TELOSscope: The Telos Press Blog

In the News: Marcia Pally on New Evangelicals

The New York Times recently published a letter from Telos Editorial Associate Marcia Pally, who commends the paper for drawing attention to the work of “new evangelicals”:

Molly Worthen’s insightful review of “Moral Minority: The Evangelical Left in an Age of Conservatism,” by David R. Swartz (Sept. 30), is, I hope, the beginning of more coverage of the evangelicals who have left the right. Swartz’s fine scholarship illuminates a critical shift in our religio-political landscape: “new evangelical” activism in environmental protection, economic justice and immigration reform — a big change in where evangelical time and money are going. If we don’t read about changes like this, we accept old prejudices and remain blind to political realities.

Pally was also interviewed for a recent CNN article on President Obama’s religious faith:

The lines between younger conservative Christians and progressives are blurring, says Marcia Pally, author of “The New Evangelicals: Expanding the Vision of the Common Good.”

Pally spent six years traveling across America to interview evangelicals. She says her research revealed that more than 60% of young evangelicals support more governmental programs to aid the needy, as well as more emphasis on economic justice and environmental protection issues.

“What’s interesting is that these values, associated with Obama and the black Protestant tradition are now also the values of a growing number of white evangelicals,” she says.

Her perspective suggests that Obama’s faith may be treated by history in two ways:

He could be seen as the last embodiment of a progressive version of Christianity that went obsolete.

Or he could be seen as a leader who helped resurrect a dying brand of Christianity for a new generation.

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