How Washington is Leaving the Faithful Behind
The Institute for Global Engagement’s President, Chris Seiple, posted an interesting article on The Politics of Evangelicalism. He’s responding to an essay by David Campbell and Robert Putnam called God and Caesar in America.
I was struck by how well Seiple described me…
More, the overall logic of the article suggests that if a person is religious, then that person is a Protestant Evangelical and politically conservative; that a person cannot be faithfully devout and politically progressive; that if a person is not religious then he or she has no belief or faith at all; and that Americans do not want faithful conviction in the public square.
Yet these assumptions of Putnam and Campbell in particular do not bear out, at least among the group of evangelicals with whom I am most familiar. Theologically orthodox (lowercase o) and seeking to be biblically faithful, this sector is a relatively silent and leaderless but large. This group is of all ages, but they tend to be younger. They do not identify with capital-E Evangelicals — whose national and global reputation is political, strident, and unforgiving.
Instead, if the people in this group use the term at all, they use it with a lowercase e. They want to be defined by what they are for — an orthodox reading of scripture, the interpretation and application of which they must faithfully grapple with — instead of what they are against. For example, they want to be seen as being “for marriage” and “pro-life” instead of anti-gay and anti-abortion. In other words, they largely hold the same values as Evangelicals, they just aren’t angry about it.
As we continue the painfully long trudge toward the November elections, I appreciate Seiple’s recognition of my “in-between-ness:”
…there are plenty of people who hold religious views — and are politically active — but aren’t served by either party. They seek a faith applied, not a religion petrified, and they eschew political labels. The Republicans formerly took them for granted, and the Democrats are only now learning how to talk to them.
A faith applied, not a religion petrified. Now there’s a goal worth striving for.
Click here to read Chris Seiple’s entire article.