Last week, Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council responsed to President Bush’s State of the Union. Message: He wasn’t happy. He was surprised that there wasn’t any mention of the “faith, family, and freedom” issues – stem cells, abortions, values, abstinence, and marriage – that Christian political leaders like him care about so deeply. After all, Christian voters were called to support President Bush in 2000, 2002, 2004, and 2006 because of his “Christian values” and because of his “powerful Christian voice” that were to be understood as synonymous with conservative policies. Now, however, Mr. Perkins is saying that President Bush “failed to draw a line in the sand on the culture of life” and that he is failing those voters.
I’m not sure why he is surprised. I tried to warn him and other Christian leaders last fall in my book that they were being taken as fools by a White House that neither cared for them nor respected them. No, no, the leaders insisted, that just wasn’t true. No, it couldn’t be true. After all, they had heard with their own ears how sincere the White House was about their cultural issues.
They were so sure of President Bush and the White House that they went into church after church mobilizing pastors and churches to support the president. The so-called “Justice Sunday” events aimed to mobilize record numbers of Christians to turn out for the Republicans and in so doing further marginalized Jesus as some political hack.
It is time to take a break Tony. Step back for a spell. Take a fast.