The newly appointed government affairs guy for the the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) seems to have some humanitarian street cred. Galen Carey has spent the last 26 years at World Relief, a respected advocacy and direct service group and that works on behalf of the poor, the hungry, and the sick — a true Matthew 25 organization if ever there was one. Though an abortion opponent, Carey is no bomb-thrower on cultural hot-buttons.
Still, Carey is also no Rich Cisik — the NAE’s erstwhile director of government affairs who resigned last December after 28 years with the organization. Conservative evangelicals were long seeking to oust Cisik for his outspoken advocacy on environmental issues (“creation care,” in Christianese). The dagger came when Cisik told an NPR reporter last year that he was beginning to come around to the idea of civil unions for homosexual couples. An outcry ensued, and Cisik tucked his tail between his legs and went home.
The NAE’s appointmen of Carey — whom World Relief president Sammy Mah praised for his “quiet, assured leadership skills” — signals a more subdued approach to public policy. Carey is unlikely to be the political lightening rod that Cisik was. Nevertheless, his lifelong commitment to humanitarianism suggests the NAE’s political efforts will remain focused on issues other than gays, abortion, and the like. The pendulum is swinging, but not too far.