What kind of "growing movement"?

September 14, 2011

The LA Times has an interesting article
about evangelical pastors' involvement in political mobilization. Tom Hamburger
and Matea Gold don't do enough to prove their now-more-than-ever hook--that
pastors whipping votes in Iowa and elsewhere are "part of a growing movement of
evangelical pastors who are jumping into the electoral fray as never
before"--but it's still an important story to follow as we slog through yet
another election season (in which the religious right is still not dead).

After reading the article,
however, I'm not much wiser about where this activist energy is coming from.
First the authors tell me this:

This
new activism has substantial muscle behind it: a cadre of experienced Christian
organizers and some of the conservative movement's most generous donors, who
are setting up technologically sophisticated operations to reach pastors and
their congregations in battleground states.

But later we get this:

Religious leaders have
long been active in political causes. . . . But the current awakening is
different. It springs from the grass roots - small and independent churches -
and is fueled by emails and YouTube videos.

Okay, so which is it? Grassroots
activism or savvy, well-funded mobilization from the top down?