Globally, many evangelicals lean left: What that means for America’s future

Although Donald Trump secured the 2016 election with the rock-solid support of white evangelical voters — by some estimates 80 percent — American Christianity is far from synonymous with white conservatism. Yet because of the political dominance of groups such as the once-vaunted Moral Majority and the reliable voting bloc of white evangelicals on the right, the public rarely considers the evangelical left when thinking about religion and politics.

But a global tradition of left-leaning evangelicalism has the potential to reshape the U.S. political landscape. If we shift our gaze from the U.S. political right, we can see an alternative tradition of evangelicalism that embraces social, economic, environmental and racial justice. As Christianity continues to grow and flourish across Africa, Asia and Latin America, understanding the diversity of the faith provides a window into a potential future of American evangelicalism.

The 20th century witnessed a tectonic shift in Christianity’s demographic center: In 1900, nearly two-thirds of Christians lived in Europe; today less than a quarter do. Yet as Christians have become less white, white American evangelicals representing the most conservative segment of the religion played an increasingly outsize role around the world even as their slice of the demographic pie diminished. In 1974, the American Baptist preacher Billy Graham summoned leaders to accelerate the evangelization of the world. In response, he nearly witnessed an evangelical civil war.

That year, evangelical leaders huddled in Lausanne, Switzerland, in a highly influential and world-changing meeting. Nearly 2,500 Protestant evangelical leaders from over 150 countries and 135 denominations gathered, funded primarily by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Time magazine called it “a formidable forum, possibly the widest-ranging meeting of Christians ever held.”

Included in the diverse group were representatives of an emerging evangelical left, whose presence thrust the worldwide fellowship into conflict. As American leaders mapped strategies to spread their message on “mission fields” around the world, leaders from global south countries also demanded a seat at the table, bringing with them contexts of poverty, inequality and concern about widespread injustice.

Comments

Privacy Policy

Globally, many evangelicals lean left: What that means for America’s future is dedicated to protecting consumer privacy on the Internet. Our practices are consistent with privacy guidelines established by eTrust.com.

Globally, many evangelicals lean left: What that means for America’s future does not require any personal information to obtain access to our website.

Globally, many evangelicals lean left: What that means for America’s future does require limited personal information including name and mailing address from individuals wishing to join as members. Additional information such as e-mail address and phone number may also be requested in order that we may contact members in a timely manner on issues related to our mission.

You will only receive e-mail from us if you request to be added to our e-mail list. You may revise or remove your e-mail address from our files at any time.

Globally, many evangelicals lean left: What that means for America’s future uses "cookie" technology to obtain non-personal information from our online visitors, such as browser/computer type, number of visitors, and site usage. We do not use cookies to extract personal information.

Our website contains links to other sites, but Globally, many evangelicals lean left: What that means for America’s future does not necessarily advocate, support or condone the privacy practices or content of these websites.

Globally, many evangelicals lean left: What that means for America’s future makes all information received from our online visitors as secure as possible against unauthorized access and use. All information is protected by state-of-the-art security technology.

Globally, many evangelicals lean left: What that means for America’s future respects the individual privacy rights and concerns of visitors to our website. We support meaningful self-regulation of the Internet to ensure that responsible organizations maintain the right to use all communications media to interact with the public.