Frances FitzGerald gets the religious right wrong—along with the evangelical tradition generally.
As we wake up to the election results, and the news that a large chunk of the voting block were white Christians, we see that the soul of our nation is hollowed and charred.
The religious right, as we know it, isn’t very old. Nor is it static.
We have now heard Donald Trump’s words, literally ad nauseam, as he boasted about forcing himself on women, kissing them and grabbing them. Now, while the Republican Party implodes, many conservative evangelicals are brushing off the comments.
In an effort to triumph over the religious right, many progressive Christians have married their faith and politics to the Democratic Party, leaving little to no gap between their political visions and the party’s policies. Instead of celebrating this as a successful strategy for re-ascendency, I see it compromising radical Christian commitments to peace and justice.
Jimmy Carter rode to the White House in 1976 on the twin currents of his reputation as a “New South” governor and a resurgence of progressive evangelicalism in the early 1970s. Progressive evangelicalism, which traces its lineage to 19th-century evangelicals and to the commands of Jesus to care for “the least of these,” represented a very different version of evangelical activism from that of the religious right.
The scene at the Church of the Reformation several weeks ago—just a couple blocks from the U. S. Capitol—was a mixture of resolve and celebration, equal parts political rally and family reunion. People milled about on the front steps posing for photographs, greeting old friends and making new acquaintances.