"Conservative Christian leaders who believe the word 'evangelical' has lost its religious meaning plan to release a starkly self-critical document saying the movement has become too political and has diminished the Gospel through its approach to the culture wars.This seems to be a significant statement, and I look forward to reading it when it is officially released.
The statement, called 'An Evangelical Manifesto,' condemns Christians on the right and left for 'using faith' to express political views without regard to the truth of the Bible, according to a draft of the document obtained Friday by The Associated Press.
'That way faith loses its independence, Christians become 'useful idiots' for one political party or another, and the Christian faith becomes an ideology,' according to the draft. ..."
I disagree somewhat with the initial assertion that the "evangelical movment has become too political." It really boils down to how the "evangelical movement" is portrayed in the media (including blogs, I might add). Is it possible that the media are using the excesses of a few to characterize an entire group of people? I think so. It has only been in the past few years that the media have finally understood that "evangelical" and "fundamentalist" are not equivalent terms. But they continue to make the same logical error of using the worst examples of a group to define the group.
The way religion has already insinuated itself into the 2008 presidential campaign has been a source of concern to many, including me. It's bad enough that truth goes out the window in years evenly divisible by 4, but it is even worse when religious leaders who should be speaking the truth, instead tell only that part of the truth that furthers their particular agenda.
This AP news release suggests that there may be notable names absent from the list, but hopefully enough respected leaders will sign on that some meaningful discussion can take place.