, endorsing Rudy in the primary is cynical and defeatist, in my opinion. First, we don’t really have any idea who is the most electable at this point. Second, the primary process is the time and place to vote for our most ideal candidates of the ones who are running — those who most closely reflect our views and have a scintilla of a chance as a general election candidate. Though there is no perfect candidate for me this year, I certainly could not vote for Rudy in the primary, as he least reflects the views that are important to me.

    The primaries are for idealism, the general election is for practicalities. It will always be so, and we will always, in my opinion, be choosing “the lesser of two evils”. But choose we must.

  • S Bauer

    Politics, it seems to me, for years, or all too long, has been concerned with right or left instead of right or wrong. ~Richard Armour

    The difference between the kingdom of the right and the kingdom of the left (in Luther’s sense)?

  • http://www.jonathanandkaethe.blogspot.com Kaethe

    Why isn’t the Christian right rallying around Mike Huckabee? Especially this early in the process? There is a candidate who speaks so clearly about how his faith defines his politics and if anything, the mainstream media, i.e. Newsweek magazine and Stephen Colbert is paying more attention to him then many conservatives.

  • http://www.ihsfellowship.org seth

    Tough days are ahead for American Christians. We are already faced with the possibilty that sticking strictly to our beliefs may result in persecution. Do we (as organshoes hints at) vote for the safe bet that may protect the evangelism environment in America, or do we stand on our convictions even if it means a ruling party that will allow the continued assualt on faith and morality? What is the proper interplay between “strategery” and conviction? BTW – I believe there can be a theologically sound balance.

  • Don S

    To Kaethe (#11)

    Why not Huckabee? I think it’s because he is not very conservative on the issues. He’s Bush all over again, except worse — a born again Christian, right on Life, but wrong on most everything else. Examples: immigration, social spending, taxes. I say worse than Bush because he is OK with raising taxes. He is better than Bush in that he is a very good communicator. However, as with Rudy, if he is the Republican candidate in the general election, I will definitely vote for him!

  • Joe

    Don S., you should go check out Huckabee’s responses to these tired arguments at mikehuckabee.com. The idea that he is pro-tax hike is simply not true if unless you consider raising taxes becuase your state supreme court ordered you to or because the voters of your state made you via refurendum. But besides that he is right on the Christian issues. Seems to me that the Christian Right should be more concerned with moral issues than taxes. Anyway, read the facts and decide if you still want to lable him pro-tax hike, and pro illegal immigration. There is a pretty common sense response to that charge too.

    organshoes – Rudy is not the only candidate with a shot at Hillary. Huckabee is polling on 5 points behind her in the daily tracking poles. http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/election_2008__1/2008_presidential_election/election_2008_huckabee_vs_clinton_obama

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Robert Perry

    You know, I’ve been persuaded for a long time that politics is an issue more or less of engineering, not science. That is, although there are some “right answers,” our sin has pulled it down into the “choosing the lesser evil.”

    I don’t agree with the lesser evils that Robertson or Jones have chosen, but I can agree that they are lesser evils than any Democratic candidate.

    And I like Huckabee, for what it’s worth, though his desire to be “liked” and similarity to W gives me pause.

  • http://www.pagantolutheran.blogspot.com Bruce

    tODD, very funny! But that joke has already been told ad nauseum, to wit: “Hi, I’m John Kerry. Oh, and did I mention I fought in Vietnam?”
    The fact you can identify the same tactic with Rudy may hint that Rudy has about as much to run on as Kerry did; very little in fact. But I heard he was mayor of NYC during 9/11. There is that, I suppose.
    What he really ought to be trumpeting is how he was able as mayor or NYC to get the cabbies to stop honking their horns. Now THAT was an accomplishment.

  • Joe

    The question I have is why do people think Rudy is going to be great on the National Security issue? His shinning moments came as a part of the rebuilding, not prevention, aspect of that horrible day. I respect very much what he did after 9-11, but he did it after 9-11. He didn’t doing anything on the prevention front that is beyond what any other mayor did.

