The church that D. James Kennedy built is waving the white flag in the culture war -- just in time for Barack Obama's inauguration.
By hiring 36-year-old Tullian Tchividjian -- Billy Graham's grandson -- Coral Ridge Presbyterian has all but surrendered its right-wing, homophobic agenda. Oh sure, it'll still flare up from time to time, but the days of Kennedy's overbearing, right-wing, homophobic, hate-drenched sermons are over.
The headline over Jaweed Kaleem's Miami Herald story says it all: "New ... pastor vows to take politics out of pulpit."
You know what this is? This is some of that Obama change. That divisive Christian Right mojo didn't work this time -- and the people at Coral Ridge saw the writing on the wall. Sarah Palin was sent right back to Alaska where she belongs. I don't think this is a fad or a front; Tchividjian really wants to bring some moderation to the radical right and replace the jingoism with Jesus. And it's a smart move by the church to hire him.
-- So Jack Seiler called me about the Earl Rynerson smear. He said his camp had nothing to do with it and that he wants Rynerson in the race because he helps him against Trantalis. I told him that I had information not that his camp engineered the smear, but that at least one supporter was propogating it. He said he tells supporters not to comment on his opponents. I asked if he denounced the smear, he said he wouldn't.
"Do I think it's good clean politics?" he offered. "I don't."
All right, close enough. Maybe these guys can get on with the real issues. In the meantime, I'll keep following it.