Newsweek has a new article about Christians, politics and the “identity crisis” for Christians these days. A pretty interesting read – I lifted out the paragraph that included Pastor Rick.
Some Christians, exhausted by divisive wedge politics, are going back to the Bible and embracing a wider-ranging agenda, one that emphasizes reaching out to the poor and disenfranchised. Almost unanimously, these evangelicals cite as a model Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif. Members of his church sign up for missionary stints in Africa, resolve to feed the homeless and see themselves as part of a global Christian community. Over the past six months, Warren has added his name to a public letter condemning abortion and embryonic-stem-cell research, as well as to one demanding an end to atrocities in Darfur and another denouncing torture. “Rick Warren … has a lightness of being,” says John DiIulio, a political scientist at the University of Pennsylvania and former Bush White House staffer. “How do you get coordinates for a guy who talks about poverty like a liberal Catholic?”
Others who say they’re disillusioned that the power they entrusted to the religious right has produced so few results prefer a break from politics–as former Bush aide David Kuo puts it, “a fast.” “You can’t find a values leader out there that is not disappointed, discouraged,” says Richard Viguerie, who was one of the architects of the Moral Majority, a forerunner of the religious right.
In his Encyclopedia of Evangelicalism, Randall Balmer defines evangelicals, broadly, as Protestants who emphasize conversion and who are characterized by “a suspicion of wealth, worldliness and ecclesiastical pretension.” By that definition, Jonathan Edwards and the other characters in the First–and Second–Great Awakenings were evangelicals, as were many of the great political activists of the 19th century: the abolitionists, the suffragists, the advocates for prison reform.