CHURCH AND STATE….The New York Times reports that at least a few evangelical preachers are starting to figure out the danger of being co-opted by the Republican Party:

?There is a lot of discontent brewing,? said Brian D. McLaren, the founding pastor at Cedar Ridge Community Church in Gaithersburg, Md., and a leader in the evangelical movement known as the ?emerging church,? which is at the forefront of challenging the more politicized evangelical establishment.

?More and more people are saying this has gone too far ? the dominance of the evangelical identity by the religious right,? Mr. McLaren said. ?You cannot say the word ?Jesus? in 2006 without having an awful lot of baggage going along with it. You can?t say the word ?Christian,? and you certainly can?t say the word ?evangelical? without it now raising connotations and a certain cringe factor in people.

?Because people think, ?Oh no, what is going to come next is homosexual bashing, or pro-war rhetoric, or complaining about ?activist judges.? ?

Preach it, brother. Evangelicals should keep in mind that the separation of church and state wasn’t intended to protect the state, it was intended to protect the church. In the long run, becoming a bought-and-paid-for subsidiary of Karl Rove Inc. comes at a steep price.

More here from Steve Waldman in the April issue of the Monthly.

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