‘Humanitarian veteran’ gets top evangelical post

Remember when Richard Cizik, the “moderate” head of government affairs for the National Association of Evangelicals, resigned some six months ago?

He had acknowledged changing his feelings about same-sex marriage and was subsequently booted.

Well, the NAE has named his replacement, Galen Carey, a fellow with a long history of fighting poverty and AIDS.

According to an introduction in Christianity Today:

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The new director’s résumé spans four continents and numerous job descriptions. Carey spent 26 years working for World Relief, three of them in Washington as director of World Relief’s advocacy and policy. Most recently, Carey built a church network to combat HIV/AIDS in Burundi, Africa.

Carey will be responsible for representing the NAE and its constituents — which include 45,000 churches from more than 50 denominations — to lawmakers and advocacy groups.

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Carey acknowledges the much-publicized broadening of the evangelical agenda in the U.S. He says it’s been going on for a long time: “Evangelicals have been more apt to be directly engaged in addressing issues like poverty or HIV/AIDS on the community level. As a result, we recognize a public policy dimension, which leads us into more political engagement. It’s probably people in the mainstream belatedly discovering that evangelicals do have quite a variety of interests.”

Evangelical leader can’t survive gay marriage comment

It has seemed increasingly clear that the Rev. Richard Cizik would not last as vp of governmental affairs for the National Association of Evangelicals.

No one can really speak for evangelicals, a vast, diverse and hard-to-define group of Christians. But the NAE has become one of the main groups that tries.

Cizik has gotten a lot of heat in recent years for trying to broaden the NAE’s agenda, moving away from the meat-and-potatoes conservative issues that evangelicals are known for.

He became a vocal critic of global warming, despite opposition from some leading evangelicals. He said he voted for Obama in the Democratic primaries.

But then he crossed a line on Dec. 2 when doing an interview with NPR. He said he supported civil-unions for gay couples and was “shifting” on gay marriage.

Gay marriage is one of the lightning rod issues of the day, thanks in part to religious support for Proposition D in California.

Cizik resigned yesterday.

Leith Anderson, President of the NAE, said of Cizik: “ Although he has subsequently expressed regret, apologized and affirmed our values there is a loss of trust in his credibility as a spokesperson among leaders and constituents.”

Regarding Cizik’s comments on gay marriage, David Neff, editor of Christianity Today magazine and a member of the NAE executive committee, told the AP: “He seemed to be abandoning the one thing where evangelical activists felt they had actually made a difference this time around.”