An article on CNN’s religion blog mentions some arguments and explanations used by conservative Evangelical Christians to defend their support of, or association with, Glenn Beck, who is a Mormon.
What struck me most, and made it seem worth sharing, is that the arguments in question are ones that have been used for a very long time – by Liberal, Progressive, social-justice, inclusivist, and any number of other strands of Christianity that conservatives usually denegrate. Just look at this excerpt:
“For Christians concerned about Glenn’s faith, I would ask the following questions: What fruit do you see produced by Glenn?” David Barton, an influential evangelical activist who is joining Beck’s rally, wrote on his Facebook page recently. “Good or bad? If you judged Glenn only by the fruits he has produced, would you still hold concerns over his faith?”
“Christians concerned about Glenn’s faith should judge the tree by its fruits, not its labels,” Barton, a former Republican National Committee consultant, continued. “After all, Nancy Pelosi and Bill Clinton openly call themselves Christians… Although these individuals have the right labels, they have the wrong fruits.”
It seems so strange to read an argument like this, which sounds so much like the emphasis of many progressives – that doctrine matters less than practice – only in reverse, or at least in favor of a very different sort of practice.
While other conservative Evangelicals who were interviewed emphasized that they would not “unite spiritually” with Beck because of important doctrinal differences, the article shows that for at least some people who self-identify as conservative Christians, the first part of that label is what really matters the most to them.