Tag Archives: Evangelicals

Who Are Those Guys?

This last weekend “a group of evangelicals” met in Houston Texas to endorse a GOP candidate for President.  Tony Perkins, the assigned spokesman for the group, released a statement that “there emerged a strong consensus around Rick Santorum as the preferred candidate of this room…a clear, clear majority”.  The meeting was “secret” and “anonymous”.  The participants were asked to remain silent for a 24 hour period after the event to make sure a united statement (via Tony Perkins) would emerge from the meeting.

It seems to me that the list of participants at the meeting should be made public if the group is going to presume to speak for such a large and diverse group as “Evangelicals”. I have seen the number of attendants range from 150 to 180.  In several different news reports I have read there were three ballots/votes taken at the meeting which all reflect different numbers of people voting (1st ballot: 123 total votes; 2nd ballot 119 total votes; 3rd ballot 114 total votes). So there were at least 123 people at the meeting – obviously a vote count is not the same as a head count as there are many reasons a an attender may  not be reflected in the vote count.  Some people had to leave the meeting early to get back to their churches and get ready for services but here are the results from the three votes as reported by the Washington Post:

The group had agreed that its minimum threshold to support a candidate was a three-quarters vote. However, the balloting on the first round was far closer than that, with Santorum receiving 57 votes; Gingrich, 48; Texas Gov. Rick Perry, 13; former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, 3; and Texas Rep. Ron Paul, 1.

In the second round, in which participants chose between the top two finishers on the first ballot, Santorum received 70 votes to Gingrich’s 49.

It was not until the third ballot, after some of Gingrich’s supporters left, that Santorum cleared the three-quarters threshold, receiving 85 votes, to Gingrich’s 29.

Here are the people who I have been able to determine were at the meeting.

  • Judge Paul Pressler, host and owner of the home where the meeting took place. (Description from his facebook page:  The Hon. H. Paul Pressler III is a former Texas Appeals Court Justice, and is principally known for his role as the architect and leader of the Conservative Resurgence in the Southern Baptist Convention.)
  • Tony Perkins, President of Family Research Council
  • James Dobson, Founder of Focus on the Family (source)
  • Gary Bauer, president of Campaign for Working Families (source)
  • Pastor Richard Lee, First Redeemer Church in Cummings Georgia (source)
  • Pastor Jim Garlow, Skyline Church, San Diego California (source)
  • J.C. Watts, Former House of Representatives R-Oklahoma (source)
  • Richard Viguerie, ConservativeHQ dot-com (source)
  • Penny Nance, president of Concerned Women for America (source)
  • Ken Cuccinelli, Virginia Attorney General (source)
  • Michael Geer, president of the Pennsylvania Family Council/PAC (source)
  • John Stemberger, president of Florida Family Action (source)
  • George Barna, The Barna Group (source)
  • David Lane, California-based political activist (source)
  • Don Wildmon, founder of the American Family Association (source)
  • Bob Vander Plaats, The Family Leader, a political organization (source)
  • Erick Erickson, blogger for RedState dot-com, radio host (source)

If you know of any more, add them in the comments.

My opinion about this meeting is here…

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An Evangelical Papacy?

I just wanted to sit down, watch some football, read the last in the Hunger Games series and enjoy a Sunday evening.

But the “evangelical leaders” (whoever they are) went and almost ruined my day.  Last night, just in time to make the announcement for Sunday morning, an anonymous group of “almost 170 conservative leaders” met in Houston, Texas and decided that Evangelicals are endorsing Rick Santorum as the Republican nominee for president.

I don’t know if I could have said it any better than Jim West at Zinglius Redivivus in a post entitled Endorsements by Clergy Are Meaningless (And Evil), but he was brief, and I want to expand on why this meeting and this action is so wrong.

The term “Evangelical” refers to a particular form of Christianity, ie, the Church.  Churches are not political entities, nor should they be.  Pastors should not “endorse” candidates, nor should they involve themselves in political activity.  Pastors and “churches” should hold themselves apart from the political enterprise.  Christians, as individuals, can and should involve themselves as free citizens in a free and democratic society.  And they should be guided by their convictions.  Their convictions are guided by the church.  But the direct involvement of the church/pastor muddies the waters and weakens the church.

These 170 or so “leaders” may not all be “pastors” but I venture to say that many of them are, and their intention is to “influence” the votes of the “evangelicals” by endorsing Santorum.  But they met anonymously, used the media power of organizations like Focus on the Family (James Dobson and  Jim Daly)  and the Family Research Council (Tony Perkins) presumed to “speak” for the church, albeit distancing that moniker in favor of the more general term “evangelical”.  These guys want to speak for the church, but represent no particular church and are not empowered by the leadership of any particular church.  It is no wonder, any church that would promote this sort of buffoonery has no business calling itself a church.

They met “in secret” and “anonymously.”  I have looked for  a listing of this group, it should be easy to find, but have been unsuccessful.  Should I not have the ability to find out who this group of leaders who is speaking for us “evangelicals”?  This sort of clandestine meeting is shameful.

Here is the most that should have happened. This group meets and hashes out their consensus and then Tony Perkins comes out and says, “Family Research Council endorses so and so”, “Focus on the Family” endorses so and so” or “Blank Church endorses so and so” or “Pastor Blank endorses so and so”. Why did they do it this way?  Why not have one of the “organizations” endorse?  The National Association of Evangelicals may have been represented, wouldn’t it have been more “official” if they presumed to speak for us?  Why didn’t they?  What they have done appears to be an end run around behavior that might threaten their tax exempt standing.

To sum it up in a word:  Pathetic.

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