- Share your favorite videos with friends
- Comment on videos and join the conversation
- Get personalized recommendations
- Enjoy exclusive offers
Purchased a FORA.tv video on another website? Login here with the temporary account credentials included in your receipt.
Sign up today to receive our weekly newsletter and special announcements.
Welcome to the second session of our symposium on evangelicals and U.S. foreign policy. Please remember to turn off all your cell phones, BlackBerrys, and all wireless devices. You never know when Mrs. Giuliani is going to decide to call. I'd like to remind the audience that this meeting is on the record. Participants around the nation and the world are viewing this meeting via live webcast on the Council's website, CFR.org. I'm Adrian Woolridge. I'm the Washington bureau chief of The Economist. The speakers -- you have a detailed biography of all the speakers in your pack, so I'll be very brief. Richard Cizik is the vice president for Government Affairs, the National Association of Evangelicals. Eugene Rivers is the special assistant to the presiding bishop for government and policy of the Church of God and Christ. And Clyde Wilcox is professor of government at Georgetown University. So we have a great diversity. We've already, I think, to some extent, trespassed into the modern world, but we are now going to shift very much from the history of evangelicals and foreign policy to the current situation. And I wanted to start off by asking Clyde Wilcox to talk a little bit about who evangelicals are. Do they constitute a bloc? Are there significant divisions within them? Are they all characters living in double-wide trailer homes, or is that -- that's what we chaps in the press love to say that. Or perhaps it's more upward mobility. And why on earth are we talking about evangelicals in relation to foreign policy? I know we've touched on this a little bit, so can we sort of move the discussion on from what's already been said? Right. Well, this is a very diverse group of people, obviously. We're talking about Jesse Jackson, Jimmy Carter, probably Al Gore, Mike Huckabee, George Bush, Pat Robertson. Is there any foreign policy attitude that's not covered in that range of people? In terms of demographics, there are a very diverse group of people. Some do live in double-wide trailers and some live in McMansions near me. I think the really important divisions demographically would be the following: First of all, race, as was mentioned earlier; African-American evangelicals much less likely to support the war in Iraq, much less likely to support the use of military troops really anywhere in the world, also slightly more pro-Islam. And then I think there's a gender gap among evangelicals, just as there are among all parts of the population on foreign policy, with women less likely to support the war. And then I think there's a really big generation gap among evangelicals. The Christian right that we heard about in this first panel is really sort of a fading generation -- Robertson and Falwell, you know, fading from the scene; the new generation of the Richards, in a sense, of Richard Cizik and Richard Land and Rick Warren, who are a much more moderate and tolerant and open generation. I'm not sure Richard Land would associate himself with me. And then, you know, then the younger people that I interview are really very different. Many of them have gone on missions. Many have gone overseas. And so they're really very interested in what's going on in the world. And then they're different theologically, and there are many different ways to cut the theology. But I just want to point to one really important difference in terms of foreign policy, the premillennial dispensationalists versus everyone else. All right, so you have Pentecostals versus charismatics versus fundamentalists, whatever. But there's one group -- it's not a majority -- who believe that there's biblical prophecy that's being enacted right now in our lifetime. That has some very important consequences intellectually for foreign policy. For everybody else, maybe Jesus is coming a thousand years from now, 2,000 years from now, so we should change the climate. We should take care of social problems. But for the premillennialists, that's a very distinctive group. Can I just ask Gene Rivers to give a supplement on that on the Pentecostals? We keep hearing this word, Pentecostals. What does it mean, and how big of a phenomenon is it? Evangelicalism is -- and someone made the point earlier about it -- is a contested term. And it has been traditionally used as a big-tent term that was selectively employed. Pentecostals, as some of you may know, we represent a high-octane wing of the low church -- (laughter) -- given to all kinds of, you know, liturgical enthusiasm. I'll write that one down. Right. That's right -- and associated with the Azusa Street revival in 1906, when, in our view, the Holy Ghost comes down in a powerful way. And there's something actually, for us, remarkably, irresistibly fascinating in the idea that the Holy Ghost comes in an old, beat-up house in a dilapidated section of Los Angeles at a prayer meeting presided over by a one-eyed former slave. And from that point, there is this unbelievable religious renewal that affirms and celebrates the charismatic gifts of the Spirit and healing. And there are, I think, three things that were unique sociologically and historically about the phenomenon. Number one, in southern California, which is the racial South of 1906, a global phenomenon begins, presided over by someone that is less than a generation away from slavery. And what's significant sociologically, beyond the phenomenon of glossolalia, speaking in tongues, was the fact that at the height of racial segregation in the South, you have a religious experience that collapsed race and gender divisions -- 1906. And literally people from around the world hear about this