Nearly 30 years after religious conservatives decided to re-enter the political arena -- after abandoning it as "dirty" and leading to compromise -- what do they have to show for it? The country remains sharply divided and the reconciling message they used to preach has been obscured by the crass pursuit of the golden ring of political power. In the end, they got neither the power, nor the Kingdom; only the glory and even that is now fading, as these older leaders pass from the scene.
This is not to say there is no role for conservative Christians in the civic life of their nation. There is. But Christians must first understand that the issues they most care about -- abortion, same-sex marriage and cultural rot -- are not caused by bad politics, but are matters of the heart and soul. Some evangelicals wish to broaden the political agenda beyond these issues to poverty, social justice and the environment. Politics can never completely cure the ills of any of these, but the message Christians bring about salvation and redemption can. Besides, they can never "convert" people to their point of view.
Too many conservative Christians have focused on the "seen" rather than the "unseen," thinking appearances at the White House, or on "Meet the Press," is evidence that they are making a difference. And too much attention has been paid to individual personalities, rather than to the One these preachers had originally been called to exalt.
To paraphrase a verse familiar to most Christians, what shall it profit a man if he gains the White House, but loses his own soul?
Christians are also fond of saying God never closes one door without opening another door. The "door" of the Center for Reclaiming America has closed. The new doors can produce a more effective politics, if what's on the other side is based on a message that has less to do with partisanship and more to do with the One who transcends all politics and Who lends His power only to those who will use it as He instructed.
(Hat-tip: Bible Belt Blogger)