Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin ordered Kosher food. Egyptian President Anwar Sadat prayed to Allah and in the direction of Mecca (though one reporter joked that the deeply religious Sadat was facing more toward Baltimore). And President Jimmy Carter had a daily quiet time of Scripture reading. To most observers, the Camp David summit conference had as religious an atmosphere as it did political. Rarely have world leaders been so conscious of the influence of the Divine.
President Carter attributed the success of the Middle East peace talks—two separate agreements were reached between Israel and Egypt—to worldwide prayer support. Prior to the conference, Carter, Sadat, and Begin had signed a joint appeal for prayer that read in part: “Conscious of the grave issues which face us, we place our trust in the God of our fathers, from whom we seek wisdom and guidance.… We ask people of all faiths to pray with us that peace and justice may result from these deliberations.”
The prayer request was acceptable to and embraced Begin’s Jewish, Sadat’s Islamic, and Carter’s Christian beliefs, but it had distinctly evangelical origins. The appeal evolved partly from an informal conversation between former senator Harold Hughes and Carter’s wife Rosalynn.
Hughes had mentioned to Rosalynn the need for prayer regarding the coming peace talks, and Rosalynn related their conversation to Jimmy. An enthusiastic Carter drafted a prayer appeal, and he easily got Sadat and Begin to approve it. Carter later asked Hughes to relay the prayer concern through Fellowship House, the Washington, D.C.-based ministry that conducts prayer breakfasts nationwide.
A spontaneous telephone prayer chain began as Fellowship House associates contacted evangelicals throughout the nation, who, in turn, contacted acquaintances of their own. A Fellowship House associate said Carter went behind the scenes in his prayer chain request because “he was very concerned that the request be personal, and not be construed in any way as political.”
Other evangelical groups joined the push for prayer. Southern Baptist Convention president Jimmy Allen mobilized that church’s thirteen million members. He sent telegrams to the executive directors of state Baptist conventions, urging them to ask the churches to support the joint call to prayer. Robert S. Denny, general secretary for Baptist World Alliance, asked regional leaders of the worldwide body to write or cable the White House with their prayer support.
Other segments of the Christian world also showed concern. Pope John Paul dropped the customary use of the formal “we” when he prayed for the Middle East peace initiative at his first public audience. The pope again prayed for the talks in a Sunday address to 40,000 persons gathered in St. Peter’s Square. Several days earlier. Archbishop lakovos of the Greek Orthodox Church in the Western Hemisphere had sent telegrams of prayer support to each of the three summit conferees.
Even the Muslim community in this country got involved. The Islamic Center of Washington, D.C., signed an interfaith statement of prayer support with the Synagogue Council of America, the National Council of Churches, and the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. The statement noted that “the religious traditions represented by our communities can play a significant part in the reconciliation of the peoples of the Middle East,” and it was believed to be the first time that American Muslims had participated with Christians and Jews in such a joint venture.
With this outpouring of world church support, the talks began optimistically. But a deadlock over the question of sovereignty in the West Bank and Gaza Strip threatened to stymie the success of the Carter-initiated conference held in the secluded hills of Maryland at Camp David. Scheduled talks were shuffled to allow for Sadat’s Friday Islamic worship, Begin’s strict observance of the Jewish Sabbath, and Carter’s Sunday morning worship.
But the talks ended with an eleventh-hour diplomatic flurry that produced what American officials called “a significant step forward in seeking final resolution of the Middle East dispute.” Carter, Sadat, and Begin signed agreements that provided a framework for continuing negotiations for an overall peace between Israel and all its neighbors, as well as a framework for a separate Egyptian-Israeli peace agreement.
Carter’s eyes showed black rings from the thirteen-day marathon of talks, but his face flushed with triumph as he announced to a national television audience that agreements had been reached. Before the agreements could be signed by Sadat and Begin, who stood beside him, Carter hearkened back to the conference’s original call:
“When we first arrived at Camp David,” Carter said, “the first thing upon which we agreed was to ask the people of the world to pray that our negotiations would be successful. Those prayers have been answered … beyond any expectations.”
The Candidates: Shaping Up
If the early lineup of official and unofficial candidates for the 1980 U.S. presidential election is any indication, there may be some bruising campaign slugfests ahead among evangelical contenders, both in the primaries and in the national election.
Among the leading Republican hopefuls are two congressmen known for their evangelical ties: Jack F. Kemp, a member of the Hamburg (New York) United Presbyterian Church in the Buffalo area, and John B. Anderson, an Evangelical Free Church member from Rockford, Illinois. When in Washington on weekends, both Kemp, 43, and Anderson, 56, attend Fourth Presbyterian, a well-known evangelical church in nearby Bethesda, Maryland.
