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Paper on ‘New Evangelicalism’ Cites PRRI Research

In a paper titled Searching for a New Story: The Possibility of a New Evangelical Movement in the U.S. published in the current Journal of Religion and Society, Paul Markham cites Public Religion Research Institute’s (PRRI) findings about the changing political landscape for evangelical Christians in the U.S. as well as Dr. Robert P. Jones’s book Progressive & Religious.

The article explores the more politically moderate group of evangelicals that is growing in prominence and numbers, challenging the stereotype that all evangelicals are far-right conservatives.  Instead, Markham points to PRRI’s findings[], among others, that show that younger evangelicals are more likely to be religious centrists with a more complex political profile – opposing abortion rights, but less conservative overall and more supportive of same-sex marriage and other LGBT rights.  In addition, he cites our research showing that 41 percent of evangelicals overall are actually religious centrists.

“Current accounts regularly associate evangelicals with the Religious Right and the Republican Party. While there is sufficient reason to make this claim, one does so at the expense of overlooking a rich tradition of Christians committed to progressive social change.” – Paul Markham

In addition, he turns to Dr. Jones’s analysis of progressive Christian leaders in America to show how the movement is looking more towards the life of Jesus as a model for political views, emphasizing a call to address injustice in society.

“They increasingly question the legitimacy of war and have a broadening scope of social concerns extending beyond issues such as abortion or same-sex marriage. While generally remaining “pro-life,” they are expanding its meaning to something more representative of “pro-whole-life” by taking up issues such as poverty reduction, sex trafficking, AIDS, and environmental sustainability.” – Paul Markham

Please see the Journal of Religion and Society for the full journal article.

Click through to see our findings on The Emerging Evangelical Center and Religion in the 2008 Election: Post-Election Survey.

For more on Progressive and Religious: How Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and Buddhist Leaders are Moving Beyond the Culture Wars & Transforming American Public Life please visit www.progressiveandreligious.org.