Today the Institute for Religion and Democracy’s Mark Tooley denounced the upcoming “Evangelicals for Peace” gathering as “a gabfest uninterested in deep moral reflection and instead seeking the rhetorical satisfaction of denouncing violence and its ostensibly wicked advocates.” Evangelical progressives will likely respond that IRD ignores a long tradition of pacifism (especially pronounced in the early church) and a new and sophisticated literature on “just peacemaking.”
The tussle between the evangelical left and the IRD is long-standing. Here’s a short description in Moral Minority about an incident three decades ago:
In 1983 conservative activists repeatedly disrupted a conference on peacemaking at Fuller Theological Seminary. During a workshop on Central America, one protester shouted his objection to evangelical accommodation with Communist totalitarianism until delegates ushered him out of the room. Another protester berated the 1,700 delegates from a balcony during a plenary session. When the disturbance brought the proceedings to a halt, the audience sang the hymn “Amazing Grace” to drown him out. A display table manned by the Institute for Religion and Democracy urged delegates to sign a “research report” accusing Senator Mark Hatfield and Sojourners’ Jim Wallis of advocating Soviet-style communism. These scenes and what they represented—an increasingly vocal and activist right-wing coalition of Christians—appalled progressive evangelicals.