Christians who made an impact on society were of a radically different stripe.Mr. Tarr is a free-lance writer in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada.

Evangelical and fundamentalist spokesmen are speaking out with increasing frequency on social and political issues. If those pronouncements reflected a clearly biblical perspective, one would welcome the development as being long overdue. But it is to be feared that many of those statements are merely echoes of social Darwinism or the platform of the Libertarian party.

The television and radio preachers and writers who make those political statements usually deliver them with the same note of finality and dogmatism with which they appropriately affirm the deity of Christ or the authority of Scripture. Most viewers or readers probably assume that the social or political pronouncement was the only possible Christian perspective on the particular issue.

Some electronic evangelists, for instance, devote a good deal of time to promoting free enterprise and attacking what they define as liberalism and socialism. In that regard they may lambast antipoverty and school lunch programs, Medicare, social welfare, and overseas aid. The basic objection seems to be that such government-sponsored initiatives interfere with a free market, laissez-faire system, reward the undeserving and nonproductive, and restrict and penalize the industrious.

The type of laissez-faire free enterprise that is being advocated by most of these evangelical commentators is found nowhere on the face of the earth in pure form. They imply that American politicians of both parties have for years flirted with and embraced a sinister liberalism and leaned toward socialism. Social welfare programs and environmental regulations are ...

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