More than four years ago, David Lane, the founder of the American Renewal Project, announced a bold vision: He wanted 1,000 Christian pastors to run for public office by 2016, each with hundreds of Christian volunteers.
(Because if there’s one thing we know for a fact, it’s that a Congress that’s only 88.2% Christian isn’t Christian enough.)
His bizarre rationale for pushing for an even more Christian government was that “For too many decades the Church has accepted the outlandish idea that it is not to be involved in politics.”
Right. Because Christians never get involved in politics… (Maybe one day, Lane will work on getting a white guy elected. Baby steps.)
That plan never really worked out, though. A year later, Lane said 500 pastors had committed to running… but all that meant was that they expressed interest on his website. The actual number was much smaller.
How much smaller? Well, now we know because Lane is once again proclaiming that he wants 1,000 pastors to run in 2020. Along the way, he’s announcing his success from the past:
In 2016, we had 200 pastors running for local office, including city council, school board, parks and recreation, etc.
In 2018, we had 300 pastors across the nation running for local office.
American Renewal Project’s goal for 2020 is one thousand pastors running for local office.
It’s a moonshot, in other words. The beauty of Lane’s announcement is that he’s effectively telling people he couldn’t achieve his God-given goal in the past, but that’s not to say he’s a failure. If he inspired a couple hundred Christians to run for office, that has an impact. A similar push by groups like Indivisible helped inspire progressives to run for office — any office — in 2018, and it worked.
That’s why Lane may have a much tougher time recruiting candidates in 2020. He can’t run against Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton this time around. Those pastors, even for state-level positions, would have to be on the Trump train, and that’s (hopefully) going to be toxic in much of the country in the next election.
It’s easy to generate candidates when you’re all running against something. It’s much harder when your own side holds positions that are indefensible.
(Image via Shutterstock)