Neil King Jr.’s latest for The Wall Street Journal, “Evangelical Leader Preaches Pullback from Politics, Culture Wars,” explores efforts by the Southern Baptist Convention’s Russell Moore to encourage evangelicals to tone down their rhetoric on hot-button social issues.
Today, after more than three decades of activism, many in the religious right are stepping back from the front lines. Mr. Moore, a 42-year-old political independent and theologian who heads the convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, says it is time to tone down the rhetoric and pull back from the political fray, given what he calls a “visceral recoil” among younger evangelicals to the culture wars.
“We are involved in the political process, but we must always be wary of being co-opted by it,” Mr. Moore said in an interview in his Washington office, a short walk from Congress. “Christianity thrives when it is clearest about what distinguishes it from the outside culture.”
King uses PRRI data to examine the generational shift taking place in evangelical politics.
Recent polls have found younger evangelicals drifting away from some of the conservative views of their parents and grandparents. A March survey of nearly 1,000 white evangelicals by the Public Religion Research Institute, a nonpartisan polling organization, found half of those under 35 favored same-sex marriage, compared with just 15% of those over 65. The younger evangelicals were more likely to be independents over Republicans, while the opposite was true of their elders.
Be sure to read the article in full over at The Wall Street Journal.