tempted and tried
Has the Bush administration been using and manipulating right-wing Christians to get elected while doing little to address their actual political concerns? That's the charge in a new book by a former director of the White House Office of Faith-Based & Community Initiatives. You can watch a film about these charges here.
Now. I'm no fan of using federal money to support religious activity, so if someone who does support that idea is angry, there really might be something here. I have never believed that the Bush administration was more interested in promoting socially conservative policies than in promoting an extreme form of free market ideology. And there's no question in my mind that many conservative Christians have confused their politics with their faith and melded the two into a disastrous idol. As Bill Moyers said on last night's Moyers in America, in the early 1980s, “Millions of evangelicals underwent a political conversion and gave their hearts to Ronald Reagan.”
This is precisely why separation of church and state is important. If the church is simply another agent of the state, subject to the machinations and manipulations of politics, it loses its God-given prophetic voice. When the church is intertwined with the source of power, it loses its ability to speak the truth to power. It will be interesting to read Tempting Faith when it comes out next week. It will be more interesting to see whether conservative Christians start to realize that they may have been manipulated., and to see how they decide to respond.
Thanks to the D.A. for the tip.