Sunday, February 12, 2017

Religion and politics

Richard Ostling, onetime religion writer for the AP, Time, and PBS writes about a new study of religious lobbies in Washington. The author of that study notes the lobby that does better than “just about any other faith group involved in politics.” That lobby is the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission headed by Russell Moore. Ostling:
Last May 9, Donald Trump tweeted (yes, at 3:05 a.m.) that the Rev. Dr. Russell Moore is “truly a terrible representative of evangelicals,” not to mention “a nasty guy with no heart!”

As beat specialists know, Moore...had issued numerous sharp moral denunciations of Trump during the campaign. ....

Moore issued a Christmastime semi-apology if anyone thought he scorned Christians who voted for Trump, explaining: “There’s a massive difference between someone who enthusiastically excused immorality, and someone who felt conflicted, weighed the options based on biblical convictions, and voted their conscience.” ....

...[W]hat’s the key to the Baptists’ effectiveness? In a word, focus. The ERLC emphasizes religious liberty under the Constitution, one reason Gorsuch is so appealing, sidestepping matters like, say, nuclear proliferation on which Christians and Southern Baptists lack consensus.

Lupfer says with D.C. religion lobbies too often “you get harried staff rushing in and out of coalition meetings, irrelevant sign-on letters that never sway members of Congress, and a general lack of accountability or effectiveness.” .... [more]