revival that begins April 9th, 1906, of all races. And from that singular event, we now have, it's estimated, 600 million folk who are engaged in this high-octane religion, which John DiIulio has argued in "The Godly Republic" represents the soft power of the West. This is a fascinating idea, because all across Africa, you know, you have the political Islam. When you go to Nigeria, very quietly, with no ideological ax to grind, you have literally hundreds of thousands of Pentecostals. And this phenomenon comes in a variety of labels. I'm from the Church of God -- Let's -- I'd like to get back to both the soft power and Africa later. But let me now switch a little bit to the politics of evangelicals at the moment in foreign policy. You have a situation where you've had an evangelical in the White House who's been very widely liked in the evangelical community; got a very high proportion of his votes from evangelicals. A very high proportion of evangelicals voted for him, let me say. And the evangelical community has been much more sustained in its support for Bush than those other groups. What's happening now with the Republican Party? Do evangelicals have a champion who might replace Bush? Why are they so divided amongst -- why hasn't there emerged another Bush? Why are they so divided amongst their candidates? And does that mean that there's going to be a decline in the influence of evangelicals on foreign policy if they're divided? Which one? Well -- (inaudible). Would you like to start off by addressing the after-Bush? Thank you for your writing, first of all -- thank you -- and your understanding of religion in a world and in The Economist that doesn't always do that, by the way. But there has been a recent emphasis at the magazine which I think reflects what is going on here and what is going on in the country everywhere. It is a sense that religion and its importance is extraordinarily significant. And it wasn't Bush who really did this, unless you have that misconception. Politics always follows religion. And so Bush was simply a reflection of what was already occurring in the country. And the future will be determined by what are the changes already underway in American evangelicalism particularly because of its influence on the Republican Party. And while there isn't a single champion, as you say, there are multiple candidates for that role. It will remain to be seen whether anyone lives up to it. It's not likely that any one candidate, especially Mr. Giuliani or Mitt Romney, in my opinion, will live up to that. I suppose Huckabee poses the best prospects for playing that role. But here is the bottom line. The bottom line is that -- well, it's been said that the 21st century will be religious or it will not be at all. That was Malraux. Religious or not at all. Well, these factors, especially in politics, faith and politics, are what are going to, I think, ultimately drive even this election, believe it or not. People thought it was going to wane. It's not going to wane. The broadening of the evangelical agenda that is reflected in this document from the NAE, signed by all those names you just mentioned, the religious right instead of the religious left, for the health of the nation, I think is what is really important. So the question isn't really whom, in terms of a candidate. It's what, and what do these people believe and what do they want? Professor Wilcox -- Yeah, the one thing I'd say is that Bush, I think, has had a unique talent in talking about religion in an inclusive way. Unlike, say, Carter or Clinton, even, he very seldom talks about what his faith makes him think. He talks about how his faith makes him feel, and that's something htat unites people across faith traditions. So if you listen to him in the debates, he says I know what it feels like when people pray for me, you know? That I go to my Heavenly Father for strength. In fact, he made the famous quote where he doesn't talk to his earthly father for guidance, which was a little strange. (Scattered laughter.) But the idea that you have this inclusive, emotional language talking about faith is a very powerful thing on the campaign trail, and I think I haven't seen any of the Republican candidates doing that yet. I've seen a couple of Democratic candidates trying to do it. What's interesting for -- and I'll be more precise -- the black Pentecostal charismatic community is that Bush surprised the entire country on the issue of Africa. No one expected Bush -- no one, left, right or center -- the right wasn't even thinking about Africa right -- No one expected Bush to undertake the initiatives that were undertaken on behalf of Africa. And one of the things that -- I was talking to a number of black church leaders who are actually going to be reaching out to Bush, and what's fascinating about how subtle the policies got, the Church of God and Christ issued a statement in opposition to the Iraqi war very early. And what's fascinating about the statement that they issued is that their opposition to the war -- and these are Pentecostals, now -- was based on Catholic just-war theory. (Scattered laughter.) And they used Catholic just-war theory as the philosophic basis for their opposition to the Iraq war, which was completely at variance with where -- with the popular image of evangelicals. And they said, Mr. President, we love you on Africa. You've done great stuff. You haven't gotten credit by the liberal media. And we are in opposition to this war. We're still waiting for the WMDs -- you know, we're hanging in there, but we see no moral or intellectual justification for the conflict. We disagree with you on the affirmative action decision in the case of the University of Michigan. You got it wrong, but we love you anyway. And so I think there's a much more nuanced -- Intellectually sophisticated -- Yeah. I think there is a perception out there that Bush's policy towards Iraq and the Middle East