Those impossible-to-ignore and hard-to-define white " evangelicals" have, for decades, been the largest and most dynamic sector in U.S. religion. Are we finally witnessing an evangelical crack-up as so long anticipated -- and desired -- by liberal critics?
That's a big theme for the media to affirm or deny.
To begin, The Religion Guy is well aware that millions of these conservative Protestants quietly attend weekly worship, join Bible and prayer groups, try to help those in need, fund national and foreign missions and are oblivious to discussions of this sort on the national level.
For years we've seen a telltale slide of membership and baptisms in the Southern Baptist Convention, that massive and stereotypical evangelical denomination. At the same time, its clear (follow the work of Ryan Burge for background) that many of those Southern Baptists have simply moved to independent, nondenominational evangelical megachurches of various kinds.
But more than numbers, analysts are pondering insults to cultural stature, which greatly affect any movement's legitimacy, respect, impact and appeal to potential converts, especially with younger adults.
The Scopes Trial to forbid teaching of Darwinian evolution nearly a century ago continues to shape perceptions of evangelicalism and its fundamentalist wing, especially due to the fictionalized 1955 play and 1960 movie "Inherit the Wind." No doubt ongoing evangelical enthusiasm for Donald Trump has a similar negative impact among his critics, but this is not merely a political story but involves evangelicalism's internal dynamics. The Trump era exacerbatesdivisions that already existed despite unity in belief.
Turn to former GetReligion writer Mark Kellner, who is already making his mark (pun intended) as the new "faith and family" reporter for theWashington Times. Here is an essential recent read: After scandals, is evangelical Christianity's image damaged?"
The immediate cause behind the question was an odd little incident that spoke volumes, the sacking of Daniel Darling as spokesman for National Religious Broadcasters (NRB). Realize that to a great extent trade shows for evangelical broadcasters and for retailers, plus events surrounding the Fellowship Foundation's Presidential Prayer Breakfast, have functioned as the major gatherings for influencers and celebrities in the motley evangelical movement.
Darling's sin was to tell MSNBC he got the COVID-19 vaccine and considers that a good idea for other Christians. The Guy caught that interview and confesses Darling's words were so mild, and so respectful of evangelical anti-vaxxers, that there seemed to be no news. But then NRB handed Darling a demotion at lower pay so he left. For background, see Darling's recent interview (Fired After Getting Vaccinated And Encouraging Others to Do So) with the always-interesting Emma Green of theAtlantic.
Whatever the back-and-forthing, Darling was penalized for ignoring NRB "neutrality" on vaccination, in an unpalatable example of conservative "cancel culture" and "political correctness." As Kellner further observed, this followed unseemly scandals at such evangelical powerhouses as Liberty Universityand Willow Creek church.That's but the beginning of the recent public squalor of evangelical hypocrites and sexual predators.
Then there's the disillusionment of hyper-popular Bible teacher Beth Moore,and the remarkable private 2020 letter to Southern Baptist executives from the Rev. Russell Moore (no relation), leaked after he resigned as head of the SBCs national Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.Moore lamented the denomination's moral failures on sexual abuse of youths and women, and also on treatment of racial minorities and immigrants.
Darling, a bit player in that protest letter, was formerly on Moore's staff. Commenting on the NRB fuss in a recent email-only newsletter, Moore marveled that a life-saving medical advance "is now considered controversial in our subculture" and recalled hosting evangelical radio whose callers were far more interested in "scaremongering" than, say, how to make evangelism more effective. He sees great damage from evangelical media "marketers of rage" who inflame controversy rather than offer nuanced discussion of current moral problems.
In subscribers-only columns forTheDispatch.com, commentator David French also frequently grieves over evangelical trends and leaders. (Though he's anti-Trump, it's important to recognize that French is strongly old-style on evangelical theology and in his past strategic legal efforts defending religious liberty.)
As Kellner observes, the overriding issue has become "how evangelical Christianity is perceived in an increasingly secular culture" when its Gospel outreach faces far more resistance than in the Billy Graham days.
A final question: Aare the recent events transient hiccups or a new direction that demands substantial analysis?This is, of course, a question that has been asked several times in recent decades.
[Disclosure: The Religion Guy was the news editor of the evangelical magazineChristianity Todaybefore covering the beat forTimemagazine and The Associated Press.]
