The EFM Feature

I’ve confessed previously on this site that I am a big Sarah Palin fan. My friends who are (or who want to be) muckety-mucks in the D.C. conservative establishment give me endless grief for this, which is less irritating than amusing. What’s infinitely more annoying, though, is a recent post at Conservatives4Palin.com (I won’t link it) dissing EFM for daring to support a politician who changed his mind on abortion. (The post refers parenthetically to our name and then says, “Hmmmm,” linking to a YouTube of some of Gov. Romney’s past words on the subject — the idea being, I guess, that we’re bogus evangelicals for supporting such a man.)
Why has this gotten under my skin? Because I think, quite frankly, that conversions are something all evangelicals who are engaged in politics should be extremely interested in — and I therefore find the mode of argument exemplified by that post, and used by others, to be profoundly destructive.
I mean this in two ways. First of all, we should be working our tails off to get politicians — especially influential ones who have a real shot at positions of power — to change their minds on abortion. This fight is about changing hearts and minds. And Gov. Romney is one of the people the pro-life movement changed. We should be thankful for this! Yet in so many cases, even after he took action on behalf of life — proving he’s for real — pro-lifers refuse to trust him for this very reason. How shortsighted! We should be welcoming politicians who undergo a true conversion on abortion with open arms, so that others want to follow them, not ostracizing those who haven’t been with us for decades.
Secondly, and here I put on my Resident EFM Theologian Hat, it seems to me that we evangelicals have a responsibility to be winsome and, dare I say it, loving as we engage in politics. We jump into the arena, after all, before a watching world that does not understand what it is to follow Christ. That’s an opportunity to be used by God — and the glory does go to him, no to us — on behalf of real conversions, the spiritual kind. But how frequently do we undermine that by savagely attacking people who disagree with us? I don’t know if the folks at Conservatives4Palin.com are believers (though that tends to be a decent assumption with Gov. Palin’s fired-up supporters); this is more of a general observation, exacerbated by some extremely hostile e-mails I’ve received since we were on Drudge, but yes, spurred in part by some of the accusations I see over at C4P. Look, I know there are very real disagreements in politics. Certainly we have those here, and we are far from perfect in expressing them. But we do try to conduct ourselves with a certain degree of graciousness. I think God uses that. And I wish there were more of it in our nation’s politics.

About Charles Mitchell

EFM's resident Yankee, Charles Mitchell, works in the non-profit arena in his native Pennsylvania. He and his wife, Charissa, live near the state capital of Harrisburg with their daughter, Adeline, and are members of a congregation of the Presbyterian Church in America.

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