From the website of Pastor Greg Laurie:
The Year of Good News
…In a time of fake news, distracting news, divisive news, disorderly news, and, sometimes, depressing news, we—as Christians and as leaders—want to recommit ourselves to making sure that the Good News of Jesus cuts through it all. We call upon Christians in America to make 2017 “The Year of Good News.”
…We need a national miracle to heal our political, racial and cultural divisions, and that miracle is found in the power of Jesus to change our hearts. Therefore, we commit to preach louder than our nation’s politics, and we aim to make the message of Jesus Christ transcend the monopoly of our media. We confess our only hope of unity is on the level ground at the foot of the cross of Jesus, and our only hope of healing is in the victory achieved through his empty tomb…
Laurie (whose “end times” ruminations I noted in 2009) took part in the National Prayer Service that followed Donald Trump’s inauguration, but as a public figure he was not especially associated with efforts to elect Trump. In his view, Trump “has taken a stand on a few issues that are very important to us as evangelicals”, which is a measured and non-partisan statement.
However, non-partisanship is not a concept that one associates with some of the prominent evangelical leaders of who have signed up to the statement: most notably Franklin Graham (who declared that Trump won the election because “God showed up”), his sister Anne Graham Lotz (“I see what happened in this election as being a tremendous movement of God in answer to prayer”), and James Dobson,who spun Trump’s personal failings as the stumblings of a “baby Christian” and who lectured on the need to “forgive” when Trump’s boasts about sexual assault came to light.
It’s therefore difficult to regard the statement without scepticism. Franklin Graham and James Dobson do not preach “louder than… politics”; their evangelistic outpourings are highly political, even though ahead of the election Graham maintained a fiction of not formally endorsing Trump. The reference in the statement to “the monopoly of our media” as somehow inhibiting the Christian message is impossible to read without thinking of Trump’s extravagant attacks on the the press as “the enemy of the American people”; and the idea that divisions in American society will be healed through “the power of Jesus to change… hearts”, while being unexceptional evangelical rhetoric, glosses over the reality of the religious and political opportunism that has come with with the resurgence of the religious right.
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