Faith, Politics, Voting … Introduction

Recently I needed to set the record straight about an AP article that had a misstatement about my relation to the Barack Obama campaign.
This week, a CNN story had a similar statement that requires some clarification:

Brian McLaren, a former pastor who spent 24 years in the pulpit and is now an informal adviser to the Obama campaign, believes that a significant portion of evangelical voters are ready to break from their traditional home in the the Republican Party and take a new leap of faith with Obama.

A few friends contacted me and said they were afraid the article gave the impression that I left a 24-year pastorate in order to become an Obama advisor, which isn’t true. I left the pastorate in January 2006 – long before the campaign began – in order to devote more time to writing, travel, and networking. If I am an advisor to the campaign at all, it is very informally – probably nothing more than the fact that at least one campaign staffer has read some of my books.
The article accurately reflects my belief that increasing numbers of evangelical voters have become increasingly alienated from the Religious Right and are moving toward Senator Obama. I’m certainly one of them. While I was never a fan of the Religious Right, for many years I sat on the sidelines and didn’t speak out publicly that the leaders of the Religious Right didn’t speak for me. Looking back, I’m ashamed of my inaction and I believe my silence unintentionally empowered “the powers that be.” Since leaving the pastorate, I have felt more free to speak out as a Christian and private citizen about my discomfort with the agenda of the Religious Right, and my hopes for a better way of relating faith, politics, and voting. I plan to be more involved in this election than any in my life … and that includes offering whatever advice I can to whomever might find it helpful.
Over the coming months, I’d like to share on this blog a few thoughts about the way I see faith, politics, and voting to be connected. I’ll post under this heading, using Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, etc., if people want to follow the thread.

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