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Political Prayers and Petitions

As political rhetoric focused on evil and injustice this week, prayer seemed to be the strategy of choice.

Copenhagen: Control or Climate Change?

Since President Obama appeared in Copenhagen, where world leaders discussed climate change, some are praying that he would make policy changes, while some are hoping that he would not.

"We who join in prayer today believe the time has come, Lord," Tim Costello of World Vision Australia and Brian McLaren wrote in a prayer later posted on Sojourner's God's Politics blog. "Please guide us now, our God, at this critical moment in history, to better fulfill our role as stewards of this fragile planet. Guide the leaders of nations who gather in Copenhagen."

This past week Costello continued, praying that when President Obama arrives Copenhagen "his ability to reach across political chasms, bridging cultures from Kenya to Kansas, will nudge the process enough, building the case for a [sic] unprecedented action as a global community even in these final hours."

Other groups do not share his hopeful view of the Copenhagen conference.

For Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, the conference is not about climate change but population control.

"For years, the green team has used photos of cuddly polar bears and harp seals to cover up their real agenda of radical environmentalism: population control," Perkins said. "This week, that message is front and center at the Denmark summit, as 'climate cultists' try to force a global limit on procreation."

Wendy Wright, president of Concerned Women for America, called on Obama to oppose China's population control policies. "No proposal is more despicable and, if followed, would constitute a violation of basic human rights than the suggestion that governments should emulate China's coercive family planning program," Wright wrote in an open letterto Obama.

Of course, some are complete skeptics of climate change. Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association (AFA) ridiculed the idea of climate change.

"Pity the poor fools who still believe man is causing catastrophic global warming … Hilariously, record low temperatures are being forecast for Copenhagen between now and Friday, perhaps an argument that God has a sense of humor and is watching the proceedings with a bemused smile on his face," said Fischer.

Last month, the AFA hosted a webcast on the movie "Not Evil, Just Wrong," a movie that denies that global warming is based on sound science.

Breakpoint founder Chuck Colson is also skeptical about the science and politics of the conference. In a recent "two-minute warning" webcast, Colson gave several reasons that he doubts the existence of global warming. For Colson, the reason for the Copenhagen conference is about "control," not climate change.

"It's about leverage to create the technocrats' vision of a better world—their idea of Utopia … the kind of control that hasn't been seen since the fall of communism," said Colson.

Opposition to the Copenhagen conference is unlikely to sway Mitch Hescox, president of the Evangelical Environmental Network. Hescox wrote in an e-mail this week, "No matter what others may say, I am willing to pick-up my cross and follow Christ, in order to care for the 100s of millions people already suffering because of climate change."

Obama: "Evil does exist in the world"

President Obama received rare praise from political advocacy groups on the Right for his Nobel acceptance speech, which defended the need for just military action in the face of evil. Obama stated that peace and nonviolence is an ideal, but this ideal must be coupled with the reality that force is sometimes needed because "evil does exist in the world."

Rob Schwarzwalder of the Family Research Council wrote that these "are words an American President must speak if he is to be true to his most fundamental duty: As Commander in Chief, to defend America in the face of the evil." Schwarzwalder also noted that President George W. Bush made similar statements.

Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission told the Baptist Press that Obama's "trenchant defense of the fact that there is evil in the world that must be confronted by armed force should reassure all Americans as we confront a deadly worldwide terrorist threat from a death cult that has taken root within Islam."

Sojourners was less supportive of Obama's speech. Jim Wallis, president of Sojourners, agreed that evil exists, but he was put off by the intimation that America has (always) been on the side of justice and that our current military solutions are preferable to nonviolent strategies.

"Most would affirm the reality of evil, but did the president adequately address America's part in such evil over these past decades, or is evil again only done by others?" wrote Wallis. "[I]s nonviolence only an aspiration? Or is it a practical, realistic, and perhaps better approach to conflict resolution in a complicated world of tremendous complexity, inequality, despair, anger, and violence."

"PrayerCast" on Health Care

Family Research Council Action, Focus on the Family Action, and The Call to Conscience held a "PrayerCast" Wednesday on "government takeover of health care."  The event was part policy and part prayer, a mix of interpretations of the health care debate and passionate prayers of repentance and salvation. The event featured political leaders Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS), Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC), Representative Randy Forbes (R-VA), and Representative Michele Bachman (R-Minn).

The number one issue of concern was abortion funding in the Senate health care legislation. Lou Engle of The Call for Conscience said that this was "an Esther moment," comparing the fight against the health care proposal to Esther's efforts save the Jewish people from genocide.

Other groups were similarly concerned over the Senate bill.

"The battle is far from over," an e-mail from Concerned Women for America told supporters. "And, true, we may lose. But, we're called to take a stand, to raise a voice for the voiceless. The rest is in God's hands."

Pat Robertson found the Democrats' push for health care "unbelievable."

"You know, the Democrats must have a death wish, a death wish to pass a bill in face of the overwhelming public opposition to it … And now their own, the government's own health and human services says it will increase costs," Robertson said on CBN. "I mean, what are they thinking? I mean, what is Harry Reid smoking up there?"

Low Power Radio

Finally, a piece of non-controversial, bipartisan news comes from Congress. Congress is considering an expansion of low power radio stations. These frequencies are used by churches, schools, and other community groups. The National Association of Evangelicals joined with other churches, including the National Council of Churches, in signing a letter supporting the legislation. The letter stated that churches seek to build up communities, and that low power radio is one way that this is done, as about half of all low power radio stations are operated by churches and religious groups.

Related Elsewhere:

Earlier Political Advocacy Trackers are available on our site, including:

The Worst Week For Conservatives | Conservatives are licking their wounds from fights over abortion funding, health care reform, a gay-rights nominee, embryonic stem cell research, and Uganda's anti-gay law.
Who Backs Obama's Afghanistan Strategy | Like the rest of us, advocacy groups came back from the Thanksgiving holiday to find a long to-do list waiting for them, filled with issues at home and abroad. (December 4, 2009)
What Does the Manhattan Declaration Really Mean? | Also: advocacy groups gear up for the Christmas shopping season with politics and compassion. (November 24, 2009)

Christianity Today also follows political developments on the politics blog.

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