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
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
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
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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