Note: It is my sincere desire not to offend any group of conservatives with the following editorial. It is, nonetheless, my hope to say something edifying to our current situation.
It appears Arizona Senator John McCain is most likely to capture the Republican Party's nomination for president. Many conservatives, however, find this prospect exceedingly difficult to stomach.
Political pundit Rush Limbaugh is relentlessly pounding McCain on his radio broadcast. Limbaugh, like many other conservatives, believes McCain would give the store away to the Democrats. According to Newsmax, Limbaugh says: "We are sick and tired of how the people who seem to be triumphing in our party are precisely the people who seem to be selling this party out in terms of its ideology."
Certainly, the most disconcerting remarks were made by Focus on the Family's, Dr. James Dobson. In a statement released on Wednesday, Dobson says: "I am deeply disappointed the Republican Party seems poised to select a nominee who did not support a Constitutional amendment to protect the institution of marriage, voted for embryonic stem-cell research to kill nascent human beings, opposed tax cuts that ended the marriage penalty, has little regard for freedom of speech, organized the Gang of 14 to preserve filibusters in judicial hearings, and has a legendary temper, and often uses foul and obscene language." [Dobson has since endorsed former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee for the GOP nomination.]
To say the least, there is a lot of frustration in the air on the part of conservatives -- especially conservative evangelicals. Brannon Howse of Worldview Network recently stated in an op-ed piece his frustration with certain evangelical leaders:
"The bottom line is, Dr. Dobson, Sekalow, Perkins, Bauer and Robertson should have come out early on and supported the pro-life, pro-family candidacy of Governor Huckabee. After Fred Thompson dropped out, Huckabee was the only 100% pro-life, pro-family candidate. Thanks to a lack of leadership, we now have John McCain picking up speed to the nomination. If McCain is the nominee, true conservatives may vote, but I believe hundreds of thousands will not. In a race of McCain against Hillary/Obama, I think the latter wins. And who can you thank? In my humble opinion, the pro-family, pro-life leaders that were neither leading nor thinking about the main thing being the main thing: A candidate with a 100% pro-life, pro-family record." [Gary Bauer endorsed John McCain on Monday.]
Quite frankly, I too believe evangelicals have had a great opportunity in Mike Huckabee. Social conservatives have largely held issues of morality are the nation's Achilles heel - even trumping issues like the economy and defense. The nation is only as strong as the content of its character. America needs a leader who has it right on the social issues, even when that leader may not be as strong in other areas.
Most troubling, however, is that many conservative evangelicals are now acting as though God were not sovereign in the political process. Have we become more focused on the process than on the God who controls it? Granted, we must diligently seek to influence the culture for righteousness sake. Nevertheless, evangelicals are not sailing the ship politic and never were. There is but one Captain - the Lord - and He raises to power whomever He wills. Infighting and laying blame is counterproductive to advancing the kingdom.
These experiences test our faith in God's mysterious ways. And they strain our commitment to Christian liberty - the very foundation of our belief in political freedom. Let us lay aside the attacks on our brethren.
Neither is this a time to withdraw. Only a straining of the facts makes John McCain equal to or worse than the godless direction a Clinton or Obama ticket would take the nation. Such would not only imperil the social agenda of conservative evangelicals, but jeopardize one of the greatest of family values - protection of the American people from the violence of its enemies. If America bails out on the war effort before the job is finished, the United States will not only be dishonored, but the terrorists will follow our troops home.
Moreover, to disengage - worse still, not to vote - I believe is a grievous mistake. Though a person certainly has the right to adhere to his/her conscience in such action, it should be noted that to do so is to walk away from one's place at the table. With what credibility can one possibly speak to those serving in office when one was previously unwilling to even vote? At that point, one's credibility as a part of the discussion - now or later - becomes significantly compromised.
For whatever it's worth, having served as a lobbyist in the North Carolina General Assembly since 1999, there are two great truths constantly before me when seeking to influence the politics of those sacred halls: (1) God is sovereign over everything and ultimately His will cannot be defeated; and (2) no person or group involved in politics ever gets all they want all of the time. But for Christ's sake, one must ever be vigilant in victory and defeat. And one must always find positive ways to stay engaged in the process.
Rev. Mark H. Creech is the executive director of the Christian Action League of North Carolina, Inc.