  • organshoes

    I think this is just what happens when Christians assume the mantle of being wise as serpents, realizing at last they are playing the serpents’ den and not in their own sheepfold.
    I’m not saying it’s pretty or right, but I think it’s the thought driving Robertson’s support for Giuliani. Better to win, trusting in the candidate’s promise of strict constructionist judges (trusting ultimately in his ability to win, of course), rather than allowing Mrs. Clinton any chance at victory.
    Who knows how anyone will govern once elected? I liked W’s quiet defiance of Al Gore’s stepping into his space during a debate. It said a lot about him, at least to me. And he’s stood up to lots as President, and won lots of victories for which he gets little credit, and against great odds. But who knew W wouldn’t be able to stand up to his own inner bleeding heart?

  • Joe

    But again why do people th ink Rudy is the best chance at winning? In today’s trackng poll Huckabee is only 3 points behind Hillary – that’s dead even. Not bad for a guy who can’t win.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Joe (@17), I’m not sure how Rudy’s “shining moments” could even be attributed to the “rebuilding” after 9/11, given that Rudy was only in office for a little over three months after that, and there wasn’t a lot of rebuilding during that time.

    And I continue to be astounded that Rudy has made 9/11 his trademark — it should be all you need to know about why he’d make a terrible president. I’ll give him this, though, that he shares Rove’s judo-like ability to make strengths out of weaknesses and vice versa.

    I mean, consider how unprepared the city was in regard to its fire department radios. They were ineffective in the 1993 WTC bombing, and yet they were still in place (after a different radio system purchased under a no-bid contract was deemed unusable) during 9/11. And just as ineffective as they were in 1993. So is Rudy someone who learns from the past? Does he take emergency preparedness seriously?

    That’s not even the worst example. Rudy was responsible for placing NYC’s emergency management headquarters in WTC-7 in 1997 — just four years after the WTC was bombed — ignoring advice to locate them in Brooklyn to be safer from terrorism. How’d that work out on 9/11? Well, the heaquarters were unusable (duh), and the large tanks of diesel used to power the now-useless command center may have been responsible for WTC-7′s collapse. Is that leadership? Taking terrorism seriously?

    Rudy also ignored any concerns about air quality following 9/11, preferring to reopen things quickly. Suffice to say that Rudy was quite wrong about that as well. The air was toxic, the city did little to help private buildings cleanup, and cases of lung disease and death followed.

    So it’s quite probable that Rudy’s “leadership” contributed to many otherwise avoidable death during and after 9/11. No one ever seems to talk about that, though. It’s all about the photo-ops and the sound bites, which somehow constitute leadership more than his rather awful bungling contradicts it. I don’t get it.

    Oh, and one more thing. In the weeks after 9/11, Rudy sought an unprecedented three-month emergency extension of his term as mayor. Faith in our political system? Hardly. More like unnecessary executive power grabs. I think we’ve had enough of those, thanks.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    And Organshoes (@18), I find it fascinating that, in the political realm, Christianity has now been whittled down to “promise[s] of strict constructionist judges”. And I thought fundamentalism was too reductionist!

    “Who knows how anyone will govern once elected?” I think Rudy has given us plenty of evidence in that regard (see my previous comment), if only we choose to examine it. Or we can just put his post-9/11 sound bites on repeat.

  • organshoes

    tODD: It’s politics I’m talking here. Not Christianity. Pat Robertson is as irrelevant to my politics as he is to my faith.
    But I don’t think he’s speaking in a vacuum. There are lots of conservative Christian-types who, without Pat Robertson’s endorsement, already have thrown in not just for Rudy, but for whomever they presume will beat any Democrat nominee.
    It’s that simple. Conservatives would like to win the war in Iraq–not just get out, but win decisively–and conservatives would like to see the Supreme Court swing their way. Winning is that important to us only insofar as those things are that important to us.
    We’re getting real, or at least preparing to do so. The War is real and liberal judges are real. We’d like to alter that reality.
    Personally, I think all this endorsement at this point is folly, as are all the so-called debates, the early primaries, and all the campaign ads. A lot of people are going to be saying the same things for a long time–making the same arguments, accusations, and claims. But everyone wants to act as if things are done deals, or mostly done anyways. And they’re not.
    It can only get uglier and way less constructive than the political process is supposed to be.

  • http://watersblogged.blogspot.com Bob Waters

    The notion that it is in any way improper per se for a Christian to support a Mormon for president is a clear denial of the doctrine of the Two Kingdoms.

    I don’t happen to support Mitt Romney, but the question here is who can best administer God’s justice in the Kingdom of the Left Hand. Whether or not that person is a believer, in a Lutheran understanding, is utterly irrelevant.


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