Wednesday, September 12, 2007
The Charleston (West Virginia) Gazette has this interesting opinion piece about the decline of the political power of the Religious Right. As evidence of this trend, the article points to a commentary that just appeared in Time, entitled "The Religious Right's Era Is Over," by Jim Wallis, the founder of Sojourners, an organization that lists its mission as "to articulate the biblical call to social justice." Wallis says:
We have now entered the post-Religious Right era. ... [A] combination of deeper compassion and better theology has moved many pastors and congregations away from the partisan politics of the Religious Right. ...Other signs of the possible ebbing of the Righteous Right's clout is the lack of consequence that Barack Obama has incurred from accusing the Christian right of promoting hate and denying that "Christian values" are integral to American society.
Evangelicals — especially the new generation of pastors and young people — are deserting the Religious Right in droves. The evangelical social agenda is now much broader and deeper, engaging issues like poverty and economic justice, global warming, HIV/AIDS, sex trafficking, genocide in Darfur and the ethics of the war in Iraq. Catholics are returning to their social teaching; mainline Protestants are asserting their faith more aggressively; a new generation of young black and Latino pastors are putting the focus on social justice; a Jewish renewal movement and more moderate Islam are also growing; and a whole new denomination has emerged, which might be called the "spiritual but not religious."
Even the Voice of America issued a treatise titled "Republican Party Losing Hold on Christian Conservative Base." It said evangelicals are distressed because "Republicans in Congress have not lived up to their commitments on issues such as restricting abortion or banning gay marriage."Newsweek columnist Jonathan Alter also attributes the decline to the spate of sexual and financial scandals that have disproportionately hit Republicans of late. But as the op-ed says:
White evangelicals remain a major segment of the U.S. electorate and wield significant power. But it will be a blessing if they gradually identify less with GOP puritanism and more with the humanitarian goals of Jesus.From their mouths to God's ears!