Your Missionary to Capitol Hill, Washington, DC, Rob Schenck, reporting:
During my April 9 appearance on a “Faith and Politics” panel at George Washington University here in the capital, I pointed out that ideological opponents often stereotype people like me. I made the point that I’m identified as an operative of the “Religious Right” even though I’ve never really known what that is. Of course, all of us do it, including me! To prove the point, I assumed all along that three of the panel members were Republican (including me) and three were Democrats (and I knew who they were). My assumption proved wrong when my ally on the panel, Christian “conservative” preacher Harry Jackson, revealed he is a Democrat! This is the Bishop Harry Jackson that just wrote a book with conservative icon Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council! Bishop Jackson is also black and a Harvard graduate. So, this “progressive” event got a religiously conservative, born again Christian, pro-life, pro-traditional marriage activist (who, by the way, is also on the board of the most powerful conservative policy organization in the country) and is NOT a white Republican. But there’s more . . .
When I challenged the stereotype of me, I noted that I am Jewish by birth. At that, David Brody, the senior Washington correspondent for CBN (Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network)—the “other conservative” on the panel—announced he, too, is Jewish by birth and upbringing! So, now they have two Jews and a black—and we’re all born again religious and social conservatives! Wow! I loved it!
To further prove my point, I uncharacteristically cited my life’s work. (I’m always a little embarrassed and hesitant to do that, not the least because the Bible warns against a man’s own mouth praising him.) Anyway, I had to mention that a very large part of my life and ministry was founding Operation Serve International, a Christian humanitarian organization that today dispatches hundreds of volunteers every year to provide medical and health care related services to some of the poorest children in the world. I also co-founded with my brother, Paul, Hearts for the Homeless, a mobile advocacy program for indigent children, women and men in my native Western New York State. I’ve also participated in numerous diplomatic religious delegations to Muslim countries like Morocco, Egypt and Sudan (including Darfur)--and I've raised a lot of money over the years for young unmarried moms and their babies.
The point is those who oppose our efforts to promote America as “one nation under God,” and to preserve the sanctity of life, marriage and the family, often revert to fictitious characterizations of religious conservatives as callous, avaricious prigs. Here are the facts: 1) Religious conservatives give more time and money to charity than any other subgroup, 2) Religious conservatives make 6% less than their liberal counterparts, 3) Religious conservatives are of every political persuasion, and 4) Most ethnic minorities are overwhelmingly conservative in both theology and morality!
What’s the anti-dote to this ignorant and sometimes malicious slander and libel against good people? Simply living out our principles. Don’t ever expect accolades. This is where I think some of my fellow Evangelicals make a big mistake. In their desire to gain acceptance and approval from the wider world, they compromise themselves and “downplay” the non-negotiable core convictions on life, marriage and public expressions of belief in God. In the end, what they’re doing actually works against the goal. It weakens the message and the messenger and leads to less respect.
Well, enough carping. Let’s concentrate on how we’re going to win this generation and reclaim our nation: By living out Matthew 5 – 8. I just read those chapters again and they’re so brilliant in their simplicity. We take those words seriously and we may still have enemies that malign us—but we’ll make a lot more friends for God, too.
Back later . . .
Your grateful missionary to elected and appointed officials,
Rev. Rob Schenck
Faith and Action
109 2nd Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002