Our friend RC2 has some characteristically smart and sharp observations on the speeches made at the summit this past weekend. She liked Fred Thompson’s speech the best, for reasons that I find persuasive, and she called attention to a weakness in Huckabee that one finds all too often in evangelicals: there’s an articulation of a "worldview" that, at its best, amounts almost literally to preaching to the choir, but isn’t worried about appealing beyond the sanctuary. (We’re often told that God will take care of that.)
On this point, I’m with my "natural law" friends and not so much with my "worldview" brethren, who should probably be paying attention to arguments like this. I hasten to add that I’m not making an argument for not being distinctive, but a distinctiveness articulated and argued for "rationally" might actually have a larger audience than one that doesn’t. (God can work in non-mysterious as well as mysterious ways.)
Stated another way, I don’t necessarily fault Mike Huckabee for engaging in evangelical "identity politics" (I owe this phrase to someone, but I can’t remember who) last weekend, so long as he can "reason with" other audiences. But too many evangelicals have drunk too deeply of the well of postmodernism (and its critique of rationalism as if it were all dogmatic Enlightenment rationalism), and have forgotten (if ever they knew) what they should have learned at the feet of C. S. Lewis, if not of his much greater teachers.
Might this needless disdain of reason be at the root of the way all too many evangelical leaders engage in politics? Rather than try to "reason with" folks with whom they disagree, they assume that reason has no force in a fallen world, leaving themselves far too open to the temptation to rely on the heavy artillery, which in a fallen world doesn’t so much mean God as the emotionally mobilized evangelical foot soldiers. They think they have an answer to the question: "How many divisions does Focus on the Family have?"