The Release of “An Evangelical Manifesto”

“An Evangelical Manifesto” was released this morning at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. As I noted in previous posts, I will offer some reflections on the “Manifesto” either later on today or tomorrow. For now, I direct your attention to the media materials that have been released.

There is a video recording of the event held this morning: Archived Webcast of Press Conference. You will need Windows Media Player to view it. There are two websites: www.anevangelicalmanifesto.com and www.evangelicalmanifesto.com. The latter of the two websites is a press-friendly site that has an executive summary of the 20 page document.

34 Responses to The Release of “An Evangelical Manifesto”

  1. Mike Bird May 7, 2008 at 2:52 pm #

    Denny,

    Who are these guys targeting their critique at?

  2. Denny Burk May 7, 2008 at 3:37 pm #

    Dearest Mike,

    They aren’t explicit about that. Many people suspect that the target is implied by who was not included in the drafting process or in the charter signatories.

    Does that help?

    Denny

  3. Brett May 7, 2008 at 4:48 pm #

    Mike,

    It seems like they’re targeting all Evangelical Americans, on both sides of the political and theological spectrum. Denny already has the presupposition that’s it’s anti-right so I don’t expect him to say anything less, but if you look at the signees, there are many very conservative scholars on there. Maybe it’s time for both sides to listen up and quit claiming it’s a polemic against one or the other.

  4. Ken May 7, 2008 at 5:18 pm #

    Brett: I’ve just read through everything Denny has posted on this document and can find nothing to substantiate your statement that he presupposes it’s “anti-right.” At the most he has asked whether it’s significant that certain prominent spokesmen are not included among the signatories. That’s a legitimate question, given the history of these kinds of documents over the past two decades. Sometimes the absence of certain names speaks more loudly than the names that do appear.

  5. Paul May 7, 2008 at 5:32 pm #

    “Sometimes the absence of certain names speaks more loudly than the names that do appear.”

    Yes! The absence of Tony Perkins lets one know right off the bat that this thing wasn’t written by or for complete loons.

  6. Ken May 7, 2008 at 5:38 pm #

    I suppose one could draw the same conclusion from the absence of Tony Campolo’s name, Paul. 😉

  7. Darius May 7, 2008 at 6:57 pm #

    Oh, snap! Nice comeback, Ken. 🙂

  8. Greg Anderson May 7, 2008 at 10:41 pm #

    Dang! That there’s quite a manifesto! Does this mean I don’t have to be gainfully employed at Jesus Munitions, or believe that Hugo Chavez is hiding weapons of mass destruction in Venezuela, in order to call myself a Christian?

  9. Darius May 8, 2008 at 8:55 am #

    My only concern is where it refers to “single-issue politics” or something of that sort. This is a virtual straw man, as I have never known anyone who only cares about ONE issue. I’ve known some that have come close to this label, but none that have actually embodied what it means (or is supposed to mean). Does anyone honestly know people who, if faced with two candidates with equally pro-life positions, would be unsure how to vote since they don’t care about any other issues? So when the Manifesto uses that term, is it more referring to people who put abortion as the primary issues? If so, what’s the problem with that? Shouldn’t the pro-life issue by foremost in almost all cases? If a society and government doesn’t value life, how can it be trusted to enact morally upright legislation on any other issue?

  10. David (not Adrian's son) Rogers May 8, 2008 at 9:57 am #

    Re: “single-issue politics”

    I know some Christians who will not vote for any Democrat ever because the national party platform has pro-choice language. These Christians will not even inquire into the actual beliefs of an individual candidate, even at the local level of politics (city, county, district offices) because the person is a Democrat and thus tainted by the pro-choice position of the national platform. To them even a pro-life Democrat is unacceptable. This even goes with regard to whether the actual political office has any immediate bearing on abortion issues. Even if a person is running for an office that has no duties or responsibilities that would affect abortion issues, the candidate’s personal views on abortion or their party’s view on the issue removes the option of voting for that person. That is where “single-issue politics” becomes determinative.

    P. S. I am labelling myself as “not Adrian’s son” not as any kind of protest against the other David Rogers (I actually agree with him on many issues), but in order to make sure that what I post doesn’t get credited or blamed on him.

