Fred Clark has an article entitled The push-back against the push-back begins: ‘Mainstream’ evangelicals criticize critics of the religious right. It discusses how prominent in the evangelical community are the hateful people who suggested that the Newtown shootings were caused by, for example, God being excluded from the public square. Are guys like Mike Huckabee prominent or fringe?
This is a dynamic that probably goes on with any group to one extent or another. But, I notice it most with the socially conservative, politically active wing of Christianity. The question of whether and to what extent a person is speaking for “Christians” becomes important because that’s generally where the person’s influence comes from. If he were just a dude condemning birth control on some street corner, his public reception is a whole lot different than if he is speaking on television due to his association with a Christian group — even if the content of the speech is exactly the same.
Christians, like most other groups, are not monolithic. Everybody is not going to agree with everybody else. But, it’s difficult to determine whether the views of guys like Dobson or Huckabee represent anything like the consensus of the group or if they’re more like street corner ranters who found their way into a radio studio. The test, I suppose, is if they are readily welcomed back into the fold and by whom after they say something as objectionable as Huckabee’s statement about the Newtown shootings.