Times Columnist on the New Evangelicals | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Times Columnist on the New Evangelicals

Regardless, this evangelical shift should be noticed ... and applauded, I would add.

In a way, it was great to see the New York Times' Nick Kristof write about the changes that have hit the evangelical movement in this country—specifically the move away from telling women what to do with their bodies and adults what to do in the bedroom toward issues that, well, seem to follow the teachings of Jesus a bit closer like alleviating poverty, protecting the earth ("creation care") and fighting the AIDS epidemic. But the remarkable part is that this column is written as if he just figured this out. (Guess he hasn't been listening to Speaking of Faith religiously every Sunday morning, eh?) And that says a whole lot about the New York media elite—they tend to be clueless about what is happening in the rest of the country, and they still make proclamations on behalf of the rest of us. (I recall that yuck David Brooks using a town just across Maryland in Pennsylvania a few years back as an example of crossing the meatloaf line into "red" America, for instance.)

(I wonder if Kristoff read this piece by the JFP's Casey Parks, who went to Africa with him, all the way back in 2004; it was called "Rise of the Religious Left."

Previous Comments

ID
116796
Comment

Do you think it's a matter of evangelicals moving away from issues like abortion and homosexuality, or that they're expanding their focus to issues like the environment, the economy, and health care? Based on Mike Huckabee's success in the Republican presidential primaries, I would say it's the latter. Nonetheless, even that is something to celebrate. I am particularly happy that the rank-and-file of evangelical Christians seem to be ignoring the highly-paid, self-proclaimed "spokesmen" (and they are almost all men) such as James Dobson, Pat Robertson, etc., who have disdained any support for Huckabee or John McCain.

Author
GenShermansGhost
Date
2008-02-06T10:55:58-06:00
ID
116797
Comment

We Episcopalians have been there all along.

Author
Willezurmacht
Date
2008-02-06T11:06:08-06:00
ID
116798
Comment

Sherm, if you listen to Rick Warren on Speaking of Faith, you sure get the feeling it's "moving away from." You should listen to his comments about homosexuals. That doesn't mean it's true for everyone, of course. More cynically, I think many evangelical leaders are seeing that these personal morality issues are not resonating with most Americans. And so many of their own leaders have been caught on the down low that it's hard for them to take on homosexuality with any kind of moral authority. And I think many of them are seeing the light about the kinds of issues that their religious should be addressing—like helping people. And they know they've been used by the Reagan-Atwater-Barbour-Bush-Delay crowd. (Note that Barbour isn't sounding as many of those themes these days, and he wrote the most intense religious-right platform the GOP ever put forward). The writing is on the wall, and that's a good thing. I applaud leaders like Rick Warren for refocusing on what matters, regardless of how they got there. That is, let God take care of the sinners; humans should be focusing on taking care of each other. The "acting in my best interest" crap is out of style.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-02-06T11:20:08-06:00
ID
116799
Comment

Some of you, Wille. I know some stinker neo-con Episcopalians, too, right here in Jackson who represent the worst of humanity (including toward their own families). But they are the exception, not the rule. And I know some amazingly progressive Baptists. The stereotypes just don't apply, and shouldn't.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-02-06T11:21:49-06:00
ID
116800
Comment

I agree with you, Donna, about Rick Warren. And the movement known as "emergent Christianity" is a good example too. Churches like "The Journey" in Jackson offer a good blend of evangelicalism and openness. But on the other side, the recent developments in the Presbyterian Church in Mississippi -- where congregations are leaving the mainstream denomination for the "Evangelical Presbyterian Church", because the EPC trumpets an uncompromising anti-homosexuality stand -- indicate that the old-fashioned closed-minded evangelicalism is definitely still with us.

Author
GenShermansGhost
Date
2008-02-06T11:41:09-06:00
ID
116801
Comment

I recall NPR doing a piece last spring or summer on the new evangelicals moving away from abortion and homsexuality and more towards issue like poverty and the environment and I remember them interviewing Rick Warren and how he's leading the forefront of this movement. I thought it was refreshing to hear. The only thing abortion and homosexuality issues have done is create division. Worthwhile projects like eradicating poverty is much more beneficial and will get more people involved to do something.

Author
golden eagle
Date
2008-02-06T12:04:18-06:00

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