Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Scholars Question Evangelical Legacy Post-George W. Bush

It remains almost routine for scholars, academics and other observers to question the future of a specific movement on the eve of the eminent departure of one of it's most prominent figureheads. President George W. Bush remains a prominent Christian -- a man of deep faith if you will -- but University of Virginia religion professor Charles Marsh wrote in his new book "Wayward Christian Soldiers: Freeing the Gospel from Political Captivity" the faith has become distorted to accommodate political and ideological agendas.

Marsh primarily examines how the majority of American evangelicals enthusiastically supported Bush's decision to invade Iraq in 2003 despite condemnations from the late Pope John Paul II and a myriad of other Christian leaders across the world. He added "people in the United States who call themselves Christian must organize their priorities and values on a different standard than partisan loyalty." Indeed; the evangelical movement by and large has woven itself into the core fabric of the Republican Party over the last three decades. The results of this relationship remain crystal clear for LGBT Americans -- support for the Federal Marriage Amendment, opposition to the federal hate crimes bill currently before Congress, endorsement of abstinence only sex education programs and overall resistance to other social progressions in this country. One can easily conclude the American people flatly rejected this ideology last November. It will take much more than a democratic take-over of Congress and a new President, however, to erode the power the evangelicals have constructed over the last 30 years. Their credibility overseas may remain in doubt but their influence among the faithful in pews and congregations across this country remains strong. The progressive movement cannot hide its own head in the sand about this reality.

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