Whenever we speak about evangelicals and politics, a historic image that often comes to mind is the culture wars emanating from the Moral Majority of the 1980s—an association of influential conservative fundamentalists and evangelicals who played an indispensable role in politically mobilizing the American evangelical community. At the time, I was a teenager, and many of Christianity Today’s current readers were not even born.

Many see the Moral Majority as the political awakening of evangelicals, but it was not the beginning of evangelicals’ political involvement. Rather, it was the latest iteration in a two-millennia-old relationship with the public square. We have always been guided by Scripture to engage with the political culture—whether in rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar’s (Mark 12:17) or by the examples of the Apostle Paul using his Roman citizenship to escape Jerusalem or Esther entering a complex relationship with the Persian king.

Both the Old and New Testaments are intensely political and deal with the gray areas of life. The moral pronouncements of Scripture are generally clear for one’s personal life, but when that moral life intersects with broken, worldly systems, there are hard ethical choices to be made.

Two moral catalysts hang heavy over the era that began with the Moral Majority.

The first was a revisionist view of our First Amendment-guaranteed freedom of religion, which resulted in the removal of prayer from public schools. The second was the Supreme Court decision in 1973, Roe v. Wade, that legalized abortion in all its forms and at all times. The first threatened the dismantling of our First Amendment and the second threatened the dismantling of our constitutional ...

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