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Friday's Washington Post contained a pretty scathing op-ed by Richard Cizik, the former senior lobbyist for the National Association of Evangelicals.  Cizik thinks his fellow evangelicals have gotten too cozy with the Tea Party.

The “compassionate conservatism” espoused by President George W. Bush and many prominent evangelical leaders has been supplanted by a Tea Party ideology that bears more resemblance to the anti-Christian philosophy of Ayn Rand than it does to the Gospel.

Whether the Christian duty to love our neighbors is compatible with a political movement that embraces radical individualism and rejects the ethic of collective responsibility is a central question as the GOP attempts to cement the Tea Party and the religious right into a cohesive base. Tea Party activists and Republican leaders have consistently targeted for cutbacks vital government programs that protect the poor, the elderly, children and other vulnerable Americans. Yet calls for shared sacrifice and proposals to modestly raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans in order to fund investments and protections that promote the common good are derided as “class warfare.” This is what passes for family values?

Cizik goes even further, calling out Tony Perkins' Family Research Council for suggesting that "the priorities of corporations and the GOP fit snugly with the teachings of Jesus."  As Cizik points out, both Jesus and the prophets admonished those in power against coddling the rich too much.

The numbers seem to back Cizik up.  According to polling from the Public Religion Research Institute, large majorities of Christians support protecting the safety net, comprehensive immigration reform, renewable energy, and better family planning policies.  In other words--most Christians have figured out abortion and gay rights don't matter anymore.

Cizik himself has evolved a lot in his thinking.  According to his Wikipedia bio, he started out as a boilerplate Christian conservative, but eventually expressed support for civil unions--a stance that led to him being forced to resign from the NAE in 2008.

Originally posted to Christian Dem in NC on Sun Nov 13, 2011 at 09:26 AM PST.

Also republished by Street Prophets .

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