Evangelical Christians should be defined by their theology—and not their politics—to avoid becoming “useful idiots” of a political party, a group of prominent leaders said May 7 in a joint statement.
Released in Washington, the document, “An Evangelical Manifesto,” reflects the frustration of some within a movement that claims about one in four Americans over how they are perceived by others and who speaks for them. The 19-page statement declares that evangelicals err when they try to politicize faith and use Christian beliefs for political purposes.
“That way faith loses its independence, the church becomes ‘the regime at prayer,’ Christians become ‘useful idiots’ for one political party or another, and the Christian faith becomes an ideology in its purest form,” the document reads. But it resists calls to privatize or personalize the faith, saying there is an important place for evangelical voices in the public square.