was heavily influenced by his evangelical faith. I think that that's actually an overstatement, but -- It's led to the Africa policy where you can see the influence of religion. Adrian, let me say this. I happen to disagree to the extent that the previous panelist -- I don't know whether it was Bill or Leo or whomever -- suggested a kind of unilateralism. In fact, if you look at the Pew Forum on multilateral versus unilateralism among evangelicalism -- this was 2005, mind you. Shared leadership -- should the U.S. exercise single leadership or shared leadership of the world? The evangelicals said, 75 percent, they support shared leadership. American exceptionalism, yes, 60 percent, but should the United States mind its own business? Sixty percent of evangelicals said "disagree." And frankly, if you look at their views of the U.N. and multilateral institutions, it's split. Yeah. That's absolutely right. Yeah. It's split. It's not this old-war characterization that is a hangover from the previous generation. And so what you really have to answer what is happening in our movement is a return to what mythologists and others like Ralph Winter characterize as "first inheritance" gospel, the full-spectrum, broad issues. Not just missions, but it's changing civil society, even the law, addressing issues of war. That is first inheritance evangelicalism that was eclipsed for 40 years by second inheritance, as Winter calls it -- those who focused exclusively on personal salvation. Now, the second inheritance mentality, of course, led to some of the errors, I think, in public policy. But those are being corrected by the new agenda that includes the new evangelicals addressing climate change and the rest. I think that's absolutely right. I think there's been a very dramatic change in the views of certain sections of the evangelical community towards the United Nations and willingness to work within the United Nations. We invited him -- that is, the Antichrist himself -- that's a joke -- Ban Ki-moon. (Mild laughter.) You heard the context about "left behind" focusing on the secretary-general as that. Look, the board of the NAE heard him address, in Washington, D.C. on October 12th -- that's Ban Ki-moon -- addressed the broader-picture issues. And was there affirmation? Absolutely, for his concern for millennium development goals and the rest. So that is, I think, a result of what leadership is. When you provide leadership, I believe the people in the pews will follow, if it's consistent with evangelical theology and biblical beliefs and the rest. Adrian? I think one development that has contributed to the transformation is the evolution and maturation of some form of white evangelical intelligentsia, which is a significant development over the last 30 years. Which has to do with transformations and the evangelical college and university system. And so I think that one of the -- one of the unexplored and, you know, inadequately appreciated developments has been the emergence of a more robust intelligentsia that's trying to move out of this stereotype of sort of being an intellectual trailer park. Professor Wilcox, could you add a little bit more to that? Because I think what we have seen is the development exactly of this intelligentsia and almost of a foreign policy establishment or a group of foreign policy heavyweights who are evangelicals or very influenced by evangelical thinking, who range from James Baker to Condi Rice. Could you say something about that upward mobility, intellectually and socially, of the evangelicals? Yeah. So, you know, two generations ago, if you have said are evangelicals much less educated that the population, the answer would have been, you know, undoubtedly yes. Today, in the survey data among very oldest Americans, evangelicals are slightly less educated than everyone else. In fact, among, you know, young people 20 to 30, they're every bit as educated. They're going to good private schools. Many students coming to Georgetown, you know, to study. So it's -- the aanti-intellectualism is still part of the fundamentalist wing, but it really does not characterize the movement as a whole. I'd like people to say something about the missionary world, the sheer scale of missionary activity around the world, the sheer scale of evangelical involvement in foreign aid, and what the possible implications of that involvement are for foreign policy. Well, I'll just give you one quick figure from the last 10 years. World Vision's budget jumped, I heard from -- (inaudible) -- from 350 million (dollars) annually to 950 million (dollars). In other words, it was a huge jump, over a mere decade. That was -- the same thing that occurred in other movements within the evangelical circles. The biggest institutions, the two biggies are World Vision and Feed the Children, but you have a host of other organizations. The Salvation Army, for example, is an NAE denomination, annual budget of a billion, 300 million (dollars) from the government. But you have many, many others. And these agencies who strive to do development more than simply emergency aid nowadays are what are indeed reflecting back to their own constituents and supporters what is occurring in the world. And so look at the priorities. Paul Marshall is here and Paul has really led on religious persecution. But Paul, you would be disappointed by 37 percent saying it's a top priority amongst evangelicals. This was two years ago. What are the top priorities? Terror, 91 percent. Protecting jobs in the U.S., 87 percent. Preventing the spread of nuclear weapons, 80 percent followed by reducing our dependence on energy resources, drug trafficking and the like. AIDS, 68 percent. What do you get? All the way down to human rights and religious freedom at 31 percent. But what has happened, you see, is despite in the pew, only 31 percent supporting some of that democratic human rights agenda -- what's happening is that the