Richard Cizik, chief lobbyist for the 30-million mamber National Asociation of Evangelicals, based in Washington, DC, and representing 45,000 churches from 59 denominations, has this to say about John McCain:
Richard Cizik is one of the country’s most powerful and outspoken Christian evangelical leaders. He happens to be a Republican, and he has known the GOP’s presidential nominee for many years. “I thought John McCain was a principled person,” Cizik says. “But John McCain has backed off, not just on climate change but on torture and a sensible tax policy — in other words, he’s not the John McCain of 2000... He seems to be waffling on issue after issue.
It’s not illogical for someone to conclude that John McCain is going to be more like George Bush than John McCain is going to be like John McCain in 2000.” ...
And, sending perhaps the most important signal of all, McCain himself has chosen not to not to speak out on the issue of climate change, Cizik notes. His campaign instead has opted to play identity and culture-war politics.
“He’s playing that card, and many of us thought he didn’t need to do it — it just polarizes the country,” Cizik says. “The irony of it is that John McCain can’t speak with an evangelical voice of faith — let’s face it, it’s just not his thing — so I guess the substitute is this other [Palin]. I guess that’s pretty cynical, but maybe his actions are cynical.
“The consequences of going to identity and culture-war politics is that experience is denigrated, authority is questioned and ignorance is strength,” Cizik says.
The creepiest thing about this is how other evangelicals -- those who support McCain and currently control the Republican Party -- respond to differing views within their own fold:
Suffice to say, Cizik’s efforts have rocked much of his world — including the minds of Focus on the Family founder James Dobson and a phalanx of other old-guard evangelicals like Tony Perkins, Paul Weyrich and Gary Bauer who tried last year, unsuccessfully, to get Cizik fired from his job of 26 years for sounding the global warming alarm.
Dobson and the others, you see, would prefer to keep the evangelical focus on what they call “the great moral issues of our time,” specifically abortion, man-woman-only marriage and “the teaching of sexual abstinence and morality to our children.”
They have disparaged Cizik for having a “preoccupation” with global warming and other related issues, including poverty and overpopulation. In 2006 Dobson even head-butted Cizik in the press for supporting international regulations of emissions, calling his views “anti-capitalistic and [having] an underlying hatred for America.”
There are three things that must be said about this. First, since when were Christians NOT supposed to be concerned about poverty and overpopulation? When did so-called "Christians" get the ability to ignore issues of global poverty without a trace of shame? The "Christian" community have come a long way since the days of Pope John Paul II. Second, since when was it the job of any Christian church to defend capitalism and judge the patriotism of its flock? Aren't both of those issues covered under the "render unto Caesar" clause?
Cizik has spoken, as a religious leader, about issues that affect billions of innocent people; and his "evangelical" opponents respond by saying, in effect, that profits and "patriotism" are more important than the teachings of their own religion.
Third, and most important, this shows all of us what can happen to people -- even nationally-known evangelical Christians -- who disagree with the Christian-Reich party line: they will not only be attacked, they will be, whenever possible, slandered, smeared, silenced and ostracized, whether or not they worship the same God. The attempt to remove a prominent evangelical from his job -- of 26 years -- proves the Christian Reich want to silence all dissent within the Christian community. The failure of that attempt proves they do NOT represent the mainstream of opinion among evangelicals, let alone among Christians in general.
If you still think you'll be safe after these radicals take away the religious freedom of others, this incident proves you wrong. If a conservative evangelical of Cizik's stature is not safe, then no one is safe.