“America needs a religious right”

New York Times Ross Douthat offers a defense of the Religious Right.  In fact, he argues that America needs a religious right in order to save conservatism from its own darker impulses.

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What about the Christian left?

A listener whose religious beliefs make him a political progressive asked NPR’s Danielle Kurtzleben why we always hear about the Christian right, but seldom hear about the Christian left.  Read her answer, after the jump, and then consider the points I make. [Read more…]

Non-denominational vs. confessional evangelicals on politics

Jacob Lupfer makes the observation  that non-denominational evangelicals tend to support Donald Trump, while “confessional evangelicals” (those committed to a specific theology) tend not to.

These are generalizations about leaders who are vocal about the election, not poll results of rank and file members.  But his lists of partisans on either side (see his article after the jump) hold up.

We confessional Lutherans are counted as “evangelicals” in surveys, based on our belief in the gospel of Christ and the Bible, though we are different from others in that camp.  We would doubtless count in the use of that term as “confessional evangelicals.”  As evident in our blog discussions, some Lutherans fiercely support Trump and others fiercely oppose him.

I don’t know how a majority of confessional Lutherans will come down on the election.  Because Lutheran confessions teach the doctrine of the Two Kingdoms, which distinguishes between the political and spiritual realms, there may be more political diversity among Lutherans.  Many confessional Lutherans are on the political left and many are libertarians.

But what would account for Lupfer’s observation?  Why would “mere Christians” support Trump, who himself makes some pretty strong distinctions and has a forceful ideology?  You would think that those who reject denominational distinctives and think all Christians should get along wouldn’t be attracted to Trump’s exclusive kind of nationalism.  And why would Christians with a distinct and forceful theology be so opposed to him?  You would think that these Christians often branded as “intolerant” would like Trump’s exclusive political ideology.  Somebody please explain this.

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Morality as politics

The Pew Research Center has conducted a study finding that 64% of church goers heard political issues being preached from the pulpit.  Those “political issues” included abortion, homosexuality, religious liberty, the environment, and economic inequality.

Now those are mostly moral–not political–issues.  Churches have always taught about sexual morality and respect for human life.  They have also addressed issues of social morality.  That is not being political.  The Pew study found that only 14% heard political candidates being promoted or criticized.

What’s interesting here is that the researchers consider moral beliefs to be nothing more than political positions.  To be sure, government dictates about morality gives them a political dimension they normally would not have.  This is especially true when the government requirements run counter to the church’s traditional moral teachings.  Of course the church must push back against that.

But the problem isn’t churches meddling into politics.  It is the government meddling into morality.

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Trump vs. Clinton on religious liberty

At Donald Trump’s conclave with evangelical leaders, he notably dodged the religious liberty questions.  That’s understandable, since Trump supports the LGTB cause , the source of the current efforts to punish Christians and Christian organizations for holding to their religious beliefs about sexual morality.

But surely Hillary Clinton would be worse than Trump on religious liberty issues, wouldn’t she?  Maggie Gallagher thinks otherwise, after the jump.  She argues that if Clinton is elected, Christians could oppose her from the base of a major political party.  But if Trump is elected, both parties would have abandoned the issues, and Christians would have no political advocates.  Do you agree with her reasoning?
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Trump’s evangelical advisory board

Donald Trump has appointed an evangelical advisory board.  See who’s on it after the jump.

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