Conservative Christians criticize Bush's peacemaking efforts in Mideast
Yesterday's New York Times and the front page of today's Washington Post have the same news: conservatives, especially conservative Christians, are increasingly frustrated with Bush's interaction with Israel. "Many of the conservative thinkers who influence the part of the party that President Bush considers his base have become loudly critical of his efforts at Middle East peace-making, calling them a muddled mission that undercuts his post-Sept. 11 antiterrorist doctrine," reports the Times. A major pro-Israel coalition has joined forces in the Republican Party, punditland, and Congress (though the paper claims Billy Graham's recently publicized 1972 comments somehow threatens that coalition).

The major conservative Christian leader quoted by both the Times and the Post is former presidential candidate Gary Bauer. This is a fascinating development for conservative Christian activists: Bauer doesn't have the institutional framework he once did when he headed Family Research Council. But he may have more of the media's ear than the large Christian organizations do.

(Actually, the larger organizations aren't saying much about the Mideast. The Family Research Council's "National Security & Foreign Affairs" section, for example, doesn't have anything on the current crisis—or on many other recent topics. Concerned Women for America doesn't have much, but did address the subject in an April 5 radio broadcast. The Christian Coalition's Web site, which World magazine criticized last month for being hopelessly out of date and out of touch, now has a press release supporting Israel's actions "for defending itself against terrorism.")

The other major voice on this ...

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