Responsible voices for religion haven’t been getting a balanced hearing in the nation’s capital. In past years the liberal establishment was the only voice heard. Recently the communications media have focused almost exclusively on extreme positions of the New Religious Right. But this state of affairs is changing. After years of quietly representing mainstream evangelicalism in Washington, the NAE Office of Public Affairs is now projecting a higher profile.
When CHRISTIANITY TODAY was launched in 1956, NAE’S Washington office was already celebrating its thirteenth anniversary. During its early decades, the office provided services for the missionary agencies affiliated with NAE, handled work between the Pentagon and clergy, and served as the evangelical “watchman” on church and state issues.
In 1978 the NAE Board of Administration foresaw the need for a more visible evangelical presence in the nation’s capital and translated that vision into an expanded staff with greater functions. Their timing was opportune, for evangelicals were just discovering the pressing need to take an active part in the political process.
To head the office, the board selected Robert Dugan, 18 years a pastor, a denominational president, and a congressional candidate from Colorado. Dugan added an experienced constitutional lawyer and a legislative researcher to the staff to provide the legal analysis and political research necessary to maintain credibility.
In 1979 Dugan began writing an issues-oriented monthly newsletter, “NAE Washington Insight.” “Insight” quickly earned a reputation as a newsletter evangelicals could trust, written neither from a perspective of paranoia nor with a hidden political agenda. One prominent senator applauded “the approach ...1
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