These are troubling times for the defenders of liberal Christian ethics. Amid a world that seems to be dominated by Tea Partiers and Fox News commentators—and by attacks on labor unions, immigrants and the poor—it is easy to forget that there was a time when liberal Christianity mattered in America. There was a time when Christian liberal theologians had the power to change the course of public opinion; when politicians turned to them for guidance about economics, foreign policy and war; and when the outcomes of elections rested on a candidate's ability to champion principles of Christian social justice. It is easy to forget that there was a time when being progressive was a criterion for public office rather than a damning political epithet.
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