2 years ago: My hope is built on nothing less

May 12, 2011, on this blog: My hope is built on nothing less

Jim Wallis’ position on both abortion and homosexuality is such that he has remained in good standing as a mostly accepted member of the American evangelical community. His views on poverty, racial justice, peace and the environment may put him at odds with the gatekeepers of that community, who often characterize him as a dangerous radical, but in the final analysis they also regard him as One Of Us because, after all, he opposes abortion and the ordination of noncelibate homosexuals.

Now, it’s tragic and probably heretical that this is how the American evangelical community decides who is and who is not an acceptable and recognized member of the community. Wallis’ long demonstration of a passionate faith doesn’t count in this calculus. Nor does his personal testimony, his church membership or of his long track record as a Bible-soaked preacher of God’s Word. All that really matters is opposition to those two things: Abortion and homosexuality. All other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand.

Meeting that two-part standard is both necessary and sufficient for anyone’s acceptance as One Of Us by American evangelicalism. We recently saw this demonstrated yet again in the brief surge of evangelical enthusiasm for Donald Trump’s candidacy for president. Trump is a relentlessly amoral and areligious person — and he’s also loony as all get out — but he had signaled his willingness to toe the line on abortion and homosexuality, and so he received the blessing of Franklin Graham and of Tony Perkins and other evangelical gatekeepers.

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