Thursday, May 8, 2008

SoberingThoughts

Below is an excerpt from an article by Christine Wicker on the Religion News Service (clipped from the Dallas Morning News), with some sobering thoughts about the power of evangelicals and their role in the political process.

The truth is that evangelical Christianity has had almost no influence on the country at large. Fifty years ago, the moral stances taken by evangelicals that now seem so reactionary were then commonly accepted. Abortion was abhorred. Children were rarely born out of wedlock. Homosexual behavior was hidden and considered not only morally wrong but also an indication of mental illness. Unmarried couples rarely lived together.

All that has changed.

The truth is that after more than 20 years of political action and many electoral victories, the so-called religious right has achieved few of its objectives. Abortion is still legal. The idea that gays and lesbians are normal people, behaving normally and entitled to equal rights is widely accepted.

Is she right? How should evangelicals respond?

4 comments:

matt gallion said...

I think there may be some truth to this. With all of the hype surrounding the Evangelical Manifesto, I think it may be time we realized that any attempts to change the past are in vain. When Evangelicalism as a movement "went public," so to speak, it was intrinsically linked with political affiliation. The Religious Right made it political, in the vain pursuit of a "Christian nation." The world we see today is probably just as much a result of Evangelicalism attempts to prevent this progression as it is the fault of our "total depravity." I wonder if the current state of things is in some ways, not reactionary to the stubborn insistence of Evangelicals on a political scene over the past thirty-five years. I mean, Hagee is still calling for preemptive strikes in Iran as a spiritual decision.

And I personally cannot understand why we are so adamantly trying to protect and re-popularize a title that is not necessarily "Christian" (meaning both that a decent chunk of "evangelicals" are nominal Christians, and that it is not necessarily anymore biblical of a title to claim than Pentecostal or Nazarene, though many would not associate themselves with those terms). I don't necessarily disagree with the document itself, but I wonder why we struggle to preserve ourselves under a nationally respectable, nearly institutionalized banner.

I wonder how Christ would have responded to our need to be known, respected and loved by the "empire"?

The MAN Fan Club said...

I am turned off by a pastor who openly slams the democrats from the pulpit or small group bible studies. He calls them Demoncrats and it disturbs me.

Christine Wicker said...

I wrote the column you so kindly quoted. Thank you.

My new book "The Fall of the Evangelical Nation" uses statistics gathered by evangelicals themselves to show what's really happening with evangelicals. Every day I find more numbers showing the decline and those numbers are also from evangelicals. Updates are on my site, christinewicker.com.

Conservative evangelical faith is being torn down inside and outside the church, as the book documents.

I believe the hope of the evangelical future and of Christianity itself rests with Christians like the two who commented above. Luckily, there are a lot of them. Journalists, myself among them, just haven't given those Christians the attention they deserve.

That has been one of the most damaging results of the fundamentalist takeover.

mike rucker said...

wow, you got the author to comment on your blog! i'm jealous...

the article by ms. wicker ran in the atlanta journal-constitution today (6/6/08) entitled, “Fundamentally, fewer adherents: Evangelical Exodus.”

i think it’s dead on, and i’m quite tickled about it, frankly. :)

rather than stick all my comments here, you can read them on my website (URL below) if you care to. the post is entitled, "when you're falling awake."

mike rucker
fairburn, ga, usa
mikerucker.wordpress.com