In his Wednesday afternoon posting at nytimes.com, "Religious Conservatives Embrace Proposed E.P.A. Rules," Times reporter Theodore Schleifer lent a megaphone to a prayer circle of alleged "conservative Christians" and "parts of the religious right" who favor more stringent EPA regulations on coal plants. The only thing missing from his report? Actual conservative Christians.
It's the latest gullible "strange new respect" story in which the New York Times embraces religion, at least when allegedly "conservative" religious groups conveniently embrace liberal stands on issues like illegal immigration or the environment. Actual Christian conservatives by the standard definition of the term are nowhere to be found.
Cizik, you may recall, is a bit of a media favorite because he hails from a generally theologically conservative tradition but has been moving leftward politically over the past few years.
Haffner is liberal theologically and politically, a Unitarian-Universalist minister and the former president of the Sex Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS), a group that lobbies to end federal funding of abstinence-until-marriage sex ed programs.
As we've noted, the On Faith feature often skews liberal in theology and politics, and the Cizik/Haffner tag-team fits hand-in-glove with the leftward tack of the site.
Here's the duo's argument against defunding Planned Parenthood (emphases mine):
If you had to narrow it down to one person, the mainstream media's favorite evangelical Christian would probably be the politically liberal Richard Cizik.
The former National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) vice president resigned from the NAE in December 2008 after having made public statements to the effect that gay marriage and abortion were politically negotiable issues for Christians of good conscience. Before then he was actively involved in getting evangelical Christians to align with liberals on global warming-related legislative initiatives.
The Washington Post reported Friday that Richard Cizik resigned his position as spokesman and vice president for governmental affairs for the National Association of Evangelicals after he declared he was "shifting" toward supporting civil unions for homosexual couples in a December 2 National Public Radio interview.