With the death of Jerry Falwell, The New York Times reports that old-school political activism has also died among evangelicals. The piece says that evangelicals are getting more interested in issues with widespread appeal, like AIDS and the environment, and losing their bombast when it comes to hot-button issues like abortion. See Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, and Rich Cizik.
It's nothing new really. The story's been written dozens of times. But, some stats may be new to readers. The Times reports,
John C. Green, a senior fellow at the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life ... placed evangelicals into three camps - traditionalist, centrist and modernist - based on the how rigidly they adhered to their beliefs and their willingness to adapt them to a changing world. The traditionalists are evangelicals who are usually labeled as the Christian right, while the centrists might be represented by the newer breed of evangelical leaders, who remain socially and theologically quite conservative but have mostly sought to avoid politics. The two camps are roughly the same size, each representing 40 to 50 percent of the total.
Experts agree, though, that the centrist camp is growing
If it's true that centrist evangelicals are a growing group, what do we make Ohio's patriot pastors, Dobson's increased political activity, and the Family Research Council's new position as evangelicals' main lobbying group?