UNHOLY <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />ALLIANCE: WHEN "EVANGELICALS" JOIN THE "RELIGIOUS LEFT"<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
Jan Markell
So-called evangelicals are involved in all sorts of issues that used to be unique only to the religious Left. We now have the "National Religious Campaign Against Torture" (NRCAT).  Civilized societies use torture sparingly and it is mainly in such forms as sleep deprivation.  Now a group of leaders-some calling themselves evangelicals-are focusing on the torture issue but more specifically, are focused upon bashing President Bush and his administration for lying on this issue.  They say we are implementing unrelenting torture as a regular policy.
Recently on the op-ed page of The New York Times, the NRCAT ran an ad declaring torture a moral issue.  Twenty-seven "religious leaders" signed the ad, which insisted that nothing less is at stake in the torture abuse crisis than the soul of our nation.
The backers of this are some of the same who signed on to the "Evangelical Environmental Network" (EEN) in February making man-made global warming an "evangelical issue."  So-called "evangelicals" signing on to NRCAT include Emergent Church leader Brian McClaren, Rick Warren, Ted Haggard of the National Association of Evangelicals (who did not sign EEN), and Jim Wallis of Sojourners' magazine.  They all identify themselves as "evangelicals."  But they are aligning themselves with the National Council of Churches and other individuals and causes that are clearly not just to the Left but to the far-Left and who focus almost exclusively on the social gospel, something evangelicals began drifting from decades ago.
Could they not have put their energy in a campaign to placing ads about those nations who really torment and torture their people?  How about denouncing China and other Communist nations, the Islamic world, Burma, and parts of Africa?  The NRCAT is also deploring the alleged "abuses" at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib.
Why would Brian McClaren and Rick Warren want to sign on, once again, to a Leftist cause?  The backers of the NRCAT insist that America, American Christians, and American imperialism, are the chief threat to world order and peace.  They say America and the president are "draping the quest for an American empire in the language of Christian missionary zeal."  Some signers of this NRCAT proclamation are hostile or in denial about the U.S. war against terrorism.
I say this is hardly an "evangelical issue" and when national self-proclaimed evangelical leaders such as Brian McClaren and Rick Warren sign on to such on a regular basis, they are in some sort of strong delusion as are their most loyal followers.  To Ted Haggard, National Association of Evangelicals' leader, I urge him and his organization to stay focused on soul winning and preaching a solid gospel, not the gospel of the religious Left which has been spiritually bankrupt for the last one hundred years.  While torture abuse is a serious issue, it is wasting precious time and resources.  It is simply not an "evangelical cause" or call to action issue.

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