Beliefnet
God's Politics

Jim Wallis

As I travel around the country this fall, I see more and more evidence of how the political conversation among evangelicals is changing. Now there is new poll data to verify it. The Washington Post’s piece this morning, “GOP’s Hold on Evangelicals Weakening,” noted a poll released yesterday by the Pew Research Center that “found that 57 percent of white evangelicals are inclined to vote for Republican congressional candidates in the midterm elections, a 21-point drop in support among this critical part of the GOP base.” Issues like poverty, the environment, torture, and the war in Iraq are motivating this shift.

The change is especially noticeable at evangelical colleges where I frequently speak. Last week, I arrived in Minneapolis the same day as a front-page story appeared in The Minneapolis Star-Tribune: “New generation of evangelicals has new focus.” The article said that at the Twin Cities’ Bethel University, “…a popular destination for evangelical Christians, a new debate about faith and politics is flourishing. Students are eager to talk about AIDS in Africa, poverty and pollution and far less likely to focus on gay marriage and abortion. They’re hungry for dialogue and eager to find common political ground.”

It’s true. There is a new generation looking for an agenda worthy of their faith, energy, and commitment. Like the increasing number of evangelicals of all ages, these students are concerned about a broad range of moral values issues and are putting their faith into action. The Religious Right has been able to win when they have been able to maintain a monologue on the relationship between faith and politics and to control the social agenda. But their monologue is now over, a new dialogue has broken out, and the Religious Right has simply lost control of the political agenda. The changing conversation about what “moral values” issues are, and what biblical Christians should care about, is a good thing, both for the churches and for politics.

Check out the two articles.

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