  11. Darius May 8, 2008 at 10:25 am #

    Ok, so perhaps they’re out there. But do you know of any evangelical LEADERS who promote single-issue politics? Someone like Dobson or Colson addresses a wide spectrum of issues, not just abortion or marriage.

  12. David (not Adrian's son) Rogers May 8, 2008 at 11:37 am #

    It is irrelevant whether there are any “evangelical LEADERS” who literally promote single-issue politics either explicitly by statement or de facto by majority sound bite. Single-issue politics is the perception of much of the secular media world about Evangelicalism, and an important controlling shibboleth that has trickled down to the local label-driven church member.
    In general, I’ve noticed that church people have a tendency to think in broad brush strokes rather than with precise nuances. It is easier in decision making when one can rule out the stress and complexity by finding something to dismiss about a candidate.

    National leaders will rarely change their approach and emphases because there is a tendency to need to preserve the brand that has been crafted for years. However, manifestos like this may have some affect on local leaders who may decide to re-shape their sermons and lessons and thus slowly influence the congregational members. New ministries may develop. Revival begins at the local level, at ground level, within congregations.

    I know plenty of preachers who virtually “single-issue” all their sermons. They all wind up about money, or national politics, or the four spiritual laws of how to get converted (even when the only ones in attendance are the same “saved” people and would actually benefit in hearing a sermon on bitterness or racism).

  13. Mark Mason May 8, 2008 at 2:16 pm #

    Darius said it very well:

    “Shouldn’t the pro-life issue by foremost in almost all cases? If a society and government doesn’t value life, how can it be trusted to enact morally upright legislation on any other issue?”

    Even if an elected leader says he or she is pro-life but allies him or herself to a party with a public stance that it’s perfectly fine to kill babies, why should we trust their judgment on anything else?

    And politics ultimately comes down to “How can I make the most people happy?” so as to get re-elected. Christianity (or Evangelicalism) comes down to “How can I make GOD happy?” Those two views are diametrically opposed.

  14. Darius May 8, 2008 at 2:51 pm #

    I wouldn’t have a problem with the Manifesto referring to “single-issue politics” as a problem if that single issue was Christians who want government to pay for their Krispy Kremes every morning. Or, more realistically, “Christians” who believe that homosexuals should be oppressed by the state at all turns (such as Fred Phelps). But when that single issue is (most likely) abortion and the war between pro-life and pro-death forces, shouldn’t it be preeminent?

  15. Darius May 8, 2008 at 2:53 pm #

    In other words, methinks the Manifesto protesteth a bit too much.

  16. Paul May 8, 2008 at 3:22 pm #

    “Even if an elected leader says he or she is pro-life but allies him or herself to a party with a public stance that it’s perfectly fine to kill babies, why should we trust their judgment on anything else?”

    Now people aren’t just drinking the kool-aid, they’re getting wasted on it.

    You’re right, though, Mark. Instead, we should vote for the party of subtle racism (go ahead and deny it, I’ll just remind you about Harold Ford over and over and over again), corporate welfare, closeted gay congressmen, fear mongering, contempt for the poor, empire building and free trade agreements which help fat cats and suck manufacturing jobs right out of the country.

    Like I’ve said elsewhere, both parties are faulty. One party might have better ideas and theories than the other, but to call one party evil and the other one holy is garbage, and anyone with even 1/4 of a brain should be smart enough to realize that.

  17. Darius May 8, 2008 at 3:29 pm #

    In other words, like me, Mark, you’re just too stupid to know that Republicans are evil and Democrats are less evil. 🙂

  18. Mark Mason May 8, 2008 at 3:32 pm #

    Paul,

    I never said I allied with the Republicans. In fact I said:

    “…politics ultimately comes down to ‘How can I make the most people happy?’ so as to get re-elected. Christianity (or Evangelicalism) comes down to ‘How can I make GOD happy?’ Those two views are diametrically opposed.”

    So when we put our full trust in man, we will always be let down; Democrat, Republican, Independent, Libertarian, Green, whatever.

    I realize that, and (according to science) I only use 1/10 of my brain!!

  19. Darius May 8, 2008 at 3:42 pm #

    Don’t bother Mark… Paul thinks anyone who votes for a Republican must likewise worship Republicans. Explaining a nuanced position beyond that is pointless.

