Interesting news this morning.  Focus on the Family has decided to re-brand their political action wing.  It had been called “Focus on the Family Action,” and will now be known as “CitizenLink.”  Interesting.  The intention is to “…create some clarity” in the public mind about the two organizations.  “It’s better branding,” says CEO Jim Daly.

A minor story, perhaps, but notable in what it says about how far Evangelical politics has come.  It was not long ago that Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism were known for their political quietude.  Televangelism, the rise of Neo-Evangelicalism, and the leadership of people like Jerry Falwell changed all that.  Today, an organization like Focus can rather unproblematically re-brand itself for “clarity,” with a new “brand” that in fact obscures its religious and moral roots.

“Citizen” is a brand they’ve used before. That is not the point. The point is that this is an obvious attempt to capture a place at the center of what Focus perceives to be a movement or sentiment (can you say “Tea Party?”) that is emerging in the political sphere.  Another example of the “trade off” that religion faces in the public sphere between particularism and “focus” (with a small “f”) on the one hand, and accessibility in public discourse on the other.  This goes a bit beyond that, even.

It is probably a coincidence that this comes on the heels of the George Rekers “rent boy” scandal that unfortunately tied the brand “Focus” and the related “Family Research Council” to some bad things…

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