WS>>The First Church of Liberalism

carl william spitzer iv cwsiv_2nd at JUNO.COM
Sun Jul 20 17:33:12 MDT 2003

          The  Rev.  Bob  Edgar keeps  the  National  Council  of
     Churches consistently on the left wing.

          by Rachel DiCarlo
          The Weekly Standard.

          IT  MIGHT BE no accident that the national  decline  in
     church  attendance  has  mirrored the rise  of  activism  by
     church  leadership.  One  religious group fam  ous  for  its
     social agenda is the National Council of Churches.  Although
     suppose  dly  a nonpartisan organization, for  the  past  40
     years the NCC's politics has usually sat on the far left  of
     the  political spectrum. Since Rev. Bob Edgar took  over  as
     the NCC's general secretary in 2000, the group hasn't jetti-
     soned its liberal ways.

          What is Edgar's record?

          For  starters, he's carried on the NCC's  ongoing  love
     affair  with  Cuba. One of his first acts in office  was  to
     pick up where his predecessor Joan Campbell

          Brown  left  off  and immerse himself  in  the  Eli=E1n
     Gonz=E1lez  saga.  His NCC secured a Washington  lawyer  for
     Eli=E1n's father and then chartered the plane that flew  him
     to  the  United  States. Edgar's press office  in  New  York
     released  stateme  nt  after statement  urging  the  Clinton
     administration  to send Eli=E1n back to Cuba. At every  turn
     Edgar's  positions  were  identical to those  of  the  Cuban
     government--right  down to demanding that the boy be  denied
     U.S. citizenship.

          Edgar's affinity for Cuba didn't end with Elin. He  has
     also advocated that the United States lift its trade  embar-
     go. And last year, after President Bu sh denounced Castro as
     "a  tyrant  who uses brutal methods to  enforce  a  bankrupt
     vision,"  Edgar  claimed that  Bush's  anti-Castro  rhetoric
     could be chalked up to an attempt by the president to  shore
     up support for his brother Jeb in Florida and secure his own
     reelection  in 2004. "In many ways," Edgar said in an  anti-
     embargo  speech to the Washington Office of  Latin  America,
     "this  president is blind and continues to encourage  blind-
     ness in others."

          The  NCC  has also begun to cater  more  to  homosexual
     interests under Edgar's watch. "Although they are officially
     neutral  on [homosexuality], Edgar shows a lot  more  public
     support for [homosexual] interests than Joan Campbell  Brown
     did," says Alan Wisdom, vice president of the Institute  for
     Religion and Democracy.

          In  late  2000  Edgar withdrew his  signature  from  an
     ecumenical Christian Declaration on Marriage that sought  to
     "recognize  an  unprecedented need  and  responsibility  for
     churches  to help couples begin, build, and sustain bette  r
     marriages."  He  objected to the phrase in  the  Declaration
     defining  marriage  as  "a holy union of  one  man  and  one
     woman."  He later issued a "public apology"--his  words--and
     explained  that he supports "a blessing of [same-sex]  part-
     nership  , marriage of people who love each other."  Yet  he
     has  never  thrown a tantrum over  Fidel  Castro's  longtime
     policies of expelling and sending homosexuals to labor camps
     and quarantining AIDS patients.

          Edgar also opposed the war in Iraq: "The president  and
     others  in the U.S. government rhetorically  divide  nations
     and peoples into camps of 'good and evil.' Demonizing adver-
     saries or enemies denies their basic humanity and  contradic
     ts  Christians'  beliefs in the dignity and  worth  of  each
     person  as  a child of God," reads one NCC  resolution  from
     last November.

          In  a postwar policy paper presented to the  University
     of  San Diego last month, Edgar wrote that  "President  Bush
     has  given us his vision. It is a vision of America  as  the
     world's sheriff . . . Iraq did not have any connection to th
     e al Qaeda attacks . . . the president and his highly  ideo-
     logical  team  played fast and loose with  intelligence  re-
     ports,  alleging connections between Iraq and al Qaeda  that
     were  disingenuous at best." <"> Recent evidence shows  that
     Edgar was incorrect in this criticism.

          And  that  wasn't his only mistake. As  Joseph  Loconte
     reportedin  The Weekly Standard three weeks ago,  Edgar  in-
     sisted  that American troops would ignore the rules of  war-
     fare  and  wouldn't  hesitate to kill  women  and  children,
     saying,  "The  ordinary people in Iraq are going to  be  the
     targets of the bombing."

          Also,  in  an  antiwar ad in the New  York  Times  last
     December, Edgar implied that God had taken a position on the
     war. "President Bush: Jesus changed your heart. Now let  Him
     change  your mind. Your war would violate the teachings o  f
     Jesus  Christ.  It is inconceivable that Jesus  Christ,  our
     Lord and Savior and the Prince of Peace, would support  this
     proposed attack."

          Maybe,  maybe not. It is, however,  inconceivable  that
     God  intends his church to be used as a front for  left-wing

          Rachel DiCarlo is an editorial assistant at The  Weekly

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