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Washington Monthly

Political Animal

By- Steve Benen Featuring Hilzoy

April 5, 2009

A RELIGIOUS RIGHT CRACK-UP?…. In general, the most noticeable fissure among politically conservative evangelical Christians is generational. In this dynamic, older evangelicals see themselves as an appendage of the Republican Party, and consider abortion and gay rights as the only “moral” issues that matter. Younger evangelicals are less partisan, and consider poverty and global warming important, too.

But there’s another fissure, which in the short term, may be even more consequential. It’s between leaders of the religious movement vs. those more inclined to take John 18:36 to heart (Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world”).

The split first emerged, on a conceptual level, about a decade ago, when Cal Thomas, a far-right columnist and founding member of the Moral Majority, write a book called “Blinded by Might,” arguing that conservative evangelical Christians have been going about their efforts all wrong. Religious right activists, Thomas said, should focus less on political power and influence — having a seat at the proverbial GOP table — and more on religion and family.

In her Washington Post column today, Kathleen Parker reports on how this kind of thinking as grown considerably more common, to the point that many “principled Christians” are now “finished with politics.” Parker highlights a recent argument between Tom Minnery, head of the political arm of Focus on the Family, and Steve Deace of WHO Radio in Iowa.

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