Thursday, May 24, 2007

Mr. Edgar Goes to Washington

I see that Bob Edgar is stepping down from his position as General Secretary of the National Council of Churches. It appears to be an excellent decision for the unique guerilla conversationalist and rain maker for the progressive lobbying outfit doing business as the NCC. Edgar is off to head the Washington-based advocacy group called Common Cause.

But I’ve been thinking. Wouldn’t you consider it only fair if the guy who finished converting an erstwhile Christian ecumenical council into a politicized advocacy group for all things left of center would somehow turn around and convert a liberal political advocacy group into a genuine religious organization instead? I mean, balance is balance! Some day when the Reverend Congressman Edgar departs this planet, he could leave behind a convert-neutral footprint, if only he’d transform Common Cause into a Christian ecumenical council!

Actually, Edgar’s new position seems a good fit. Politics is what Bob Edgar does best--well, it’s actually what he does exclusively, when I think about it. And he can do politics ‘til the cows come home as head of Common Cause, a bona fide lobbying group.

Maybe he’ll even take with him some of the secular money and political influences that have been distorting the National Council of Churches, perhaps freeing the NCC once again to actually do the witness for Christ and efforts for Christian unity that its charter specifies as its purpose.

In a recent Common Cause press release, Edgar made a claim I could almost agree with--maybe even something I might say, myself: “With devastating consequences, powerful special interests distort and disrupt the democratic process in ways that shift political power away from the American people.”

The problem is, however, that I’m certain Edgar and I would list nearly mutually exclusive sets of special interests busily at work distorting and disrupting the democratic process. And he’s more interested in secular politics, and I’d be thinking about church governance. He’d be beating the dead-horse conspiracy theories about some vast right-wing conspiracy, and I’d be referring to secularizing, worldly influences hijacking the faith and ministry of mainline churches to take them to unbiblical places.

Since I would list Bob Edgar and the National Council of Churches among the “powerful special interests” who “distort and disrupt the democratic process” in churches, with the effect of making the churches handmaidens to secular politics, truly he and I would not agree on that count. But it does seem rather amusing to me that he’d probably register the Institute on Religion and Democracy and me on his list of distorters and disrupters of democratic processes. Oh well.

At any rate, I wish Bob Edgar well. I wish the National Council of Churches a speedy recovery of its original purposes. I wish Common Cause great effectiveness in promoting open government and ethics reforms. I wish a lot.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Boy, I sure have a crass, fallen response to this news...

But, I'll try to keep it in check.

It IS telling, isn't it, that Mr. Edgar would go to work for a secular leftist organization. Birds of a feather...

So, let's speculate, it is Friday after all:

Who would Clifton Kirkpatrick go to work for?

Mark Tammen?


7:54 AM, May 25, 2007  
Blogger Benjamin P. Glaser said...

I could see Clifton going to head the People for the American Way or be a contributing editor to the Nation.

12:16 PM, June 27, 2007  

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