ANAHEIM, Calif. (BP)–A point-counterpoint exchange on the role of religion in politics between syndicated columnist Cal Thomas and religious rights attorney Jay Sekulow kept attendees at the edge of their seats during the National Religious Broadcasters’ public policy breakfast.
The session, centered around a book coauthored by Thomas, “Blinded by Might: Can the Religious Right Save America?” was held during the NRB’s Feb. 5-8 annual meeting in Anaheim, Calif.
The session started off on a light note with newly elected NRB chairman Wayne Pederson, acting as moderator and emcee, quipping, “We spent all morning arguing who’s going to sit on the right.”
Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, filled in for Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson, who was home ill with the flu. In his opening statement Sekulow said, “I like Cal Thomas … I don’t like his book.” Sekulow went on to say that the book’s title is unfair and aimed at Christian conservatives.
Sekulow admitted that political attempts are not always successful, but said, “That’s part of the fight. That’s also part of the price for freedom. If it wasn’t for the active role of Christians participating in these issues, they wouldn’t be discussed.
“Someone’s morality is being legislated,” Sekulow noted. “If our position is correct, even those on the left will see it. It’s not conservative-liberal or Republican-Democrat. It’s about Jesus, and we must stay engaged.”
Rather than being “blinded by might,” Sekulow argued that Christians have a “cultural mandate” to uphold. “Blinded by might, absolutely not. Desiring change in our culture, absolutely.”
Cal Thomas opened his remarks on a light note, saying, “It’s now time to hear from the heretic.” During the exchange with Sekulow, Thomas declared, “We are an appendage of the Republican Party, ladies and gentlemen.” He clarified that Christians should participate in politics, but “not with illusion.”
Thomas said it is important for ordained clergy to be set apart and preach something different from what the Republican Party espouses. “As an ordained person, you carry the authority of Christ with you,” he said. “When you get into the subject of defense spending and taxes, you blur the intent of the gospel and marry it off to a political suitor. The politics comes to replace the gospel.
“Democrat or Republican — without Jesus, they both die,” Thomas added, stating that the political concerns of the church often become the sole priority, replacing that of spreading the gospel.
NRB is an association of Christian communicators with more than 1,250 members formed in 1944 for the purpose of maintaining access to the airwaves and promoting excellence, ethics and integrity in the industry. Many convention events can be heard on the Internet at www.lightsource.com. The NRB’s website is www.nrb.org.