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Decades ago, liberal mainline church leaders used to dominate the media. But their denominations lost millions of members and now they are mostly ignored. Meanwhile, conservative evangelical churches and movements grew. Now, their leaders fill the airtime. If Balmer and his fellow liberal evangelicals can repeat that demographic success, they will get their share of airtime too.
Balmer complains that the evangelical community, especially its schools, has shut him out because of his provocative opinions. This is somewhat laughable. There is a growing liberal movement on evangelical campuses. Many evangelical academics, eager to distance themselves from Pat Robertson, have endorsed a smorgasbord of liberal causes, from Global Warming, to the “One Campaign,” to opposing the “torture” that U.S. law already prohibits. Balmer should have plenty of company. He certainly would be a welcome speaker at liberal-dominated mainline Protestant and some Catholic schools. And doubtless secular campuses would throw upon their doors to him, even as they shun conservative evangelicals.
When Balmer claims that evangelical academic institutions do not “suffer rebels gladly,” does he consider how conservative evangelicals fare at liberal institutions?
EVER THE MARTYR, Balmer warns ominously that after his book hits the streets “the minions of the religious right will seek to discredit me rather than engage the substance of my arguments.” Indeed, they will denounce him as a “member of the academic elite, spokesman for the Northeastern establishment, misguided liberal, prodigal son, traitor to the faith, etc.”
Balmer takes himself a little too seriously. And he does not provide many substantive arguments with which to engage. Instead, he vents and rages that most evangelicals are conservative rather than liberal. It is not clear why that is so upsetting to him. The Religious Left, composed of old-line Protestant agencies and liberal Catholic orders, is just as moneyed and expansive as the Religious Right.
True, the Religious Left does not marshal the number of voters that the Religious Right does. Perhaps that is because it is dominated by “academic elites” and the “Northeastern establishment” rather than by ordinary church-going people. But Balmer does not deeply examine that possibility.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?