The Conversion Agenda

"Freedom to convert" is counterproductive as a generalized doctrine. It fails to come to terms with the complex interrelationships between self and society that make the concept of individual choice meaningful. Hence, religious conversion undermines, and in extremes would dissolve, that individual autonomy and human freedom.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Missionary Coalition Begins Voter Registration Campaign

COLUMBUS, Ohio
Posted on Sat, Oct. 15, 2005
The Kansas City Star

A coalition dedicated to converting thousands to Christianity and getting thousands more on voter registration lists got its start Friday with a rally that resembled a revival meeting.

More than 1,000 people gathered outside the statehouse for the launch of Reformation Ohio. The group, founded by the Rev. Rod Parsley, a television evangelist and pastor of World Harvest Church in Canal Winchester, opposes gay rights. Parsley has written that the teachings of Islam were inspired by demons.

Speakers included U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback, a Kansas Republican who is considering a White House run in 2008; Rep. Walter Jones, a North Carolina Republican; and Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, who is seeking the Republican nomination for Ohio governor next year.

Brownback said the nation was engaged in a cultural struggle.

“We need a culture that buttresses our families, not attacks them,” Brownback said. “We need a society that honors good and condemns what is bad.”

Participants were mostly members of Parsley’s church, with many entire families in attendance. A production staff choreographed the event, much like Parsley’s broadcasts from his church.

Tying evangelical gospel to voter registration is a new phenomenon, said Mark Rozell, a public policy professor at George Mason University in Virginia who studies political mobilization by religious groups.

“Most of these types of groups don’t tend to mix these activities in the same venue, at least not so overtly,” Rozell said.

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