Define 'evangelical,' again and again

weyrich 704633I made it to Prague just fine, with no help from the construction war zone that is called Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport. You don't want to know about it. OK, let's just say that airport terminals designed to be linked by trains do not work well when there are no trains. So I am exhausted, but I still was awake enough to get ticked off reading a short political story in the new issue of Newsweek. It's about Fred Thompson and his much celebrated gaffes coming out of the White House gate late in the game.

As you would imagine, this involves whether he has or has not bonded with a key GOP voter group. It's right there in Holly Bailey's lede:

For months, social conservatives have viewed Fred Thompson as a Reaganesque savior in a dreary field of GOP presidential hopefuls. But the former Tennessee senator's early days on the campaign trail have left some prominent evangelicals underwhelmed. "I'm personally not that impressed," says Paul Weyrich, a veteran strategist who cofounded the Moral Majority.

One sticking point: Thompson's stance on a same-sex marriage ban. On the trail, he has declined to endorse a constitutional amendment blocking gay marriage, instead backing a broader amendment that would bar states from imposing their laws on other states. "The [marriage ban] approach has been tried in Congress, but can't even get a majority," Thompson told the Christian Broadcasting Network.

That's not good enough for some on the right, and it has cost Thompson, at least for now, endorsements from members of the Arlington Group, an influential coalition of the nation's top conservative leaders. "It's a deal breaker," Weyrich told Newsweek.

See the problem in this little story? Yes, it is an old problem that we have talked about here before, which is the evolution of the word "evangelical" into a strictly political term with almost no religious content whatsoever.

Now, it's true that Weyrich was the cofounder of the Moral Majority. But does this automatically mean that he is an evangelical Protestant?

So here is your one question mini-test. OK, GetReligion class: Paul Weyrich is an ordained clergyperson in what church?

(a) The Nation of Islam

(b) The United Church of Christ

(c) The Catholic Church (Eastern Rite)

(d) The Anglican Church of Nigeria

(e) The Southern Baptist Convention

And the answer is ...

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