Thursday, November 09, 2006

Let's stop stereotyping Evangelicals

Joseph Loconte and Michael Cromartie have an interesting column in yesterday's Washington Post: "Let's stop stereotyping Evangelicals."
In it they encourage the rest of the country to stop stereotyping Evangelicals because of a few vocal and "loopy" members.
Evangelicals led the grass-roots campaigns for religious liberty, the abolition of slavery and women's suffrage. Even the Moral Majority in its most belligerent form amounted to nothing more terrifying than churchgoers flocking peacefully to the polls on Election Day. The only people who want a biblical theocracy in America are completely outside the evangelical mainstream, their influence negligible...
Whether or not that's true, these evangelicals -- Bible-believing and socially conservative -- are redefining social justice. They're mindful of the material conditions that breed poverty and despair, but they emphasize spiritual rebirth. Though willing to partner with government agencies, they prefer to work at the grass roots, one family at a time.
The column makes specific mention to Dallas' TD Jakes and "The Purpose Driven Life" author Rick Warren and his work to fight AIDS and poverty in Africa.
Of course it's true that a handful of Christian figures reinforce the worst stereotypes of the movement. Their loopy and triumphalist claims are seized upon by lazy journalists and the direct-mail operatives of political opponents.

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