Right up front, that's con being short for conservative, not con artist. I'll save our friends on the left the hanging straight line.
Let me start with a Pat Robertson rant. I'm going to leave off the funky business deals and his shoot-from-the-lip theology and focus on his politics. For years, he's seemingly been more a conservative than a Christian in his politics. His main focus in the political arena has been to help conservative Republicans and harm Democrats of all stripes.
Two areas from the Christian Coalition era had me ticked. The first was spending a big chunk of change a decade ago to beat back the Clinton health-care plan. The plan was a bad idea, but it wasn't a Christian issue. I talk with more trepidation on economics than sexual morality issues, since the Bible says nothing about nationalized health care. Even if the stand was correct, it wasn't one for a group claiming to speak for Christians to be taking.
Unless, that is they are speaking for conservative Republicans and not Christians. The other area that always puzzled me is that they'd cherry-pick the issues on their voter guides that put the Democrat in the most un-conservative light. If the Democratic candidate was conservative on some issues and liberal on others, only the liberal issues were listed.
I've never had much respect for Robertson, and his latest blessing of Rudy Giuliani took what was left away. Here's a pro-choice centrist guy getting Mr. Televangalist's seal of approval. In the same interview, he says that he'll vote against John McCain "under any circumstance."
Is McCain more liberal than Giuliani? Not last I checked. If anything, he's more conservative on the moral issues that Robertson supposedly champions.However, McCain's less of a loyal Republican, willing to buck the party leadership. You can be a libertine, but as long as you're a loyal Republican, Rev-run Pat's got your back.
On to another related rant. Our local Christian station has Focus on the Family's Family News in Focus broadcast on just after the 6AM news. Lately, it should be retitled GOP Leadership Forum, for the pieces are two-minute infomercials for the GOP's political platform. They've always been biased to the right, but had been more balanced and less overtly partisan in the past.
One big hobby-horse they've been riding is the nuclear/constitutional option issues; a few weeks back, they spent most of a week covering a pissing match between FOTF and Sen. Salazar on judicial nominees. Today, the piece plugged a Republican budget-reform bill.
Just like my beef with Robertson above, these Christian groups seem
to becoming merely standard-issue conservative Republicans with a
religious cloak. Most of the time, I'm going to agree with
standard-issue conservative Republicans, but I don't like giving a
Christian imprimatur to it, especially if it's on things like economics
or immigration where there isn't a clear orthodox Biblical response.
Another thing that bothers me is that a lot of the political
theocons are rather dour and pessimistic. Robertson majors in snark and
disdain for his foes and is hard to watch. Dobson is quickly heading in
that direction, becoming more pessimistic and bitter as the years go
There's also a circle-the-wagons mentality that's not healthy.
Instead of winning the world for Christ, we seem to be playing defense,
fending off the advances of secularism. Last I checked, being against
abortion and homosexuality aren't major cornerstones of the Christian faith, but it seems that way if you watch orthodox Christians in the news.
Of course, we won't get much press coverage for basic evangelism or ministry to the poor and hurting; ministries generally only get press if there's controversy or they step into politics.
We need to be reaching out to people with a God who loves them, a Jesus who died for them and a Holy Spirit that stands at the ready to transform their lives. We need something better than glum culture warriors. I don't mind a good fight for our culture, but we need more happy warriors.