Values Voting

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The exchange between Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council and the Faith and Public Life folks over last Sunday’s Compassion Forum is worth looking at for anyone interested in the ongoing saga of evangelicals in politics. Perkins’ characterization of the of the event’s board as “radical,” his apparently false claim that the FRC was not invited to participate (according to the other side, he was), points to some real anxiety in the Religious Right’s old guard at the effort to broaden the “values” agenda and soften its partisan, culture-wars edge. In fact, Perkins made no bones about the stakes: “Unfortunately, with the help of some of our friends, the Religious Left is trying to realign, and thereby dilute, the values voter message…As Democrats vie for the Christian vote, we must remember that it is not the church that should be affected by their message. Rather, their message should be affected by a faithful church.”
How much should the old guard worry that their troops have been softened up? So far, the evidence is mostly impressionistic. But when the likes of Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum and the president of the Southern Baptist Convention sign on to something like the Compassion Forum, you don’t need a weatherman to tell you that the atmosphere has changed.

  • Dan

    The atmosphere is changing indeed, and it’s noteworthy that Perkins is forced to acknowledge it. His fallacious characterization of the Compassion Forum reveals just how threatened he is by this.