August 21, 2008

Evangelicals Moving Left

It's been interesting to watch the leftward march of certain prominent evangelicals, including one prominent in our community. Although the number is surely small, some of them seem to be de-emphasizing the right-to-life issue and re-emphasizing issues of poverty and health care.

Part of this may be due to gratitude for the attention being received from some in the Democrat party. Democrats understandably don't like losing elections based on "values voters" and so there is much more care & feeding of evangelicals given the gold mine of votes available. Hence Jim Wallis was deputized, or self-deputized. Books were written, websites like Beliefnet.com set up, and debates begun.

So it's self-evident what's in it for pro-choice Democrats. What's in it for evangelicals? Number one, it was a way to counteract an image problem. Christians don't like being perceived as narrowly focussed on the pro-life issue. One website - http://unchristian.com - came highly recommended by a conservative family member. (I saw the Jim Wallis imprimatur and didn't go much farther.)

This all fits nicely into Rick Warren's "Purpose Driven Life" view, since political activism revolving around poverty and universal health care seem more politically viable and have a greater chance of being solved in the short-run than the pro-life issue. It's harder to be an activist when you don't see much happening. To the extent we think of Christianity as defined by our works and our results, or to the extent we think that by changing our politics in order to make our religion more appealing to those closely following politics, we'll be tempted to vote for leaders espousing death for little ones as long as they do visible good in other areas.

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