There is an utter disconnect between what I hear other people – mostly in the media – say about evangelical conservatives, and what I’ve experienced living in and among them for nearly three decades on this planet. I hear how intolerant and close-minded this group supposedly is, and I sit and absorb such attacks with a blank look on my face. They bear no resemblance to the environment I was reared in.

The people who instilled in me the values of tolerance, compassion, service, and justice were the same who taught me personal responsibility, the wonder of free enterprise, the importance of private charity, and the sobering implications of living in an imperfect, fallen world.

As my favorite writer G.K Chesterton would put it: I did not create a conservative worldview – God and Western Civilization made it, and they made me.

I wanted to share with you a compilation of pro-Romney/Ryan “blurbs” that I’ve assembled from some of the best and brightest evangelicals that I personally know.  It’s not meant as a definitive, case-closed, “See, we’re not all lock-step knuckle-draggers” argument in favor of evangelicals everywhere.  It’s simply a sampling of the evangelical world I know and am proud to claim a stake in.

You can read the entire list here, but I’ll leave you with a portion of one in particular (from my second favorite writer, Mark Steyn):

I don’t know whether Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan can fix things, but I do know that Barack Obama and Joe Biden won’t even try – and that therefore a vote for Obama is a vote for the certainty of national collapse. Look at Lower Manhattan in the dark after the storm, and try to imagine what America might look like after the rest of the planet decides it no longer needs the dollar as global reserve currency. For four years, we have had a president who can spend everything but build nothing. Nothing but debt, dependency, and decay….In different ways the response to Hurricane Sandy and Benghazi exemplify the fundamental unseriousness of the world’s superpower at twilight. Whether or not to get serious is the choice facing the electorate Tuesday.”

 

  • http://www.jordanballor.com/ Jordan Ballor

    Playing as an advocate for a moment (devil’s or otherwise), there is a bit of a disconnect, it seems to me, in making the case that evangelicals are not intolerant and close-minded by quoting evangelicals supporting conservative political candidates, particularly by negative derogation of the opposition. I guess it shows that evangelicals are open-minded enough to support those who agree with them politically regardless of qualms about religion. Fair enough (although it might also say something not so complimentary about the importance of politics for many conservative evangelicals). But when evangelicals are casting things in pretty stark partisan terms (e.g. “the certainty of national collapse”), it doesn’t exactly read like the apotheosis of tolerant open-mindedness.

    • http://twitter.com/rjmoeller RJ Moeller

      I get your point, and would have addressed this further if it wasn’t my first post here as that would take some space to delve into. Evangelicals don’t agree among themselves, with a growing “progressive” element trickling up from the universities and pop cultural influences. Conservative ones are the people accused of being racist and xenophobic and close-minded to people of other faiths. I’ve offered up a sample – albeit limited – of evangelical conservatives who are judging Mitt/Paul based on the “content of their character” and their competency as leaders. Tolerance has been ostensibly defined by the culture as being morally relative. We know that’s rubbish. So what tolerance and open-mindedness really ends up boiling down to is if you agree with Leftist, liberal ideology or not. If you’re willing to play identity politics and cry racism or discrimination at every turn. There are levels to this and it would require more definition of some of these terms. Thanks for starting me off with an easy one, Jordan!

      • http://www.jordanballor.com/ Jordan Ballor

        There is nothing concerning the “content of their character” with respect to Romney/Paul in that Steyn comment. On that score, his comment may not be representative of the limited sample posted on your site. But, with respect to the rest (e.g. space and time), there’s plenty of space on the interwebs and I think that one of the things that’s worth doing, in this forum especially, is to take time to carefully define things and take a measured look at things.

        • http://twitter.com/rjmoeller RJ Moeller

          I think this might be a case of you not reading the entirety of what I linked to. I’ll make sure to be extra clear in the future. Thanks for voicing your opinion. I agree definition and context are key. Would like to hear your thoughts once you’ve read the rest of the comments I compiled. I put the Steyn one in there specifically because it was the most “controversial.” Perhaps I shouldn’t have since it got us off on another tangent, so that’s my bad.

  • RayNothstine

    Honestly, this post strikes me as a little too political and panicky. Especially since it’s posted on election eve. It could easily be titled, “RJ Moeller and his friends endorse Romney – Ryan.” To your credit you make that distinction in your post but the headline is misleading.

    All evangelicals are NOT conservative or Republican politically (a fact I learned all too well at an evangelical seminary) and this post seems to paint with too broad a brush. The panicky part rubs me the wrong way. God is still in control and this Steyn bit about “certain national collapse” assumes too high a view about the political sphere and its ultimate power and too low a view about the strength and character of a large segment of this country that will be okay spiritually regardless as to what happens because of bad economic policy. I guess it just comes across as a day before political endorsement dump.

    • http://twitter.com/rjmoeller RJ Moeller

      I’d encourage you to read what I linked to. If you still consider it a “dump”, I’ll leave it alone. But I’d be interested in your thoughts on the whole of what I compiled. Oh, and this post is ABSOLUTELY political. So I’m glad that came through. Although, I’m guessing you don’t agree that it is a good thing. Also, I never said all evangelicals do vote the same way. The headline was meant to attract attention. Thanks for your feedback.

      • RayNothstine

        Thanks for responding RJ. I did read the link several times and I just took it as a list of endorsements for the Romney-Ryan campaign. Some of them are articulate and well thought out, but they are political endorsements all the same.

        I guess we just disagree as to what is the appropriate level of political cheerleading is for this forum. I don’t like it and I feel like Acton should strive to be above this kind of naked partisanship. I think Acton’s ideas, synthesis, and mission are strong and very valuable and those things become compromised by an overtly partisan post.

        I’m not in charge here but I just wanted to make my thoughts known. I totally appreciate and respect that you responded to me. I look forward to you continuing to post because I know you will be a valuable part of the team. I really admire and appreciate the work you do for Prager and AEI and your talent and intensity is undeniable. Please don’t let my thoughts run you off.

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