  20. Paul May 8, 2008 at 3:58 pm #

    Darius,

    I only state what is obviously the case. Quit being a bullheaded moron, and I’ll quit addressing you as such.

    😀

  21. Mark Gibson May 8, 2008 at 4:57 pm #

    Paul,

    What have Democrats done to improve the lives of black people?

    Let me remind you about Robert “KKK” Byrd.

    Why do you care if there are closeted gay Republican Congressman? I though that you were all about gay rights.

    Fear mongering? I wouldn’t call defending the country fear mongering.

    Empire building? Afghanistan and Iraq are sovereign nations.

    Free trade agreements have been good for our economy. Since NAFTA took effect in 1994, there has been a net total of 25 million jobs added. Unemployment has gone from 6.7% to 5.0% Blue-collar worker’s wages have increased. Productivity has expanded faster than it did before NAFTA. How are these bad things?

  22. Paul May 8, 2008 at 5:45 pm #

    Mark,

    What Democrats have done for blacks/minorities…the civil rights legislation of 1964 was pushed through congress by LBJ. Pretty much all of the legislation passed that ended Jim Crow laws and busted up school bussing scams meant to segregate students were all written and passed by democrats.

    Bill Clinton’s empowerment zone package WAS working, and working primarily in black areas (Chicago’s Bronzeville community was flooded with jobs and quality housing, which brought middle class blacks back to the city from the suburbs and is helping to give black youth some people to look up to). It was the VERY FIRST PROGRAM THAT GEORGE W. BUSH CUT. Luckily, Chicago saw that the program was working and found ways to fund it through city tax hikes. And, you know what? If I can drive or walk through a culturally important area of Chicago due to some higher taxes being put to good use, I’m all for it.

    On a local level, too, you’ll notice that Chicago (and I’d assume other large cities) have instituted programs which help minorities. The Cease Fire program was working magic on the south and west sides of Chicago before our stupid governor (admittedly, a democrat) decided to cut funding for it in order to pay for less useful Illinois programs. Within 6 months, murder rates had jumped to the highest we’ve seen since the 80’s. By the way, there are about 10 republicans holding office within the Chicago city limits.

    I’d also say that raising the minimum wage (one of the first things the dems did when they took control in ’06) was probably more helpful to minorities than anyone else.

    Okay, You remind me about Robert Byrd. A guy who was both in and out of the Klan what, 70 years ago, and has since repented numerous times. You still have to deal with the fact that the RNC did a race baiting hit job on a senatorial candidate that was more republican than most republicans that ran for office in ’06.

    I don’t care that there are closeted GAY REPUBLICAN congressmen. However I do care that they hide in the closet trying to pass anti-gay legislation while trying to molest congressional pages.

    I wouldn’t call defending the country fear mongering either. However, I would call most of the tactics used by the Republicans fear mongering.

    Empire Building: Afghanistan was a just war, planned by maroons that had no business being dog catchers. Iraq was a trumped up war against a paper tiger that we knew was a paper tiger. Strangely enough, my two best friends are both republicans and as we were eating lunch together today, THEY were complaining about Iraq being a stupid war about oil.

    I’ll refute everything you say about NAFTA when I have more time.

  23. Wesley May 8, 2008 at 6:03 pm #

    Anyone else notice that on the definition of “Evangelical”, although the hypostatic union of Christ is in there, the Trinity is not mentioned? It seems this would be important enough to be explicit about.

  24. JNG May 8, 2008 at 6:18 pm #

    Ahh Democrats taking credit for civil rights when in fact,

    “the record shows that since 1933 Republicans had a more positive record on civil rights than the Democrats.

    In the 26 major civil rights votes after 1933, a majority of Democrats opposed civil rights legislation in over 80 percent of the votes. By contrast, the Republican majority favored civil rights in over 96 percent of the votes.

    [See http://www.congresslink.org/civil/essay.html and http://www.yale.edu/ynhti/curriculum/units/1982/3/82.03.04.x.html.%5D

    From: http://archive.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2002/12/13/194350.shtml

    From the same article.

    “Remember that the Republicans were the minority party at the time. Nonetheless, H.R.7152 passed the House on Feb. 10, 1964. Of the 420 members who voted, 290 supported the civil rights bill and 130 opposed it.

