President Bill Clinton’s relationship with evangelicals has become a major news story featured in such media as National Review, New Republic, and ABC World News Tonight. Why is he opening White House doors to a group that by and large has not supported him with their votes? Some Christian leaders (and some journalists) have called it a cynical political attempt to confuse and divide an important Republican constituency. Others see his contacts with evangelical leaders as consistent with his prepresidential religious life. And many evangelicals doubt the sincerity of Clinton’s faith because of his positions on key issues.

CHRISTIANITY TODAY asked Editor-at-Large Philip Yancey to review the controversy. Besides participating in a well-publicized White House gathering last fall, Yancey also recently joined Executive Editor David Neff in a private interview with the President that focused mainly on the topic of abortion.

Five separate times when conversation has turned to the President I have heard a comment like this: “No way he’s a Christian! All that religious talk is just fake.” When it comes to Bill Clinton, I sense in many Christians a feeling beyond anger, something closer to betrayal. Many evangelicals felt outrage during Clinton’s first few weeks in office as he announced new policies easing abortion restrictions and expanding homosexual rights, and appointed staff members who seemed insensitive or even hostile to the religious community. More than a year later, they still wonder whether the President is merely posing as a Christian.

Recently, Clinton has made deliberate efforts to reach out to evangelicals. Several leaders have spent the night at the White House, and the President ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.