There is a difference between the men: Kemp is a conservative; Anderson is usually identified as a moderate, sometimes as a liberal. Anderson is considering a try for the nomination partly to prevent Kemp and like-minded conservatives from taking over.
A moderate would have broader appeal and therefore a greater chance to win the presidency, Anderson explained to reporters last month. He said he will decide in January whether to formally declare his candidacy. Meanwhile, he intends to test his ability to raise funds and line up delegates to the Republican National Convention. His chief strategist is Paul D. Henry, political science professor at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Henry until recently was GOP chairman of the Michigan district that sent Gerald Ford to Congress for twenty-five years. He said he has not discussed his present role with Ford, another possible moderate contender with strong evangelical ties. In the waning days of the 1976 campaign, Henry mounted an offensive to show that Ford, an Episcopalian, was no less a born-again candidate than Southern Baptist Jimmy Carter.
Anderson, the third-ranking Republican in the House, is one of the most respected members of Congress. A conservative on most fiscal issues, he frequently has voted with liberals on social concerns, which has caused conservatives at the grass roots level to oppose him. Earlier this year, Anderson won renomination for a tenth congressional term after a bitter primary struggle with conservative pastor Don Lyon of Rockford’s Open Bible Church. It was Anderson’s toughest battle in years, and he emerged with 57 per cent of the vote. (He is expected to easily defeat a little-known Democrat in November.)
Kemp, active in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, played football for the San Diego Chargers and the Buffalo Bills before running for Congress. An all-pro quarterback, Kemp led the Bills to two American Football League championships. In 1965, he was voted the league’s Most Valuable Player. Kemp was also a cofounder and president of the AFL Players Association.
Although he majored in physical education at Occidental College in southern California, Kemp has flowered as a self-taught economist. He has won friends—and made enemies—all over America, especially for pushing proposed legislation to reduce the personal income tax rate by one-third; he is coauthor of the bill.
Kemp insists that his only plans are to run for Jacob Javits’s Senate seat in 1980, but Ronald Reagan’s people imply that America needs the likes of Kemp. The congressman, in turn, says it would be nice to have Reagan—or someone like him—as president. Meanwhile, Kemp has set up some initial campaign machinery. (Reagan, who may or may not run, attends the evangelical Bel Air Presbyterian Church in suburban Los Angeles.)
A Christian must be consistent, says Kemp. “As a congressman, I have to live the witness, articulate it, and let my light shine,” he explains.
Carter and Ford survived the 1976 presidential campaign with their Christian witness intact. The campaign itself was one of the cleanest in recent memory, partly because no sharp ideological differences separated the two antagonists. But as 1980 approaches, politicians perceive that more voters are drifting into conservatism, and the candidates are plugging ideology. A showdown is shaping up. Whether evangelical candidates can come through it unbesmirched remains to be seen. The Lyon-Anderson fight divided evangelicals in Rockford, and Anderson was pummeled in Lyon’s campaign literature with bitter accusations that permanently damaged him in the eyes of some.
The first declared candidate for the Republican nomination was congressman Philip Crane, 48, a United Methodist from Mt. Prospect, Illinois. Of the Barry Goldwater tradition, Crane is gaining a following in conservative church circles.
Sitting out the presidential race will be one of the best-known evangelicals on Capitol Hill: Republican senator Mark Hatfield of Oregon, a moderate liberal. The late senator Everett Dirkson warned him in the Senate cloak room in 1968: “If you oppose the Viet Nam War, you will be politically dead.” “With the growing conservatism in America.” commented a Hill observer, “Mark hasn’t got a chance.” Besides, he said, “Mark likes being a senator.”
EDWARD E. PLOWMAN
Primary elections held last month featured a religious twist in several states:
• Republican congressman Albert H. Quie, a leader in the evangelical Fellowship House ministry in Washington. D.C., won the Republican gubernatorial nomination in Minnesota. Polls show that he and Democratic candidate Judy Perpich are locked in a close race prior to the November balloting.
• Also in Minnesota, Democratic congressman Donald M. Fraser was upset by Minneapolis businessman Robert K. Shorrt in a bid for a U.S. Senate nomination. Fraser, a sixteen-year veteran of the House, has been leading a House Committee on International Relations investigation of Korean evangelist Sun Myung Moon and the Unification Church. Hearings have been stormy. Moon’s people accused Fraser, a liberal, of “hidden” motives in that he “consistently supported pro-Communist groups and causes and sought to undermine anti-Communist governments and individuals,” including Moon. The Moonies actively campaigned for his defeat.
