Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Died: Michael Cromartie, the Church’s Ambassador to Washington

Cromartie described his faith as “evangelical, reformed, Anglican” and attended Falls Church Anglican. He graduated from Covenant College and American University. A former chairman of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, he regularly advocated for the cause of religious liberty.

He also served as a senior advisor to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, a senior fellow with the Trinity Forum, and a former advisory editor at CT.

 

The news of his death was reported Monday on Twitter and confirmed by colleagues at the Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC), the DC-based conservative think tank where he served for more than 30 years.

Cromartie brought Christian thought leaders and secular journalists under the same roof at the Faith Angle Forum, held every year since 1999. Through his work as EPPC vice president, he evoked theologians and philosophers as he advocated for thoughtful engagement in public policy and civil discourse.

In a political arena often dominated by competition, power grabs, and culture war debates, Cromartie stuck out by offering a friendlier, humbler approach. It’s this attitude that his colleagues remember most and cite as his greatest legacy.

“It can’t be said of many people, but everyone Mike touched was influenced for the better,” said Michael Gerson, a Washington Post columnist and former speechwriter for President George W. Bush. “His passing leaves a huge gap in American public life and in the lives of his friends.

“Mike was a man of great knowledge who made it accessible to others,” Gerson told CT. “He was a man of great faith, who make it real and attractive to others. And he was a man of exceptional decency, who demonstrated how to live with joy and integrity.”

Journalists and Christian leaders alike shared their tributes.

“Michael Cromartie was different from what most people think of when they think ‘evangelicals and politics.’ Thanks be to God,” said Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, who admired his humble character and effective engagement with journalists.

“After his cancer diagnosis, every time I saw Mike he would say, ‘Pray like a Pentecostal.’ We did,” Moore shared with CT. “Mike now is in the presence of the Lord of Pentecost. We will miss him here, and must pray for more like him.”

Michael Wear, a former White House faith adviser under Barack Obama, described Cromartie as “one of Christianity’s principal ambassadors in Washington, [representing] Jesus with joyful confidence.”

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