Euless evangelist James Robison launched a website this week that will include writings from evangelicals and other Protestants, as well as Catholics and Orthodox Jews.
Offering the news of the day and commentaries, The Stream is meant to promote intelligent discussion among faith leaders who have often been at odds, Robison said. They are uniting behind a conviction that America is on the wrong road with the breakdown of the traditional family, high divorce rates, and unsound and nonbiblical economic practices.
“Our nation is on a perilous course,” Robison wrote in an article announcing the creation of The Stream (www.stream.org).
“Our religious and political freedoms are eroding before our eyes, and government seems unable to live within its means or within proper bounds established by our forefathers,” he wrote.
The site’s executive editor is Jay Richards, a Roman Catholic author who wrote Money, Greed, and God and co-wrote, with Robison, Indivisible: Restoring Faith, Family, and Freedom Before It’s Too Late.
When The Stream went live Wednesday, Richards’ first column, titled “People of Faith Must Work Together or Be Torn Apart,” called for unity.
He quoted Southern Baptist theologian Timothy George as saying the new partnership of conservative Baptists, Catholics and other groups is an “ecumenism of the trenches.”
“With us divided, secularists have pushed believers farther and farther to the margins,” Richards said. “… What our grandparents treated as common sense — the right to life, the nature and dignity of marriage — are now treated as bigotry.”
Robison, the site’s publisher, said in an interview that The Stream “is by no means a political action group or site.” But it will address many social issues closely related to American politics.
“We will certainly call people to meaningful actions,” said Robison, who recently met with Pope Francis at the Vatican, along with other North Texas evangelicals.
Robison founded Life Reach International, a Christian relief group, and co-hosts the Life Today television talk show with his wife, Betty.
Robison said he’s comfortable working with Catholics, whom he and other evangelicals have criticized in the past.
“I think we have all blasted each other to no effect,” he said. “It’s obvious God has no problems with tribes and races. We have problems with tribes and races.”
Variety of opinions, news
In its first few days, The Stream has carried a variety of news items from The Boston Globe, The New York Times and other sources under the categories U.S., Globe, Sci-Tech, Arts, God, Education, Fun and Opinion.
The opinion columns include one by Jonah Goldberg, senior editor of National Review, on President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address. A column by David Limbaugh, younger brother of conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, faults the Obama administration’s efforts to put controls on oil production.
Another article praises Michelle Obama for not wearing a headscarf when she arrived in Saudi Arabia for King Abdullah’s funeral. The article noted that Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton also didn’t wear headscarves during visits. Women in the kingdom are required to wear the garment.
Included under the “God” section is the 16-page e-book by Southern Baptist Convention President Ronnie Floyd, calling Southern Baptists to “extraordinary prayer” for a new Great Awakening of spiritual renewal.
Bill J. Leonard, professor of Baptist studies and church history at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, said The Stream brings together social conservatives concerned about the changing marriage laws and about the loss of traditional values.
“It’s more cultural than political and shows a concern over the loss of traditional values in the larger culture and the distancing of many Americans from religion in general, shown by the increasing number of ‘nones’ — those who say they have no religious affiliation,” Leonard said.
On the political side, Leonard said the new site “feels a little like a 21st-century edition of the Moral Majority, only with the feeling of this group that is less and less a majority.
“It’s shows concerns that secularism is driving the Christian voice out of the public scene,” Leonard said. “… They believe the Judeo-Christian ethic is under assault, particularly in government and laws, and that Protestants and Catholics must work together, beyond dogma, because of the common values they share.”
Richard Land, president of Southern Evangelical Seminary in Charlotte, N.C., and former president of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, helped plan The Stream and says it will differ from other sites.
‘Not a divider’
“We are not going to allow personal attacks or vituperative comments,” he said. “We want to be a uniter, not a divider. It will provide an outlet for people who want to talk seriously from a traditional faith perspective about the enormous issues we face in this culture.”
Land, who will contribute to The Stream, said the site will be governed by a stated group of principles, including that every human has equal value and dignity; that marriage and family are the fundamental social institutions; that we can know God and moral truth; that Judeo-Christian faith guards our freedom, that culture comes before politics; and that we need a state strong enough to maintain the rule of law but limited enough not to violate it.
Robison said his ministry has paid most of the cost for the site.
“God gave me the resources, and we have a lot of resources already in place,” he said.
The Stream will not endorse presidential candidates, Robison said, but will point to those who share traditional values. He has prayed with most of the Republicans who plan to seek the presidential nomination and is open to meeting with Hillary Clinton and other possible Democratic candidates.
“I’ve reached out to President Obama and former President Clinton,” he said, without response.
“I just know I love the people they want to serve,” he said.