Thirty years after self-styled evangelical Christian Jimmy Carter stormed out of Georgia in a metaphorical reverse of Sherman's march to the sea, where are evangelical Christians politically?
One voice says they've grown up. In USA Today Michael Medved (silenced on the Cincinnati airwaves by a sinister Democrat plot) suggests that evangelical calm in response to Brokeback Mountain and The Da Vinci Code are signs of strength and maturity in the movement. In other words, evangelicals are confident enough of their place in the world to let objectionable movies make their way in the world without the protests that met, say, The Last Temptation of Christ.
True enough, SWNID opines. Those with confidence in their position are much less likely to go postal when a challenge to their position emerges (this, for gentle readers of the Campbellite persuasion, is why Campbellites of my acquaintance, including myself, are much less strident in our rhetoric about baptism than some of our forebears: it's not that we believe it less, we just have enough confidence in the self-evident strength of the position that we don't think we need to beat people with it).
But over at TownHall.com, Jennifer Biddison has noted the recent appearance of the "Evangelical Climate Initiative," a call for action to stem global warming signed by a number of evangelical leaders (including the ubiquitous Rick Warren, the irrepressible Brian McLaren, the omni-opinioned Timothy George, and the presidents of the big three evangelical liberal arts colleges Wheaton, Calvin, and Gordon).
The problem with the ECI proposal, of course, is that the costs of "action" on global warming almost certainly outweigh the benefits. The immediately foreseeable coast of a crash program to reduce carbon emissions would be the further impoverishment of the poor; its benefit would be a marginal slowing of a process that has many inputs besides human actions.
In other words, the ECI represents a case where evangelicals have been taken in with an appeal to their purpose-driven commitment to the poor, only to find themselves in support of a position that is economically untenable.
So where are evangelicals? Maturing but not mature might be one assessment. All over the map would be another. Such is always the case with a large group of individuals, we suspect.
The larger problem, of course, is the failure of too many evangelicals to listen with blind devotion to this blogger, who is, by nature, Seldom Wrong. Link this site, gentle readers, so that we can correct this problem.