Help wanted: Top evangelical lobbyist, message discipline a must

National Association of Evangelicals is in the market for a new top lobbyist, according to The Christian Post. The job description includes a very unusual qualification for a lobbying gig … sincerity:

Required qualifications include, among others, personal faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, agreement to and affirmation of the NAE Statement of Faith, and participation in an NAE affiliated congregation.

Lobbyists aren’t normally expected to believe in the causes they represent. In this industry, salvation comes by works alone.

Deep-seated moral beliefs can be a liability for a lobbyist, as the NAE found out last month. Former top NAE lobbyist Richard Cizik was forced to resign, after 28 years on the job, when his personal beliefs conflicted with NAE doctrine.

Cizick’s downfall was a Dec. 2 interview with National Public Radio’s Terry Gross. The lobbyist just couldn’t bring himself to repeat the party line on gay families:

In a short portion of the program, Gross asked him, “A couple of years ago when you were on our show, I asked you if you were changing your mind on that. And two years ago, you said you were still opposed to gay marriage. But now as you identify more with younger voters, would you say you have changed on gay marriage?”

Cizik responded, “I’m shifting, I have to admit. In other words, I would willingly say that I believe in civil unions. I don’t officially support redefining marriage from its traditional definition, I don’t think.”

James Dobson, the leader of Focus on the Family, also tried to get Cizik fired in 2006 for being an environmentalist.

Maybe the NAE should rethink that job description. When it comes to lobbying, true believers can be trouble.

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Lindsay Beyerstein

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