Radical Moderates

Christi Todd-Whitman (the former Republican governor of New Jersey and former Bush appointee to head the EPA, who resigned) has written a new book: “It’s My Party, Too: The Battle for the Heart of the GOP and the Future of America.” She writes that the Republican Party is being “dictated to by a coalition of ideological extremists.” This group is made up of the Religious-Right (religious fundamentalists) and “social fundamentalists” (her term).
She is calling for “radical moderates” to reassert themselves and rescue the Republican Party from the fundamentalists, religious or social. This is a very sensitive time for internal Republican dynamics. The “fundamentalists” who are feeling flush with power, and in their minds vindication, are advancing in their attempt to purge the party of RINO’s (Republicans In Name Only). Any Republican who is moderate, traditionally conservative (proponents of fiscal restraint, limited government, individual liberty & responsibility, etc.) and who disagrees with their “fundamentalist” view of Christian theology and socio-political requirements are targeted. Who will ultimately win?
We see this dynamic repeating itself not only in politics but also within the country’s religious life. Religious fundamentalists are attempting to redefine what is meant by “Christian” (or Jewish, or Muslim, or Hindu, etc.). They are determined to instill in the public’s consciousness that only their understanding of theology, Scripture, and social dynamics are correct and therefore “Christian.” Only they are “people of faith.” If you are a religious progressive or liberal (even moderate), by definition you cannot be a Christian or a “person of faith.” In the public’s mind, will the word “Christian” come to mean only the faith of Dobson, Perkins, Kennedy, Farwell, and the like?
We see this dynamic being played out in our Church. If one is not a reactionary fundamentalist then one is not an Anglican. These people are squatters in Anglican-Evangelicalism and Anglo-Catholicism and perverted both of these well-established traditions, in my humble opinion. Will the concept of the Elizabethan Settlement, Hooker’s justifications, and the Via Media prevail?
You are not an American unless you accept the understanding of America as a nation instituted by God “himself” to accomplish God’s specific dictates and plans. You are not a Christian unless you agree with the theology and scriptural interpretations of James Dobson, Tony Perkins, Jerry Farwell, D. James Kennedy, Pat Robinson, and the like. You are not an Anglican unless you agree with the theology, ecclesiology, and tradition of Akinola, Duncan, Harman, and the like. You are not a German unless you agree with Hitler. You are not a Russian unless you agree with Stalin. You are not a Cambodian unless you agree with Pol Pot. You are not a Korean unless you agree with the Dear Leader. You are not a Muslim unless you are Arab (if you live in Darfur, that is).
“Radical Moderates” need to reassert themselves in all areas of our lives in this country, or else the fundamentalists (religious, social, or Anglican) will win, even if for only a short time. They understand themselves to be on a Crusade, a Jihad, and because they will to implement God’s plan the end justifies the means. What are we going to do?