    Republicans favored the bill 138 to 34; Democrats supported it 152-96. Republicans supported it in higher proportions than Democrats.”

  25. Paul May 8, 2008 at 6:46 pm #

    JNG,

    bringing up track records from 1933? Please.

    Let’s face it, the Republicans were the LIBERAL party up until the 40’s, and even then, the full on purge of liberals from the party didn’t happen until what, the 80’s? Don’t go taking credit for politicians you wouldn’t have voted for. The party of Lincoln and Reagan very rarely likes to remind people that it was also the party of Nixon (fairly liberal) and Teddy Roosevelt (totally liberal).

    And let’s remember that your buddy Tom DeLay jerrymandered districts in Texas to completely disenfranchise economically disadvantaged blacks.

    Try again.

  26. JNG May 8, 2008 at 6:59 pm #

    Paul,

    I think you misread. That says SINCE 1933. 26 votes since that time period. Also, it shows that the republicans very much supported the 1964 bill, so much so that proportionally there support was greater than the democrats. Just showing the facts, I didn’t expect you to accept them, liberals rarely do.;)

  27. Paul May 8, 2008 at 7:30 pm #

    again, JNG, that was during a time when the Republicans were still much more liberal than they are today.

    Once again, don’t take credit for politicians you wouldn’t have voted for.

  28. JNG May 8, 2008 at 7:47 pm #

    I am amazed that you know who I would and would not have voted for. What doesn’t amaze me is that you continue to skirt the facts with subjective opinion.

  29. Brett May 8, 2008 at 11:58 pm #

    Can we please refrain from criticizing what was/was not mentioned in the evangelical beliefs in the manifesto? For people to be against it just because something like “inerrancy” or something to that nature is not in there is borderline completely ridiculous. In fact, I would put my bottom dollar that when Denny writes his take, he criticizes the list of beliefs they include.

    The question should not be: who did/did not sign it, or what nuance they used in their list of beliefs, but rather, do I agree with this. After reading it, I would hope that we could all find common ground in it. There are many conservatives who have signed it (conservatives who I’m sure are Republicans) such as Walter Kaiser, Mark Bailey (president of DTS), and Darrell Bock; not to mention Justin Taylor was nothing short of praising it on his blog.

    It just strikes me as sad how something that can be so positive for American Christianity is slandered because they left out a couple of doctrinal points.

  30. Mark Gibson May 9, 2008 at 9:16 am #

    JNG,

    I figured Paul would respond with LBJ pushing through Congress the Voting Rights Acts of 1964 & 1965. Nice job on your responses.

    Paul,

    There was no gerrymandering of districts by Tom DeLay. You are completely ignorant on the facts of the redistricting. Republicans in Texas weren’t represented proportionately in Congress. Only one district was found to be gerrymandering (it really wasn’t).

    I’m still waiting for a response on NAFTA

  31. Paul May 9, 2008 at 10:02 am #

    Okay, JNG, I’ll admit it then:

    A MUCH MORE LIBERAL REPUBLICAN PARTY THAN THE ONE YOU CLING SO TIGHTLY TO SUPPORTED CIVIL RIGHTS LEGISLATION!

    That you’re clinging to party titles and not political outlook says EVERYTHING though.

    Mark,

    NO gerrymandering? Even the supreme court doesn’t agree with you on that one, and everyone who isn’t a blind republican loyalist, as well. Seriously, Mark…blind conservatism I can understand, though one of those would never exist on this board, for sure. Blind Republicanism, though? That’s just puke inducing.

  32. Mark Gibson May 9, 2008 at 1:01 pm #

    Paul,

    The first case was a 7-2 ruling in favor of the Republicans. The ruling on District 23 was 5-4. If the case would have come up a couple of years later the outcome would have been reversed.

    Where’s your response to NAFTA and free trade?

  33. Darius May 9, 2008 at 1:15 pm #

    Again, Mark, facts don’t trump feelings. Please refrain from using facts to support your arguments from now on. Stick to feelings (especially bitterness, that’s quite useful in politics) and you will do well.

  34. Darius May 9, 2008 at 1:16 pm #

    Ooh, don’t forget the feelings of entitlement and resentment.

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