Two prominent Evangelical Christian leaders, Rev. Richard Land and Jim Wallis are set to publicly converge on what they feel is the moral decline of presidential candidates’ values in the U.S. 2012 election.
The two spiritual leaders, though political opposites, will come together tonight at the National Press Club. Under the united banner of Christianity, they will discuss what they feel is the candidates’ unwillingness to focus on important moral matters.
Wallis and Land are concerned primarily with the slew of Republican presidential hopefuls who are eager to reduce the size of government, attack labor unions, toughen borders, and slash social programs. Other issues are on the chopping block as well. Foreign aid – which encourages worldwide democracy and fights diseases like HIV –could be a thing of the past under the GOP.
President Barack Obama hasn’t escaped the criticism of the two well-known Evangelicals either. Land said, “No one is talking about the issues in the way we’d like, including the president,” according to The Washington Post.
This is somewhat surprising considering the opposing political views Wallis and Land have taken over the course of their careers.
Rev. Land’s conservative stances regarding religion and fiscal responsibility have advised Glenn Beck and the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. Land was also chosen as president of The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, which is a political and public policy vehicle for Southern Baptist interests.
Conversely, Rev. Wallis has a tendency to highlight the significance of social justice, peace, and civil rights. He also serves as a spiritual advisor to President Obama, which makes his heavy-handed comments even more unexpected.
Both leaders agree that the incumbent and candidates need a change of direction when it comes to economic policy, however.
“Too few people running are talking about the connection between the economic crisis and the moral one,” Land told the Post, while Wallis added, “Neither party on the budget has made protection of the poor a fundamental principle of deficit reduction.”
Candidates cannot afford to ignore the Evangelical base, either.
Voting authorities say that the Evangelical voting group is almost 25 percent of American adults – so choosing a “general harshness” regarding social issues wouldn’t be an effective strategy to get elected, according to Wallis.
Perhaps, like former President George Bush, who managed to cultivate the Evangelical vote, candidates should name Jesus as their favorite political philosopher.
Peter Wehner of the Ethics and Public Policy Center said, “There is no one in the [GOP] field for evangelicals who has the cadence, the appeal, the pace of Bush,” to the Post.
John Green, an Ohio political scientist has confirmed this. Green says that Christians’ positive reception of Bush “was rooted in the perception of his own religiosity.”
It was that perception that won Bush the presidency, twice.
As far as the current candidates, Green claims that Evangelicals are still somewhat divided on to whom they should give their vote. The moment that firmly stamps the man (or Bachmann) as a champion of social justice, the compassionate conservative position that Bush so deftly acquired, may still be a long way off.
“We haven’t had that kind of moment,” said Green.