leadership is saying to the movement, "You have to address these other issues" -- -- "even if you don't always feel them personally, you have to. And that's how you have this change occurring. And so it's not just the document in 2004. It's the statements that have come from leaders in these denominations, churches and the like, to their own people saying, "It's a new world and you have to address it, and the old mentalities don't do." And if you ask the average pastor in America today what his number one concern is -- this from Lee Anderson, our president, is called survival. First it's called survival. That's the number one concern. But if you ask them what are there worldviews and the priorities they have, more of them will talk about international concerns and the international gospel -- the Church of Jesus Christ internationally -- than they will domestic politics. Will they retreat if they don't have a candidate? Well, we'll see. I doubt it. I really don't think evangelicals are going to sit on their hands because they don't have a George W. Bush. Why? Because they know we as a church collective have an interest in U.S. foreign policy and that's why over the last nine years, this movement that has included the NAE, the Southern Baptist Convention and other related entities have passed eight major landmark bills that were cited in part -- previously, the International Religious Freedom Act first in 1998 under Clinton, but then you have a host of these that include the Sudan Peace Act, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, the Prison Rape Elimination Act, PEPFAR -- the AIDS bill, but also the North Korea Human Rights Act, the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act -- And look at that. Here you have genocide and world hunger, global climate change -- these are all now priorities. Yet 31 percent said of these evangelicals, "We should strengthen the U.N." Thirty-one percent said -- that's a far cry from the fundamentalists of days of old. Gene, could you say something about the involvement of the black church in Africa and the On December 10th, I think it was -- 2000 -- someone can correct the date on that -- President-elect Bush held a meeting in Austin, Texas. I don't know, Richard, if you were there. There were a group of -- you know, religious leader types that showed up at this meeting in Austin, Texas. And Dilulio had just come on as the head of the faith-based office and we were flown out to Texas. We sit down and -- it's a fascinating experience for me. It -- the president does a little brief talk then he says, "Well, what are some of the concerns?" And so a hand shot up and said, "President Bush, what are you going to do in Africa? Don't want to start any trouble -- you know, and get -- you know, make this a contentious meeting but where are we on Africa?" And it was just fascinating. He said, "No, no. It's okay. That's okay. Not a problem. I'm going to make Africa a priority." And people's jaws dropped. "I'm going to make Africa a priority." And President Bush kept his word. Bishop Charles E. Blake, working very closely with John Delulio -- and black churches then began to really push in communication with Condoleeza Rice -- and I should say also and it's interesting -- we were talking about evangelical leadership, no one has yet raised the name Condoleezza Rice, who by theological definition would be an evangelical but who is not paraded out in any of the discussions which may be related to her demography -- we'll say demography, right? But Condoleezza Rice was a -- You mean because she's black. Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no -- -- demography, what do you mean -- It could be -- demography also involves gender as -- Okay. Or race -- It's a gender thing here, right? (Cross talk, laughter.) Let the church say, "Amen," all right? So I think that the black churches were given -- and this is interesting. The black churches were given an opportunity to play a greater role in foreign policy discourse around the AIDS issue under a Republican administration as opposed to Democratic. We all love Bubba Clinton and -- you know, and -- you know, and that was all a very warm experience in the whole business. But one of the great ironies of the last 20 years is that Bush was better on Africa and had a closer working relationship with black churches on foreign and development policy as it related to AIDS than was the case with the Clinton administration. And it's one of the most fascinating ironies that's been sort of underexplored in this case. And so -- I agree with that. But you also have the Sudan Peace Act, which was again to Bush's credit. He took that as well. Peter Carrington, one of the grand old men of the British foreign policy establishment, once said that the trouble with science was that it was all invented after he went to school. And I think one of the troubles with evangelicals and foreign policy is most of the evangelical foreign policy was all invented after journalists of my generation went to school and formed their opinions about it. There does seem to be a seismic change in foreign policy thinking and one of the most important of those, of course, is environmentalism. And I'd like -- we're very privileged to have Richard Cizik here, who's taken a leading role in that. And I'd like you to give us some sense of what's happening in that debate and how much pushback you got from the old establishment about environmentalism and how this might feed into future foreign policy decisions -- -- given that this is likely to wind up ---- on the agenda. Look, it is now considered by evangelicals -- self-described evangelicals by the Ellison Research just recently to be a priority of 84 percent of evangelicals. What a priority? Namely a mandatory cap on greenhouse gas emissions. How do you have that? Well, some of us began speaking out in 2002. The climate initiative from the evangelicals was released in '06. This is merely '07 and I sat next to John Warner, who was on the -- who was seated next to Rabbi David Saperstein on the other side. And David said to the senator -- he said, "Senator, you shouldn't be surprised that you have evangelicals right her at this meeting." This was just three days ago. You shouldn't be surprised because then Rabbi Saperstein recounted the last ten years. And then Warner, who is now shepherding this bill with Joe Lieberman essentially after an hour-long meeting with a diverse group of religious leaders, said he would go to bat in this case for an agenda concern of ours, namely that the auction dollars that come from the cap-and-trade program that is part of this Climate Security Act that he has co- authored with Lieberman would have a healthy percentage, not just the 5 percent -- potentially even the 10 percent of those dollars going -- you see, to the international communities that suffer the most. So how did this happen? It happened because evangelicals who were out front on tsunami relief, were out front on AIDS, were out front on human rights, on -- including Darfur -- this internationalism -- the new internationalism that Nick Christoff refers to -- not being able to go to any place in the world, Mindanao or wherever, and not find the evangelical missionary movement there along the relief and development agency, it's this change you see which is even going to make the evangelicals the go-to community on climate change. When we will not be intimidated by our critics -- by the way, I say that the NAE motto is not just cooperation without compromise, it's cooperation without compromise or capitulation. And the reason I say without capitulation is because this isn't really about climate change. This is an internal debate in evangelicalism not just about who speaks for us -- not just the old guard anymore -- we will not stand for that -- but it's about the agenda and will the agenda include all these issues. And we're saying yes, this is a logical extension of this human rights campaign because climate change is the human rights issue of the 21st century. And my father's generation sat on their hands, Eugene. They -- in the south and everywhere in this country -- they sat on their hands on civil rights for black Americans and for others, and were lukewarm at times about women's rights. We will not be that way. We will not endure, I think, the everlasting shame that has come upon our movement for having behaved that way on this issue. We will not. And so look for the evangelicals to play a role in this one as well. I think a lot of what's been said so far would surprise the average French left bank intellectual. And it's all very warm and fuzzy and pleasant, but let me play the part of the French left bank intellectual for a moment. Please, please. (Laughter.) Let's hear it for the French! What about -- I won't do it in French. What about the clash of civilizations? What about the role of religion in heating up ethnic conflicts and cultural conflicts? Is religion necessarily something that is dangerous, or could it actually be used to reconcile different traditions? Can it be a cure, as well as a cause of conflict? Eugene. The clash of civilizations business -- like most things in life -- is a much more complicated discussion because it involves nuance. In Africa you have some fascinating developments. For example, one goes to Accra, Ghana -- there's very significant Muslim activity. And it has been referenced that the prosecution of Christians -- which is a real issue, because in the discourse around Muslim-Christian relations, Muslim-Western relations, frequently -- and this is something that a lot of black Christians are mentioning. Listen: We affirm the rights of all individuals in this country. Muslims should be respected. However, we also insist that if Muslims' civil rights are to be respected in the United States -- Muslims must be just as vocal to defend the human rights of Christians in Muslim nations. And one of the things that's happening in the black community is that there are some fairly candid conversations that say, look, I don't want to hear the civil rights rap about the civil rights of Muslims in the states, and then there is this deafening silence when Christians are being persecuted in Cairo; they're being persecuted all throughout North Africa and there's not one word said by Muslim leadership on the issue. In the case -- the more interesting case is Darfur where one of the things that has concerned me -- and we have challenged Muslims in the United States -- where were you Muslims on the issue of Darfur, which for us has a racial subtext, because you have folk who say they're Arabs, right, persecuting black people. So that has a particular way that it plays in the United States among black people who also happen to be Christians. So I think that there is a new discussion. I think that -- and I agree with you, Leo. Pentecostalism, in particular, which is a subset of evangelicalism, which is sort of interesting, because as the numbers of Pentecostals grow and evangelicals, you know, sort of wiggle to figure out how they can claim -- right? Because this is a funny kind of definitional -- a contested category, right? I mean, I say, I'm glad to be told that I am an evangelical now. Forty years ago I was a Pentecostal who was viewed very differently. But now that we're successful and we're sort of the big dog, right, we've been invited into the shrinking camp. So I'm flattered that I've been invited to be at the table. (Laughter.) The Pentecostals were always at the center of the NAE. In fact, in 1945 the American Dictionary of Churches in America didn't include anything other than the AOG. The Assemblies of God -- Well, but see -- the Assemblies -- that's white Pentacostals -- That's a segregationist claim of the Church of God. No, no, that's an important point. You know, that's an important point. And I don't condemn --