Apparently that concept is news to the Associated Press, which breathlessly reported as follows earlier today under the headline “Liberal evangelicals begin campaign”:
Liberal evangelicals, weary of a Republican-centric image, launched a campaign Monday to promote Christian values beyond the issues of abortion and same-sex marriage.
Red Letter Christians, a project of Sojurners/Call to Renewal, announced plans to establish a grass-roots network of 7,000 moderate and progressive clergy members.
“A debate on moral issues should be central to American politics, but how should we define religious values?” said Jim Wallis, an activist and executive director of the Christian ministry, which also publishes the liberal Sojourners Magazine.
The project’s name comes from the color of some Bible’s type, with words directly attributed to Jesus appearing in red.
Wallis said Christian conservatives have limited the discussion to abortion and same-sex marriage, two fears that mobilized voters in 2004, and that voters care about more than two the issues.
“We must insist that the ethics of war — and whether we tell the truth about going to war — these are moral values issues too,” Wallis said. Democrats have pinned part of their midterm strategy on voters’ restlessness with the war in Iraq.
The Red Letter Christians campaign plans to use voter guides for congregants and briefings for their leaders to argue education, poverty and the environment are all evangelical issues. Wallis also launched a new blog this week at BeliefNet.com, debating with former Christian Coalition head and failed Republican Georgia lieutenant governor candidate Ralph Reed.
The faith-based group also hired a full-time coordinator in Ohio, where conservative Ken Blackwell is running against Rep. Ted Strickland (news, bio, voting record), a former Methodist pastor. Another coordinator is soon to arrive in Pennsylvania, where Sen. Rick Santorum (news, bio, voting record) faces a tough re-election bid.
Faith-based get-out-the-vote efforts registered scores of new voters during 2004′s presidential election. The Southern Baptist Convention’s iVoteValues.com campaign alone reached 400,000 voters, the majority of whom voted for President Bush.
And later this week, the Family Research Council will have its Values Voters Summit in Washington, D.C. Speakers will include Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.
Wallis said the Christian conservatives have lost their independence with too-cozy ties to the Republican Party. He also is quick to note his group is not an extension of the Democratic Party. He is openly critical of Democratic politicians and titled his best-selling book “God’s Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It.”
Wallis appears to think he deserves a medal for pointing out that evangelicals can think beyond abortion and gay marriage. That is not a new concept, and “[T]here’s more to being a person of faith than standing against injustice” and “We want a president who embraces a comprehensive and positive values agenda” are better rhetoric anyway. So send the medal here, baby.
And the mere fact that evangelicals (okay, most of us–Dawn excluded) can walk and chew gum at the same time does not mean that 80 percent of us are secretly liberals who go to bed at night clutching copies of Roe v. Wade! Look, I am probably the least partisan Republican who contributes to EFM–I refused to vote for Arlen Specter in 2004 (primary or general), I rooted against Lincoln Chafee this year, and I have never voted for my congressman, Curt “Surrender” Weldon–but I am so sick of this “Bible thumpers pine for Dems meme!” It simply does not hold water!
Evangelicals are not stupid, we are not married to a political party, but for crying out loud, most of us have the sense to see that the national Democratic Party favors policies that are totally inimical to what we believe! It is not a difficult question! So give it a rest, MSM!