Michael Gerson: Faith Without a Home

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I have seen the future of evangelical Christianity, and it is pierced. And sometimes tattooed. And often has one of those annoying, wispy chin beards.

Those who think of evangelical youths as the training cadre of the religious right would have been shocked at Jubilee 2008, a recent conference of 2,000 college students in Pittsburgh sponsored by the Coalition for Christian Outreach. I was struck by the students’ aggressive idealism — there were booths promoting causes from women’s rights to the fight against modern slavery to environmental protection. Judging from the questions I was pounded with, the students are generally pro-life — but also concerned about poverty and deeply opposed to capital punishment and torture. More than a few came up to me between sessions in anguished uncertainty, unable to consider themselves Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative — homeless in the stark partisanship of American politics.

Many observers have detected a shift — a broadening or maturation — of evangelical social concerns beyond the traditional agenda of the religious right. But does this have political implications?

Perhaps. Recent Zogby polls in Missouri and Tennessee found that about a third of white evangelicals who showed up on primary day voted Democratic. The sample sizes were small. Yet John Green, a senior fellow with the Pew Forum, finds the results interesting. “These results are higher than usual. Typically these numbers would be about a quarter.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture

3 Comments
Posted February 28, 2008 at 5:07 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. bob carlton wrote:

Gerson is just spot on here - a diaspora of people “homeless in the stark partisanship of American politics”.

From my own experience, that stark partisanship dominates faith & church contexts as well.

February 28, 12:46 pm | [comment link]
2. Daniel wrote:

I think one needs to be very careful in assessing articles like this and treating them as entirely objective and factual.  The writer has an email address from the Council on Foreign Relations.  His opinions about Jubilee 2008 are anecdotal at best, not at all grounded in any type of statistical validity.

IMHO, these op-ed pieces tend to be more reflective of what the writer wants to see, rather than the reality of what actually is.  The way this works is that when enough of these types of pieces get written, the subject of the analysis (post-modern evangelicals) becomes aware of what the mainstream thinks about them and then begins to act in a like fashion, thereby creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.

It was, however, an interesting article to read.

February 28, 1:14 pm | [comment link]
3. yohanelejos wrote:

I agree with Bob—at least, Gerson’s picture is closer to where Christians should be on the political map. If there was some way for major Democratic figures to get out of the death grip of the pro-abortion lobby, I think we could head toward a healthy debate of many ideas, and a healthier body politic.

February 28, 7:34 pm | [comment link]
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