Religion & Politics – The Political Legacy of Progressive Evangelicals

„Several factors allowed the Religious Right to eclipse the evangelical left in American politics. Progressive evangelicals decried the Religious Right’s partisan yet potent partnership with Republicans, but their own unusual combination of political positions left them without clear allies in America’s dichotomous political landscape. Progressive leaders also had much less access to financial and media resources than Christian conservatives. Not least, the Religious Right capitalized much more effectively than the evangelical left on most evangelicals’ fearful reactions to cultural secularization, legalized abortion, communist and other threats to American security, and the expansion of government programs.

Yet even as the Religious Right overshadowed politically progressive evangelicals, they successfully carved out a niche within evangelicalism. In the process, leaders such as Ron Sider and Tony Campolo effectively pushed many other evangelicals to recognize and to respond to social problems. Despite questioning progressive evangelicals’ political priorities and public policy preferences, most conservative and moderate evangelicals today also acknowledge their religious responsibility to care for those suffering and to promote social justice—a notable change from four decades ago. Evangelicals of all political persuasions can be found alleviating poverty, combatting sex trafficking, promoting HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention, and supporting domestic and international relief and development work. Younger generations of evangelicals are particularly active in such endeavors.”

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