• In Providence, Roman Catholic nun Leizabeth Morancy won the Democratic nomination for a seat in the Rhode Island House, upsetting a party-endorsed candidate. Her opponent in November will be a Baptist, Donald Morrison. If elected, she will become the first Catholic nun in the state legislature. Her campaign manager is another nun. Sister Claire Dugan.
• Mecklenberg County (including the city of Charlotte) voters made theirs the first locality in North Carolina to approve the sale of liquor by the drink. A similar measure failed in Black Mountain, a resort town adjacent to evangelist Billy Graham’s home community of Montreat.
Looking With Favor On Fuller
The graduate program in psychology at Fuller seminary received a favorable evaluation by the Council of Representatives of the American Psychological Association (APA) at its recent annual convention in Toronto. The school’s accreditation and evaluation had been challenged by members of the council, since Fuller requires faculty members to sign a statement of faith. Critics claimed the school showed discrimination in its admissions and hiring policies.
Unfavorable action would have stripped the school of its professional accreditation for the training of clinical psychologists. Approval by the APA is virtually mandatory for licensing of clinical and consulting psychologists. Fuller’s program, which attempts to integrate psychology and theology, is at present the only APA-approved training program in the country that is not affiliated with a major university.
The ruling by the APA Council makes it possible for school officials to require a statement of faith when a program is aimed at training workers for religious professions. Fuller has maintained that is what it does.
Neal Warren, dean of Fuller’s School of Psychology, said the school was prepared to go to court if the council vote had been unfavorable. The controversy probably arose, he said, because many members of APA were mistakenly associating Fuller’s statement of faith with “an oath of allegiance.”
The ruling also affects other schools with religious affiliations that are moving toward a request for APA approval of their graduate psychology programs. These include Baylor University, a Southern Baptist school in Waco, Texas, the Mormon-run Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, and the Rosemead Graduate School of Professional Psychology, affiliated with Biola College in California.
New College Names First President
The New College for Advanced Christian Studies, Berkeley, California, has appointed W. Ward Gasque as president; the school is to begin full operations in the fall of 1979. That announcement by project director David Gill had been expected for some time. Gasque presently is registrar and associate professor of New Testament studies at Regent College in Vancouver, the Canadian school after which New College was patterned.
Gasque, a prolific writer who has been an editor-at-large for CHRISTIANITY TODAY since 1972, will also teach one course per quarter. New College has a goal similar to that of Regent: helping the laity better understand “the Christian faith and its implications for professional/vocational involvements.”
New College differs from similar lay-oriented schools in that it offers a masters degree program, and perhaps will offer a Ph. D. program under the auspices of the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) and the University of California. GTU is a graduate school and consortium of nine theological seminaries in Berkeley, having more than 1,000 students. The exact relationship between GTU and New College has not been finalized. Plans are underway to give New College students and faculty access to the half-million volume GTU library, just as they had during the recent summer session.
Fall, winter, and spring quarter classes for the 1978–1979 school year will be held at night and within rented space at the First Presbyterian Church, Berkeley. Earl Palmer, pastor, is among the part-time faculty for the year that includes Richard Bube, professor of materials science at Stanford University, and Richard Quebedeaux, author of The Young Evangelicals and The Worldly Evangelicals.
PAUL F. SCOTCHMER
Religion In Transit
Canadian Pentecostals see Quebec as a wide-open mission field. Delegates to the recent biennial convention of the 250,000 member Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada heard home missions director Robert Argue say, “Progress in French Canada has been dramatic.” He said that twenty-six new Pentecostal congregations have been established in Quebec during the last two years, bringing the area total to eighty-two.
Convict-turned-model-citizen Mosie Harriell is free on bail, thanks to funds donated by friends and the Oakhurst Baptist Church. Members of the Decatur, Georgia, congregation earlier offered their $250,000 church building as security for Harriell’s $30,000 bond (see September 22 issue, p. 43). The court clerk stalled on that offer, so $750 was raised for a bail bondsman, who was willing to accept half his normal fee. Harriell, who had served twenty-five years of a life sentence for killing an Indiana policeman before escaping to Atlanta ten years ago, is free pending appeal of an extradition order, has resumed carpentry work.
A single, self-governing church in North America was requested by Eastern Orthodox theologians at an international conference held in Brookline, Massachusetts. The six million Eastern Orthodox Christians in Canada and the United States now worship in more than twenty separate jurisdictions—ethnic divisions created by nineteenth- and twentieth-century immigrants to North America from historic Orthodox countries.
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