EEWC-CFT describes itself as evangelical. Does that mean it’s part of the religious right?

Praying Hands AbstractAnne Eggebroten responds:

No, evangelical is a much broader term than it seems to be in current usage.  It is not synonymous with right-wing politics, though some people on the right might like others to believe that all Christians (or at least all evangelical Christians) think as they do!

During the 1950s, ‘60s, and ‘70s, the single issue most focused on as a dividing line between “conservative Christians” and “liberals” was divorce.  Historian Randall Balmer reports, “During the 1970s, by my count, Christianity Today ran eight articles and editorials decrying the growing rate of divorce among evangelicals; by the 1980s, however, after Ronald Reagan’s election, those denunciations ceased almost entirely as evangelical condemnations shifted to other, more elusive targets: abortion and, eventually, homosexuality.”  (Reagan was the first divorced president of the United States.)

Evangelical organizations and publications today whose politics are center or left include Evangelicals for Social ActionSojourners, Evangelicals Concerned, and a few others.   Born-again Christians leaders who do not align with right-wing politics include former President Jimmy Carter and Tony Campolo.

Campolo, of the Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education, estimates that 35-40% of American evangelicals are progressive or liberal in their politics.  Another authority estimates only 20%.  In any case, accurate use of the word evangelical indicates a religious position within Christianity but not a political stance in American politics.

For further reading:

Thy Kingdom Come: How the Religious Right Distorts the Faith and Threatens America~ An Evangelical’s Lament by Randall Balmer (New York: Basic Books, 2006).

Moral Minority: The Evangelical Left in an Age of Conservatism by David R. Swartz (Philadelphia: Univ. of Penn. Press, 2012).

In evangelical world, a liberal view steps up” by M. Alex Johnson, MSNBC, June 9, 2005.

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Becky Kiser and Anne Linstatter

Rev. Rebecca Kiser serves as a pastor in the Presbyterian Church, USA. She describes her faith life as “… like one of those funnel gadgets, being raised in the extremely narrow end of fundamentalism, then moving into the gradually widening scope of the evangelical, through orthodox Reformed theology, and now probably more progressive.”

Dr. Anne Linstatter is a professor and founding member of EEWC-CFT. She teaches on women and religion at California State University, Northridge. She describes herself as a writer, mother, (somewhat) radical feminist, and born-again Christian. She collected and edited personal stories for her book, “Abortion—My Choice, God’s Grace: Christian Women Tell Their Stories.” Her commentaries appear on Women’s eNews and Christian Feminism Today, as well as on her blog Martha y Maria: Women’s Lives, Women’s Rights.

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