Evangelical, Heal Thyself

It started out as one of the most reasonable interviews I believe I’ve ever read with an evangelical leader. Richard Cizik, chief lobbyist for the National Association of Evangelicals spoke candidly with Dan Gilgoff at Beliefnet’s God-o-Meter about various issues including John McCain’s unresponsiveness to evangelical overtures to meet with them.

We put in a request with the McCain campaign and it was never responded to. Many figures in the Republican Party have reached out to the campaign stating their concern that the candidate has not reached out to evangelical leaders, but it went nowhere. And since we’re so deep into the campaign, we can only assume that we’re not going to get an answer.

He also spoke about the sin of racism when it comes to Barack Obama.

Some surveys show that 20-percent of the electorate will not vote for a black man for president, which exceeds the difference between Kerry and Bush in ‘04…. Somebody’s going to vote for somebody not on the basis of the content of his character but on the color of his skin and that’s just called sin with a capital S because racism is a sin. And we all knew that racism has been in a lot of the white church.

The biggest “wow-factor” in this interview, however, is Cizik’s assertion that “party line voting is … unbiblical.”

It says you don’t think. If you’re simply voting on same sex marriage and abortion, you’re not thinking. What I’m saying is that a lot of evangelicals don’t think, sad to say. The same is true for African Americans who, no matter who the candidate is they’re just going to vote for the Democratic Party. So the African American left and the Religious Right is foolish.

Cizik was very thoughtful as he asserted that if people vote on the economy, the war or the environment then Obama is the one to vote for.  That said, however, he still can’t bring himself to repent of the sin of party line voting.

After this election, I’d have to evaluate my party. I still consider myself a Republican—a somewhat dissatisfied Republican who’s presently disappointed in McCain in some respects. I think he’s shifting his position on some long-held issues. That doesn’t mean I won’t vote for him.

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