Perhaps 30 years later, evangelicals, because of "an increase in
questionable rhetorical practices in the nonprofit sector," need to form the
ECRA: The Evangelical Council for Rhetorical Accountability. Those of us who
have a lot of pew time know ... not to mention those who listen to religious
broadcasting and partake of religious literature, Web sites, and blogs (!) ...
that such accountability is sorely lacking.
The need for an ECRA became clearer than ever to me this week when a
beloved elder in the evangelical broadcasting community spoke out against Sen.
Barack Obama. What is evident to me in this interchange is not just a difference
in policy, but also a ...
.. difference in rhetoric, defined as how one attempts to argue and
persuade. In times like these -- dangerous times, election seasons, and so on --
we must not only scrutinize what people say and whether we agree with it, but
also how they say it and whether we agree with their means of persuasion. I'm
suggesting that we sharpen our sense of rhetorical accountability just as we
sharpen our sense of financial accountability.
The specter of censorship notwithstanding...
Then, there was this.
Faithful in pews might not be voters in November
Meanwhile, Obama's campaign is aggressively reaching out to evangelicals.
The Illinois senator dispatched former 9/11 Commission member Tim Roemer to meet with fellow Roman Catholics. He sent Brian McLaren, one of the country's most influential pastors, to meet with fellow evangelicals. And aides have conducted more than 200 "American Values Forums," soon to be followed up with house parties and town hall-style meetings aimed at young Catholics and young evangelicals.
And a bit later, a response from McLaren.
Of course, we all know that I'm not one of the country's most influential
pastors. Nor was I sent to meet with fellow evangelicals on Obama's behalf,
although I'd be happy to share with anyone of any faith persuasion my hopes,
concerns, and commitments regarding the presidential election.
I was invited to speak on faith and politics at one of Senator Obama's
"faith and values" forums in Iowa last year. And I am an enthusiastic supporter
of The Matthew 25
Network, which is supporting Senator Obama, and which you can read about here and here. And I plan to be more
outspoken about the election in the coming months, here and elsewhere - not as a
spokesperson for any organization, but as a responsible private citizen. In
fact, I just said good-bye to a CNN crew who was here filming a story about
Evangelicals who support Senator Obama, tentatively to be aired on
I think I'll wait for the AP article writer to have his or her say about McLaren's claims. My point here is simply point out that McLaren calls for some kind of niceness when it comes to political rhetoric, at least when it is directed agains the man he is out there campaigning for (which he admits to, whether Obama "sent" him or not).
Btw the God's Politics blog (which has much more politics then God, on may think) was one that quite vigorously defended the statements of Obama former pastor Jeremiah Wright. As seen here.
Putting Rev. Wright's Preaching in Perspective
Why America Needs the Uncensored Prophetic Voice of the Black Church
I think it's a case of these people being quite willing to dish it, but not so much ot take it.