Future of Faith in American Politics, The: The Public Witness of the Evangelical Center
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Show More Skip to Navigation. News World U. In "The Great Awakening" Wallis hopes to encourage such a movement. He reviews historical "great awakenings" and the social movements they spawned: the antislavery, women's rights, child labor, and civil rights movements.
When politics is broken and can't solve problems, writes Wallis, the role of social movements becomes crucial. People of faith don't do it alone, he says, but they play a key role because faith is the source of hope and personal transformation that is essential to spur social transformation. Wallis believes people today are yearning for a "moral center," and he discusses what it means to seek the common good. He also outlines the specific values which he believes should be embraced to accomplish desired change. These include the Rev.
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Rick Warren of "Purpose-Driven Life" fame. Wallis says that during his travels, youths of varying beliefs — from Evangelicals to Catholics to atheists — have come to his talks eager to get involved. To help catalyze this movement, Wallis is working with pastors in a few US cities on what he calls "justice revivals. Although he's active on the political scene, Wallis advises faith leaders to stay away from partisanship: "No matter who your favorite is in the election, they won't be able to change the really big things unless and until there's a social movement pressing from the outside," he notes.
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Of that forty percent, half became atheists or agnostics, but the other half actually became Catholic or Protestant. The same analysis for those who identified as Agnostic found that just 1 in 20 returned to a Christian faith in four years. Finally, non-white evangelicals often have higher rates of religious attendance.
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The question is: if racial minorities begin attending an evangelical church, do they become marginally attached, only attending for Easter and Christmas? Or do they become core members of the church? If they show high levels of religious attendance, this could provide some future stability to a local church.
The graph above displays the distribution of church attendance for six racial groups who identified as attending an evangelical church in The results from this analysis are unequivocal: evangelical racial minorities attend church at rates that are greater than the church attendance of white evangelicals.
That means that racial minorities who attend evangelical churches likely see the spiritual and social benefits of their connection to their church community. Social scientists have argued that church attendance leads to a number of positive outcomes: more political tolerance , a higher likelihood of engaging in social activity, and greater levels of political knowledge.
A person who attends regularly becomes an asset to not only their church family, but also their community. At a time when an increasing number of social scientists argues that people are more and more isolated, the church could be a place where people of all races can find common ground. These results should be a warning sign for those concerned about the possible waning of evangelicalism in the United States.
While current survey data says that white evangelicals have not experienced statistically significant population declines in the last decade, this will likely not continue into the future. Evangelicals have to become more racially diverse if they want to maintain their influence and continue to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The data says that young minorities are receptive to faith and that when racial minorities become part of evangelical churches that they become some of the strongest church attenders. The Kingdom of Heaven will come from every racial group; evangelicals would do well to bring that Kingdom to Earth now.
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Ryan Burge is a professor of political science at Eastern Illinois University. He teaches in a variety of areas, including American institutions, public administration, and international relations. His research focuses largely on the intersection between religiosity and political behavior, especially in the American context. Support our work. Subscribe to CT and get one year free. Sign up for our free The Exchange newsletter: The Exchange newsletter is a weekly digest of coverage, research, and perspective from Ed Stetzer.