Thursday, February 03, 2005
Influential Evangelicals on Larry King
So I was flipping the channels the other night and saw Brian McLaren's face on Larry King Live. Turns out he was part of a panel discussion related to TIME magazines recent article on the 25 Most Influential Evangelicals. Together with him were Franklin Graham, T.D. Jakes, and Tim & Beverly LaHaye. You can read the transcript of the show here.

McLaren and Jakes were great, IMHO. The came across as very sensitive and compassionate. Graham did alright... it was kind of humorous to see how he tried to turn every question into a chance to share the gospel message (taking after his old man I guess). My only critique was that he tended to use very "churchy" language, i.e. a lot of Christianese, that probably sounds okay from the pulpit, but came across as kind of antiquated and hokey on CNN.

The LaHaye's on the other hand... arrggh... I felt like pulling my hair out everytime they said something. It was like they were trying to act compassionate, but their real judgmental selves kept poking through everytime they were pushed to elaborate on what they really thought. I'm glad McLaren and Jakes were there to point out that not every evangelical Christian is in lock-step with the Religious Right, that some of us do care about more issues than just abortion and homosexuality, and that you can have sincere Christians on both sides of the aisle.

I like how McLaren put it: "I think there's a wide range of issues that really matter to Christians. And one of my concerns is that the word "evangelical" now is hard to define for a lot of people. It only means a narrow range of issues on one conservative side... One of the things I think we as people of faith owe [President Bush] is to call him to moral values, that's certainly true. But moral values including issues like making peace, moral values like really caring for the poor and seeing what we can do to make sure they have a greater share in our nation. I also think we have to ask the president to care more about the environment as God's creation."

Of course, I usually can't stand watching those kind of shows. Pundits like King drive me nuts, and I hate the way he would keep interrupting people just as the conversation got good and would change the subject... It would have been a lot better if he would have just shut up and let McLaren, Jakes, Graham and the LaHayes just go at it.

posted by Mike Clawson at 8:34 PM | Permalink |


At 2/04/2005 02:05:00 PM, Blogger AutobodyCAD

"... not every evangelical Christian is in lock-step with the Religious Right, that some of us do care about more issues than just abortion and homosexuality, and that you can have sincere Christians on both sides of the aisle."

Just to clarify, which aisle do you mean: abortion/homosexuality/something else?

I'm not quite one of those wacko "Religious Right"ies. i.e. I was against the Iraq war, Faith-Based Initiatives are questionable, etc. But killing babies or non-sinfulness of sexual immorality are clear as glass in God's Word. And the government has proper jurisdiction to say who can kill whom and when.



At 2/05/2005 08:51:00 AM, Blogger Mike Clawson

Hey Greg,

By "both sides of the aisle" I meant that sincere Christians can be found both on the Left and the Right, both among Republicans and Democrats.

And by abortion/homosexuality/something else, I meant that while I agree that abortion and homosexuality are important issues, I think there are also many other "moral issues" that we as Christians should care about just as much, if not more. For example, the Bible references sex about 50 times, but mentions justice and poverty over 400 times... so I think that poverty and social justice issues probably ought to be an important "moral issue" for us as Christian voters. The same with the war. I did not and do not support the War in Iraq. I believe it was immoral and based on falsehoods. Thus I believe that opposition to the war is also a "moral issue".

Basically I just don't like how the Religious Right has co-opted the terms "moral issues", and "family values" and narrowly defined them as only referring to two issues: abortion and homosexuality. IMHO, things like poverty, war, and the environment are also "moral issues" and "family values".


At 2/24/2005 09:59:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous

Well Mike, the LaHayes were simply... the LaHayes. MB & I have laughed (and cried) over things they've said for a good 20 years or so. It was sooooo refreshing to hear those other voices though, wasn't it? Even Franklin Graham kept going back to spiritual condition, and away from the politics etc. All in all I was happy, if only that Evangelicals (or Christians in general) were not left to be totally represented by the LaHaye types. After reading the transcript (I didn't see it on air) I am really interested in learning more about T.D. Jakes - I really know very little about him or his teachings.



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