23 October, 2006

They Ain't The Rubes They Used To Be

Mark Joseph has a new opinion piece over at Fox News that is the very definition of damning with faint praise.

Entitled "For Evangelicals, a Newly Sophisticated Approach to Politics" the rest of the piece continues in the same arrogant, patronising vein. As one of those Newly Sophisticated believers in Christ allow me to humbly point out that I don't think the sophistication is new--outsiders merely have a different perception.

When Evangelicals first burst onto the political scene two decades ago, those outside the camp were of the very mistaken opinion that the only issue motivating these obstinate Jesus Freaks was the legality of abortion. Granted, that's the plank upon which we all came out swinging, yet we were educating ourselves in the ways of the political arena. Most of us came for the abortion but stayed for the guns rights, social justice, states' rights or any one of a dozen other planks in the two main parties' platforms.

Yes. TWO main parties. The myth about us Evangelicals is that we are a sort of Republican Zombie Army, devouring the brains of our children and marching in lockstep to Karl Rove's orders. Not so. Of the Evangelicals I worship with on a weekly basis I would say there's about as much political variety as there is in the world outside our experience. We have yellow dogs for both parties, single-issue voters, centrists and not a few like me who tend to sit outside party lines and pick and choose our candidates with an irritating know-it-all grouchiness.

We've grown older, we mix in the arena more and the rest of the world is finally realising that a belief in Jesus doesn't necessarily require checking your brain and political opinion at the door. Our sophistication isn't new. The outside world's realisation of our personhood is.


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