Read more from the original source:
- Feehery: The honest contrarian | TheHill - The Hill - November 23rd, 2021
- First thoughts on the new President's Management Agenda - FCW.com - November 23rd, 2021
- Austin Preshko: Enforcing mandate with informants will encourage false reports against those who engage in 'wrong think' - Must Read Alaska - November 23rd, 2021
- Is the legacy of Monty Python being destroyed? - Far Out Magazine - November 23rd, 2021
- More Deferential but Also More Political: How Americans' Views of the Military Have Changed Over 20 Years - War on the Rocks - November 23rd, 2021
- Its American History: Its time to face the truth about what critical race theory actually means to the right - East Bay Express - November 23rd, 2021
- Thanksgiving is a holiday dedicated to gratitude and tolerance so the woke have their knives out for it - New York Post - November 23rd, 2021
- The Roustabouts Go for the Gut (Laugh) in 'For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls' - Times of San Diego - November 23rd, 2021
- 10 of the best new release Netflix series available coming in November - The Scotsman - November 23rd, 2021
- Book Spoilers, Sex Jokes and Other Letters to the Editor - The New York Times - November 19th, 2021
- Opinion | The Woke Student Is Just a Scapegoat - The New York Times - November 19th, 2021
- We need to get real about Islamist terrorism - Spiked - November 19th, 2021
- The thought police have arrived with 'trigger warning' alarm that goes off at every offensive remark - Telegraph.co.uk - November 19th, 2021
- 'The Sex Lives of College Girls' on HBO Max is a hilarious, sexy treat from Mindy Kaling - Mashable - November 19th, 2021
- An Archconservative Magazine Discovers Afrofuturism at the Met and Is Not Pleased - Hyperallergic - November 19th, 2021
- The Every by Dave Eggers review big tech is watching you - The Guardian - November 19th, 2021
- 10 of the best Netflix new release series available this November - The Scotsman - November 19th, 2021
- Chinese dissident warns Americans: Youre already in the authoritarian state...you just dont know it - Fox News - November 15th, 2021
- 'Legacy American' is the latest catchphrase in the racist lexicon | TheHill - The Hill - November 15th, 2021
- Too sensitive or too ignorant? The rise of political correctness in the US - Mesa Press - November 15th, 2021
- On Kashmir, Literature, and the Shroud of Political Correctness - The Quint - November 15th, 2021
- Despite laundry list of injuries, the Bucs should beat Washington 35-13 on Sunday - Creative Loafing Tampa - November 15th, 2021
- How will Eastern election results affect Utah? |Opinion - Deseret News - November 15th, 2021
- Andrew Sullivan on American political discourse and rescuing conservatism in 2021 - 60 Minutes - CBS News - November 15th, 2021
- AOC's 'Woke' Whine Is Why the Dems Can't Stop Losing - The Daily Beast - November 15th, 2021
- A Look At The Diversity Of Political Ideology In The United States : The NPR Politics Podcast - NPR - November 15th, 2021
- Letters to the Editor Many readers will miss Mallard Fillmore - The Dallas Morning News - November 15th, 2021
- GUEST VIEW: Dictatorial coaching should be in the past - Lockport Union-Sun & Journal - November 15th, 2021
- Making the effort to do what is right - The Jackson Sun - November 15th, 2021
- Cape Cod theater reviews: Romance, revelations and a different view of Thanksgiving - Cape Cod Times - November 15th, 2021
- Betsy DeVos to publish Hostages to the Cause, a book on misguided failures of US education system - Yahoo News - November 15th, 2021
- How on earth has Family Guy survived for 20 seasons in the supposed era of political correctness? - The Independent - November 3rd, 2021
- How on earth has Family Guy survived in the era of political correctness? - News Nation USA - November 3rd, 2021
- The Board of Ed Elephant in the Room and Other Passaic Elections Nuggets - InsiderNJ - November 3rd, 2021
- Deadlock at the pump | Opinion | wvnews.com - WV News - November 3rd, 2021
- Shared Loves and Strong Loyalties | R. R. Reno - First Things - November 3rd, 2021
- Larry Summers slams Democrats for failing to tax the wealthy - Salon - November 3rd, 2021
- How the Word 'Woke' Was Co-Opted And Weaponized - WDET - November 3rd, 2021
- The Head-Turning Gesture Donald And Melania Trump Made At The World Series - The List - November 3rd, 2021
