Friday, January 20, 2006

A wayward Christian soldier

Charles Marsh writes a piece in the New York Times today criticizing evangelicals who have supported the war in Iraq. Says Marsh: "In the past several years, American evangelicals, and I am one of them, have amassed greater political power than at any time in our history. But at what cost to our witness and the integrity of our message?"

Marsh claims that the desire for political power is the reason evangelicals have adopted what he considers to be the wrong position on the war. I find this extremely insulting. I, for one, take the position I do solely because I believe it's the right one.

One thing we all seem to agree on is that while it's not wrong (on the contrary, it can be obligatory) for leading evangelicals to speak out (like Marsh does, and like prominent anti-war evangelical Jim Wallis does all the time) on important moral issues that God cares about, like war, the Church shouldn't officially align itself with a particular political party. But Marsh apparently thinks evangelicals have aligned themselves somehow (in order to gain political power).

The pro-war evangelicals he accuses would no doubt respond that there is no political alignment (no blind loyalty to President Bush), merely individuals speaking out on important issues. And, again, we're not sacrificing principle to increase political power - we actually think we're right on the issue. We think our position on the war is right and entirely biblical.

Marsh is simply an evangelical saying that most other evangelicals are wrong about the war (more than enough to get published in the New York Times). I would beg to differ. But there's nothing new about that debate.

He also seems to mischaracterize the evangelical pro-war arguments in the lead up to war. And saying that our stated main reason for supporting the war was this: "our president is a real brother in Christ, and because he has discerned that God's will is for our nation to be at war against Iraq, we shall gloriously comply" - that's just a tremendous insult.

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