What comes to mind when you think of the relationship between evangelicals and American politics? Fervent opposition to abortion and gay marriage? The convolution of God and Country? Culture wars and single-issue litmus tests? Whatever the prevailing image, it can probably be characterized more by partisan reaction than carefully nuanced, non-partisan reflection.
Piggybacking on the groundswell of opposition to George W. Bush's policies on issues like torture, climate change and the Iraq War, numerous books in recent years have critiqued the strong ties between evangelical Christianity and the Republican Party. Among the most influential of these bestsellers has been God's Politics by Jim Wallis, which captured this wave of frustration and energized a younger generation of Christians (myself included) to pursue social justice and fight global poverty. Wallis has often proclaimed the decline of hard-line social conservatism with phrases like, "the monologue of the Religious Right is over." But with 74% of evangelicals voting for John McCain in 2008, is American Christianity really shifting from right to left or is something more subtle and less reactionary taking place?