Editor's Note: The new Pew survey will be explored further in the August issue of CT.
Are U.S. evangelicals losing their influence on America? A new poll released Wednesday from the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life seems to say just that, with the vast majority – 82 percent – of U.S. evangelical leaders saying their influence on the country is declining.
At the same time, their counterparts in Africa, Asia and Latin America are far more optimistic.
"There's both a huge optimism gap and a huge influence gap in terms of the way these folks perceive things," said Luis Lugo, director of the Pew Forum.
Researchers surveyed more than 2,000 leaders invited to attend the Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization in Cape Town, South Africa, last year.
The Rev. S. Douglas Birdsall, executive chair of the Lausanne Movement, which worked with Pew on the survey, said the U.S. pessimism is rooted in a changed culture where Billy Graham has retreated from public life and government-sponsored prayer has ...1