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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

PENTECOSTALS and Catholics Together? (Update)

The landmark work of Evangelicals and Catholics Together (ECT) has been much in the news of late. The Catholic bishops refer to it in their statement on religious freedom; the cofounder of the movement, Charles Colson, passed away this weekend; Ross Douthat’s new book on religion and American life draws on the ECT narrative concerning religion and public life; and this presidential election may well be marked by aggressive collaboration between key leaders of the ECT movement. All of these stories are receiving considerable attention in religious and general media outlets, as well they should. But another piece of the story of how cultural and political conservatives from religious communities are coming together to effect change in America is being missed—a new book by James Robison and Jay Richards that signals an aggressive effort to link Pentecostals and Catholics together in culture war efforts. The book, published by the influential Ignatius Press (Fr. Fessio, Ignatius’ publisher, writes a foreword to the “Catholic edition” of the book), is an explicit attempt to galvanize these two communities in advance of the 2012 election. Titled Indivisible, with the breathless subtitle Restoring Faith, Family and Freedom Before It’s Too Late, the book is backed by a major marketing campaign and debuted number 5 on the New York Times Bestseller list. How important a role it will play in the presidential campaign remains to be seen, but for anyone with a long view of religion in America its importance should not be missed. Robison, a key figure in the fusion of Pentecostalism and Evangelicalism, is back from a self-imposed “exile” from political life in recent years and he has chosen to return in collaboration with a Catholic leader and publishing with a Catholic press. (UPDATE)His media empire is playing up his return to active culture war engagement with blogs about and major appearances with Glenn Beck as well as David Barton, including a visit on Robison's TV show. The movement of Evangelicals and Catholics Together is showing resilience and growth and this clear play by a key Catholic leader to unite with Pentecostals is something that reporters and others should take note of.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting post and I too am kind of shocked I have missed this. As someone from the Catholic "right" on some issues can't believe I missed this.

    Will blog on this and link.

    Nice blog by the way