- Lowell High, Alison Collins and the Sunset's rage against diversity - San Francisco Chronicle - November 3rd, 2021
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Respectful conversation easy to watch - Odessa American - October 24th, 2021
- Costumes, masks and things that go bump in the night - Cape Cod Times - October 24th, 2021
- Letter: McClaughry: Editor of The Tone Deaf Times - Brattleboro Reformer - October 24th, 2021
- Letters to the Editor, Oct. 22 - Marco News - October 24th, 2021
- Virginias Election Is Breaking the Rules - New York Magazine - October 19th, 2021
- Letters to the editor - Boston Herald - October 19th, 2021
- Ballot proposal would replace he with they in Grand Have n city charter - WOODTV.com - October 19th, 2021
- Dave Chappelle refuses to be cancelled | TheHill - The Hill - October 19th, 2021
- Keep Appreciation for Hispanic Heritage Alive With These Great Books - L.A. Weekly - October 19th, 2021
- History of the World Part 1 is Getting a Sequel - Book and Film Globe - October 19th, 2021
- AstonRep Theatre Presents GOD OF CARNAGE At The Edge Theater - Broadway World - October 19th, 2021
- Max Gillies talks satire, The Gillies Report and the future of political comedy - ABC News - October 19th, 2021
- 'The Office' Star John Krasinski Once Shared His Favorite Episode of All Time - And It's Pretty Controversial - Showbiz Cheat Sheet - October 19th, 2021
- Falling all the time Billy Connolly had to move out of New York as Parkinsons worsened - Express - October 19th, 2021
- Political correctness - POLITICO - October 15th, 2021
- Billy Connolly raged at politically correct mob who screwed it for everybody - Daily Express - October 15th, 2021
- PC Halloween: Here are the costumes parents agree no kid should wear while trick-or-treating - Study Finds - October 15th, 2021
- Science is the latest victim of cancel culture - Brunswick News - October 15th, 2021
- Sir Billy Connolly: I'd be cancelled by the woke brigade if I started out in comedy today - The Telegraph - October 15th, 2021
- Krull: Gruden is like other blowhards, lacking in common decency and courtesy - The Herald-Times - October 15th, 2021
- Peter Thiel bets on the far right: Tech tycoon spending millions to bankroll "Trump wing" of GOP - Salon - October 15th, 2021
- Lorraine fans delighted to see Billy Connolly looking so well as he plugs new book amid Parkinsons b... - The Sun - October 15th, 2021
- Letter to the Editor: Keep Seattle politics out of rural King County - Woodinville Northwest News - October 15th, 2021
- Back in the Day: This is my 500th Back in the Day column! - Fairfield Daily Republic - October 15th, 2021
- 'Forget the Alamo' Book Trashes Texas' Beloved Origin Myth - The Daily Beast - October 15th, 2021
- 'Cosplay Christianity': The sin is in the denial of the life God calls us to - Religion News Service - October 15th, 2021
- Diversification is the key to success - AV Magazine - October 15th, 2021
- Raila, Ruto must end political intolerance ahead of elections - The Standard - October 15th, 2021
- The Many Feints of The Sopranos - The American Prospect - October 15th, 2021
- Digimon Tamers Stage Play Accused Of Promoting Far Right ... - October 5th, 2021
- British Airways Accused of Political Correctness as it Abolishes Ladies and Gentleman From Onboard Announcements - Paddle Your Own Kanoo - October 5th, 2021
- America needs to get back to honesty, thinking about the group - EH Extra - October 5th, 2021
- Putin has hit us but will lose, says interior minister - The First News - October 5th, 2021
- Alejandro Zaera-Polo has been removed from his faculty position as Princeton continues its row with the former SoA dean - Archinect - October 5th, 2021
- Six Broadway Review: The Real Housewives of Henry VIII Put on a Show - Yahoo Entertainment - October 5th, 2021
- Jon Stewarts Back. Heres Why We Should Care. - POLITICO - October 5th, 2021
- The comedy in Olney's 'Thanksgiving Play' comes with a side of snark - DC Metro Theater Arts - October 5th, 2021
- Scottish theatre company apologises after backlash over 'cancel culture' and political correctness play - The Scotsman - September 29th, 2021
- 11 Examples Of Political Correctness Gone Mad - September 29th, 2021
- COMMENTARY: Woking the Boomer Cache Valley Daily - Cache Valley Daily - September 29th, 2021