WaPo's Rosin Admits Evangelicals Make Her 'Uneasy'

Washington Post reporter and author of "God's Harvard," Hanna Rosin, admitted in an October 15 blog post that she disagrees politically with most evangelical Christians and that she thinks that the religious views informing their political ideology and activism is downright unhealthy for democracy.

Posting an entry in a "blogalogue" at Beliefnet.com, Rosin offered these reflections on conservative evangelical Christians and their participation in politics (emphasis mine):

The Bush administration has served as a training ground for the rising generation of young evangelical elites, who work at every level of the administration. At the same time, the number of congressmen calling themselves "evangelical" has soared in the last thirty years. It's pretty clear that evangelicals have become just another part of the Washington establishment, accustomed to political power.

I disagree with evangelicals on most political issues, so it's hard for me to welcome this development. But what makes me uneasy is not so much the issues as the effect on the political culture. Political disagreements are great - healthy for a democracy, fun for a journalist. But not when those disagreements are loaded with the weight of sin and evil. This generation grew up thinking of Republicans and Christians as twins, and in my experience it's hard for them to separate between those two. Supply side economics is a staple of the Republican party platform, not something dictated by the Bible. Ditto on tort reform, and even gay rights. I would bet that some part of Bush's brain confuses his commitment to the war with his commitment to God.

Of course, evangelical Protestant Christians are not alone among Christian traditions (Catholic, Orthodox), and indeed other religions, that believe in sin and human evil. And certainly the concept of evil and its dangers when mixed with the intoxicating nature of power lay at the heart of traditional Anglo-American political thought about separation of powers and limited government.

Indeed, it was the English historian Lord John Acton, a practicing Catholic, and not Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson or Bob Jones who said that "power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely." If that doesn't speak to the dangers of power in the hands of sinful, evil human beings, I don't know what does.

For another look at Rosin's biases in reporting on religion and politics, check out NewsBusters senior editor Tim Graham's April 13 post, "WashPost Publicizes Gay Bus Crusade Against 'Oppressive' Conservative Christians":

The Washington Post Style section on Friday featured a front-page story on the gay-left group Soulforce and their so-called "Equality Ride" to conservative Christian colleges trying to stir up fights and publicity. Hanna Rosin's story was headlined "Young, Gay Christians On A Bumpy Bus Ride."

Soulforce is the organization of Mel White, a former speechwriter for Jerry Falwell before he came out of the closet and the author of the 2006 book "Religion Gone Bad: The Hidden Dangers of the Christian Right." White warned that religious-right leaders "are not just Neocons dressed in religious drag. These men see themselves as gurus called by God to rescue America from unrighteousness. They believe this is a Christian nation that must be returned forcibly to its Christian roots." He describes conservatives as the forces of "spiritual violence." But Hanna Rosin never used the word "liberal" once in the story to describe this bus crusade, even as she explained the gay leftists are traveling to "conservative" colleges.

Rosin's story drew heavily on the idea that the gay youths were oppressed, much like blacks in the Jim Crow South...

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is a writer living in New Carrollton, Md.