By Norbert Restrepo
On March 15, 2015, The New York Times published an article under their politics section called “Evangelicals Aim to Mobilize an Army for Republicans in 2016.” The article focuses on David Lane, founder of the American Renewal Project, who is a born-again veteran of conservative politics with experience in Washington, Texas, and California.
Mr. Lane travels the country trying to persuade evangelical clergy members to become politically active. He has already built an email list of 100,000 pastors around the country. That attracts presidential aspirants. Last week he organized a meeting in Des Moines, Iowa, with evangelical pastors, as well as Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana.
Mr. Lane’s ambitions are national—his mission is to make evangelical Christians a decisive power in the Republican Party.
“If the Lord were to call 1,000 pastors in America—1,000—and they ended up with an average of 300 volunteers per campaign in 2016, that would be 300,000 grass-root, precinct-level, evangelical conservatives coming from the bottom up,” he said to the ballroom full of pastors. “It would change America.”
His aspiration is that through politicized pastors they will be able to mobilize congregations and thus muster enough political power to make significant changes in America. These changes, though considered positive by their proponents, could also infringe upon what others with differing views consider as liberties. For example, what if they proposed to enforce Sunday as a work-free family day?
Mr. Lane, as many other evangelical Christians, believes that society will change through politics. But history has proven that when the authority of church and state are combined, the liberty of conscience is trampled. True transformation is wrought through education and the power of the gospel working in homes, churches, and schools. If true biblical principles and values are instilled in the minds and hearts of the people, this will have a more positive and lasting influence on our society.