Last Friday D. Michael Lindsay posted an essay on The Immanent Frame entitled “Changing of the guard,” about the future of the evangelical voice in national politics. Over the weekend there was a flurry of responses, including a link at the religion blog of the Dallas Morning News and a full reproduction of the text at Christianity Today. Among the comments was one from John W., who said:
One thing to consider is many may decide to no longer be evangelicals after realizing 80% of white evangelicals voted Bush in 2004 and 75% voted for McCain in 2008. Given what has transpired and has been revealed about the current adminstration these last few years, many well meaning, thoughtful followers of Christ may conclude it’s time to stand up for what is right and reject the “evangelical” label. I predict that in the next few years “evangelicalism” will make a hard turn to the right and be even more intolerant. And when people call them on it, they will scream “we are being persecuted by the Godless secular progressives that have taken over our country…”
In addition, Andrew Tatusko wrote a response in his blog, Notes from Off Center:
If we look at the formation of the Religious Right in the 70’s it would seem that a liberal government and a socially liberal society is the paradoxical fuel to reconstitute themselves. It will be interesting to see how groups like the Christian Coalition, Family Research Council, American Family Association, and others do this. I would suspect they will continue the clear sectarian us (pro-family, pro-life, pro-religion) v. them (pro-gay, pro-choice, pro-secularist) mentality that we say cast in clear relief [sic] as soon as Sarah Palin was nominated.
If the closing of the “god-gap” was seen through the action of the Obama/Biden campaign to lure faith voters, and their clear response to that lure, it could be that moderate evangelicalism will be the norm. This will mean that in order to be distinct and maintain sectarian tension lest they fall down the slope of secularism, the Religious Right will be forced to become more strident with fundamentalist religious claims.
Update: The Revealer has linked to this post as well, saying:
Ah, but who will lead them? Lindsay offers some perceptive predictions—not Palin, who must choose between obscurity or moderation if she’s to survive; more likely Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal—but I think it’s the wrong question. Much of the media is going to forget all about Christian conservatives now, just like they did in 1992, 1996, 2006, and, for that matter, 1925, when the death of William Jennings Bryan following the Scopes monkey trial supposedly spelled the end of fundamentalism in America. Journalists with a deeper sense of history, meanwhile, will be nosing around the wreckage of the old Christian Right, searching for the movement’s new Moses. But American evangelicalism, particularly the politicized, conservative variety, is not a Moses movement. It endures because, despite its reverence for authority, most of its members believe in a higher authority than that of whichever ambitious pol or preacher says he (or, occasionally, she) is speaking for the masses. And what is that authority decreeing right now? That’s the question, and it won’t be answered on Sunday chat shows.
Read the full Revealer post here.